As this year draws to its close, I think that it has changed us all. The prevailing feeling is one of unease, the social norms that form the bedrock of normal day to day living have evaporated and no one is quite sure how they should be replaced. It is difficult to see your doctor or dentist, as I discovered, and hospitals, once seen as the first port of call in an emergency, are now regarded as places to be avoided to such an extent that worryingly, people with potentially serious medical conditions, are not receiving diagnosis let alone treatment.
We all need to take extra care and protect ourselves and our families as best we can, simple things do make an enormous difference, so please don't take short cuts, do wear protective clothing appropriate to what you are doing and stay safe. It will all pass.
Personally, after considerable soul searching, I realised that a change of course was necessary. My shed was overfull and there was not enough room left to work on the tractors that were in there, let alone those parked outside in various states of disrepair, all slowly deteriorating and suffering from the odd act of vandalism, that seems to be universal nowadays, something had to give. Accepting that I would never complete some of these projects was not easy, but one must stay positive; there is still plenty left to do even with a few less and enough space to play in comfort. We have all seen machines that have gone past the point of no return through the owner's refusal to face reality for one reason or another.
How to dispose of them was the first question, no one wants to give them away but, the how, does depend on whether you would like it to be preserved or just to sell for the best price? In auction anything may happen to it, but it will sell for what someone is prepared to pay on the day and, if the right sale is picked, should make good money, but for that to happen at least two people must want it.
Time to bite the bullet and not without regret the first to go was my County crawler, this was supplied new by Whitlock Brothers Agricultural Engineers of Gt Yeldham, a neighbouring village (later of Hy-Mac fame) which was part of the reason I bought it in the first place. I decided that the Club's Facebook page was a good place to start so I had a chat with Gary Capp, who looks after Facebook for the FFA and he did the business and that worked brilliantly! There was no hassle, it was paid for very promptly and collected by a professional. I'm pleased to say that it has gone to a good home, a collector who has it running again and tells me he is pleased with it.
I have two more entered in the next Cheffins Vintage Sale neither of them Fords. As it is an auction, there is no guarantee of a sale, but I hope I won't be bringing them home again. This will allow some breathing space and enable me to get on with jobs that have been on the back burner for some time and take stock.
From our Members:
Pink Ladies Ride Again ……………….
Just in Time (before the new regulations) Jane Broomhall:
The first Sunday of July has, for the last sixteen years, seen 100+ 'Pink Ladies' on tractors traversing the lanes of Suffolk and Norfolk in support of the Breast Cancer Appeal. For reasons known to everyone this was not possible but, 'Pink Ladies' are made of sterner stuff and could not be deterred. Various individual events took place on the 5th July and in the following weeks e.g. one family completed 200 laps of their patio on a children's ride-on tractor and raised £1,000, double their target.
However, thanks to John and Annie Chapman, a downsized road run did take place on Sunday 13th September with just 30 participants. The day was more emotional than ever; perhaps because of the many ladies who couldn't join us this year and the people who have been unable to receive their treatments at this time. Whilst not promoted in the usual way, large groups of onlookers enjoyed the pink spectacle.
We are still aiming to reach our £1million target in the coming years and hope that 2021 can see a return to normal activities, not just for 'Pink Ladies', but for everyone.
Please see Pink Ladies Tractor Road Run Facebook page for photos/videos:
and should you wish to make a donation please go to:
Willie West writes:
Traveling daily from farm to farm with my job as a dairy engineer you find the odd gems on farms especially these two beauties. The roadless 115 is still earning her keep in the Wigtownshire area of Dumfries and Galloway
alongside her stable mates a roadless 95 and Force II 8210 turbo, she is on low loader duties here but can also be found with drainage equipment on her.
Then we come to something a little more special, a Ford 7000 with a James Jones highland bear conversion.
I don't know much about this tractor as I grabbed a photo in the passing but I can't imagine there being many like this?
Southern Area Ploughing & Fun Weekend:
Held on 5-6th September at Rix Farm, Langham, organised by Ken Bailey and Roger Starling. Ken Bailey reports: good weather was enjoyed over the Friday's setting out; the plots were made larger than normal to give more space between the tractors.
Ken Bailey with Roger Starling and assistant Mick during setting out
Fifteen ploughmen attended on Saturday and fourteen on Sunday, most ploughing two plots.
Terry Stinson with his newly refurbished Ransomes Reversable plough
Paul Wylie with his Fordson N with trailer plough
There was a good selection of makes and models, notably Mick Wilds 1947 Caterpillar D4.
An area of grassland runway was available for parking and camping and a food van was on site to provide breakfasts and evening meals for those camping. An enjoyable weekend for entrants and family members only as, unfortunately, spectators could not be invited. £350 was raised for Essex Air Ambulance and our grateful thanks go to Mr J Ricks for generously making the site available once again.
