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Discussion Forum

Re: Fordson Model F

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Maine Fordson

08-20-2010 15:12:38

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The Fordson Model F is a bare-bones tractor, very basic in design. Henry Ford and his son Edsel, who started the company, wanted as few moving parts as possible to keep production costs down and also to make maintenance and upkeep cheaper. So, there was no governor (but many Fordson owners installed aftermarket governors), no water pump (the engine relied on thermosyphon cooling), and no oil pump (splash lubrication did the job more or less adequately). Fenders were an additional $35 added to the purchase price, as was a belt pulley. In the early 1920's, Fordson tractors made up 75% of all tractors sold in the U.S. It was only in the mid-1920's that Fordson lost market share to up-and-comers like Deere and Farmall, who were also manufacturing custom implements to fit their tractors.
As far as the ignition system goes, if you are familiar with Model T automobiles, there are no surprises. Sixteen magnets attached to the flywheel pass by a pickup post, and the current generated thusly goes to one of four coil boxes (one for each cylinder), where it is stepped up and sent to each respective spark plug. Fordson/Model T ignition parts are very easy to come by, as there are several suppliers around the country who specialize in Model T's. (For starters, try Lang's Old Car Parts in Winchendon, Massachusetts; their web site is www.ModelTFord.Com. Good folks to deal with.) A replacement coil box cover is available if you can't locate the original.
Things to look out for? Fordson manifolds (the intake and exhaust manifolds are a single one-piece casting) are a weak point, and good-quality repros cost about $350. Make sure that the vaporizer/carburetor assemblies are intact, as they, too, are expensive. Check the steel wheels for rust-outs from sitting in one spot for too many decades. Look the fuel tank over very carefully. In 1923 the fuel tank was a large, single-chamber tank with a cast-iron auxiliary tank marked "Gasoline For Starting Only." If it's missing, it'll cost about $150 to replace. The main tank is prone to rust-through where the tank straps hold it to the dash and radiator tank.
Fordsons are great tractors and a lot of fun to work on -- and work with. You'll be amazed at the old-timers who will stop and chat at length about their memories of working with these machines when they were quite young.
There is a lot of knowledge in these forums if you have questions or run into trouble.
- - Maine Fordson

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08-20-2010 15:46:13

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 Re: Fordson Model F in reply to Maine Fordson, 08-20-2010 15:12:38  
If I could get my Photobucket account to work properly, I would have already posted some pictures, hopefully later on tonight.

From what I see and am told, the manifold is not cracked. Currently the motor is stuck, but nothing is open/missing. I don't think it is filled with water, but possibly stuck due to condensation.

What is normally bolted on the front of the engine, slightly to the right side? (when facing radiator) There are 2 bolts sticking out that give me the indicaiton that something was there previously. (just below the fan a bit) I also noticed that up at the front, at the top of head, there is a lever that looks like it would rotate, that seems to go back to the carb/butterfly housing area? What is that for?

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