This site focuses on my activities with a Farmall M Tractor. In August 1999 I decided to make an investment in a 1949 Farmall M tractor for my first tractor. I am in the process of restoring it; however, the tractor will not be for show only (its going to have to do some real work as well). In addition to my tractor investment my brother purchased a 1968 Massey-Ferguson backhoe which will eventually be mounted on the tractor. The backhoe is undergoing a rebuild and restoration also.
The main purpose of this site at this time is primarily to provide a record of my experiences with the tractor and also to provide a number of photos that may be useful to others who are working on a Farmall M. I am not a tractor expert, nor am I an expert mechanic, so please do not expect me to be able to answer detailed questions. Fortunately, I have family members and friends who collectively know a lot about engine work, and we also have a number of tools needed for restoration work (sandblasters, power washers, hydraulic presses, welding equipment, etc.).
My Farmall M is a 1949 model and in decent condition for its age. After looking into it for a bit and taking some notes from Fisher Investments UK financial planning the purchase price of $2300 was not a bad price. I knew that I was going to be putting a fair amount of time and money into the tractor but it was in running condition; all gears work as well as the PTO and the belt pulley. All sheet metal was in good to very good condition considering the age. For a few weeks I "got to know" the tractor by driving it around our property; I also used it to rip about a half dozen stumps out of the ground. Shortly thereafter the initial period of restoration was begun (mid September). The initial phase of restoration was completed just before Thanksgiving of 1999. The tractor is now running again and will not receive significant further work until the warm weather returns (I do not have a barn to work on it over the winter).
Resoration of this tractor will occur in phases for a variety of reasons. For one, the cold weather is just about here, and I do not have a barn in which to work. Painting work is out of the question for me during the cold time of the year. Finally, I need to spend some time on some of my other interests!
This tractor is being restored in what I call the "right" way. I've seen some tractors that appear to have been powerwashed and painted as a complete unit. This may look nice, but in my opinion it's not the way to go. My Farmall M is being disassembled into individual parts for restoration. All parts will receive a restoration that includes a cleaning, sandblasting (where applicable), repair or replacement, and finally a repaint. Parts that are marginal or worn are being replaced (in some cases new ones are fabtricated).
As of December 1999 I have completed the following:
Basically, the tractor is nearly 100% restored from the water pump forward.
I plan to do a lot more work on this tractor in 2000. I'd like to eventually do an engine rebuild; for now, the tractor runs just fine so I can put this off for a bit. I'd need to do some cosmetic work on the back end of the tractor. A new seat is in order. I plan to replace the electrical system parts where needed. The gas tank needs a restoration (paint job mostly). I would also like to look into getting a "speed reduction" gear for the tractor. On the land we have, even the first gear is a bit fast for some of the work we will be doing. All of this work will take time (and money) of course.
Backhoe: My brother is in the process of rebuilding and restoring a Massey-Ferguson backhoe which will be mounted on he Farmall M. We have the mounting method worked out. The backhoe will be mounted in such a way that it is not a major pain to remove it from the tractor for cases when the tractor has to go to a show or do work where the backhoe would interfere. We do not expect to have the backhoe operational until sometime next year.
July 2000 Update: Work on the Farmall has been slow, primarily because I am in the process of building a small barn. This barn will serve as a work area for the Farmall (among many other activities). We hope to have the barn finished by Labor Day. The main activity regarding the Farmall this year is the backhoe. My brother has made tremendous progress on this massive undertaking. The backhoe frame has been modified to fit the Farmall M; it is now mounted on the tractor. Many of the hydraulic cyclinders have been rebuit. Thanks to a family friend with a massive machine shop, we have been able to replace obsolete or broken parts with new ones that are custom made (this has saved a HUGE amount of money). The backhoe will probably be up and running about the same time the barn is complete. Tests run thus far show that this machine will have considerable capability. In testing of the main boom, we found that it easily lifts the back of the tractor (weighing thousands of pounds) off the ground when the boom is commanded to press down on the ground.
September 2000 Update: The backhoe is up and running! This combination of equipment (Farmall M and the Massey-Ferguson backhoe) makes for a powerful unit. The "christening" of the backhoe was done by ripping out a large stump in the yard (see Farmall M Image Gallery #3 for photos of this activity). What would have been an all day affair (if dug by hand) was reduced to 20 minutes of "work" with the tractor/backhoe combination. We also dug (and later filled back in) a large test hole on the back lot to get experience with running the controls. We do have to add a bit more counterweight to the front of the tractor. When going up a hill, the tractor tends to attempt "wheelies" despite 900 pounds of extra weight up front (danger of a rear rollover is near impossible due to the backhoe being installed on the tractor). There is some more fine tuning to be done, but the initial results are very successful!
May 2001 Update: Restoration on the tractor thus far this year has been minimal (I have a lot planned for later in the summer). I did order and receive the Saginaw 3-point Hitch for the Farmall M. This is one serious piece of gear! It weighs 350 pounds and is extremely well made (it's made as well as something I would do myself: no corners cut). This item was purchased because my brother is purchasing a Del Morino 92 inch cutting deck (use of which requires a 3-point Hitch). We also have (on loan) a post hole digger that needs the hitch. We have yet to try the 3-point hitch out "for real", but based on the way this thing is built I have no doubt it will work as well as it looks.
August 2001 Update: Several things worked on. The water pump packing was leaking (due to a not so good job done by me back when). The front of the tractor was disassembled (steering shaft, radiator, etc, was removed). The water pump packing was replaced. Also, new belts were put on (fan belt and generator belt) while we had this all apart. Finally, the generator was fixed... it was not charging the battery. A local shop found the problem (broken internal wire) and fixed it. The front of the tractor is back together and working well.
June 2007 Update: Have been away from major work on the tractor for a while due to too many things going on! Had a problem with a bad ignition coil, now fixed. Also a bad ignition switch, a bad ignition wire. Gas got gummed up in the carb from sitting too long last year. Most problems fixed now. Added a new image gallery (Carburetor parts, see Image Gallery 12 below).
This top level page only contains a few images of the Farmall M. There are a number of image galleries below for your perusal. The contents of the image galleries is in the process of being better organized. Additional image galleries will be added as I work on the tractor and take things apart. Some of the photos within these pages were taken with a first generation digital camera, those images are not as good but still quite satisfactory for the purposes within. I obtained a much better quality digital camera in January of 2000, the photos from this unit are very high quality. All future work on the Farmall M will be documented in extreme detail. See a menu of additional image galleries below.
My Home Page: http://www.rocketroberts.com/joe.htm
End of page... come back soon... Aloha!