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|My 1951 Ferguson TO-30.|
Recently I traded a couple of lots in town for a one acre lot on a commercial corner out on the edge of town. It was a great deal for me, but it was overgrown with mesquite, every desert weed this area has to offer, and years of wind blown debris. The lot has never been used and belonged to a rancher friend of mine who had inherited it from his Dad. Years ago I gave 500 dollars for a 1950 Massey Harris 44GR with the intention of restoring it. However, I could never learn to like the tricycle front end, and the engine is completely worn out (although I still plan on doing the restoration). I decided that wanted a 8 or 9 N Ford, or maybe a TO-30 Ferguson. As luck would have it, I found a TO-30 on both Ebay and Craigslist. Surprisingly, they turned out to be the same tractor. I drove the 100 miles to go look at it, and found it to not be not at all as described. It had so little compression that it would barely start and run. Two cylinders had absolutely no compression at all. I finally got enough RPM up to get it to move in 1st gear, but that was about it. I knocked 500 off the asking price of 2250, and made the offer. He refused. I had forgotten about it when about 2 weeks later my cell rang with a call accepting my offer. The next weekend I took a cashiers check over and picked it up. It wouldn't make enough power to climb up the ramps on the trailer, so we loaded it with his forklift. As soon as I got it home, I yanked the head off to find completely toasted exhaust valves in cylinders #2 and #3. Everything else looked to be OK. I ordered 2 exhaust valves, a head gasket, two 5.50 x 16 front tires, a new steering wheel, plugs, points, plug wires, and a distributor cap. I also ordered 4 new brake shoes. My total bill for parts has been around 350 dollars. I also picked up a carb kit at tractor supply. It took a week of working a couple of hours each night during the week and the next weekend to get everything done. I cranked it up, and it purrs like a contented baby kitten. I've worked it hard for about 20 hours now, and it's not using any oil. The PTO seal has a drip, so I got a new seal for it. Will do that soon. I picked up a rear blade from a local guy for 200 dollars. It's a nice factory blade with a good hardened edge, and is about 6' wide. The little Ferguson will pull a blade completely full of sand curling over the top and pushing the sand pile along all the way up to the back of the back tires. That's a pile 6' wide, 20 inches tall, and about 36 inches from front to back. That's a lot of dirt, and it does it in 2nd gear at about 800 rpm. I have the lot completely leveled, clean of all trash, mesquites, and weeds, and tomorrow I will put a 'Will Build to Suit Tenant' sign up. Don't hesitate to pick one of these little tractors up. They're cheap, and they can do some serious work. It's a great pleasure to save them from the junk yard, they're fun to work on and drive, and they increase in value nicely. You can keep these things running perfectly with a pair of pliers, a screwdriver, a cheapo socket set, and a crescent. Unlike my friend that just had to take his 22,000 dollar small Kubota over 3 hours one way to a dealer to put it on a computer to slow the idle speed down. No thanks. The T0-30 and I love each other, and we're going to stick together. Happy tractoring!!!
Marvin Burrows, NM, entered 2013-11-07
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