Hurricane Farm

  (Scotland, Connecticut)
A view of life on our farm
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It's Alive! Or, My Tractor is Working Again

After several long and stressful months of changing spark plugs, ignition wires, and magneto caps, my Farmall Cub is up and running again!  I was able to get Leon, owner of Reliable Tractor Repair in Lebanon, CT, to come over and correct the incorrect timing on my magneto.  He also checked over the tractor generally and told us we have a great little tractor on our hands.  Who hoo!  If you need any tractor work, I would highly recommend Leon.  We can put you in touch with him if you live here in CT.

Aside from the rebuild on the magneto and the timing, I did a little tinkering myself and the tractor is looking sharp and running strong.  What follows are some photos and some commentary.

First of all, here is my helper, Liev, ready with his tools at hand.  Notice his tractor all ready to be worked on in the background.  We'll get to that after we work on mine.

So I set out to replace the entire exhaust system.  You can see the old one below after removal.  It is supposed to be six distinct parts; however, the old one has been fused together over time into one long and rusty maze.  Just thinking about the new muffler was exciting.  It sure would be a step up from the old one to which I referred to as the "exhaust-redirecting-hole-filled-tube."  Sure, it looked nice, and the rust matched the earthtones so prevalent here on the farm, but it was LOUD!

This is the engine's intake and exhaust ports after removal of the manifold.  Note my shiny new plugs and wires along with the new fuel line and in-line filter. 

I had to be very careful scraping off the old gasket.  If any pieces worked their way into the intake, it would be bad news for the pistons.

Speaking of gaskets...Check out how much was missing on the old set.  No wonder the tractor was having a hard time running.  It may have been sucking in air through a gasket leak.  Or, it may have been leaking exhaust.  At any rate, old ones=bad.  The new ones are quite a step up in the gasket department.

Below on my tool box are some additional parts that I had recently installed.  Lucky for me I got to practice putting them on again after having taken them off to work on the exhaust.  You can see the new carburetor and air intake pipe below along with a pile of tools.  I should really get those organized, but it does give the kids something to do while we work.  "Hey guys, I need a socket that is a little smaller than this one!"

I have found, while working on my tractor, that I need to acquire some new, larger tools.  I never seem to have a wrench large enough for the bolts and nuts on the tractor.  Just today I needed something around the 1" size.  Luckily, I found an old wrench that happened to come with an old table saw that a friend gave us (thanks Bruce!).  It came in handy in removing the oil drain plug this afternoon.  For, as you know, "hand tight" is only good in some applications...

Ah.  The new parts all nestled snuggly in their packages.  These Farmall Cub tractors are so popular that even though they are decades old, many parts are still newly manufactured for them.  That's nice.

Here is the manifold installed on the tractor.  I had to fit the nipple and the elbow onto the manifold and then sneak the whole thing up and under the hood WHILE AT THE SAME TIME sliding it all onto the four bolts that attach it to the engine.  Whew...That took some patience.   But, it was easier than taking off the hood, which is also the gas tank, which is filled with gas.

I had to pull out "Old Cranky" to align the fittings so that the underslung exhause pipe would point down and to the rear as it should.  I think Galileo was indeed onto something.  It's amazing how much torque you can get with a tool like "Old Cranky."  And to think, he was only $4.00 at the livestock auction. 

Check out how little clearance they provide one in accessing the bolts that hold on the manifold.  Luckily, I had the foresight to shoot lots of PB Blaster onto those bolts for a couple of weeks to free up the rust.  They came off and went back on like new (with lots of tiny, short wrench strokes...thanks to that clearance).

I do have a shop manual for the tractor.  It is a genuine International Harvester publication.  But, for some reason, they like to write confusing things like:  "adjustment and alignment will be evident upon removal and inspection of..." 


Well, I suppose that these manuals are written for people actually trained in tractor repair.  If the prose is obscure to me, at least the expanded diagrams--with all their arrows and numbers--are somewhat useful to my untrained understanding of what is going on inside these parts.  These annotations and arrows and letters and numbers are probably just like those on the back of the 8 x 10 color glossy photographs from Alice's Restaurant.

Someone out there put a more understandable and usable tractor manual on my Christmas present list...

Well, the tractor is working great now.  We plan to use it tomorrow to plow the manure in the garden and then later on in the day to pull out some trees that I cut down to make room for our new orchard and bee hives.  Yes, bees are indeed on the way to the farm.  Photos on that later!

But wait, oh no!  I'll have to first use the tractor to reclaim Liev's loader from its precarious perch atop a pile of cedar logs.  How did he get it up there?!


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I think your son's loader would look better in a red to match your tractor---at what address can I ship out a can of red paint to him (oil-based enamel of course)?

Posted by Redd on April 06, 2009 at 07:59 AM EDT #

Hey, your old Cub is looking great! Interesting post! Here at Steiner Tractor Parts, we love to see people out there not only fixing, but enjoying their old iron and getting the kids involved.! Very cool!

Posted by Elizabeth Gross on May 01, 2009 at 10:02 AM EDT #

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