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Antique Steel Wheel Tractors - Old Iron Lugs and Cleats Photos and information about antique steel wheeled farm tractors. This is where to find the heaviest of Old Iron tractors.

Antique Steel Wheel Tractors - Old Iron Lugs and Cleats

Fordson ID


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  #1  
Old 04-02-2011, 10:23:40 AM
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Jon Nessel Jon Nessel is offline
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Default Fordson ID

I went to look at a fordson yesterday and need help with the year. It is said to be a 1918. The # on the block is unreadable and the block may have been changed anyways. It also has a mag conversion on it. What are some features a guy can look for to be sure. As a side note, there is also a belly mount sickle for the tractor if a guy wants. Those have got to be few and far between. Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:30:50 AM
G Willikers G Willikers is offline
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Default Re: Fordson ID

Jon,
If it's a 1918, shouldn't it look like the Fordson pictured just above here on the Stak, Old Lugs logo?
G.
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:59:27 AM
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Jon Nessel Jon Nessel is offline
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Default Re: Fordson ID

I definately didn't have ladder sides on the rad. By that token, the rad didn't look like it had the same patina as the rest of the tractor (different tractor, different patina). The owner pointed out that the axle tubes didn't have any provisions for fenders. What year were fenders available?
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Old 04-02-2011, 12:15:06 PM
Ironsides Ironsides is offline
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Default Re: Fordson ID

Jon,join your local Fordson club or at least talk to them they will assist you,Norm
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Old 04-02-2011, 12:16:35 PM
Candy T. Candy T. is offline
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Default Re: Fordson ID

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Nessel View Post
What year were fenders available?
Due to the negative reports of the Fordson tipping over backwards the fenders were added around 1923.
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Old 04-02-2011, 12:40:18 PM
Matt Montague Matt Montague is offline
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Default Re: Fordson ID

Hello Jon,
There are a few of those tractors just south of you.
I know that there are plenty of folks on this site that know much more about these than I do.
That being said.
As you know a large quantity of the parts for these tractors are easily interchanged.
Most of the time the parts that offer the easy id are the ones that are worn out and got changed.
The draw bar with three holes in it and no wings is a clue to a early tractor, as is the lack of fender clamp grooves on the axle tubes. Later in the F production a brass horseshoe was added to the clutch linkage {inside of the bell housing} to act as a brake.
The dash that does not have a bunch of patent numbers on it would also be a clue.
The top tank of the radiator on the early tractors has IF I remember correctly two little 'Nubs" on the underside.
The side curtains on the rad were changed out due to poor cooling.
If I got it wrong I am sorry, this is all I can remember. In the move I have misplaced some of my books. I do know that I have seen in the past a list of differences by year of manuf. I just can not find my copy.
The Fordson Club that was Ran by Jack Heald from Cave Junction Ore. was a big resource.
The club I do not think is very busy at this time. I have not heard about Jack in several years.
Matt
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Old 04-02-2011, 02:14:49 PM
Bruce B. Bruce B. is offline
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Post Re: Fordson ID

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Nessel View Post
<snip> What are some features a guy can look for to be sure. As a side note, there is also a belly mount sickle for the tractor if a guy wants. Those have got to be few and far between. Thanks in advance.
Jon --

It has been my experience that a lot of folks claim to have a 1918 Fordson Model F, but a lot fewer actually have one.

Hopefully, Butch Howe, Ed Bezanson or another one of the Fordson gurus will see your query and chime in, but until then, I'll have a go at it...

As indicated by Matt, Candy and Onkle G, there are several features unique to the early Fordson F's. The one everybody thinks of first is, of course, the ladder-side radiator supports used in 1918 and 1919. You mentioned that the tractor you're looking at didn't have them, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything... Fordson parts are like Model T automobile parts; they're interchangeable between models of many different years, and farmers would often cannibalize one Fordson carcass to keep another tractor going for a while longer.

The next big clue? The steel wheels: Early Fordsons had six-spoke rear wheels, and the edges of the front wheels did not have a flange. The cleats on the rears were not factory-drilled to accept grousers until 1921 or 1922 (?), either.

