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Stalling 8N

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Author  [Modern View]

06-10-2021 10:17:15

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Bought a $1k 8N off a guy a few years back when it started right up in 5 degree weather and the 3 point went up and down. It has been a good little tractor to learn about tractors on, and to keep my acreage in shape. In the last year or so, it will start fine and run for about 10 minutes, then with struggle. It sounds/feels like it is not getting enough fuel as it struggles to keep running. I have to let it die, let it sit for a few seconds, then start it back up. It always gets running again. I looked at the '75 tips for all N owners', ensured I have fuel flow, cleaned the carb, and checked my spark. There is ample spark, but when I did the 1/4 gap, it didn't spark that far (seems like a big gap to me and most guys I have talked to, but I am just a young buck). Any other ideas? My next guess is the coil or distributor, but I don't want to start replacing willy-nilly without a game plan.

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06-11-2021 13:33:42

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 Re: Stalling 8N in reply to Ferd19508n, 06-10-2021 10:17:15  
While it "could" be a coil, those round can coils are almost bulletproof. Do you still have the old ballast resister in place from when it was a 6 volt? Those were to provide maximum voltage when cold, then start reducing when warm - which describes your issue. Many miss removing this on a 12v conversion. Jumper around this if you still have it in place.

Good luck,


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Mad Farmer

06-11-2021 11:52:58

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 Re: Stalling 8N in reply to Ferd19508n, 06-10-2021 10:17:15  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

Helps to have a good kit put together to work on electric:


big and small jumper wires

emery cloth for cleaning connections/terminals

contact cleaner

test light w/6 and 12V lamps

for point ign an old style dwell meter

test switch w/jumpers

Another kit:

soldering iron/solder/flux

crimp on terminals/crimper

rolls of copper insulated wire in several gauges

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06-11-2021 07:36:49

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 Re: Stalling 8N in reply to Ferd19508n, 06-10-2021 10:17:15  
Thank you everyone for the in depth replies. I do have a manual I bought last year that is the IT Manual I believe. It is a 1950 converted to a 12v (not done by me) with a side mount distributor if that helps at all. I have followed all of the steps you discussed about fuel when it first started happening, and that is not my problem. Fuel flow is good. Which makes me think electrical, one of my weak points when it comes to machinery. Some days are a good day to die, and some days are a good to learn tractor electrical. Today is a good day to learn tractor electrical.

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Tim PloughNman Daley

06-11-2021 06:23:45

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 Re: Stalling 8N in reply to Ferd19508n, 06-10-2021 10:17:15  
Like Bruce says, you can go out and buy all new parts you can, replace, and you may or may not stumble on a fix. Wrong procedure for any problem. Use true root cause problem solving for any issue. Avoid 'guessing'. Determine if a part is defective before rebuilding or replacing. Most major parts are deigned to be rebuilt over and over. Your first choice rather than buying any cheap, Cheena made junker part. So, do you have the ESSENTIAL MANUALS? Should have been the first tools you invested in. Next, what are you running, don't say 8N as that means nothing. What matters is if a Front Mount distributor or an angle (side) mount? 6V/POS GRN or 12V/MEG GRN? Stalling out can be a few things. Did you perform the fuel glow test? Test for spark the moment it dies out. Learn how your setup is working and the how's and why's for that setup. If you don't now, don't guess ...my nest guess is the coil or distributor.... Learn or ask for help like on this board. FACT: 99.98% of all non-starting issues are due to mucked up wiring. Whatever setup you use, if it isn't wired correctly, you will have issues guaranteed. Many issues can be attributed to fellas trying to convert to 12V with no clue on how to do it right, but it doesn't matter if 12V or 6V, many 6V setups can be at fault as well, if the wiring isn't right for that system, you will have issues. Start with the fuel flow test with a cold engine. It could be once you start moving the tractor it causes the fuel to fluctuate, causing blockage. Get fuel right first then move on toe electrical. Get the MANUALS, read and learn. Leave guessing for lottery numbers.

Probable NO-GO fuel issue causes are: plugged vent, plugged screens, plugged sediment bulb, dirty gas tank, dirty carb, and more. There are three OEM screens in the fuel system. Two are on the Sediment Bulb Assembly; the 3rd is on the brass elbow inside the carb where the fuel line connects to. SEE PICTURES. I wouldnt be shoving anything, wires especially, up into the sediment bulb assembly. You have a vertical fine mesh screen on the inlet port inside the tank that you can damage. Best solution is to remove the tank and thoroughly clean.


It's simple, easy, and takes less than half an hour. With tractor OFF and engine COLD, get a drip pan or empty coffee can and place under the carburetor. The Fuel Sediment Bulb Valve should be shut off when tractor is off. On the bottom of the carb is an NPT drain plug. Loosen and remove it. Position pan under it and open the fuel flow valve 2 turns. Observe the fuel flows at a steady uninterrupted stream about as thick as a pencil. You should have about a 1 pint of gas in 2 minutes. If so, turn valve off and replace the drain plug. Next, use a 7/16 flare nut wrench and loosen the steel fuel line at the carb inlet brass elbow. Gently take the line off to the side of carb and point down to the drip pan. Again open valve 2 turns and see if flow is free or obstructed. An obstruction can be caused by the filter on the brass elbow, remove and inspect and clean it, or the sediment bulb and/or screens are plugged, or the vent on gas tank i plugged, or all of the above. Take an hour out of your busy schedule to check this first. You can do much of the PM yourself on these N's.


The ESSENTIAL MANUALS are your friend. PM is so important to maintain any piece of machinery.


Tim *PloughNman* Daley(MI)

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Bruce (VA)

06-10-2021 11:16:48

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 Re: Stalling 8N in reply to Ferd19508n, 06-10-2021 10:17:15  
I don't want to start replacing willy-nilly without a game plan.

Noooo!!!! You're supposed to replace every part you can reach on the tractor before you start troubleshooting! ;)


If you can't get the spark to jump 1/4 in open air, you have a weak spark.

The number 1 cause of a weak spark is a weak battery.

Post back and tell us if the tractor is 6v or 12v & if it has a front or side distributor.

Did you check for spark and fuel as soon as it stopped running?

Do you have a multimeter ?

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Jim L WA

06-10-2021 10:46:35

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 Re: Stalling 8N in reply to Ferd19508n, 06-10-2021 10:17:15  
First of all, the 1/4 inch gap test is to see if you have a STRONG spark. It's easy to jump a .025 gap out in the open air but not under compression.

Good for you for not throwing parts at your tractor and wanting to trouble shoot. Your symptoms sound like a coil or possibly a condenser or sometimes an ignition switch going bad. Try bypassing the ignition switch first to rule that out. You don't say what year 8N you have, front mount or side mount distributor. but either way if it were me, I would try a new coil, but you could replace the condenser first, cheaper, but no guarantee that it would be any good. If it's a front mount distributor, it could be the ballast resister but they usually just go open and you get a no start.

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diesel fumes

06-10-2021 10:21:45

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 Re: Stalling 8N in reply to Ferd19508n, 06-10-2021 10:17:15  
what do you mean by 1/4 gap?

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Bruce (VA)

06-10-2021 11:12:17

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 Re: Stalling 8N in reply to diesel fumes, 06-10-2021 10:21:45  
See tip # 13.

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