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Contributed Article

Field Modifications
(or... Sins of the Farmer)

Picture a new Chevrolet driving down the street without it's grill, right fender and trunk lid. Imagine a crude hole made in the hood to accommodate a new taller air cleaner, the fender wells cut away to make way for larger tires, and half of a sliding glass door used to replace the windshield. Top that off with an old set of '36 Ford headlight shells bolted to the hood.

Pretty unlikely for a car... but for a tractor, this is pretty normal. It seems that more often than not they are disassembled without being fully reassembled - parts are replaced with whatever is handy, and not a care is given for maintaining the original beauty and design of the machine. The issue at hand was getting the real work done. This article is a light-hearted look at some of the "field modifications" made to tractors by their owners. Also endearingly referred to as "Sins of the Farmer".

Just so no one gets the wrong impression - all of the pictures shown below are tractors from the personal collection of the author and owners of Yesterday's Tractors. Now that we have told you that... don't expect us to tell you which of these "Field Modifications" we made ourselves!

The Custom Seat
Mercury Cougar Bucket Seat on Tractor
This one looks like long about the early 80s, someone got very tired of sitting on the board that was left after the original seat rotted away. Simple solution was to go to the junk yard and get an early 70s vintage bucket seat from a Mercury Cougar. The only bad part of this is that the original seat back and brackets were removed from the tractor.
Another Custom Seat
Wooden Seat on Toy Tractor
This modification on the pedal tractor belonging to a 4-year old proves that "field modifications" can begin at a very early age. This crude wooden board seat is much more comfortable than sitting on the old metal seat support. The original seat disappeared years ago along with the remaining sheet metal for the toy.
The Modified Grill
Modified Grill
This hard-to-find Earthmaster Tractor grill had the lower right portion cut away to make room for an unknown "after-market" front end addition.
The New Grill Screen
Enlarged AC Grill Screen
This modification almost got it right. It uses expanded metal just like the original. Unfortunately the holes in the screen are about 5 times too large.
The 3-Point Hitch
Home-made 3-Point Hitch
Many folks will rig up a 3 point hitch for their old tractor and I am all for that. Unfortunately some of those quick jobs seem to lack the most basic features required to use one. Rigid rear lift arms make it impossible to use most 3-point implements plus the low mounting of the top link will not allow implements that do fit to run at the correct angle.
The Hydraulic Pump
Home-made Hydraulic Pump
This nifty hand-made, manually operated hydraulic pump was used with the 3-point hitch on the left. We are still arguing over whether to remove it after final restoration. One of us wants to keep the entire setup complete for nostalgic reasons, the other one wants to remove it and incorporate it into a new shop press!
Replacement Engine
Nissan Engine in Tractor
This appears to be a failed attempt to replace the original engine and transmission with those from a junked Nissan car. Serious modifications were made to get as far as they did. Why they stopped mid-project, I guess we'll never know.
Replacement Tires & Wheels
Car Tires & Wheels on Tractor
This tractor has been outfitted with a pair of perfect condition car rims and road tires. The attempt was even made to paint them to match the tractor. The positive side is that they were probably inexpensive and should work fine on a turf tractor.

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Today's Featured Article - Earthmaster Project Progress Just a little update on my Earthmaster......it's back from the dead! I pulled the head, and soaked the stuck valves with mystery oil overnight, re-installed the head, and bingo, the compression returned. But alas, my carb foiled me again, it would fire a second then flood out. After numerous dead ends for a replacement carb, I went to work fixing mine.I soldered new floats on the float arm, they came from an old motorcycle carb, replaced the packing on the throttle shaft with o-rings, cut new ga ... [Read Article]

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