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Re: stubborn 8N

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10-23-2012 20:34:11

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Having never contributed to the forum before, I wasn't sure how to reply back to my advisors. So I'll just post this way and see if it works; to Royse, old tanker, and BruceVA: Thanks for the excellent tips. I was more than a little embarrassed to be labeled a poor troubleshooter, after being an aerospace ground equipment mechanic in the AF for 9 years, but it is true. This little tractor has some weird habits, and I am no expert on it, for sure. I did tune it up because it needed it, so I don't think I bought unnecessary parts. Yes Royse, when I looked at the parts catalog, I made sure I got the same ballast resistor listed for my tractor, and the only reason I suspected it might be an issue was that the bakelite was crumbling so bad that it was hard to keep nuts tightened down on the screws. I had already checked the switch, but when I moved on to the coil (it's a 6 v) it had batt voltage. It had battery voltage at the condenser and points connection to the brass screw. Points open or closed, so checked the housing; same thing. I didn't think I would get battery voltage if it was grounded out, but here was my evidence. So checked out the insulator that Bruce had suggested might be worn out at the brass screw, and it is crumbling, so consequently shorting out. So what now? The breaker plate looks like a part that has to be remanufactured, but not in a home shop. The shop manual (I bought the I&T one when I bought my tractor, along with the N's operators manual published by Ford) has the breaker plate PN as 9N12151, and all I could find in ytmag was PN 9N12150 and says it's for all 8N's with a front mounted distributor. From what I could tell, they are the same; not sure why they are different by one. Another question within a question; there's an electronic ignition conversion that would fit in this distributor; does it need that insulated connection, or would it bypass it; I am not familiar with how they hook up? I think I'm going to hold off on ordering the breaker plate until I hear back from one of you guys. Thanks again for your tips. By the way, oltanker's tip to get Bruce's 50 Tips was a good one; first thing I did when I got your replies was to print them off and put them with my manuals.

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Bruce (VA)

10-24-2012 06:28:39

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 Re: stubborn 8N in reply to sootman2, 10-23-2012 20:34:11  
" So what now?"

Replace the insulator w/ a square nylon anchor nut. Check out the link below.

" It had battery voltage at the condenser and points connection to the brass screw. Points open or closed, "

Which means you have a dead short, as I said in my continuity check list.

If you do not want to try replacing the insulator, just replace the entire plate for $35 or so. But save the concave head brass screw because the replacement plates do not come w/ them.

"Another question within a question; there's an electronic ignition conversion"

Why? You can fix it w/ the nylon anchor for $1. And quality points correctly installed. EI will not work well at all on 6v (it won't fire below 5.2v) so you would need to convert it to 12v.

EI does not give you higher spark voltage, eliminate all maintenance on your ignition system or give enough of a horsepower boost to cause the tractor to do wheelies. It replaces the points. Thatís it. It will not correct or overcome other problems in the ignition system. While it may give you more HP or improve fuel economy, both would be so insignificant as to be hardly noticeable on a 23 hp engine. If you canít set points or donít care to do it, or you donít want to spend the 30 minutes or so a year to check the gap & lube the cam, then you will be happy w/ EI. And, the EI unit itself will be maintenance free. (but the rest of the ignition system wonít) You will spend probably $235 for an EI kit & 12v conversion. If you install them correctly you will have an easy starting tractor for a long time. And, the 12 volt conversion & EI will have just about nothing to do w/ the good performance. What will make the real difference is the new wiring, cables, clean grounds & new battery.

The key advantage to EI is that you do not need to gap & lube the points every year & replace them every 4 or 5 years or. If you perform annual maintenance on the points & change them every 4 years or so using quality parts, you will see no difference whatsoever between a points ignition system & EI on an N.

The key disadvantages to EI on an N are initial cost, nearly impossible for the average N owner to repair, will not work w/ low battery voltage, & easily damaged beyond repair by polarity reversal & other common mistakes.

Bottom lineÖÖÖ.this is the question you need to answer: ďIf tens of thousands of other Nís operate just fine on 6v and points, why canít mine?Ē

Your money, your tractor, your call........$1 or $240.

Please post back w/ results or other questions.

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10-24-2012 10:48:56

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 Re: stubborn 8N in reply to Bruce (VA), 10-24-2012 06:28:39  
I had read enough, and had my 8N long enough, to know that I didn"t necessarily need a 12 volt system. I used to have a Ferguson TO-30, converted to 12v before I got it, and didn't notice that it started any easier or ran better than either of the Ns that I've had. And to know that I can fix the breaker plate with just a nylon nut means I can probably get this thing going this week (and I'm cheap enough that I won't spend $35 or $42 or whatever over a buck or two). I've been dinking around with old cars for over 50 years; when I had my first paid for car, it still was put together and kept running with help from local junkyard, so old ignition systems aren't exactly foreign; changing out points and distributor parts will just keep me in practice. And to know I have good help on this site, that much better. Thanks for your help and prompt reply.

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