2002 - Volume #26, Issue #3, Page #41[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Unique "Brake Fix" For Ford N-Series TractorsTractor restorer Dale Cottrill, Marietta, Ohio, specializes in Ford N-Series tractors, which are popular for use on hobby farms and small acreages.
"The brakes on these tractors were never very good, especially in reverse," he says. "People put up with them because you normally don't have to use the brakes all that much."
In trying to come up with a "fix" for the tractors he restores, Cottrill thought back to years ago when he operated a mobile crane. "The cable drums on those cranes worked with bands, similar to the brakes on the old Ford tractors," he says. "They tended to glaze over and didn't work as well as they should have, especially when hot. I carried a can of Bon Ami powdered cleaner with me and when they began to slip a little, I'd shake some of that down into the drums."
Cottrill figured since the cleaning powder worked on the crane's brake drums, it would work on N-Series brakes, too. "I shook some down into the brakes on a 2N and it worked great," he says.
That gave him the idea for a system that would automatically pump a little of the powder into the brakes whenever needed. "I drilled holes in back plates of the brake drums and ran a pipe from those to a box I made to hold the powder. This is connected to a small air tank made from a piece of 4-in. pipe. If the brakes slip a little, you just blow a little powdered cleaner into the drums by releasing a little air from the pipe into the box," he says.
Cottrill says the system works so well he mounts it on every N-Series he restores. He also adds a hand brake lever on the left side of the tractor to lock the brakes when parking. "The original brake lock on N-Series tractors was clumsy and difficult to get to, so few people ever set the brakes on them," he says. "There are times when the tractor needs to be left running when it's parked though, and the brakes need to be set."
Cottrill has also come up with a power steering system for N-Series tractors that runs off a pto-powered pump. "I put an extension on the pto shaft so it can still be used for mowers and other equipment, and mount a pulley on the shaft to drive a V-belt to the power steering pump. I've been testing it on a 2N and still have a few problems to work out, but expect to have it ready to sell soon," he says.
Because the N-Series tractors don't have live pto, the power steering will work only as long as the clutch is engaged.
Besides fixing the braking problem and adding power steering, Cottrill is also making a jack for N-series tractors that mounts on the lower arms of the three-point hitch. With it, he can lift the rear wheels- or even all four wheels - off the ground for service.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dale Cottrill, 102 Wynnwood Drive, Marietta, Ohio 45750 (ph 740 374-6722; E-mail: email@example.com).
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