Restoration Story: Fordson County|
Madison's County, Part 2
by Anthony West
Part One of this story can be found here.
Following Phil’s little mishap at the week end, he had refrained from
undertaking any of the restoration work on the Fordson County alone. Not that Phil is
by any means faint hearted, it's just that the near miss had given him a
different outlook when it came to working with heavy machines alone!! This had
put the stoppers on the progress.
When Keith and I arrived at Phil’s yard, the County was still in the same
position as we had left it. Phil came out to meet us and was quite cheery. He
made us all a drink of tea and we spent a while discussing tractors and recent
sales, which ended in Keith and I fooling about playing auctioneers. Of
course Phil ended up buying everything!!
As we stood round the County we set out our action plan for the things that
needed doing. After the fall, the near side track assembly would have to be
removed, and following a closer inspection we were in agreement that it would
have to be rebuilt.
The bend was very noticeable, and the only option available was to fabricate a
new runner on which the idler wheels and the tensioner wheel were mounted.
Keith being the miracle worker he is, soon decided to take the bull by the
horns. Any reservations Phil might have had, were soon dispelled as we got
involved with the stripping down. Keith assisted by jacking up the front
whilst Phil and I made sure it was secure.
We managed to strip the front near side wheel off without trouble, and we
carried on to remove the support beam and idlers in one fell swoop. With this
done, we laid it out on the yard, removed the remaining idler wheels and
assessed the extent of the damage. Then the idlers and the final drive bearing
assembly was repacked with fresh grease.
In the mean time, Keith had taken the trailer to the local salvage yard
where he had managed to secure some suitable RSJ girder. This would be the
basis of the new runner refurbishment. He returned with a good length of steel
beam and some other pieces of flat metal which we would be able to cut and
weld to form. I set about dressing the edges with an angle grinder taking the
imperfections and dribbles off caused by the oxyacetylene torch, Keith cut and
welded the beam into shape.
Philip was nearby taking his time in removing the front grill which had
sustained an angular pressed dent as a result of the front, grazing the back
of the trailer as it had toppled. Once he got it off he attempted to beat out
the dent. Without success!!, and his efforts only made the grill look worse.
It was decided that we would drop it off at the local panel shop to see if
they could salvage it.
We started on the beam next, stripping off the old top runner support
bracket and wheel tensioner, retaining them for later reassembly. We then used
the old bent beam as a template. The new metal was measured accurately welded
together to match the old one and then drilled to take the pieces we had
stripped. The whole runner was then painted with undercoat and allowed to dry,
before a top coat of blue was applied. At the same time the wheels were
painted too, but in white.
Late evening saw the beam refitted to the County and it was gently lowered
onto its tracks. The tracks were refitted and attached using new bolts, and
the adjuster bar was greased and tension applied.
Despite the setback caused by the fall, the County was looking really good.
Non of the damage was apparent and the tracks seemed to work okay. The next
two weeks, saw a concerted effort by Phil, and each time I called, it seemed
that something else had been done to bring her on. I picked up the front grill
from the body shop and winced painfully at the bill. Phil couldn't complain
though, the panel beater had sand blasted filled and primered the grill which
now looked like new.
He was really pleased that it could be salvaged!! but the fall had proven an
The whole machine was later steam cleaned, with attention being paid, not
to remove the fresh paint from the newly constructed side beam. The grill,
bonnet and fuel tank were then spray painted with a fresh coat of Ford Blue to
keep up appearances!!
Phil ordered two new bonnet handles and a grill badge, which finished the
job off very nicely, and a new battery was bought to replace the ailing old
The final part to be fitted was a nice new black exhaust silencer, which
replaced the old rusty one. It looked and sounded like new and Phil had every
right to be proud of the work he had done. All that remains now is for Phil to
get a new seat and a set of headlamps. Adverts have been placed and he is
awaiting any response.
One thing is for sure, after a rocky, almost terminal start to their
relationship, Phil is now more than happy to take the County out across the
fields. He hopes that during the forthcoming year, someone will be daft enough
to let him loose on their land!!
It's nice to see the enthusiastic smile back on his face as he churns great
ruts in the yard!! and all that remains to be said on that note is....wait
till your father gets home!!
Here's wishing you all safe and happy mending's from the UK
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