Other early features, as Matt said, are the three-hole drawbar and the lack of a machined groove in the rear axle housing to accommodate the optional (or aftermarket) fenders. I have seen an axle housing with a 1920 casting date that features this groove; it might have been done independently sometime later, but looked "factory." Check, also, for bracket mounting holes in the sides of the dashboard (where the "crow's feet" attach). Steering wheel should be wooden (if original).

The fuel tank should have only one filler hole and a small cast-iron starting tank (mounted on the same side as the manifold) that says "GASOLINE For Starting Only." The two-bung fuel tanks did not appear until June of 1924.

Speaking of manifolds, a 1918 F should have a Holley 234 manifold (there should be a big brass tag that identifies it as such on the carburetor).

You said that the serial number is unreadable, but sometimes if you take a small scraper or a toothbrush-sized wire brush, you can clean the area enough to make out the number; often there is grease or rust obscuring it. If you do not know where to look for the serial number, take a look at this link, and if you do find the serial number, check it against this matrix to determine the year the engine was manufactured.

As mentioned above, though, please remember that it was very common to swap out parts and pieces between tractors, so no single part or feature can definitively identify a Fordson F to have been manufactured in any particular year.

If you could post a picture we could avoid a lot of guessing and might be able give you a more factual assessment.

The attached picture shows an early Fordson F. Someone penned a 1919 date on it, but to my eye, the tractor pictured is indistinguishable from a 1918.

Lastly, even if the tractor doesn't interest you after looking it over more thoroughly, take another look at the mounted sickle mower. If it's complete and functional, that alone could be worth more to the right person than the cost of the whole tractor. If I lived closer, I'd certainly be interested in that mower, as it is both useful and uncommon (I think many were scrapped during the WWII metal drives).

Keep us posted...
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:12:13 PM
Ed Bezanson Ed Bezanson is offline
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Bruce B has it right. It is difficult to ID a Fordson age because as mentioned everything fits everything. You could bollt a 1930's engine to a 1918 rear and vice versa. Engines were wsapped on a regular basis. 6 Spoke wheels, single inlet gas tank, correct pattern dates on dash etc.etc.. Put on 6-8 good closeup photos and we may be able to give a rough guess but even that would be an individual assessment. That said Jack Heald hunted for early Fordsons for 30 years and found few are real or original. I think Butch Howe has one of the earliest known. Finally Jack Heald is alive and doing well in Oregon. He is writing the 4th volume of the Heald family history. I purchased his entire collection of literature and photos and they are the basis of my Fordson Directory series. Send us some pictures Ed B.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:12:24 AM
naylorbros naylorbros is offline
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Default Re: Fordson ID

Finding a Fordson that has not had a lot of parts changed out on is hard. The 1920 I have has been in the family for years and had suffered from sitting in one place since around 1947. It still had the Holley 234 on it, the small letter tool box and the Henry Ford and Son gas tank. The grousers on the six spoke wheels were all drilled for the extensions ,they were both rusted out on one side. The rear axle housings with early 1920 casting dates have the fender grooves cut into them. The late one that I stole the wheels that I currently have on my tractor had late 1919 casting dates, and the axles were not made with the fender groove. There are many differences on the castings of early tractors. Even the hubs on the six spoke wheels are different between the early and late wheels.
Thanks
Ken
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:26:46 PM
Keith Bryan Keith Bryan is offline
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Default Re: Fordson ID

I can't resist adding to this thread, because I have an interest in early fordsons. Attached is a photo of of one of our MOMs which spent it's working life in Ireland serial number 1497. We have a few 1918, 1919 and 1921 fordsons and I can see quit a few differences in the features during the first few years of production. For example the 1918 had different 3 hole drawbar, steering linkage, fan, blank end fuel tank, blank front on radiator, no writing on the tool box lid, heavier front axle. Detroit and Coventry written on the manifold, no writing on the cast gas tank, cast bulb on the rear of the transmission housing, different rear wheel wedge, small hex on front hub, etc., etc., also the early fordsons had casting dates on quite a few components.
I'm not an expert in these features but I would love to know if anyone has documented all these early changes. I coorresponded with Jack Heald a few years ago, and he sent me some very interesting information with some of these changes, but I seem to find more every time I go looking.
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