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Ford Tractors Discussion Forum
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981 diesel

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Husker 50 8n

06-29-2020 13:37:22




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I recently brought home this 981 diesel. Hadn't run in several years, owner passed away. Good tin, decent paint, starter was not in working order, no battery. I have started the tractor but the motor knocks. Power steering works, tractor will move, haven't tried all gears (not letting the motor run very long. Trying to decide whether to part it out or not. The 172 diesel can be overhauled but not sure about putting that much money into it. Thoughts?

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Husker 50 8n

07-01-2020 21:04:10




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Husker 50 8n, 06-29-2020 13:37:22  
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It's a pretty loud knock and did squeal just before I shut it down. Transmission is the older type with the freewheeling gears. Finding a good used motor may be my best option. Thanks for all the comments and advice.



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KCM

07-01-2020 12:15:28




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Husker 50 8n, 06-29-2020 13:37:22  
Definitely check out the transmission gears first to see if they all work, especially the lower ones. If so, more inspection of the engine would be in order. Does it knock all the time or just on acceleration or deceleration of the engine? Is it a loud knock? Does it sound like one cylinder or all knocking? Could be anything from timing to a broken piston, or maybe the engine balancer.

I also hate to see a tractor that looks that good junked out, just would be a shame. If you decide to sell it in one piece, send me an email. I like diesels and don't have a #81 series, so would go to a good home.

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JK-NY

06-30-2020 06:16:45




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Husker 50 8n, 06-29-2020 13:37:22  
Does it start and run good except for the knock? Is it running on all 4 cyl ? I think I would check out the source of the knock before making any decision. As Dean mentioned, repowering with a gas engine would be another option if the diesel is too far gone, then parts out any good diesel engine components. That tractor looks too good to give up on that easy.



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Husker 50 8n

06-30-2020 05:05:47




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Husker 50 8n, 06-29-2020 13:37:22  
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I think it is a 1959 model so 61 years old, no that is not original paint. But I think it is the correct PS pump. Like most diesels SN has disappeared from battery acid leaking on the casting. Just trying to decide if I want to put money into the diesel motor.



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Larry NCKS

06-30-2020 04:21:23




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Husker 50 8n, 06-29-2020 13:37:22  
Wondering which version of the SOS the tractor has. There was an upgrade swap offered in the mid 60s. You can most easily tell which version it has by the raised number on the left side of the case about where your heel would be when sitting in the seat.

Original would bear the number 312259

Upgrade would bear the number C3NN-7006-B

The latter should be nearly bullet proof if cared for properly. The former possibly a bit more problematic.

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Greg NE

06-29-2020 19:50:01




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Husker 50 8n, 06-29-2020 13:37:22  
I'd hate to see one scrapped out also so I would do some more checking on the condition of the motor first. I have no experience with the early diesels so I'm no help there. That being said I would be interested in some parts if it turns out that's what you decide to do. I'm just west of you by Columbus so it wouldn't be hard to swing by and make a deal so please keep me in mind as I have a 971, 881, and 2 early 4000s with the SOS so I'm always looking for parts. Greg. NE

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Husker 50 8n

06-29-2020 19:13:53




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Husker 50 8n, 06-29-2020 13:37:22  
I did run the tractor and shift through both reverse gears and 3 through 8 then shut it down. Everything seemed normal but no chance to check the transmission when hot. I guess my idea is with motor problems, if the select-o-speed would also have problems the choice to part it out would be easier. What is anyone's opinion on the 172 diesel being rebuilt? How easy do they start with a fresh motor? I know a lot of the early diesels struggled to start in the cold. Anything tricky about the overhaul or is it similar to the 172 gas?

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Dean

06-30-2020 05:39:53




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Husker 50 8n, 06-29-2020 19:13:53  
The early Ford 4 cylinder diesels are not highly regarded because many were problematic.

This is one situation, where I would convert to gasoline before rebuilding.

No, I did not say that none were any good....

Dean



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ernied

06-29-2020 16:11:06




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Husker 50 8n, 06-29-2020 13:37:22  
Easy enough to drop the pan and check the bearings. If early sos, the overrunning clutch is no longer serviced. The pto has a removable rear section for 540 or 1000 splines.



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Larry NCKS

06-29-2020 15:23:49




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Husker 50 8n, 06-29-2020 13:37:22  
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Wondering how close to me you are. I run back and forth between Lincoln, NE and Washington, Kansas.



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Husker 50 8n

06-29-2020 18:14:22




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Larry NCKS, 06-29-2020 15:23:49  
Just north of Fremont



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Husker 50 8n

06-29-2020 15:14:42




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Husker 50 8n, 06-29-2020 13:37:22  
It has been repainted. They used a couple different PS pumps on the 801/901 series from what I have read. Tractor looks pretty good, older repaint. Probably 10-15 years ago is my guess. It had been setting in a nice enclosed building. I saw an ad for the 901 series WF, ad said WF for 8n/9n which I knew was not correct. I bought the WF and the son said his dad had a Ford tractor in the shed been setting for several years and wondered if I was interested. Generator was taken off, starter wires not connected, battery gone. I bought it as is. I started it a few times for short periods. Enough to know the tractor moves in forward and reverse gears but I've not been able to try all of them. Power steering is working and 3 point does lift (empty but it does raise, did not attach anything)

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Husker 50 8n

06-29-2020 15:04:16




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Husker 50 8n, 06-29-2020 13:37:22  
Yep



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Larry NCKS

06-29-2020 14:53:02




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Husker 50 8n, 06-29-2020 13:37:22  
That Husker makes me think you may be somewhere in Nebraska???



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WayneIA

06-29-2020 14:50:43




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Husker 50 8n, 06-29-2020 13:37:22  
Is there a legible serial number? On the transmission just behind and above the starter! That tractor "just don't look right to me"! It's obvious been repainted! And I don' think that style Power steering pump goes with a S.O.S transmission! But it sure is a nice looking tractor!!



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Fordfarmer

06-29-2020 16:13:20




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to WayneIA, 06-29-2020 14:50:43  
I've seen at least one other 901 with that style p/s pump. No idea if it was original.



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Dean

06-29-2020 17:08:12




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Fordfarmer, 06-29-2020 16:13:20  
It is.

My uncle bought a new one with the same pump in, IIRC, 1959.

Dean



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Grandpa love

06-29-2020 14:24:16




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 Re: 981 diesel in reply to Husker 50 8n, 06-29-2020 13:37:22  
I hate to see one get parted out....... But you could make a small fortune on that! I need those fenders......... Shipping to Alabama might be rough.



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