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Ford Diesel Powers His Farmall H
Indiana mechanic Bret Messer has one of the most unique repowered Farmall H tractors in the country. Messer’s H has a 4-cyl. Ford diesel instead of a Farmall gas engine.
    “The diesel I repowered the H with was manufactured in the early 1960’s for Ford 4000 tractors,” says Messer. “However, I don’t think my engine was ever in a tractor. In place of a regular serial ID number it had a brass tag that said “Donated by the Ford Motor Company for the advancement of technical education.” Messer thinks the power unit was donated to a high school or a technical school. He bought the engine mounted in a stationary frame at a farm auction because it ran well and the price was too good to pass up. Two years later he finally installed it in the tractor.
    “I had an old Farmall H that had definitely seen its better days,” says Messer. “The motor was frozen and was missing the carburetor, manifold and seat assembly and there wasn’t a bit of red paint on it any more.” He removed what was left of the motor, and says putting the Ford diesel in wasn’t too difficult once he figured out the frame modifications and how to adapt the motor to the drivetrain.
    “I removed some of the casting from the back of the block so it fit into the frame,” says Messer. “Then I had to drill and tap new holes in the rear of the block to mount the adapter plate.” With the help of a friend and his lathe, he removed the center of the Ford flywheel and used that piece for the adapter on the H flywheel.
    Adapting other components to complete the project required creative thinking and scavenging parts from other equipment. Messer moved the tractor’s lower radiator outlet to the other side so it lined up with the water pump on the Ford. He used the original H fan and when the blades didn’t fit the housing, he substituted blades from an IH B that he shortened to fit. The fuel filters are from a 750 Massey combine, and the hinge for the throttle linkage is from an old H generator bracket.     Messer adapted the Ford 3-bolt starter to the 2-bolt head on the original H and had a starter shop reverse the rotation. The new 12-volt electrical system kicks out plenty of power to easily start the diesel.
    Messer says his “new” H runs great and people at collector shows think the Ford diesel is original equipment. The only telling factor is the “HD” on the hood, which signifies H diesel in the same manner MD is used on diesel M Farmalls.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Bret Messer, 6125 N State Road 42, Quincy, Ind. 47456 (ph 765 318-0130; jmesser@ccrtc.com).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #6