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Ford Tractors Discussion Forum
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SOS Questions

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Robert (ID)

01-20-2020 17:28:00




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As im working on a 5000 with SOS, my mind wanders. I have a 67 4000 diesel SOS that is awesome to bale and cultivate with and hearing many people who love the 5000 SOS, I keep wondering " why after the 5000 did ford drop the SOS"?

So Im wondering if anyone can shed some light on this... I know the early SOS cost ford dearly, but didnt they have it figured out on the 5000?? I have heard from many the 5000 SOS is the cream of the crop..

Deere released an 8 SP powershift in 64 and has one ever since.. Why didnt ford follow thru?

Now Im not wanting to start any wars here.. so please play nice..

PS ive run both deere 8 speed and ford 10 sp.... I prefer the Ford trans

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FOMOCO Farmer

01-22-2020 04:09:10




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Robert (ID), 01-20-2020 17:28:00  
My dad was a dealer when the SOS came out. He aggressively sold these tractors because he liked the concept of the SOS. The very first one (gold demonstrator) he sold broke down the day he delivered it. I remember him telling me "damn thing beat me back to the shop"! Ford didn't even have a service manual to help him tear it down! He and his mechanic tore it down and could see what had failed. They called Ford to get the parts and were told that they didn't have any replacement parts available yet! He told them they better get some because they were gonna need them. He and his mechanic went to a training meeting to learn how to tear these apart. The trainer couldn't even do that and my dad had to show him how! They took the good parts from the transmission back home to fix their transmission. He himself said they weren't made heavy enough, needed an oil cooler, and better filtration! In our part of the country, they simply would not hold up. He got out of the Ford dealership right when the red 6000 came out. It came in on a rail car and he was about as mad as I'd ever seen him. A dealer near by asked him if he would transfer that tractor to him and my dad said YES! I have pictures of that tractor when it came in. I have many stories and experiences of the first SOS's none of which are good.

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Bern

01-22-2020 15:33:31




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to FOMOCO Farmer, 01-22-2020 04:09:10  
Would love to see pics of the first 6000 when it arrived.



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FOMOCO Farmer

01-23-2020 03:48:06




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Bern, 01-22-2020 15:33:31  
They were slides. I don't know how to get them to a pic and sure don't know how to post a pic!!! I'll work on it.



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Bern

01-23-2020 06:07:06




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to FOMOCO Farmer, 01-23-2020 03:48:06  
I have the ability to scan slides. Let me know if interested and I can help. I would LOVE to see pics of the original SOS days.



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FOMOCO Farmer

01-24-2020 03:31:01




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Bern, 01-23-2020 06:07:06  
I plan on scanning the slides for my own benefit anyway. Ill be in touch. I have lots of pics of Ford tractors when my dad first opened his business.



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strum456

01-21-2020 19:53:54




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Robert (ID), 01-20-2020 17:28:00  
I bought my first Select O Speed this year. I really wanted one as an addition to a bunch of other tractors that we have.

After my recent education on these things, I would not give more than the engine, tires, etc. are worth for another one. If parts were available and reasonable, it would be a different story.



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Dean

01-22-2020 06:32:52




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to strum456, 01-21-2020 19:53:54  
New parts are not available for the 4 and 5 speed transmissions either.

Such is to be expected after 60 years.

Dean



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dopp creek

01-21-2020 16:36:10




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Robert (ID), 01-20-2020 17:28:00  
I can't speak to the history of the development of the SOS, though I do remember being told as a young man to avoid the SOS transmission. sounds like the early ones earned that reputation. I wonder how much seat time the critics have on one? Is it life experience that taught them to not like/trust them or scuttlebutt at the parts counter of a rival dealership? I have owned one 4000 (new style, 3 cyl) and two 5000's, all with SOS transmissions. I have many hours of haying with them, and the one 5000 has spent plenty of time pulling a 3 bottom plow and 10 ft disc. I cannot think of a better haying tractor than a 5000 SOS. Full disclosure, the transmission did have to be rebuilt in the 5000 when a bearing failed. I was able to find a heavier-duty bearing as a replacement so I expect to never be in it again. I can also say the manual transmission in my 8000 has shelled out a bearing, a MF 65 I owned shelled out a clutch, a JD 5203 shelled out a PTO clutch; the list goes on as any tractor can fail or wear out based on operation and maintenance. My Fords do not spend any more time in the shop than any of my neighbors JD or Massey tractors.
Regarding the inching pedal, so often called the "jumping pedal", my observation is the new operator tries to push the pedal down with their whole leg/foot, as you would a clutch. I learned to rest my heel on the floorboard and rock the front of my foot to operate the pedal. I can make slow/steady/small movements when hitching up three point implements. The guy who came to test drive my 4000 had it hopping all over the yard and didn't believe it was his movements until I climbed on and demonstrated smooth operation. Get some seat time in an SOS and I'll listen to your complaints. The more time you get, the more I think you will learn to love it.

