Questions and Answers (FAQ's)
Following are questions we're frequently
asked about our tractors or Ford tractors in general. I've tried to answer them with facts as I
know them, but many require personal opinion or speculation. Your mileage may vary.
Click on a topic below
or just scroll down the page.
Q: "Where do I get parts
for my 8N?"
A: Parts are not hard to find at all. Locally, your Ford(New Holland)
tractor dealer likely carries a good supply or can get quick delivery on parts. Here are some phone, mail order and internet sources:
Just 8N's - Many reproduction parts that were not
previously available. Also full line Tisco dealer. THE source for correct, top quality
Valu-Bilt Tractor Parts - full line of new replacement parts, used and rebuilt parts and equipment. Call 1-888-828-3276 and request a catalog. www.valu-bilt.com
Stevens Tractor Parts - full line of new replacement
parts. Call 1-800-333-9143 and request a
catalog or visit www.stevenstractor.com
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Q: "Where can I get manuals for my 8N?"
A: The original 8N operators manual is an excellent source of information
on using your tractor and covers maintenance and many general mechanical repairs. Reprints of
the operators manual as well as the master parts manual and the I&T FO-4 shop manual are available for
a reasonable cost from many sources. I recommend buying all 3 manuals. You can get them from
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Q: "Can you give me some information on the Woods belly mower?"
A: The Woods belly mower I use has done an excellent job. It's very
well built and has given me no trouble at all in 7 years of mowing. It takes about 3 hours
to install the first time. When the mower is installed, the rear lift arms are removed. If
you need to use other attachments, you have to remove the belly mower. It's not very
practical to do that, but possible if you're ambitious. I recommend having a dedicated
tractor for the belly mower, otherwise get a rear 3 point finish mower. But, for ease
of operation and handling around obstacles, the belly mower is hard to beat. For pricing
information on Woods mowers, contact your local implement dealer or check on the web
with Woods online.
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Q: "Where do I find a snowplow blade like yours?"
A: My front blade is an ARPS angle dozer blade. Dearborn made one just
like it and also made V snowplows. Finding a used one is the only way I know to get one.
As far as I know, nobody makes anything like it anymore. I found mine by running a "wanted" ad
in our local shopper/advertiser paper. I also get questions from folks who have one of these but do not have the mounting
brackets or have parts missing. Here's a parts drawing for the Dearborn 19-2 blade
(click here) . Here's a shot of the
front mounting brackets of the ARPS unit as installed on the tractor
(click here) . Here's a shot of the
same ARPS unit from the rear
(click here) . Here's a shot of the ARPS brackets off the tractor
(click here) .
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Q: "Where can I find a front endloader for my 8N?"
A: There are a lot of old front end loaders out there for sale, mostly the
Dearborn or Wagner models. Most old pipe type loaders made the operator climb on the tractor
from the back, since they blocked the side access. Many tractor and implement dealers will have
used loaders for sale. For an example of a new, more modern loader, click on
Paulson Loaders .
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Q: "Where do I get the Ford logo tractor seat cushions?"
A: You can get them from
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Q: "What is the small lever under the seat?"
A: This small lever is the position control lever.
When it is straight
up (vertical) the lift is in position control. The hydraulic lift quadrant lever will position the
implement in relation to the quadrant lever position. When the small lever is down (horizontal)
the lift is in draft control mode. Plowing is about the only time you use draft control. The lift
will raise or lower the plow slightly to maintain a constant draft pressure which keeps the
furrow at a uniform depth.
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Q: "What kind of tires did you use on your lawnmower?"
A: The front tires are bias ply automotive tires on homemade rims. I used
these because I happened to have them, and they're easy on the grass when making sharp turns.
You can buy 4 or 5 rib ag tires for the regular 16" 8N wheels that would work just as
well, or you can buy new front rims in 14" or 15" sizes and whatever width you choose to fit
the automotive tires of your choice. The 3 rib ag tires, especially the 4.00 x 19" tend to leave
marks in the sod when turning
The rear tires are Armstrong 14.9 x 24 turf tires mounted on 12 x 24 rims.
makes for a tire that is approximately the same height as the original 8N tires, but with a lot
more width. They have done a superb job of providing good traction on the hills I mow while
leaving the lawn unmarked. For mowing on fairly firm, level ground, the regular ag tires seem
to work just fine. Turf style tires to fit the regular 28" 8N rims are also available from all the
major manufacturers (Firestone, Goodyear, etc).
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Q: "What are the correct paint colors for my 8N?"
A: Good luck finding 2 restorers who can agree on the "correct"
shades of gray or red. I can tell you what I use, but someone else
may tell you it's wrong. For the gray, PPG Delstar DAR 31657. This
is listed in the old Ditzler books as Ford tractor gray. It's very
close to the original color.
