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Subject: How far to go on a restore

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Barry    Posted 08-30-2020 at 01:43:39 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • How far to go on a restore
  • Sorry if this is a repost, having trouble posting on here.
    Looking for opinions on just how far to go on my most recent project. Have a 1950 8N that I had used for several years, mostly mowing and blade work. It is mostly retired now as I have other tractors I use for that. It runs very nice but has several small oil leaks, dents ect. Would like to restore it, would likely only be used for occassional Mowing or the odd drive for sentimental reasons after that. Was thinking of stripping it down, replacing gaskets ect and giving it a decent paint job. If it was running poorly I wouldnt hesitate to do a complete rebuild but like I said, it runs great. Originally thought pan gaskets, crank seals ect for the engine as well as gaskets/seals for most everything else. Dont want a new paint job looking like hell from leaks. What is everyones thoughts here? If I am going that far, should I strip the engine and check it out as well? What are the chances of reusing pistons ect if they look good once I have stripped it? Better to leave well enough alone or go all the way? Basically looking for something that will look/run good for years to come.
    I am interested in your opinions.

    Steve Dabrowski    Posted 08-30-2020 at 18:20:56 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: How far to go on a restore
  • As Dean says, it depends on how much you want to spend. But first really think through why you want to restore it and how you really want it to be when finished. I restored an 8N a few years back as a project that I had been thinking about for my retirement interest. I wanted a finished tractor that looked as if it was on the showroom floor from the start. That pretty much determined how much money and effort would go into it and I stuck with it. The cost got to around $14K when all was said and done and I have no regrets. I show it a lot around Silicone Valley where I live and it is always a great interest and sure enough I get a lot of "it looks better than new" commentary, it is what I wanted and to me it was worth the cost and effort.

    You can find a number of photos of it during and after restoration by looking at some of my posts in the archives section of this site. Just type in Steve Dabrowski and they will come up.

    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 08-31-2020 at 04:56:56 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: How far to go on a restore
  • Here's one of the many photos of Steve's finished projects. Steve invested a good deal of time and money in restoring (NOT refurbishing his tractors, there's a difference) and both are 99.98% exact-as-original in every way. True, dedicated restorers like Steve aren't in it for the money and the return on investment on projects like this cannot be appreciated. The market for vintage tractors and equipment has depreciated for the past 10-15 years now. There have been some early 9N's sold at places like MECUM for beaucpoup bucks -like $15-30K but NONE have been correctly restored. Heck one even had 12V on it. Sellers had somebody do the actual refurbishing and did them to what their idea was without knowing what was original. Steve's is one of the few all-correct/all-original restorations ever done. I know of only about 5 or 6 guys that have done and/or own correct early restorations.


    Tim Daley(MI)

    Barry    Posted 08-30-2020 at 10:31:32 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: How far to go on a restore
  • Appreciate everyones replys on this.
    Tractor has been in the family a long time so I dont plan on rushing into it, just like to hear differing opinions.
    To answer a few of the questions: yes, oil pressure is good. I have all the manuals as well as new rear tires. I had stripped it down with the exception of motor/tranny a few years ago and gave it a quick (now poor) paint job, replaced some parts at that time. Not looking to ever get my money out of it....I spend my spare time in my shop and need something to work on.
    Anyway, will decide at some point how far to go. For now I will be working on the tin as I can always slap it back on at any time if I decide to. If my tin work goes well, I will likely tear it down.
    Thanks again

    Ultradog MN    Posted 08-30-2020 at 09:34:16 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: How far to go on a restore
  • As has been said, do a compression test. Also, what oil pressure readings are you getting from it - hot and cold. If both are acceptable why rebuild the engine? You said yourself that you don't use it much.

    Dean    Posted 08-30-2020 at 09:03:12 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: How far to go on a restore
  • It depends upon how much money you want to spend and you should approach any such project with the understanding that you will not recover much of your money in the future.

    If mine, I would leave the engine alone if it starts and runs well and does not smoke or use much oil.


    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 08-30-2020 at 07:26:53 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: How far to go on a restore
  • HiYa Barry-
    It wouldn't be a Ford if it didn't have few oil leaks!!! ; > ) Engine pan has port to drain excess oil -the cotter pin rattling at the bottom is to keep the passageway open. Normal. If concerned about staining the floor of your shop, simply get a bag of Speedy-Dry (kitty litter) and apply as needed. Leaks around the valve cover may or may not be fixed with a new gasket. Governor leaks -can rebuild governor with a kit -includes gasket. As far as oil pan, crank seal, or any other major part that leaks, you are half way there, in my opinion, to a rebuild trying rather than just replacing gaskets. Did you do a compression test? What does oil pressure show, when first start up and after it's ran for an hour or so at idle? Dents in the sheet metal, hood, fenders, doglegs, can be fixed at a local bump shop. I had all mine done including, blasting, priming, and painting for $180. If head leaks coolant, you have a different problem. We all understand being on a budget and taking on a project like a rebuild/restoration. It's your tractor and your $$$ so it's your call in the end but my advice is "...if it ain't broke..." -you said it yourself. If compression is good and it runs good, may want to start squirreling away a Christmas account just for that project and when you have $2-$3k in the bank then do it. Cleaning and rebuilding engine then painting everything works well so you don't have to do it over again a year or two later. FWIW, I've seen pristine tractors at shows that were 'trailer queens' yet still had puddles of oil under them. When I was working, I had all the money and no time. When I retired I had all the time and no money. If you choose to rebuild get the Manuals and don't buy any parts until you know what kit to get. Best to go to a trusty, local engine shop guy who knows Ford tractors and get block boiled and inspected. He can check the head too and probably recommend and get you the correct kit. If cylinders need boring he can do that too.

    Tim Daley(MI)

    Michford    Posted 08-30-2020 at 06:47:11 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: How far to go on a restore
  • You may be able to reuse pistons depending on what you find when you take the engine down. Just know going into it that if you have a $1500 8N before restoring it, putting another $2000 to $3000 into it will not make it a $4500 8N. It will still be a $2500 8N after restoration. It sounds like you would be doing this restoration for personal reasons, so go as far as you feel comfortable with. If your tires are good, you are halfway there already as they are one of the biggest expenses for a tractor. I like the rugged simplicity of these old tractors as a reminder of when things were built to last and not designed to only last 5 years.

    Bruce(VA)    Posted 08-30-2020 at 06:16:07 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: How far to go on a restore
  • Other than machine shop work, if you can turn a wrench and paint, you could get by under $2k.

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