1939 Ford Tractor Help

Discussion in 'Tractors' started by Michael Parks, May 18, 2005.

  1. Michael Parks

    Michael Parks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Hi All,
    I mowed my church's "Back 40" with their 1939 Ford Tractor with a pull behind grasshog. I never drove a tractor before that and am looking for some help for the next time. I believe there is 4 gears on it with one being reverse. It doesn't seem to run very well, while mowing, in any gear but what I assume is 1st gear.

    Is this ok or should I be concerned?

    Also, its got a braking system that is not very good. I seem to have used the clutch, shift to neutral, and let the weight of the machine stop me.

    Is this ok or should I be concerned?

    I really enjoy mowing and want to continue. It actually made me realize how much I miss cutting grass!!!

    Thanks in advance for any/all help!
  2. Smalltimer1

    Smalltimer1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,223

    Sounds like the tractor needs a good tune up at the least. See if there is any way to adjust the brakes on it, and if so tighten them down and test until braking improves, if not a call to Worthington Ag Parts is in order. They are farm equipment salvage specialists with locations nationwide and can ship to you.
  3. Itsgottobegreen

    Itsgottobegreen LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,177

    Sounds like the church needs a new tractor. A ford that old should be in a collection. Not still in use. If anything. You need to get the brakes fixed. Have them take it to the local Ford/New Holland dealer to get them to fix it.
  4. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    Everybody is off on this. Its not the brakes that are allowing it to push you. Its the way the old fords are. The driveshaft is still spinning when you push the clutch in. But the pto on the tractor stops when you push the clutch. It makes the pto shaft continue to spin in turn pushing the tractor no matter how hard you stand on the brakes.

    You need what is called an overrunning clutch or sometimes called overrunning coupler. It attaches to the tractor pto shaft and then the driveshaft to that. It takes the spinning of the implement without transferring it to the tractor. I have one on mine. You are in VERY DANGEROUS WATERS operating this tractor without one. Many many people have been killed over the years by being pushed over the edge of something, into a tree, down a ditch, into a fence, etc. Call the local New Holland dealership and they will have the part in stock.
  5. Smalltimer1

    Smalltimer1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,223

    I was thinking about that too, had to put one on the Farmall, tractors made into the late '70's had this problem as well. The new ones have the PTO able to disengage without affecting the normal drive function.

    KERRTURF LawnSite Member
    Messages: 129

    65 Hoss is right on the money about the lack of a "live" PTO pushing the tractor. As far as the tractor not running right, I would guess that it is simply worn out. The good news is that with a top end rebuild, you should be back in business. Rebuilding one of these things is not as hard as you may expect. You should have lined cylinders on the tractor, so replacing the cylinder liners, new rings, and maybe some valve work and you should be back to normal. Maybe the church ought to consider getting rid of the old unit, and replacing it with something a little newer. Some of these old Fords demand quite a price with collectors these days.
  7. Michael Parks

    Michael Parks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Thank all of you for your input, I have forwarded this information to my father, who is an Elder and in charge of grounds keeping. Hopefully we can get this resolved!
  8. Smalltimer1

    Smalltimer1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,223

    Those old Fords, even in poor shape can bring $2000 on the low side. Lots of folks around here still use the Ford 8N, 9N, and MF 35 tractors, all from the 40's/50's era.
  9. anothertractor

    anothertractor LawnSite Member
    Messages: 61

    I have had a couple of these tractors in the past years. The early models only had one seal to keep the oil from the rearend from getting into the brakes. They did not do a good job. In the later production number, they added a second seal to solve this problem. While this might not be yoour only problem, it is worth looking into. It is not hard to see if this is a problem. Simply look around where the wheel center bolts to the axle and see if you see signs of oil drainage.

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