The red............everybody's Ford tractor red is different. Even the
Ford red they sell at the Ford dealer is too orange. I've matched
several good samples of the original 8N "blood red" from inside
the air cleaner, behind the running board brackets, etc. I tried
to match it up with a ready made formula so as to have a uniform
color that I could buy off the shelf rather than custom mix each time I needed
some. What I finally came up with, that is a very good match with the
original paint, is DuPont Centari C8508 (single stage). It is a
General Motors red from the mid 80's.
It's my opinion, based on my research, that these 2 colors
are very close to the original Ford 8N colors. Other opinions may vary :)
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Q: "How much should I pay for an 8N" or "How much is my 8N
A: Prices for 8N's vary widely depending on the condition of the tractor,
the tires, accessories, and even what part of the country you are in. Around here (Central
Illinois), a very rough looking 8N with marginal tires and a lot of wear (but running) will
sell for around $1800. Non-running and parts tractors bring at least $1400. The average price
for an average tractor seems to be around $2500 - $2600. Nice tractors with good or new tires
bring $3200 - $3500. I'm often asked what a rebuilt/restored tractor like mine is worth. I
honestly have no idea. The expense involved in the restoration is great. The time involved is
great. I guess it's like anything else, it is worth what someone is willing to pay for it and
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Q: "Where do I get information on V8 conversions?"
A: Several of the Ford books (listed farther down this page) have history
and information on the Funk V8 conversions. Adapters to fit a 100 hp Ford flathead V8 into
your 8N are available from Ron Stauffer
email@example.com. Visit their web page at
www.staufferv8.com . If you're considering a later model V8 conversion,
check with V-8-N Guru Marvin Baumann. He's done a beautiful job on 350 Chevy V8, Ford 351 V8,
and Chrysler V8 conversions. E-mail your questions to
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Q: "What should I look for when buying a used 8N?"
A: A lot depends on what you plan to do with the tractor. Obviously, if it
is to be a work tractor only, some of the cosmetic and originality issues
will not be nearly as important as if you were looking for a restoration
project. Everyone looks at them differently. I'll try to cover the basic
stuff. The 8N's didn't change a lot from '47 to '52 but there were some
important changes. In late '49 the steering box was much improved over the
early models. Loose steering was common on the early models and the early
steering boxes are more difficult to rebuild satisfactorily. In mid '50 the
distributor was moved to the side of the engine and access to the points at
tune up time got a lot easier. The later models also had a Proofmeter (tach
and hourmeter) which can be handy at times. The early 8N's are fine tractors,
but the later models seem to be more desirable among buyers. This isn't usually
reflected in price or value, but people do give it some weight in the decision
to buy or not to buy a particular tractor.
The first thing to do is to walk all around the tractor and give it a visual
inspection. Don't be blinded by fresh paint. It can mask a lot of defects, and
a poor paint job is worse than none at all. And, don't confuse "painted" with
"restored". There's a BIG difference. Don't immediately reject one for lack of
a good paint job, either. It may be in excellent mechanical condition. Look at
the sheetmetal. It should be reasonably straight and have no large rust outs.
Nice original grilles, hoods and fenders are valuable and can be expensive to
replace if needed. Look at the tires. Look for weather cracking, splits,
cuts, chunks missing, and amount of wear on the tread. The tires should match,
size and brand, and rears should have at least one inch of tread to be considered
good. Tires can be expensive, especially rears, which will cost $350-$450 (with
new tubes and labor) to replace. Good tires are a plus. Check the rear rims for
rust from calcium cloride inside. If the tires are filled and are leaking,
the rims may be shot. It's usually most noticeable as being wet around the
valve stem. Starting at the front, open the radiator cap. Is the
coolant clean? No oily stuff floating around? Oily stuff can be just some
stop leak, or it can mean a bad head gasket or worse. Look through the grille
and underneath and from behind at the radiator. Any leaks or damage? A radiator
repair will be $50 or more. New replacement radiators from China sell for
around $150. Wiggle the fan blade to check the bearings in the water pump.
It should be tight. Any leaks? New water pumps cost around $60. Does the fan belt
look ok? Check the radiator hoses for cracks or soft spots. Look at the head
where it bolts to the block. Any leaks there? Look at the left side of the
block where the coolant draincock is. Check all around the area in front
of the draincock and above it for cracks in the block or signs that a crack
has been repaired. If someone has let the engine freeze up in the winter,
this is where it usually cracks. Be wary of cracked blocks, especially if
repairs have been poorly done. A cracked block makes the tractor worth
substantially less and trying to find a good used block for a reasonable
price can be a very frustrating task. On the other hand, a crack that has been
properly repaired won't affect the performance of a work tractor one bit.
Pull the oil dipstick out. Look for signs of water in the oil (milky) and
see how dirty it looks. While you're in that area, try to read the serial
number. This will tell you what year the tractor
is (many owners/sellers don't actually know what they have). Look at the fuel
sediment bowl. Is it full of rust particles? This could indicate a gas tank
with rust problems inside. Look up under the
hood at the gas tank. Any leaks or patches? Look at the electrical wiring.
Open the fuel door on top of the hood and look at the wiring behind the dash.
Does it look frayed or burned or in need or replacement? How do the battery and
Look at the radius rods that support the front axle. They should be straight,
not bowed upward. Shake the left and right tie rods. All 4 ball and socket
ends should be tight. Grab the front tire and push/pull inside and out on it.
The wheel bearings and spindles should be tight, no play. Look at the manifold.
Is it solid? No holes or cracks or carbon marks on the block where the gasket
is burned away and leaking? A replacement manifold will cost around $60.
How's the muffler? New ones cost about $20. Does the carburetor look as if
it is now or has been leaking gas? Is the air cleaner and inlet tube intact and
connected to the carburetor? Turn the steering wheel left and right to check for
excessive backlash in the steering. Does one front wheel start to turn before the
other starts moving? This indicates a misadjustment or worn sector shafts in the
steering box. Look at the surface of the clutch pedal. Is the tread mostly worn
away? This is an indication of hours of use on the tractor. Move to the rear
tires. Grab the top of the tire and push/pull toward and away from the center
of the tractor. Does the wheel have side play? Do you hear a clunk when you
push/pull? This can indicate a misadjustment in the shims that load the rear
axle bearings. There should be very little, if any, play when properly adjusted. If
it feels loose, watch the nut on the outside of the rear hub while you
push/pull. Can you see movement behind the nut and washer? This indicates a
loose hub on the axle. It may be able to be tightened, but if the movement
is excessive the hub is most likely shot from running loose. New hubs are around
$60 each. Look inside the wheel at the brake drum area. Any signs of grease
leaking from the rear axle or from the brake drum? Leaks here are common,
mostly from bad axle seals. If the rear hubs are loose or misadjusted (clunking)
the seals will never keep the grease in the axle where it belongs. The brake
shoes will be saturated with grease and need will need replaced. Figure $100
for new brake shoes and axle seals (parts only). Go around to the back and
unscrew the PTO cover cap (if it has one). If oil is leaking out around the
shaft it will need a new seal installed. Check the splines on the pto shaft
for excesive wear or twists. A new PTO shaft can cost $100 or more. Inspect the
lower lift arms. The ball sockets are likely worn some and will be loose, but
should not be so loose that it appears the ball is ready to pop out of the socket.
The arms should not be bent or have been welded or braced. Make sure the front
lift arm attaching pins in the lower axle housing are tight and are not leaking
oil. Turn the crank on the right hand side leveling box. It should be smooth
and the shaft should not wobble. Look at the upper lift arms. There should be no
bends or welds there, either. Go to the right side of the rear housing and
remove the dipstick in the gear oil/hydraulic reservoir. It should appear clean
and not a milky tan. This is a common place for moisture to collect and if you
buy the tractor you will want to change the gear oil soon regardless of it's
appearance now. It will, however, give you an indication of the previous owners
maintenance (or lack of). Be sure to look under the tractor from front to rear.
You never know what surprises you might find in the way of previous repairs, etc.
Now that you,ve done the visual inspection and
rated what you've found (plus and minus) it's time to start the engine. It
should turn over briskly, with no groaning, dragging or grinding noises. The engine
should start easily. Check the oil pressure. It should be 25 to 45 psi cold.
Any less is a little low and a higher pressure means someone has put a heavier
spring in the relief valve in a misguided attempt to raise the low oil pressure
readings when the engine is hot (it doesn't work that way but people keep trying
it). Listen for knocks or other abnormal noises. Carefully open the radiator cap
and check the flow. It should be moving a lot of water through there (unless it
has a tight thermostat in which case you need to look in there after it has
warmed up). Rev the engine and check for smoke coming out the back. Blue smoke
means it's burning oil, indicating worn rings. Black smoke means it is running
too rich, which usually indicates a carburetor problem. A white smoke can mean
the engine is burning coolant from a blown head gasket or cracked head. Check for
blow-by coming from the oil filler/breather cap. If blue smoke is puffing out of
there, the rings are badly worn. Let the engine idle down to a low rpm. Listen
carefully. Abnormal noises or misses or pops from bad valves should tend to
be more noticeable at a slow idle. It should run and idle smoothly if it's in
good shape. Watch the oil pressure as the engine warms up. It should not drop
below 20 to 25 psi hot if everything is in good shape. Less than 20 psi at slow
idle when hot indicates that wear in the main/rod bearings and/or oil pump
is becoming excessive. That is not to say the tractor won't continue to run ok
with a lower oil pressure but it is an indication that something is worn. Check
the ammeter. While running, you should see between
one and 10 amps on the "+" side, indicating that the generator is charging.
