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Antique Steel Wheel Tractors - Old Iron Lugs and Cleats

Fordson Failed to Start


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  #1  
Old 01-08-2014, 10:54:28 AM
Steve Welker Steve Welker is offline
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Default Fordson Failed to Start

Well after a full day of sub-zero temperatures and a nasty wind chill, I thought since it warmed up to a toasty 2 degrees Fahrenheit last night I would try and start my 1920 Fordson. I wanted to try without heating it up at all, and only 'aid' being the hot-shot battery. I am sorry to say I failed. The 40 weight oil was so thick that it would fire on one cylinder but not have enough power to make it all the way around to fire on the next cylinder. After about 10 minutes of of turning it over with 2 hands, I felt like a ran 2 miles and had to give up. It's going to warm up over the next few days. I may try again to to see what is the lowest temp it will start without any external heat, but now I know it is not 2 degrees!
-Steve
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:06:49 AM
David Babcock David Babcock is offline
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

My late father used to tell me that grandfather had to build a small fire under the fordson and the model t when it got very cold to get them started. Db.
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Old 01-08-2014, 12:42:02 PM
Ironsides Ironsides is offline
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

I remember building a fire on several occasions under our Fordson P6 during a very cold winter here in Western Australia.We had no money to buy new batteries so you only had a couple of attempts to start the old girl,if no luck we had to unhook the plow or seeder and tow her around until she started.That would have been in the late 50s East of a place called Katanning,Norm
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:28:35 PM
DustyBar DustyBar is offline
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

I had to start my Cat D7 in 0F degree weather back in 1980. I set a pan of oil with a rag wick under it for two days before I got it started. There's a lot of iron to heat up on somethng like that. Anyway I got it running and took it out to drag in some more firewood. I hit a log burried in the snow and broke the front track idler about two miles from the cabin. It sat there till the next summer when I could get out there to fix it.
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:41:48 PM
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Steve Kunz Steve Kunz is offline
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

I remember my dad saying that years ago when using a Fordson on the farm in cold weather he would drain the oil at night and take it in the house with him and put it by the stove to keep it warm. Then put it back in the next morning.

Steve
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:57:58 PM
JBS JBS is offline
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

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Originally Posted by Steve Welker View Post
Well after a full day of sub-zero temperatures and a nasty wind chill, I thought since it warmed up to a toasty 2 degrees Fahrenheit last night I would try and start my 1920 Fordson. I wanted to try without heating it up at all, and only 'aid' being the hot-shot battery. I am sorry to say I failed. The 40 weight oil was so thick that it would fire on one cylinder but not have enough power to make it all the way around to fire on the next cylinder. After about 10 minutes of of turning it over with 2 hands, I felt like a ran 2 miles and had to give up. It's going to warm up over the next few days. I may try again to to see what is the lowest temp it will start without any external heat, but now I know it is not 2 degrees! .
-Steve
I HAVE A FORD T CAR AND I KNOW HOW ALL THE PARTS WORK ON IT,BUT I CAN NOT FIND ANY INFORMATION ON HOW THE CLUTCH AND 3 SPEED TRANSMISSION WORKS ON A FORDSON FARM TRACTOR. WHERE MIGHT I FIND THIS INFORMATION THANKS JOE IN CHARLOTTE jbs19311@att.net
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:12:00 PM
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Russ Hamm Russ Hamm is offline
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

Dad's uncles' farm was a fence away from the neighbors' yard and he told me he could smell the fire under the ol Fordson and cussin in German some cold mornings.
Dad's uncle was a Minnie man, never had much good to say about anything under the sky.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:14:16 PM
460lift 460lift is offline
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

My family were all sawmill men and my dad told me that my grandfather would take slabs and make a shed and put it so the sawdust chain would cover it with sawdust and they would put it in there at night to help keep it warm.
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:50:30 PM
Butch Howe Butch Howe is offline
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

Steve,
I figure you did pretty good getting her to even fire! It's warming up in the next few days. I'm betting on 20 degrees.
I started one last year on coils at that temp cold. Of course I only use 30 weight.
You did cause me to open the shed door and look in there at some Fordsons though...."Hello Fordsons, see you in the spring".
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:45:10 PM
Steve Welker Steve Welker is offline
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

SUCCESS! I just took out the trash, and thought what the heck I'll give her another try. It is getting darn near summer like at 15 degrees F. I could turn it much faster, and after a few cranks to prime it, I turned on the ignition and she fired on 3 or 4 cylinders before stopping. After repeating this 4 or 5 times I was finally fast enough to advance the spark before she stopped. Ran it for about 2 minutes while I tried to catch my breath and coughed up a lung. I took a video with my phone, it is a little dark but you can hear it purr! If I can figure out how to post it I will.
So for now 15 degrees is the coldest I can start a Fordson without external heat. I sure am glad my boys are getting older, I'm getting to old to do this dumbness. I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow!
Butch, by the way, the one I started is the one I got from you.
-Steve
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:36:14 PM
Butch Howe Butch Howe is offline
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

Thats the best running Fordson tractor that I ever had, or even saw.
I started one last winter at 20F with no heat and drove it around a little just before Christmas. Slipped it into gear at super-low idle and ran it around with the clutch depressed waiting for it to release. Foot got tired and it never did so I ran it back into the shed and pulled the plug.
Only reason was as that one has antifreeze in it. But, everybody should hear a little music in the dead of winter.........
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:24:33 PM
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Steve Kunz Steve Kunz is offline
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

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Originally Posted by Butch Howe View Post
Slipped it into gear at super-low idle and ran it around with the clutch depressed waiting for it to release. Foot got tired and it never did so I ran it back into the shed and pulled the plug.
Why was it the clutch would not release on the Fordsons when they were cold?

