Paul Broake & his Dexta took 2nd prize for Best Restored & 1st prize for "Tractor the Judges would most like to take home" at this years FFA Expo VII 2011 in Wales.

After Congratulating & chatting with Paul at the Expo VII I realised just how much dedication and hard work he and his family had put into this restoration of his Dexta.

I asked him if he would write some details & photos of the restoration for the FFA website.

Below are Paul's Words & Photos that he kindly sent through to me.

Dear Ernie,

            Let me start by saying my first word as a small child was “tractor” not mum or dad as the norm.

I spent most of my life around machinery, either tractor’s of vintage Japanese motorcycles.  I went to Brindsbury College of Agriculture in West Sussex to learn mechanics, and worked for a Massey Ferguson dealer for my sins!   My mum has got a Fordson Power Major on her smallholding which does all the chain harrowing, rolling topping, muckspreading etc. 

People ask me if I would restore another tractor, my answer is always yes as it’s in my blood, but only the blue! 

It has taken me 4 years to complete as I have M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis otherwise known as chronic fatigue syndrome), so I can only do things as and when my condition allows me to. The tractor has been rebuilt on a tight budget due to a single income because of this.  The approximate cost of restoring it in a monetary value does not reflect the love I have for this little tractor. 98% of the work was carried out by me, even the paintwork. 

Many thanks to all the people that have helped find new and second hand parts, and a special thanks to Julian Bird, Bedw Services; Bertie in Dunlop Tractors; and James Henman, and a very special thanks to my wife Teleri daughter Katie and Mr  & Mrs Idwal Griffiths for giving me the tractor.

The tractor was originally sold by Reginald Tildsley of Welshpool, and still retains its enamel dealer badge; it also has its original registration number which we were able to register and keep with the help of Mr Thomas Andrews.  Cast date October 1960, registered February 1961.  Engine is a Perkins P3-144. 32 HP. 

I hope that the following story is acceptable and not too much waffle! 

We had a fantastic time in Anglesey, and we really enjoyed meeting you all.  Katie especially enjoyed helping at the Tombola she was stunned to see her picture on the FFA site and Facebook.  It was even more of a shock for us all to come home with not only a 2nd Restored but Best Tractor.        

Many thanks, 

Paul, Teleri & Katie Boake.

It was in 2006, the family and I had gone for a spin on our quad, and whilst on this spin I spotted a Dexta in a field next to some farm buildings looking rather sorry and worse for wear for itself. Taking a fancy to it I went and asked the owner of the farm (Mr Idwal Griffiths) if the dear little tractor was for sale. 

Unfortunately the answer was no as they had plans to do it up, so that was that. The next year, March 2007 we did the same trip and the Dexta was still there.  Anyway, the quad broke down this time, so we asked Idwal if we could leave the quad in the yard so we could walk home to collect the Discovery and trailer.  On returning with the trailer, I asked again if he would consider selling the Dexta. To my surprise and amazement Idwal said to take it away and see what I could do with it, but it had a crack in the block.  (Quad fault carb full of water).

 The following day I returned with my neighbour to tow the Dexta home, which was about a mile from home. On inspection of the little tractor before bringing it home, I noticed that the exhaust manifold was full of water.  When the dipstick was withdrawn a mass of grey gunge oozed from the dipstick hole and I started to think what was I taking on?  Anyway, after getting the tractor home it was time to investigate; finding that the engine was seized, front cowl was all bashed in, no chaff grills or headlamp, no battery, wiring loom was all non existent, rear wings were held on by u bolts which were round the roll bar, seat pan all broken and split and generally quite rusty. 


Time to un-seize the engine, so I removed the bonnet, nose cone and radiator to reveal a very thick black greasy engine.  It took approximately half a day to degrease the engine with a pressure washer and degreaser to enable easier access to nuts and bolts. With this done I then removed the rocker cover and the cylinder head.  After getting the head off I found that all 3 cylinders were full of water, this was mopped out and sprayed with WD40.


