Disasters Befalling Tractor Collectors

| 1/8/2010 4:25:32 PM

Sam Moore  
Sam Moore   

Let’s talk a little bit about some of the disasters, large and small, that befall tractor collectors.

Derby-style tractor pull
I witnessed one such sad event at a show several years ago. The exhibitors had organized an impromptu, derby-style tractor pull and several tractors were competing, including a very nicely restored 1925 McCormick-Deering 10-20 equipped with steel lug wheels. The track was loose dirt – not packed down much at all. The tractors all successfully pulled the sled the required 20 feet on the first round, more weight was added and the second round began. The old 10-20 hooked to the sled and pulled it a couple of feet when the left rear wheel began to spin in the soft dirt.

When a steel wheel equipped with spade lugs spins, the whole tractor jerks and jumps up and down, putting a lot of strain on both the tractor and the driver. With no individual rear wheel brakes, the driver can only leave it to spin or disengage the clutch. This driver let it spin. The left wheel caught, the right wheel began to spin and then caught suddenly, at which point there was a loud crack! The right wheel hub, made of cast iron to which the flat strap iron spokes were riveted, cracked wide open across its entire width while several spokes bent. It was enough to make a rusty iron lover weep.

Engine repair gone awry
I heard another story that could bring tears to the eyes of a tractor collector. A friend told me of a friend of his who bought a John Deere 730 tractor that was in beautiful shape with near-perfect sheet metal. The 730 had one problem: water in the oil.

The guy removed the hood and grille, pulled the head off the engine and found a bad head gasket. After suitable repairs, he reassembled the engine, started it up and it ran fine. It ran so well in fact, he decided to take the tractor for a spin, sans hood and grille. He backed the tractor out of his shop and right over the beautiful grille that he had carefully placed on the floor behind a rear wheel.

The last coat of paint
Many years ago, I put what I thought was the final coat of paint on a McCormick-Deering W-4 tractor. After the paint had dried, I draped a couple of old bed sheets over the tractor itself and threw towels over the separate gas tank, hood and grille to keep off the dust.


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