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Antique Farm Tractors Vintage farm tractors on rubber tires with various implements. Ford, John Deere, Oliver, McCormick and more.

Antique Farm Tractors

Ford 8N - 12 volt semi-conversion?


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  #1  
Old 05-24-2012, 09:56:10 AM
tirediron tirediron is offline
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Default Ford 8N - 12 volt semi-conversion?

I've been asked by one of our Farmer's Institute's older members to "get one of his 8Ns (he has two) running". When we started the discussion about what sort of work might need doing last night, one had been running this spring; by the time we were done it was probably spring of 2010... you know how that goes!

Anyway, mechanically this tractor looks okay, it's free, no major leaks, etc. The carb needs de-varnishing and the usual, 'it's been the shed a while' chores, nothing major (so far), BUT... because the 6V system didn't spin the starter fast enough and because the generator "died" someone did a home-brew conversion to 12V (Read: They simply installed a 12V battery and maybe a coil).

The wiring on this thing is a MESS! The kill switch is in fact a regular 120 VAC household lightswitch! There are a whole bunch of wires (mostly 18 AWG lamp cord) which don't seem to have much purpose as well.

Anyway... questions: First and foremost (I'm not a Ford guy) are there any big/common issues likely to crop up with these units as a result of sitting?

Can anyone recommend a suitable coil (The one on the tractor has so much paint on it that I doubt I would ever find a # on it)?

Thanks!

---------- Post added at 06:56 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:53 AM ----------

I do have the I&T manual.
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Old 05-24-2012, 10:24:14 AM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Exclamation Re: Ford 8N - 12 volt semi-conversion???

First, did they replace the charging system, or are they running it total loss? Are they running it positive ground or negative? For the most part the tractor won't care either way, but if you put a charging system on it, it MUST be polarity corect! If the tractor is total loss, it will run for about 8 hours before needing to be re-charged, especially if the lights are used.

As for ignition, You need a selenoid with an ignition bypass post, like those used on older ford vehicles. This bypass puts direct battery voltage to the coil, wken starting, and when finished cranking, allows resisted voltage to continue, directly from the ignition switch. This makes for easier starting, when the engine is cold. A GM coil off a points type system can be installed. Wire the main power from the switch thru an ignition resister off a mid 1960s dodge with the slant 6 225, and run a direct wire from the starter bypass post on the selenoid to the coil as well. As I stated before, polarity doesn't matter to bulbs, just make sure they are rated for the voltage you are using. The sockets should be the same for both 6 and 12 volts. With 12 volts, thinner wiring can be used as well. single lamps like instrument and tail lamps (if used) 14AWG, head lamps and ignition 12 AWG should be plenty. If you have a charging system, 10 AWG minimum, thru the ampmeter. Fuse all wiring! a 20 Amp fuse should take care of the headlights, 10 amp for the ignition, 5 amp for instrument wiring lights. I would put a 25 amp fusable link in line with the generater, if equipped
Andrew
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Old 05-24-2012, 11:29:06 AM
Wayne Riedlinger Wayne Riedlinger is offline
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Default Re: Ford 8N - 12 volt semi-conversion???

Is this tractor have front mount or side mount distributor. Quite often if the starter is sluggish on 6 volt all they need is a good cleaning and the brushes replaced. I have taken out lots of starters and used a file to dress up the armature end where the brushes make contact. I just went around lightly several times making sure not to get any flat spots. I then use a strip of fine emery cloth or sand paper. Brushes are very reasonably priced. A new coil you can get from Napa, about 30 bucks. Any 6 volt or an internaly resisted 12 volt will work. Also dont overlook the battery cables and conections to the starter. No.1 cause of poor starter problems. Iive at stony plain and Selmac Sales here carries LOTS of parts for the old fords A&I is thier main supplier
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Old 05-24-2012, 11:58:12 AM
tirediron tirediron is offline
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Default Re: Ford 8N - 12 volt semi-conversion???

Thanks very much guys! As far as I can tell (need to cut away a few feet of blackberry vine to know for sure) it's being run as a total loss; the original charging system seems to still be in place.

It's a front-mount distributor system, and yeah, I agree, there's nothing wrong with the 6V system if you take care of things. My goal right now is just to get it running so that he can drive around the property. Running a total loss system and charging the battery in the evenings is no hardship, but if I get the time, I will see what I can do as far as getting things back the way they should be. I'm guessing the generator is probably just a clean & brush job.
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Old 05-24-2012, 11:37:33 PM
model k rumely model k rumely is offline
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Default Re: Ford 8N - 12 volt semi-conversion?

What part of Canada do you live in ? there are hundreds of people here on this forum that might even be able to come to your house snd help you through the problems and point you in the right direction
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Old 05-25-2012, 07:58:57 AM
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Default Re: Ford 8N - 12 volt semi-conversion?

Morning tirediron,
Keeping the time of year in mind....make sure all the wasp / bees, and snakes have been evicted... On the front mount distributor there should be a nut/bolt on the side of the distributor that secures it to the front of the engine need ( 1/2" or 9/16 ) wrench to remove if my memory is right, been a long time. Mark the plug wires before removing from distributor and just pull the whole unit off and lay it on the bench, and take it apart for cleaning / inspection or repair...Mr.ford made it fool proof, clean or replace the points and the carbon button on coil, ( it could be good yet ), just line the tongue and groove up on camshaft and distributor and remount, if you want to use a 12 volt batt just get a ballast resister at the local auto parts and mount between ign switch and coil, and like mentioned in prior post, check / clean all battery connections. For short term cranking the 12 volt batt will not cause any issues to the starter. Depending on how long it has set you may end up with some stuck valves, if so it is a fairly easy issue to deal with. I'm sure there are some here that have forgotten more than I'll ever know about the N series, hopefully they will chime in and give a hand saving some...

Jim
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Old 05-25-2012, 10:01:44 AM
tirediron tirediron is offline
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Default Re: Ford 8N - 12 volt semi-conversion?

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Originally Posted by model k rumely View Post
What part of Canada do you live in ? there are hundreds of people here on this forum that might even be able to come to your house snd help you through the problems and point you in the right direction
Victoria... I'm not worried about doing the work; this is pretty basic stuff, but I haven't had a lot of experience on these small Fords and was just wondering if there were certain common issues with these models that I should look for.
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Old 05-25-2012, 10:49:15 AM
Wayne Riedlinger Wayne Riedlinger is offline
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Default Re: Ford 8N - 12 volt semi-conversion?

Probably the the most common thing to do wrong on them is if the distributor is taken off it has a little drive key on the shaft that is offset just a little bit. If it is put back on wrong it will not start. If you give me a couple days I will scan and send you some pages from the operators manual. Also if you need any tune up parts I can get them here and send them via greyhound to you.
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Old 05-25-2012, 12:57:27 PM
tirediron tirediron is offline
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Default Re: Ford 8N - 12 volt semi-conversion?

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Originally Posted by Wayne Riedlinger View Post
Probably the the most common thing to do wrong on them is if the distributor is taken off it has a little drive key on the shaft that is offset just a little bit. If it is put back on wrong it will not start. If you give me a couple days I will scan and send you some pages from the operators manual. Also if you need any tune up parts I can get them here and send them via greyhound to you.
That's great, thanks! I can't get over there for a couple of weeks, but I will see what I need when I do the exploratory and go from there.
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Old 05-25-2012, 06:09:03 PM
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Default Re: Ford 8N - 12 volt semi-conversion?

If you get the distributor 180 degrees out on a N series you have pretty much beat it on with a hammer....

Jim
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