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Bern

01-21-2020 18:03:05




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to dopp creek, 01-21-2020 16:36:10  
That's a fine defense of the trans, and you're right, the inching pedal works much better if you pivot your heel on the floorboard when operating it.



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Ultradog MN

01-22-2020 03:36:45




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Bern, 01-21-2020 18:03:05  
It's a fine defense if you assume others can't figure out how to use the inching pedal :) A platform lends itself to that technique rather handily.



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dopp creek

01-22-2020 14:57:19




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Ultradog MN, 01-22-2020 03:36:45  
I was pulling wheelies the first time I drove my 5000 SOS. I watched the 4000 driver (and others on my 5000) use their whole leg because they are thinking clutch, and get the herky-jerky motion. My JD backhoe has a really high clutch engagement, almost to the top of travel. I don't expect all JD backhoes are like that so I don't talk ill of them. It's all about seat time and learning the quirks of your machine.

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Ultradog MN

01-22-2020 18:29:56




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to dopp creek, 01-22-2020 14:57:19  
I understand you like the SOSs.
I get that and it's fine with me.
I get that you might get annoyed when people bash them too. So in the future I'll try to speak better of them or not at all.
What I don't get are those here who say it's operator error.
I learned to drive on my grand dad's Allis B. Was about 9 or 10 and could just reach the clutch if I sat on the edge of the seat.
Of course I killed it a bunch of times, rode the clutch, put it in the wrong gear or no gear at all. But it didn't take a lot of practice to get the hang of it. Since then I've driven a few dozers, end loaders and the like. They had power shifts.
Skid steers too. Never was close to being a a skilled operator but I had no problem making them shift and do their thing without much fuss. I liked driving them. I drove big trucks for a while too. Thats getting to be a long time ago now. A couple of twin stick 5X4s, 9 speeds, 13s, a 5 with a 3 speed rear end. Even a couple of Allison Automatics which were a lot more tricky than a crash box.
I got the hang of them all pretty quick. Not because I'm a whizz kid but because I'm an average guy.
Having said all that, let me ask two questions:
What is it about an SOS that requires so much experience to drive them "properly"?
And second, why would an average guy want one of them if it takes so long to learn to drive one and all the while he's learning it's mostly an unpleasant experience?
I too must fess up: I only used that SOS tractor about 50 hours in all. Not much for sure. But 50 hours is a lot more time than it took to learn the Allis when I was 9 or the other power shifts or crash boxes I've operated since.
I'll fess up to this too. It took a lot less than 50 hours to decide that I didn't really like the thing and probably never would.

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dopp creek

01-22-2020 22:29:27




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Ultradog MN, 01-22-2020 18:29:56  
Ultradog,
You feel about the SOS like I feel about beer. If your first taste is so bad, why would keep drinking it til it gets better? The SOS has been a dream for me to use in haying; being able to speed up and slow down on the go makes more bales for me. I'll admit I developed a "flinch" anticipating the hard shift from 4-5, the hardest jolt is under heavy load like plowing. Some day I may match Bern's brain with a stack of 100 dollar bills and create an accumulator set-up and see if we can overcome the demand for fluid from three clutches at the same time. Too bad Ford didn't stay with it and figure it out on their own.
Thanks for sharing all of your Ford experience with us on the board. I'm amazed at the detail you can pick out when folks post photos of these X000 series tractors. Maybe someday when I'm in MN I'll buy you a beer and me a Pepsi.
DC

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Bern

01-22-2020 19:49:52




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Ultradog MN, 01-22-2020 18:29:56  
Jerry,

It's entirely possible that the SOS that you worked with had a genuine issue with the inching pedal. I agree with dopp creek in that most of the ones I have driven are "manageable" by careful manipulation of the foot on the inching pedal. Even my 6000 is decent when I'm deliberate about moving the pedal. If I leave my heel firmly planted on the platform and pivot my foot up, it works pretty well. While that pedal does in fact modulate, unfortunately all of the modulation is done with only a short portion of the travel.

Why would a guy want one if it takes so long to use? For me it's simple. If I'm putting in a long day doing something that requires frequent speed changes, I'd much rather "powershift" my way throughout the day rather than crash my way through it. While Ford's 8-speed transmission is pretty tough, at the end of the day it's still an unsyncronized crashbox that makes me grind my teeth every time I'm grinding the gears.

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Shaun Wallace

01-21-2020 09:33:22




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Robert (ID), 01-20-2020 17:28:00  
The bean counters at Ford wanted to get on market.Harold Brock was head enginner on project. Said needed more R and D. They fired him, Deere picked him up and now you know rest of story



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Ultradog MN

01-21-2020 11:05:06




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Shaun Wallace, 01-21-2020 09:33:22  
Shuan,
That story is correct but only covers the first generation of them.
So they did the recall and fixed or replaced the early ones.
My question is, why did they stop improving them?
They could have improved them in the ways Bern and I mentioned below.
Why didnt they?



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Ultradog MN

01-21-2020 02:22:00




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Robert (ID), 01-20-2020 17:28:00  
In a nutshell, Because not enough people liked/bought them to make production profitable.