Getting the family 3000 back on the road - from Wouter Croquey in Belgium:
The sale of the family farm on my father's side in August and the move of the Super Dexta 3000 (see my article in the number 98 of the FFA magazine) to a new location, was the ideal occasion to put the tractor back on the road something I had had in mind for a few years. The initial idea was to do the minimum to achieve this, and more specifically to fix the lighting. However, when driving the tractor onto the lorry on the day of the move, it immediately became clear that the drum brakes were past their best. And after the first night spent in the garage where the activity was to take place, we also found some traces of oil under the rear axle. The tone was set: this exercise would become a (limited) overhaul. Thanks to the precious efforts and skills of a retired mechanic, work progressed quickly. From the beginning, I insisted that the character of the tractor be preserved, I absolutely prefer originality above perfection. This was a family tractor, so the memories had to be kept intact!
The operation started by removing both rear axle housings, complete with the fenders still attached to them. The differential bearing, half shaft bearing and both wheel bearings showed signs of wear. Traces of oil inside one of the drum brakes made us presume that oil leaking through the wheel bearing might have rinsed the grease out of it. The bearings were replaced by new ones, as was the case with the corresponding seals. The same operation was carried out on the brake pedal/clutch pedal shaft seals. New brake shoes were sourced and mounted with great care and precision by the mechanic.
The front axle also needed some care and attention. The king pins and bushes were replaced. The wear of these was certainly due to a long working life, but probably also to a lack of grease over the years. The thrust bearings were also changed. The wheel bearings however, were still in good shape, although the tractor had always been carrying a front loader.
While working around the nose of the tractor, we also noticed that the radiator was leaking and needed a replacement. As the coolant had to be drained anyway, it was also decided to replace the thermostat. A useful operation, if you ask me, after fifty-five years of working life. After a close look at the broken rev counter, it turned out that the real problem came from the hour counter. This one was sticking from time to time, which caused the failure of the rev counter as the first one is driven by the latter one. For an incomprehensible reason, none of the reproduction dashes that are available on the market are a correct copy of the original: they all have the hour counter on the top, while originally, it is situated at the bottom. As a consequence, we decided to keep the original dash and removed the drive between the rev and the hour counter. The rev counter cable was replaced, so we ended up with a working rev counter and an original dash!
Finally, the original tyres from 1965 were replaced by new ones. The initial idea was not to touch the rims, however, after removal of the old tyres, the inside of the rims showed severe corrosion, so they were sandblasted and painted. Question to be solved: which colour should be used?
After a fruitless search on the internet, the local NH-dealer came up with the answer: the correct colour code for the white colour used from the New Performance Dexta/Major onto the 10-series (except for the last ones) is RAL 7115
The paint was sourced from the dealer (KRAMP 711508 KR Ford 'fog grey'), as well as a rocker cover gasket (he had this on stock!) and as we now got paint anyway, both front grilles were also sandblasted and painted.
Wouter in the saddle and justifiably proud of a fine, sympathetic restoration
At the moment of writing this text, I'm finishing the paperwork to obtain the new registration. Let's hope October still offers some dry and sunny days!
Two more reminisces from "Fordson N & E27N Service Experiences":
Reproduced by courtesy of the "Fordson Tractor Club of Australia Inc." from 'Power on the Land' with particular thanks to Dawn Milson.
I was called by a farmer who owned a Fordson P6, who stated that the linkage would lift an implement slowly and then drop it again. On my arrival at the farm, to my surprise I found the farmer had removed the Lift Assembly from the tractor and had completely stripped it of every nut, bolt, pump, cylinder and relief valve. You name it there was not ONE PART that had not been completely dismantled, washed clean and put in sections on wheat bags on the floor. 'Thank goodness for that' as when I asked why he had done this, he stated that he thought it would help me find what was wrong! Well. On a quick appraisal I noticed that the Piston Gland was in three pieces, which turned out to be all the trouble was. One and a half days later, it was back in operation again. Leaving the farmer with an account for £21 10s 0d ($43.00) for labour and gaskets, with 5s 6d ($0.55) for a new piston gland. If the lift had been left alone the approx. cost to the farmer would have been just £4 0s 0d ($8-00). Just imagine the cost today.
A Devout Fordson E27N (Kero) owner took some convincing that 'diesel power was the coming thing and the power of the future' but was finally converted to purchase a brand new Fordson P6. On delivery he was given an introduction to his sparkling new tractor, which took approximately 4 hours, with on-site instruction and infield operation. On leaving the farm that day, the farmer was quite convinced he had done the right thing. However, the next morning he 'phoned, stating that his new tractor would not start, also stating his old E27N Kero had never refused to start all the time he had it. I went to the farm to investigate. The farmer, not thinking, just as he always did with his E27N, turned the fuel off, hopped in his ute and went home, leaving the tractor in the paddock overnight. Guess what? He never touched that fuel tap again, except for fuel filter changes.