From The Chair: NO: 66 - May 2015
January is the month to be under cover and I expect many of you have been in ‘the shed’, it’s the time of year for it.  One of my pet hates is the way many people insist on over tightening fixings, now I know that nuts and bolts must be tightened sufficiently to prevent them working loose but fuel filter bleed screws and those nasty little ones, which always seem to be in the most inaccessible position possible, on CAV injection pumps do not need Charles Atlases’ muscles to tighten them, they only need to be just ‘nipped up’.  I find more damage is caused by over tightening fixings than by bits falling off.  If your not sure how tight a fixing should be buy a torque wrench and consult the manual, they are a lot cheaper than subsequent costs incurred of stripping the threads or shearing or stretching a stud.  In fact just one sheared stud is likely to cost a deal more than the cost of a wrench.
“Two of the stretched studs that look fine!”
A while ago I was rebuilding an engine, a job I like to do only once, especially if it’s the full Monty and this one was, new liners, pistons, crank reground, new cam shaft, new timing chain and sprockets not to mention the professional refurbishment of the injector pump and injectors, not cheap. Eventually it was all back together and the moment of truth arrived, she started and ran perfectly and that night after a couple of celebratory small libations I retired to bed a happy man.
Imagine the consternation the next morning when beads of water could be seen leaking from the cylinder head gasket.  To cut a long story short, having done the usual double checking procedures and refitting the head there was still no improvement.  So off it came again, it had already been skimmed and all the cylinder head studs had been cleaned up and a tap run down the block threads. 
I expect many of you are nodding sagely and have already worked out what was amiss and after a bit of head scratching so did I.  Someone previously had got a bit overenthusiastic tightening the head down and had stretched no less than nine of the twenty-seven head studs.  Now when you refit them the nuts can be screwed down the stud to the head with your fingers the stretched part, that is undetectable to the naked eye, is just below this and where they actually start to do their work.  So you may well tighten them, in stages and in sequence and to the correct torque, in this case to 55 - 60 foot pounds, but they will not exert the necessary clamping force to seal the joint.  New studs were sourced and the head refitted for the third time - success.  The only consolation was the excuse for a couple more small libations and the satisfaction of eventually having solved the problem.
I use torque wrenches for the more critical components such as big end and main bearing caps, flywheels, cylinder heads and the like.  I have a Britool half-inch drive wrench that I’ve owned for about fifty years and treated myself to a three eighth drive one a while ago.  As a matter of interest I checked the Britool for accuracy a year or so back and it was fine, but I do try to take care of them. You really can justify buying good quality tools they last, are safe to use and just feel right in the hand.  I’ve had my fill of cheap spanners that open when faced with a seized nut and have the scars to prove it.  Good quality tools are a must in my book and I put them in nearly the same safety category as wearing goggles when using an angle grinder.  I have to say that although I do sometimes get a bit of flak when another little gem magic’s itself into the yard but to give the management her due, there has never been any criticism over my tool purchases.

Just recently two problems have cropped up.  The first is that I’ve received both emails and documents through the post from people wanting to register a tractor who have not contacted me before sending them.  Please do get in touch first, as often the wrong stuff is sent and it just makes unnecessary work. 
The second, and this is much more frustrating is when post arrives and the contact details are missing.  Everyone is given a reference number and asked to quote it on any further correspondence, please do so when you send either post or emails.  It is the only sure way I have of knowing who has sent it as often different email addresses are used, and sometimes a year will pass between information that has been requested being sent.  I sometimes have difficulty recalling exactly what happened last week let alone remembering an enquiry from December 2013.
While talking about registrations I must say that when asking you for clear photos or for irreplaceable documents such as a log book to be sent through the post I am not trying to be difficult but I must abide by rules set by the DVLA.  It is your tractor and you want to obtain either an age related or to retain an existing registration mark and I will help you, as much as I can.  However I cannot stress that presentation seems to be the key to success, we are dealing with civil servants working in Swansea most, if not all of whom have no interest in or knowledge of tractors.  They are not on anyone’s side just earning a crust and working by the rules with, no doubt a supervisor breathing down their neck.  I try to present them with documentation that will NOT raise any questions - it works.
Hertfordshire FFA Representative

