The Useful Duck!

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Sunday, January 22, 2023

I get stuff done!

Yesterday was a great day!

I completed tasks! (well almost)

I have three ongoing projects. Actually it is more live five or six but for the sake of avoiding tedium I will stick to four.

A month ago my wife and I helped her friend clean out the shop of an elderly gentleman who was moving into the rest home. I ended up hauling home a Ford 9N. I put it in the barn and then it refused to start. It took me a week or so to figure out that the reason it was turning over slow was that the ring gear was spinning on the flywheel. I fixed that by applying wicking Loctite 390 to the ring gear and turning the flywheel until the Loctite grabbed and it stopped turning. (The ring gear had been tack welded to the flywheel) 

But... I had left the key on and I burnt the coil. So I thought I would do a tuneup. This was a pain in the arse as the distributor is affixed to the front of the engine and the coil is mounted on the side of the distributor cap. You have to remove the distributor (two bolts) to change and set the points. I could not get the new coil and cap to reliably pass electricity between them so I ended up just buying a whole new distributor and cap. ($50 pos Chinese clone) I hooked it all up yesterday. It runs!

I also changed the exhaust pipe and muffler as there was a really bad exhaust leak and it was very noisy. ($65) It of course did not fit. I had to cut and weld the pipe and adapt the exhaust hanger. I am no longer a very good gas welder. Plus I couldn't find any baling wire or a small enough tip for the torch so I had to do a little grinding and painting.

Turns out the exhaust leak is from the manifold. This is not my tractor, I am trying to sell it to a friend. I am getting a little too much money into it. Not sure I want to tackle the exhaust manifold. Things can go wrong with rusty and ancient exhaust manifolds.

I also got the top of the transmission covered on the White 2-155. This was a rather tedious job. The worst part was getting the drain plug out of the bottom of the transmission. I had to put a pipe on the end of a long breaker bar and hold the bar into the plug whilst my brother pulled on the bar. Nearly stripped out the square threads.

I was able to then flush most of the dirt and crap out of the transmission before putting the cover on. There is no way to keep crap out of the open transmission. 

The next problem was getting the three speed cleaned and drained. Of course the pressure washer would not start. Took me an hour but I did it.

My retired helper has been cleaning my shop. He tends to stuff things into odd places. When I get home from work he has a pile of stuff for me to sort through, I have been giving things away and making use of the trash can. He has made his way back to the freezer which hasn't worked reliably in five years. I hauled it outside and put it on a pallet for the guy who repairs old appliances. Of course the tractor wouldn't start and that took a half hour.

But, I got the three speed cleaned and drained and I got it sitting on the bench, the 9N running, the freezer moved. and the top of the transmission cover on. Not a bad Saturday.


  1. Progress is good. I first worked with those Ford front mount distributors over 50 years ago and still hate them. Best thing Ford ever did was on the last flatheads (8BA) they had the distributor and coil offset to the right side of the engine where it is fully accessible.

    1. The only way I fixed it was by replacing the whole distributor. I feel like I cheated...

  2. My 8N won't start. I'll leave it with you when you finish the 9N.

    1. bring it over, i will waste an inordinate amount of time on it before finding it is something simple

    2. I'm 1800 miles away. It as the step up transmission so will probably go 30 MPH. A rough calculation is that it would take me 60 hours to get there...were it running. I don't know why this is saying 'Anonymous.' It's supposed to say 'Art.'

    3. Hi Art! I had the same problem and ended up switching to Chrome as a browser. You could pull a little trailer. The homeless people in my area have this little coffin type trailers they pull behind their bicycles. They look quite cozy. If you could just think of a good cause, people would pledge you money to drive cross country. Of course driving the tractor cross country to fix the ignition is possibly a bad idea... IF not an impossibility.


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