The Craftmans Shop > PowerSports

1954 Ford 850 Tractor w/blown Head Gasket (at the very least)

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Matt, Oz, Andrew, David D, DavidA, Russel, Phil, Joe, thank you all for the help along the way and well wishes!!!!  :beer: :beer:

And also the full explanation of setting valves while running. I was wondering how that worked, and wasn't looking forward to trying to figure it out on my own. Though that wouldn't have stopped me.

But especially the mention of using the tappet sound (how could you use feel?) made more sense to me. I don't fancy messing up my feeler gauge, so maybe I'll hunt up a substitute piece of sheet metal for the required thickness. And I'd already thought about making up a tool to do the one handed adjustment and locknut shuffle. I'll post a pic if I do.

Meanwhile there were a bunch of small problems to work on -- the usual bits and pieces on a vehicle which is old and has sat and has been just recently been reassembled.

I have an oil leak at the left forward valve cover corner. Gasket needs to be reset.

The new oil gauge tube popped free of the fitting in the block when I first started the engine. I noticed a honey colored stream of something jetting 8 feet out the far side of the engine just as I shut down. I put a pipe plug in. So I never got an oil pressure reading. Although there was some practical evidence that I had oil pressure!

I have a coolant leak at the new temperature gauge sender (and I even wrapped it with teflon tape). Needs tightening.

The throttle linkage and choke linkage needs sorting out. I suspect some missing parts -- probably a bracket or 2.

Solenoid is partially melted (cheap modern junk -- came with the tractor -- plastic case, not bakelite, I have another proper replacement). Also I don't think it is hooked up right probably. Might be an incorrect part. Must check for an "S" terminal which feeds coil while cranking. The engine had a tendency to start the moment the starter button was released, which is a symptom of no S feed to the coil.

Coil itself is getting too hot -- probably about to fail. Another ordered.

Wiring is bad, will re-do. Ground strap on batt needs replacing -- the clamp looks like it went through a mower, plus all the adjustment is taken up, still loose.

In today's news -- I moved the tractor forward, gingerly since there is no front bucket or lift arms attached right now -- all the weight of the backhoe is well, on the back.  I could see the front wheels looking light as I moved forward, steering ineffective. We don't like popping wheelies on just makes for a bad day all around. But she did move under her own steam, hey and reverse works too!  :ddb:

Clutch free play and pedal height need adjusting -- a fair amount on the low side, which exacerbates the above wheelie possibilities. :dremel:

Man this baby guzzles gas by comparison with my JD Model M. That little tank gets sucked dry in minutes just idling. But well, it's 3 times the HP, and double the cylinders.

So then it was time to head down to Tractor Supply and grab a couple pals of hydraulic fluid. On sale for $24/5gal I heard from the boys down at the country store. Got a big funnel, too, and a carb bowl screen and gasket. Poured in what I thought was enough, but not too much in the backhoe tank (couldn't find a filler gauge).

This is a PTO mounted pump driven rig, so I dropped the PTO lever and let off the clutch. Fooled around with the valve spools, and finally figured out which was the legs, the dipper, bucket etc. Then I dug a sort of week bucket full of dirt, somewhat haltingly, and dumped it out again, more or less in the same spot, since I actually don't wan to be digging holes here. It worked too !!!!!  :ddb: :ddb: :ddb: :ddb: :ddb:

However, many of the hoses are in uhhh, "tired" condition, so it looks like I'll be replacing the worst of them. Lots of oddball stuff going on with partial pipe and pipe fittings, but all hoses and fittings looking to be 1/2" NPT pipe thread, so should be fairly simple to get replacements, and clean things up some. There are all 100R2AT type hoses. Not sure if I should switch to the more flexible R16 hose -- about the same price.

There are two leaks at present -- one under an auxiliary spool where it attaches to the tank. The other is the hose at the top of the dipper, a 4 footer with one swivel end fitting.

Also there's no filter on the hydraulic system at all, so I'm looking into adding one on the return, if that's possible. I think I've found something online here:

But I will have to check on  it's suitability further.

Thunderstorm threatened, so I buttoned things up again. Fun playing machinery operator for 20 minutes!!

This has been a fun thread, I'm really glad it's working out! I can't help wondering if there wasn't a diesel engine built for this tractor. I had (in Wales) a 1956 Fordson Major when it was only about 20 years old, diesel with an in line injector pump. Very economic to run. I know that there was a six cylinder Ford engine that fitted the Fordson, can't help wondering.

Looking forward to the rest of the story! Regards, Matthew

Thread photos restored after the Photobucket bail-out. One more done!


--- Quote from: hermetic on May 30, 2014, 01:27:30 PM ---It is easier with the SPQR tappet adjuster(Awemawson), but I have done it without on many occasions with the engine running, often it was because they would rattle quite loudly unless you set them running. Also used it to quiten a single noisy tappet. Running with the rocker cover off can be messy, but if you place a wooden hammer shaft on each tappet in turn, and press down you can soon find the noisy tappet, then slip in a feeler and adjust. It works, but knocks hell out of the feelers. I think this was the recommended method on engines fitted with rotator caps, and if you look at the pics further back in the post, you can sort of see why. The rotator cup compresses the spring, and the collets, but leaves the valve free to turn. If you tried to set these static, you would read the back pressure from the spring as the tappet being set correctly, but in reality there will still be clearance between the cap and the stem top. If it is done running, you hear the tappet "go quiet" but the feeler is still slipped easily in and out of the moving tappet. Engines of this type always ran noisy unless you set "hot and running"

--- End quote ---

When I was a kid I remember my grandad complaining about having to set the tappets on an engine and about how it would beat up his feeler gauges. I asked him why he did it with the engine running (when he had just shown me the usual way) and he replied "because that's how you fookin' do it" :)

He was a monkeyhanger so no point asking further you had to just accept it and leave it at that :D


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