Farming: Part 11

The Foxinator had the usual feminine disregard for mechanical details. I got no more information than “it’s big, reddish”. How could I lose?

I borrowed it and trailered it home. Her tractor is from the mid-1950’s. Meaning it’s twice as powerful and advanced as mine. Awesome! Also, being “modern” it has a standard three point hitch so I could mount my plow on the bigger tractor. Also awesome.

Easy right? Wrong!

Her tractor, like all old tractors, is an amalgamation of parts and functions which remain from manufacture, shit which has been welded on, and stuff that’s fallen off. One rear tire had a chain. One didn’t. (Which is one more than I can afford for my tractor!) It had a bucket loader! It had no bucket. It had aftermarket live hydraulics bolted on the PTO. It had high/low range, the usual shifting lever, and a few other levers that seemed important. It had aftermarket headlights, both of which were smashed. Some switches that seemed to do nothing. As per tradition, nothing was labeled.

I had my doubts. Then I turned the key. My doubts vanished. I revved the throttle once and knew without a doubt that this machine could take a shit with more horsepower than my little old machine could muster on its best day.

Also on the trailer was a disk that weighed roughly ten million tons (meaning it could dig deeper than mine) and a big wad of pointy metal that was purported to be a drag.

Easy right? Wrong!

I wasted a couple hours trying to hook up my plow and it just wouldn’t go. The Foxinator’s three point hitch was a jungle gym of bent objects. No matter how I tried it just wouldn’t pin to my plow and lift it.

Finally I went to my tractor (as an example) and started counting parts. The Foxinator tractor’s lift arm leveling assemblies were too long and they looked spindly. Eventually I figured out they were actually stabilizer brackets and therefore utterly useless for lifting anything. Suppose you have a powerful hydraulic yoke and nothing hooked to it; how is it going to lift anything?

I went shopping at every tractor store in creation (or at least everywhere in the vicinity). Tractor stores are hell.

AC: “I’m looking for a lift arm leveling assembly.”

Store Guy: “For what?”

AC: “This tractor (giving model number). Anything will do. It doesn’t have to be new or perfect.”

Store Guy: “You should already have one on each side.”

AC: “I don’t.”

Store Guy: “It won’t lift without it. You probably have it and don’t know.”

AC: “Here’s a picture of it.”

Store Guy: “You’re missing the lift arm leveling assemblies. You need one on each side.”

Pause. Deep breath. Count to ten.

AC: “That’s a good idea. Can I buy one?”

Store Guy: “We don’t have any.”

AC: “Can you order one?”

Store Guy: “That’s a hassle. You sure you don’t have it. Did someone leave it in a field?”

Pause. Think happy thoughts.

AC: “That could be. It’s also missing a tire chain and the bucket.”

Store Guy: “I got a bucket for sale.”

AC (retreating): “Gee thanks. I’ll be going now.”

This lasted weeks. I was at my wit’s end.

Farming… it’s not merely hard, it’s a stone cold bitch.

A.C.

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About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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2 Responses to Farming: Part 11

  1. Roger says:

    I am fortunate to work within 15 miles of Steiner Tractor Parts and an even shorter distance to a used tractor parts store. The FIRST day I owned my D17 I lost the only key I had. My wife will gleefully point out it was probably when I fell off the tractor after driving circles in the field singing “She thinks my tractor’s sexy”. For three hours. Might have been a case of beer involved. Maybe some Jack Daniels too. I will deny “Giggling like a Japanese school girl” while idling the tractor and listening to the rain shield clap and ting on the muffler.

    So I go to the friendly tractor parts store and they have a pretty brass colored key in stock. For $4.50. But without it I have 10,000 lb lawn ornament. I bought 2 just to be safe.

    After I plowed the first time with an AC 3 bottom plow, I noticed I was dripping coolant. It looked to be sloshing out from the radiator cap. The cap was an automotive type. Not even close to the factory style. This simply would not do, A quick trip to Steiner’s netted a radiator cap. After installing it I began plowing again. After 10 minutes a huge plume of coolant erupted from the radiator. Fortunately I work at an auto repair shop. I called the guy who still does radiator re-cores. $380. Call Steiners. $500.00. Use 2 lbs of solder to fix radiator. Install in tractor and try again. 10 minutes later it blows again. Pull radiator and find copper over flow tube is plugged, causing the radiator to build to much pressure and erupt. 4 lbs of solder and back in the tractor. Worked this time.

    8 hrs to change fuel strainer, plugs, points and condenser. This did include 2 trips to the tractor parts store and about a quart of blood loss. The only bright spot was the amusement of the parts counter guy each time I laid a fresh pile of broken parts on the counter. Owning an old tractor is not for the weak or timid.

    Roger

  2. MaxDamage says:

    I run a Ferguson TE-20 for the small jobs. I’d sell it to you, but I’m starting to like you. There are a few websites and parts stores on-line that have most of the parts I need, but when it comes to the odd stuff or the parts I want to use as a starting point for a project, nothing beats a tractor junkyard. Unfortunately, they’re staffed by the same kids who man the auto parts store counter, and so far as they are concerned if it’s not on the computer it may as well have never existed.

    My solution to this problem is to roll up with a greasy chunk of broken metal in a rag. Lately it’s been the remains of a ’88 Chrysler wheel bearing and a broken 3-point hydraulic pump cylinder assembly. I show it to the parts counter guy, he dutifully looks it up and can’t find it, I ask to look in the yard myself and soon I am on my way.

    Treasures can be found in a tractor salvage yard, and if they’re not in the computer an offer of a $20 will almost always seal the deal.

    – Max

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