On the farm we had a 39 DC with the 5505 hi comp head and M&W pop up pistons. It would not start even in its stock form on 6 V so I know exactly what you mean. We converted it to 12V and it was reliable at any temp. We would start it at -20 if needed with no problem. unless you are a purist who likes to sit and stare at his "correct" tractor that he cannot use I heartily recommend a 12 V conversion, a good rebuild on the starter to assure it's condition and if spark is an issue a good look at the mag/ dist. whichever the Case may be.
I've heard all the stuff about heavy cables and hi cranking amp 6 V batteries but I first drove that 39 when I was only big enough to hold the steering wheel standing on the floorboard while Dad and Mom threw bales on a wagon while I kept it straight down the rows, Dad did the hand clutch and told me to keep her straight. I'm goin on 68 now and still have it and I know pretty much what makes her tick.
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