I am very pleased to welcome John Worley as the Club’s area representative for Hertfordshire. John can be contacted on 07939003890  after 6p.m. or by email at
“ The FFA’s man for Hertfordshire.”
John is organising a road run on Sunday 26th April starting from the Boot Pub, Tower Hill, Chipperfield, Herts, WD4 9LN.  Assembly is at 10.30 for an 11.00 start, for more information contact John, as above or Roger by ‘phone on 01442 833155 or email
Distributor Caps: to suit a Lucas 418859 distributor 

Some of you with petrol or TVO E1A Majors will have come across ‘The Distributor Doctor’ aka Martin Jay, from Taunton in Somerset.  I did when looking to rebuild the distributor on my petrol Super Major and very helpful I found him.   Now one of the problems with rebuilding distributors for these tractors is that the caps are as rare as hens teeth, there certainly wasn’t one available when I wanted one a couple of years back.  Martin has been in touch with Andrew Green, our man in Devon, to see if there is sufficient interest to justify having a batch made.  Anyone who has one of these tractors unless they already have a spare ought, in my view, give this some serious thought after all, if yours fails you may find getting a replacement nigh on impossible.  If you are interested just drop me an email and I’ll pass it on to Martin.
Isle of Wight Charity road run: David Lemonius writes

Despite earlier forecasts of heavy rain and strong winds for the Saturday morning after Christmas, we were blessed with a virtually cloudless sky and a brisk NW breeze.  We set off from the Eight Bells at Carisbrooke on a route that took us around the south side of Carisbrooke Castle and out to Gatcombe following a track across the fields to Bowcombe. We made our way up onto the Downs and back onto the road at Mottistone, through to Chessel, across Broad Lane to Manor Farm at Wellow for a short stop for refreshments.  Carrying on through Newbridge we made our way back to Shalfleet and on to Newtown, returning back to civilisation through Great Park to Betty Haunt Lane.  Some 36 tractors and their drivers completed the 25 mile run without any breakdowns!
A total of £600.00 was raised for charity and this time it is being split equally between the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and the Osteoporosis Society.  The organisers are most grateful to the local Landowners for allowing us to use their land and to all the supporters for their donations.
Andrew Green from Devon writes

I am writing this on a beautiful, sunny, cold early February morning and thoughts of early spring come to mind!  As previously mentioned in this column, one of our members, Ross Hext is doing a Charity road run on a KFD 68 Fordson Major from Crediton to St Teath in Cornwall and back again and our members hope to see him home on Saturday afternoon on 25th April.  Proceeds are all going to the Motor Neurone Disease charity and his daughter has set up a page on the Just Giving website, then type in Jo Hext and the Charity Vintage Tractor run. This is such a worthwhile cause and please do contribute if you feel you can.  Moving on, and our thoughts turn to the Show season and we wish the Devon County Show good luck for this year, due to be held on 21st 22nd and 23rd May and I hope to see you there. Do get in touch on 01363-83791 or if you would like to be part of our Devon group. That’s all for now!
Forthcoming events

