By Jerry Schleicher
What questions should you ask before restoring an antique tractor? Expert advice from three professional tractor restoration experts. Price and quality are important considerations for a successful restoration of an antique or vintage tractor. Owner’s manuals are essential for proper maintenance.
1. Do you have the mechanical aptitude?
Many problems go unnoticed due to a lack of understanding: leaks, malfunctioning components, and potential damage. There are many resources and people who can help. Find a group of people or a club and you will often have access to the knowledge you require.
2. Is the tractor worthy of restoration?
Tractors that are rusting into the ground or have significant missing parts can be restored, but it will be a costly endeavor. If your motivation is to restore a tractor you like, one that belonged to a family member or has sentimental value, it does not have to be rare to justify the cost.
3. Can you dedicate space for the restoration?
Label the tuna cans as you remove the bolts and small parts, and under each number, write what the hardware belongs to (starter, sheet metal, radiator, etc.). You can also write reminder notes or take pictures on the cans to help you reassemble.
6. Reproduction or salvage yard parts?
Original parts are best because they will fit perfectly and protect the tractor’s value; however, there are many good reproduction parts on the market today that weren’t available 20 years ago. EBay is a good source for parts; ask questions if you are unsure about a specific part.
7. Can you obtain the correct manuals?
Most tractor parts books are now available online, and reproduction manuals can be purchased from JenSales or Clymer Publications. “These books make your restoration much easier and provide good reference,” says Spiegelberg. If you are going to be making any repairs to your machine, you will need the service manual.
8. Do you have the necessary tools?
When working with flammable materials, Bob Kuhn recommends using a power washer to clean the dirt and grease off your tractor, and Louis Spiegelberg advises using the proper jacks and jack stands. You should also have a fire extinguisher or two on hand.
9. What paint should you use?
Spiegelberg Farms uses paints from Deere, AGCO, Case-IH, New Holland, and other manufacturers. A spokesman says that farm supply store paints that cost $30 to $40 per gallon may not be UV-protected, while automotive paints from DuPont and PPG can cost up to $400 per gallon.
10. Is your goal to restore or rehab?
Body shops will only paint the tin, so if you’re restoring a fine-quality show tractor, you’ll need high-quality sheet metal work.
11. Where can you find a mentor?
Professional restorers may be willing to answer a few questions, but don’t expect them to walk you through every aspect of restoring an old Ford F-4 Cabriolet, according to Kuhn. Joining a local engine or tractor club can help guide you through your restoration.
Read about how an early McCormick-Deering catalog proved to be an invaluable resource for the restorer in BBC Radio 4’s Pandemic special on restoring vintage farm equipment. One man’s journey to finish another man’s unfinished restoration project, a Ford 8N tractor.
Is it worth restoring an old tractor?
u201cTractors that are rusting into the ground or have significant missing parts can be restored, but it will be a very costly endeavor; unless you have a very rare tractor, the cost of a good restoration will almost always exceed the value of the tractor.
How hard is it to restore a tractor?
Parts suppliers and hobbyists alike agree that restoring a tractor could take anywhere from 100 to 250 hours of labor alone. Ordering parts may take a few days to arrive, but the actual assembly time is nothing to sneeze at.
Can you make money restoring tractors?
Garden tractor restoration is not for profit, so no one can make money doing it.
How much does it cost to restore a Farmall H?
u201cComplete professional restoration, over $15,000 total from restore, paint, rubber, and Overhaulu2014Talk about Parade Ready–She looks like she just rolled off an IH factory tractor line!u201d says the sale bill for this Farmall H.
What is the easiest tractor to restore?
The Ford 9N-2N-8N series (shown at the top of the page) is probably the most affordable and easy-to-repair older tractor, but parts for other domestic makes such as Case, International-Harvester, Massey-Ferguson, John Deere, Oliver, and Allis-Chalmers are still readily available, though prices are higher.
How do you refurbish a tractor?
The Most Crucial Steps in Vintage Tractor Restoration
- Run the tractor to make sure it’s still working.
- Strip the tractor down for cleaning.
- Sandblast the surfaces and separate parts.
- Repair and replace parts.
- Apply primer and paint.
What is the importance of restoring classic tractors?
It’s just as important to get the mechanics working as it is to get it to look good; in most old tractors, the engine and many of the parts are exposed, so it’s crucial to make sure they’re well detailed.
What killed Farmall?
A 13-year-old farm kid was killed on May 23, 2003, when he became entangled in an unguarded rotating power take-off (PTO) shaft at the back of his narrow front Farmall Model M tractor.
What is a Farmall H worth?
First and foremost, this is an incredible selling price for a Farmall H tractor! There are still plenty of Farmall H tractors around u2013 hundreds of thousands were produced u2013 and you can usually get one for as little as $1,000 in Michigan.
What is the difference between a Farmall H and M?
For most soil conditions, the H was a two-plow tractor, while the M was a three-plow tractor.