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Bern

01-21-2020 05:46:08




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Ultradog MN, 01-21-2020 02:22:00  
I agree with your statement on its face. My regret is that nobody deep inside the bowels of Ford had the foresight to improve upon the design of the existing SOS to make it better and more acceptable to the masses. They had to have seen what the powershift did for the 4020 JD, and yet they just didn't seem to care.

For example, one of the things most SOS owners grumble about is the quality of the operation of the inching pedal. Some engineering time should have been able to resolve the problem. Same thing with the 4-5 shift. I believe that an accumulator would have solved that problem quite nicely.

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Ultradog MN

01-21-2020 08:40:09




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Bern, 01-21-2020 05:46:08  
Yes, those two issues; 4-5/5-4 hard shifts and the inching pedal are primarily what ruined that transmission for me. Those hard shifts ruined the TLC and input splines too. But they had other agravating things. They should have put less troublesome shifters on them than those cable jobs. They had 13 years to do it but didnt. I drove a 971 around a bit with the cover off and shifted it with a big screwdriver. A simple shifter on the top cover would have meant you could pull the cowel or do a split without messing with the cable. Same with the pto cable.
No pto brake.
They were darned hot between your legs too.
Even with an oil cooler my 4000 got much hotter than a crash box ever has.

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Dean

01-21-2020 10:13:32




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Ultradog MN, 01-21-2020 08:40:09  
Actually, the lack of springs in the torque limiting clutch was most damaging to the input shaft splines.

I expect that similar problems would have manifested themselves in gear type transmissions had there not been springs in the clutch disc.

All of the problems were solvable but Ford chose not to invest the needed money to do so.

Ford was, after, all a car company, and agricultural equipment was a sideline similar to Philco or GM/Frigidaire/EMD/Euclid, etc.

Dean

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Zeke Boniface

01-21-2020 16:04:33




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Dean, 01-21-2020 10:13:32  
The TLC started with fine splines and no springs, went to fine splines with springs for four years at the beginning of the thousand series, then until the end of the series with a coarse spline and no springs. As far as I know, there were spline troubles with all of them.

Disclaimer: I own three Ford SOS tractors and a JD 3020 Powershift. I have never split any of them, but the JD parts book shows springs on the transmission disconnect clutch plate.

I have a snowblower on my Ford 5000 SOS. It works alright, but it is jerky going between forward and reverse at constant PTO speed. I would prefer my Ford 7600 with dual power, or, second choice, the JD 3020 Powershift.

Zeke B.

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Bern

01-20-2020 18:17:05




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Robert (ID), 01-20-2020 17:28:00  
I agree with Dean in that the higher HP models (6-cylinder tractors for example) would have needed a complete redesign. That said, I don't know why they couldn't have kept producing them for the smaller tractors. By the time they stopped making them, they were pretty reliable.

If you take a look at the history of Ford tractor way way back when Henry was still alive, a lot of time and money was invested into research and development to produce a good product at a price acceptable to the masses. This was Henry's personal philosophy, as he was at one time a young farm lad who despised the manual labor. He spent a lot of his own personal time making the 9N happen, which was hugely successful.

I personally feel that after Henry died, and then after Henry II left/died, that the tractor division became the red-headed stepchild of the Ford Motor Company, and was slowly left to wither away on its own, until the 1990s when FoMoCo finally rid themselves of the entire division. That's my pessimistic view of things, however I could be completely off base on my theory.

It would be nice to know the official reason for killing off the SOS transmission, but I doubt anyone really knows for sure.

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JK-NY

01-21-2020 09:46:07




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Bern, 01-20-2020 18:17:05  
I have often felt the same way as far as Ford at the corporate level not having a lot of interest in the Ag division towards the end. I also have often thought that Ford fell behind the other manufacturers in the 1960ís when higher horsepower tractors started to really catch on. Ford did always try to catch up as with 8000-9000 tractors were introduced, and subsequent upgrades right through the Genesis line, buying New Holland and upgrading the backhoe line to remain competitive in that market. I guess weíll never know for sure why some of the decisions were made but it makes for good conversation anyway.

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JK-NY

01-20-2020 18:15:27




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Robert (ID), 01-20-2020 17:28:00  
As Dean stated the SOS was about at itís design limits with the 5000 and would have needed a new heavy duty model to be developed to be compatible with the higher HP tractors that Ford was building, so the Sos went away and was replaced with Dual power hi-lo powershift. Another factor was that due to the issues with the first generation SOS and especially the issues with the first 6000 SOS, a lot of people didnít want the SOS transmission .

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Dean

01-20-2020 17:37:29




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 Re: SOS Questions in reply to Robert (ID), 01-20-2020 17:28:00  
Ford pioneered the power shifting transmission for farm tractors but by the mid 1970s, just about everyone had one and many could be produced more economically than could the SOS.

Additionally, the transmission would need a complete redesign to make it compatible with the higher HP tractors being produced at the time.

It was simple economics.

Dean



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