Stradsett Park Vintage Rally:
To be held on 3rd and 4th May, this will be the Clubs first visit to this rally, it is a very well organised event in a beautiful setting.  Last year the special feature was sugar beet harvesting and to say that it was impressive is an understatement.  This year it is the turn of the humble spud but I’m sure that Gordon Carson’s display will be anything but humble!
There is an excellent hog roast on the Sunday and with more than 240 tractors expected, and always a good line of trade stalls etc this is a rally not to be missed.  Do come and see us we shall have the usual marquee and you will be made very welcome.
Journey Through the Ages –Vintage Rally & Country Fair:
Held on 20th and 21st June at Goodrich Park Palgrave near Diss in Suffolk IP22 1BA, this is quite a new rally now in its third year and it will be the Club’s as well as my first time there, however I’ve heard glowing reports of it and they certainly do things differently. 
Classic tractors are made welcome; I think this is important, as we need to encourage and welcome younger enthusiasts to join our ranks. I am not speaking for you, but I’m getting past my sell by date and our hobby needs the younger generation’s energy and enthusiasm.  Make no mistake the first tractor they are likely to buy, to start their collection, is going to be something that was shiny and brand spanking new when, or just before they first started to drive.  The first tractor I drove at the ripe old age of seven, was a Fordson E27N albeit I had to stand up to work the clutch and it was started for me, father did not believe in self starters.  I expect that you’ve guessed what tractor I bought first and you’d be right.
There will be a relaxed road run on the Saturday evening that is planned to last a couple of hours and any entrant is invited to take part.  Entry forms are available to download from the website and continuing the relaxed theme you will notice that the entry forms do not have a return date deadline, this is done on purpose to encourage informality and allow late entries, but be advised you must make contact prior to arrival.
The Club marquee will be there with all the Ford and Fordson tractors nearby.
The Expo XI to be held on 31st July to 2nd August at the Gloustershire Extravaganza at South Cerney; This, the eleventh Club gathering was announced in the last issue, and for those who have not already entered, it is not too late, in fact if you receive your copy of Ford &Fordson Tractors by post there is an entry form enclosed.  Please return it to Clive Osborne, not to us, not forgetting the obligatory SAE. If the form is a bit small for your writing you can download a full size version from our website.
Attractions this year’s include an expected entry in excess of 200 tractors, the celebration of one of their club members sixtieth year of steam engine ownership, a working model of an ERF tractor and low loader built over the last fifteen years, this was not built from a purchased set of plans; a “real” lorry was used as the pattern and much else.
I have heard nothing but good reports of this rally and am looking forward to attending and meeting many of you there.
The Great Dorset Steam Fair:
To be held from Wednesday 2nd to Sunday 6th September.  Those of you who came to last years showcase saw an impressive display of 1000 series tractors, this time we are looking for a cross section from the early Fordsons to the end of Ford Motor Companies’ involvement in the tractor industry.  We are limited to about thirty tractors and entries have started to arrive, all will be acknowledged but obviously the Club must put on a good display of interest to entrants and the public alike so a place cannot be guaranteed until we know what is on offer. If you fancy exhibiting please contact me by post or email and send a recent photo of what you would like to bring.  I hope that we can accommodate all who want to come.
and Finally
Just a word about a couple of my on-going projects, the Super major is still not running properly, I did fit the ‘new’ manifold and that now really looks the part but a petrol cylinder head is very different to the diesel one, the inlet ports are much smaller and a little higher, Ford must have produced a different manifold gasket for it but I have not managed to track one down as yet.   Another problem is that the governor is not working properly and I have not had a chance to strip it to find out why, hopefully I shall have time before its first outing, which is at Malvern.
I’ve had a quick look at the County, my new Little Gem to see what needs to be done, the seat is in the wrong position and the right hand steering clutch needs attention, it will turn right but there is little drive to the right track, so going left is a problem, she is also its fitted with a Perkins 270 engine.  I knew all this all before buying but she does look to have the makings of a very nice tractor. I have already bought a 4D engine with ‘the rod through the block’ to replace the Perkins, however this was still attached to the rest of the tractor and believe you me it took more than a little explaining to the management when I got back, the conversation started:  ”You went  to collect an engine and arrived home with a ‘yet another’ tractor ……” I’m sure you can imagine the rest, it was a case of keeping a low profile yet again for a few days.. The County is fitted with hydraulics, which is a bit unusual, and the gearbox housing was cast on 21st January 1952 so she is a very early tractor.