I then rang a good friend (Julian Bird, Bedw Services, Llangwyrfon) who has come to the rescue of seized engines in the past.  Julian’s advice was for me to soak the bores and pistons with diesel for a few days, then mop out the diesel and then  heat each piston in turn with a blow torch, then with a large piece of wood on top of the piston I was to hit it with a lump hammer, again each piston in turn. After 10 minutes of knocking the pistons with a hammer movement started.  A drive socket and bar was placed on the end of the crankshaft and was rocked back and fore moving only about 1 mm in each direction.  It 2 hours working back and fore, moving a little more each time to turn a full 360 degrees as the pistons were so tight.  I then connected jump leads from the Discovery to the starter motor to spin the engine to help loosen it. On spinning the engine, I could see the oil pump was working as oil was pumping out of the oil pipe. 

The cylinder head was very rusty and needed attention to the valves, so I dropped all the valves, cleaned and reground by hand and put back into the head (valve and valve seats still very pitted). The injectors were serviced by Bedw Services, the head was put back on and the old head gasket used with a smear of silicone sealant each side just to see if the engine would run. Oil was changed with new oil and diesel filters.  Time to try to start it!  Not enough power from the jump leads so I had to buy a battery. 

The cold start primer pump had broken plus heater coil, so the only way to start it, which I hate, was to use to use tinned cocaine (easy start).  After about 3 attempts it started, and ran without stopping, but ran erratically revving up and down. This proved to be the diaphragm in the injection pump. 

Well as its running, better take it for a spin, only to find that I could not engage any gears, the clutch was seized! So with low high stick in neutral, gently put into reverse and carefully eased it into low box.  With a bit of a jerk we were moving, luckily there are fields next to us that we are allowed to use. Once in the field, which is a bank, going round in low box I managed to get it into high, going up one side of the field and down the other with my foot on the clutch. On the third time going up, the clutch broke free, joy at last! 

At this point I checked for the PTO operation, and also checked that the hydraulics’ raised and lowered, which all was working. It was at this point that the decision was made to do the best I could with the little Dexta.

So the next day I went back to see Idwal, the original owner and explained that the tractor was now running, and asked how much he wanted for her. To my amazement, Idwal’s answer was for me to keep the tractor, but I would like to see it when it was finished.  Whilst Idwal and I were discussing the Dexta, his wife, Gwen, presented me with the original buff log book. On returning home, I studied the log book, and noticed that it was first sold to a Mr Wil Davies, of Llangeitho. On doing more research, I found out that he was an agent for the NFU. Not only did I know Wil, but I used to have a motorcycle insurance policy with him when I was in my teens, just a little personal history for me. 

So into the garage and the tractor was stripped of all tinwork, wheels off and placed on axle stands.There were oil leaks from the trumpet housing, half shaft seals by the brakes, PTO seal, PTO engagement lever, steering box and the front engine oil seal.


  With the engine stripped,the bores

were honed, new shells, bearings and piston rings were fitted. The crack in the block stretched from the front penny to the back penny with the hole in the middle big enough that you could get a 4 inch nail in. With the injector pump removed, I was able to sort out the crack in the block.

The crack was cleaned out using a narrow wire brush on an electric drill until it was shiny clean, and  filled with JB weld (it works use it), and still holding to this day. As the valves in the head were so pitted, 3 needed replacing and 3 were refaced by Bedwyr Services as were the seats in the head refaced by Bedw Services. With this done and the head back on new diaphragm in the injection pump, a new full set of seals and gaskets, the engine was put back together and fired up.

Onto the back axle, trumpet and half shaft seals and the PTO seal and lever seal were changed at the same time.  Only the immediate, necessary parts to get the tractor up and running were bought a bit at a time as money was short, and only a single income coming into the household. Brake shoes were soaked in oil, so were cleaned with degreaser and heated up with a blow torch to evacuate the oil residue. 