That is another thing I remember my dad talking about. He said the Fordson he used on the farm did the same thing just crawl around with the clutch in. He said that he found if he would slip it into first then immediately shift into second it would release.

He also said that in later years he took the vaperizer off and put a down draft carb. on it. He said it was super easy to start after that. He said it could sit six months and lift up the crank once on choke, and the next time when you lift up it would start.

Steve
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:31:29 PM
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

On our English Fordsons the old gent that sold them to us had a block of wood that just fit between the pedal and the axle housing and would wedge it there after starting and let it idle with the pedal locked down for 10-15 minutes before trying to shift gears. Sometimes it worked but not always.
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Old 01-09-2014, 09:59:39 PM
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

The '20 I had had the manifold turned upside down with a model A carb on it and a mag conversion. 1/4 turn with the choke on and another 1/4 turn to start in all weather, well as cold as it gets here anyways!
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:02:26 PM
Ed Bezanson Ed Bezanson is offline
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

Since the question about Fordson Clutches has come up several times its time to try and answer the question although Steve and Butch may have more to say. Yes the Fordson had problems related to clutch disengagement and there are 2 basic reasons why. The tractor had a multi disc clutch which contains a number of driven plates separated by a equal number of drive discs mounted inside a clutch housing. Problem No 1 is the square lugs that drive the driven discs. From constant usage the disc teeth wear groves into the lugs which makes them stick when the pedal goes in and they hang up which keeps the drive discs from moving apart. Problem no 2 relates to the plates themselves. It seems that when new, one set of the plates [can't remember which ones] have a dish in them so that when the pedal is pushed down the plates push apart and give a smooth disengagement. Most older Fordsons which have been used heavily end up with both problems. This leads to it becoming impossible to get them in gear without a lot of noise out of the transmission. Luckily Henry made the transmissions nearly bullet proof so a lot of noise and frustration and no forward movement.
Both problems can be solved with a little work. The square drive lugs can be reversed or ground down smooth and eliminate the hangup problems. The clutch disks [one set] can be hand hammered back into a curved shape which solves the other problem. To preform these fixes the tractor must be split to get at the problem parts which any died in the wool Fordson nut [Steve and Butch] can do in 30 minutes blindfolded and one hand tied behind his back. I welcome anyone to jump in here and fill in the blanks. Ed B
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Old 01-09-2014, 10:17:07 PM
BHoward BHoward is offline
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

We're they a dry clutch ? Bill H.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:26:09 PM
Steve Welker Steve Welker is offline
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

They are a wet clutch, and Ed is spot on with his description of the problems. Add to that the thick engine oil it runs in acts like glue in cold weather sticking those plates even tighter. Also on one newer than 1923, an improperly set trans brake will not let the clutch disengage. When properly fixed with nice smooth drive lugs and properly bowed plates, a Fordson clutch can work very easy. This 1920 can be shifted and stopped by my 8 year old son.
Also wanted to point out since guys were talking about other carbs. This 1920 is pure stock, all original 234 vaporizer, and buzz coils. Just had a 'hot shot' battery to help start which was available in 1920 as a aftermarket option. Just wanted to prove, as stock and without external heat, they can be started in sub freezing temps!
On final note, Thanks for the complement Ed on the tractor splitting, but it may be a slight exaggeration. I know I could split one and have the clutch on the floor in under 30 mins., but going over a clutch cleaning and bowing all those plates is many hours! And aligning the drive dogs in the clutch plates to mate the engine to the rear can be a 'fun' job!
-Steve
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Old 01-10-2014, 12:24:04 AM
GreasyJohn GreasyJohn is offline
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

Gosh they don't know cold like we get here in the south west eh ?must have been at least 18-20 deg this morning positively chilly
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Old 01-10-2014, 12:41:15 AM
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

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Originally Posted by MH55k View Post
Gosh they don't know cold like we get here in the south west eh ?must have been at least 18-20 deg this morning positively chilly
You talking Celsius Fahrenheit ? 2 days ago we had -14 Fahrenheit.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:45:09 AM
GreasyJohn GreasyJohn is offline
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Default Re: Fordson Failed to Start

Metric sorry hang on I forget sometimes anyways tomorow it's looking to be 44 in Perth bunbury where Ironsides and myself reside will be hot (it's a small world ) I get trouble with things not starting because of the heat vapor locks and the like anyways at least it's not beutifull Newman 47 the other day got down to a tooth rattling 36 at night brrrrrrrr

---------- Post added at 09:45 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:40 PM ----------

And fordsons in the cold took out the neighbours gate post with my old N back in England pined the clutch down to start it fired up no problems let the clutch out off we went through the gate went to stop to close the gate and she wouldant I panicked (only 8 or 9 at the time ) thought the neighbours gate post would stop me nope fortunately my grandad managed to stop giggling to him self for long enough to run up at kill the mag before I went through the neighbours garage !
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