by Anthony West
George bought his Fordson Major from a an implement sale about 18 years ago for
£200.00 (UK). There is no known history regarding its origins or what service it
had done, but the following work was undertaken alone to bring it up
to show standard.
From the engine number, it was found that this Major was produced late 1946. It
was almost complete but had various parts that would definitely need
As can be seen from this first photo, the tin work was fairly sound, the tires
had begun to perish though, and the bake-a-lite steering wheel had at some
stage been snapped.
As with most tractors, there had been a few working improvements over the
years. Although relatively minor ones they included the addition of the later
1950 type vaporizer and an improved model of magneto. For reasons of working
authenticity it was decided that these modifications would be retained in the
Someone had at some stage begun to take pity on the old girl and treated the
red castings and the fuel tank to a coat of blue paint (albeit the wrong
shade of blue).
The steering bushes were okay and showed little signs of wear unlike the pulley
wheel bearings which were nothing short of a pile of grey dust.
This lead George to the assumption that the machine had spent a great amount
of time on a thresher box.
First off a general strip down was undertaken. The radiator was pulled apart,
flushed and new gaskets made and the whole thing was sealed after painting.
The fuel tank was flushed with diesel and 1/2 pound of aquarium gravel to
dislodge any rust. a small number of pin hole leaks had developed where the
asbestos packing belts had been and they were soldered up.
The control rods were removed and used for templates to make new ones. The
magneto was sent to the local auto electrician for overhaul, but was returned
after the armature was found u/s so a another Lucas type was purchased and
fitted with new points.
All the tin work was sent away for dry sand bead blasting and undercoated
ready for spraying, while new foot boards were made from fresh sheet metal as
the old ones were rotten. In trying to remove the rear wheels, two studs
sheared on one side which caused a great amount of concern. As George intended
plowing with the tractor he felt uneasy with this and a lot of trouble was
undertaken to replace them.
Finally the castings were paint stripped, undercoated in red oxide and spray
painted blue. Last but not least, the cylinder head was removed and the
pistons and head were de-coaked after finding that the cylinder bores and
valves were in good shape.
So once the steering wheel and new air cleaner top had been obtained the whole
thing was rebuilt and minor details sorted out, resulting in a very good and
authentic example as seen in the finished photo below.
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