Most new parts required were bought from Dunlop Tractors in Ireland, and Emmark 888; both firms being very helpful.  The wings were rotten at the bottom, and had broken away from their supports. The rot was cut out; this also meant losing what was left of the Enfo stamp. This all had to be rebuilt with sheet steel to both wings. The front cowl was beaten back into shape and welded where needed. 


All the steel was rubbed back by hand, or where there was severe corrosion, a needle gun and wire brush was used. All tin work was primed, filled and painted. 





The wheels were cleaned with an electric drill and wire brush, primed and painted. The steel warning lamp panel was rotten; this was all cut away and welded with new steel.


All linkages had to be treated to the usual tlc and the main chassis had the same treatment...  The steering wheel needed attention because the 3 legs had split and had lost part of its covering, this was then filled with body filler, sanded back to the original size and painted with satin black paint; also the flow control knob had the same treatment. I couldn’t afford to replace the dynamo, regulator and wiring loom, so I made a homemade loom from spare wires from motorcycles spares and fitted an alternator, having to make a new alternator bracket for alignment of fan belt to run true.

The charging system was changed to a dynamo, regulator and new loom after the first year of showing because all the comments were the same (lovely tractor, shame about the alternator). So the dynamo was rebuilt by Bedw Services, new loom and ignition system were bought and fitted. It still retains its original heater button, horn button and horn; and all are still working. I have had many people disagreeing with the colour of the chaff grills saying that they should be either blue or orange and not silver as mine are.

In 1960 Fordson brought out the Mk2 Dexta as this is, and it came out with silver grills; this can be verified in The Ford Tractor Story Part 1, page 102/3; written by Stuart Gibbard as original sales photograph was used.   

But as tidy as it is, it still looked like another Dexta, so I got to thinking what could I do?  When I was a youngster, my family had a contracting business with Fordson Majors.  When working for them, one of the Majors had a Sta-dri cab fitted, in which I spent many hours in. So the search was on! Lo and behold a Sta-dri cab was listed on eBay, I was lucky enough to win it, and we went to Leominster to pick it up.  There were no doors or side glass, so it was put aside until parts could be sourced. 

Talking to Bertie in Dunlop Tractors, it came about that he had a Sta-dri cab for a Dexta, but was missing the roof, the side glasses and the glass in one door.  Happier that we were getting closer to making a full cab; we met Bertie at the first Myerscough Show, near Blackpool. The deal was done and the cab was placed in the back of the Discovery in individual panels. No roof, not a problem, as I had one from the first cab bought on eBay. On returning home, I put the cab together only to find that the roof I had was too big, so this was put aside until a roof could be sourced. Talking to James Henman (machinery dealer) one day about cabs it turned out that he had a few Sta-dri cabs in various states; so a trip to his yard was on. 

On getting there, we managed to obtain the correct size roof panel, but it was full of cracks and chips, all the sliding side glass, slide rubbers and rails, and door glass was obtained from him.

We went off to the Tractor World Show in Malvern in March 2010 to buy various bits, such as glass retaining rubber trim and beading, also a quantity of rubber sheet for the bottom of the doors.

The Royal Welsh Show 2010, our local show, was being hosted by Ceredigion (our county), and luckily our tractor was one of the many that had been picked to go to the Show. 


It has now been two years since the hunt for a Sta-dri cab started; so with time running out it was time to sort out the cab. Trying to fit the cab without instructions and without front panel mounting brackets became a headache, because when sitting the side panels of the cab on the wings, the front panel was butted up to the fuel cap; this was because the back of the cab was butted up to the butler side lamps, so these had to go, and then it sat square. The front brackets were homemade as I unable to source any from anywhere.  As the side lamps have now gone, there was a large hole left in the wings for the wiring of the lamps which looked a mess, this was hidden with a small metal box welded onto each side  for the wires to run up inside and fit into the new butler lamps which were now fitted to the side of the cab. The tin work underneath the main screen and all down the left hand side including the door pillar had to be cut away and replaced with new steel.  The roof was in a poor state with cracks and chips all through; also the four steel brackets used to retain the roof to the cab were rotted out and I had to fabricate new ones from plate steel that I had spare, and were fibre glassed back into there original positions.