Depress the clutch then let it back out (shifter still in neutral). Listen
for noises from the throwout bearing and bearing noises in the transmission.
Depress the clutch pedal and engage the PTO. Let the clutch back out.
Engaging the PTO should not create any new noises from the hydraulic pump
or PTO shaft bearings. Check that the PTO is in fact turning. Raise the
quadrant control lever to raise the rear lift arms. They should move quickly
and smoothly all the way to the top (top position will have the eyes in the
outer ends of the lower lift arms around 3 feet from the ground). It's best
to have a load on the lift arms
for testing such as a heavy rear blade or a mower. If nothing is available,
you or someone else should stand on the rear lift arms (hold on to the fenders).
Raise and lower the lift a few times. It should be smooth and not have an
excessive amount of "knocking" coming from the pump area. A knocking sound
indicates wear in the eccentric bushings that drive the pistons in the pump.
Most will have some noise, but it should not be excessive. If the lift is
jerky coming up, there could be a bad or stuck valve in the pump. Raise the
lift to the top position (with load) and disengage the PTO. The lift should
hold the load in the up position for 20 minutes or longer without drifting
down. Less than 20 minutes can indicate worn rings or a scored lift cylinder.
A really tight system will hold the load up overnight with little drift.
Time to go for a ride. Depress the clutch and shift into second gear. There
should be no grinding as the shifter moves. If there is, and if the free play
in the clutch pedal is adjusted correctly (3/4"), then the clutch disk is
probably sticking to the flywheel. This can indicate that the front seal in
the transmision pilot shaft is leaking gear lube onto the clutch disk. Slowly
let the clutch pedal out. The clutch should engage smoothly with no grabbing.
A grabbing or a shuddering motion also indicates gear lube has leaked onto the
clutch disk. Pull the throttle to increase engine speed. The engine should respond
quickly and pull smoothly up the maximum rpm then the governor should level it out.
Look back for signs of smoke behind you. Try the brakes. Pressure on the brake
pedals should make the brakes try to slow the tractor. Stop and try all the other
gears one at a time. Taking off at a fast idle in 4th gear should tell you if
the clutch is slipping. Pull the throttle wide open in 4th gear. Again, it
should accelerate smoothly and then level out. Check for smoke again. Notice how
the tractor steers. It should not be wobbling, or wandering and should respond to
small changes in the steering wheel position. Push in
the clutch and hit the brakes. You should be able to lock the rear wheels if the
brakes are good. If standing on the brake pedals barely slows the tractor, you likely
have gear lube on the brake shoes from leaking seals and will need new axle seals
and brake shoes.
By now you should have a pretty good idea of the condition of the tractor
overall. It won't be perfect. It's 50+ years old and probably has worked hard all
its life. Add the positives and the negatives and consider the asking price.
If there are too many negatives, keep looking. Anything can be fixed with enough
time and money, but you may be ahead in the long run to pay more for a tractor
that's in good shape to start with than to buy a rough one and spend a fortune
on it to repair everything that's worn out.
I certainly haven't covered everything, but these are the basics. If you are not
familiar with tractors, old cars or mechanical equipment in general, consider
taking a friend who is or even paying a mechanic to go along with you and look
the tractor over before you buy. It could save you a lot of money and headaches.
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Q: "Are there any clubs or organizations for 8N owners?"
A: You can join the Ford/Fordson Collectors Association. There is an
annual meeting in conjunction with a tractor show at a different location each year. There is
a quarterly newsletter and your tractor(s) will be added to the serial number registry. Contact
F/FCA, 645 Loveland-Miamiville Rd. Loveland, Ohio 45140 or visit
Secondly, you can sign up for the 9N 2N 8N NAA Newsletter. It's a very nice quarterly
newsletter with lots of articles and photos of N's. It's published by Gerard Rinaldi, P.O. Box
235, Chelsea, Vt. 05038-0235. I recommend it. Visit
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Q: "What about books or magazines?"
A: There are a lot of good books available that are well worth the money.
To name a few:
How to Restore Ford Tractors by Tharran Gaines
Ford Tractors by Robert Pripps and Andrew Moreland
Vintage Ford Tractors by Robert Pripps and Andrew
Ford Farm Tractors by Randy Leffingwell
Ford N Series Tractors - Originality Guide by
Chester Peterson Jr. and Rod Beemer
Ford Tractor Implements by Chester Peterson Jr.
and Rod Beemer
You can find these and others at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com
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