A dremmel was used to chase out the cracks, then they were filled with body filler.  This was all flattened back and primed then painted.

 The spring loaded door catches I made to hold the doors open when loading the tractor onto the trailer was there to enable me to see where the wheels were running on the skids. The mirror bracket on the door and the mirror arm are all homemade as were the front panel brackets. The cab was fitted with all the seals and rubber trim and its accessories as you see it now. The bonnet badges and door handles are the original ones; they have been cleaned up and painted. The Lucas wiper motor and arm are original, only a new wiper blade was required and was acquired through Bedwyr Services. The seal between the front panel and the tank came from a bonnet seal from a scrapped Ford Mondeo; the piping was cut and trimmed to make a single flap to seal.

 The rear plastic roll down window was made by J.W.Trim another helpful chap, as he had no pattern to go by, only the dimensions that I gave him.  While all this cab was getting the works, a scrap man called by and asked for whatever was spare, I had none, but asked him what he had on the back of his truck have a look he said.  On doing so, to my surprise, I found 2 genuine Enfo drawbar stabilisers and a Dexta top link so a deal was done, and I bought them. Feeling rather chuffed with my purchases, I duly stripped, cleaned and painted, these and are now part of the collection. 

As for the Sta-dri sticker on the roof, this has come from my memory and a little computer wizardry. I bought an original sales leaflet for Fordson Sta-dri cabs, and in the top corner was the Sta-dri umbrella and letters.  This was scanned on our computer, and blown up to the correct size to match the area on the roof where the sticker fits. After printing it out, it was cut to size and taken to a local sign writing company; who in turn produced a sticker of the Sta-dri umbrella and lettering. The Union flag sticker with the Made in England had to be specially made as all Union flag stickers come with the words Made in Great Britain or Made in the U.K. on them this would not have been appropriate wording in the 1960’s. 

If anyone is interested there are a few extra Sta-dri stickers available. Contact Ernie 01795 663300 for more details.


So apart from the steel cut out and new welded in, all the panels are original. Obviously new nuts and bolts have used in various places. The seat pan was welded up and reused. The gearstick mounting plate had 3 of the holes broken away, which I welded up and refabricated the holes. Three new gear selector shaft detent spring and plungers were also fitted. Both sets of handbrake teeth had worn flat and were re-cut with a dremmel. 

The front axle only needed minimal maintenance as all bushes are o.k. The paint used was Tractol Fordson Empire Blue. 

New parts fitted are as follows: piston rings, shell bearings, full gasket sets, 3 valves, oil pump, oil seals, front head lamps, side and rear lamps, plough lamp, chaff grills, wheat sheaf badge, lift pump, front and rear wheel nuts including wheel width adjustment bolts, 2 front tyres, fan belt, water pump, number plates, primer tap, heater coil, wiring loom, seat cushion, warning lamps, temperature gauge, regulator, injection pump diaphragm, combined ignition and light switch, check chains, grease nipples, external services knob and gaiter, oil and ignition lights, fuel atomiser and tap on inlet manifold, new hydraulic linkage pins and other odds and sods.

Rubber trims for the cab, Sta-dri sticker, wiper blade, number plate lamp, and various cables.  Second hand standard drawbar, 11 holed drawbar, and adjustable drawbar stays and cab.  I do have a F.R. Simms & Jeffreys potato ridger, serial number 1001 and a Lister Blackstone 3-point linkage ground driven fertiliser broadcaster to match the Dexta, both to be restored as part of the collection. 

Words & Photos - Paul Boake

Here are some photos of Paul's Dexta at Expo VII 2011, you can see all his hard work & dedication has paid off with this stunning looking 1960 Fordson Dexta MK2 with Sta-dri Cab.




Rodney Gibson - FFA South East Area Representative presenting Paul with his " Tractor the Judges would most like to take home " Trophy at Expo VII 2011.



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