Farmall F-14 Project
This is the story of my 1939 Farmall F-14 restoration
(You can enlarge most any photo by clicking on it)

Last updated 10/19/2003

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As I found it
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Out of the Hedgerow
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It's New Home
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Heads removed
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Never seen this before!
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More parts on their way
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Transmission housing
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In the shop
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Rear ends together
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Getting ready to remove rear wheels
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New rubber all around!
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Just needs an engine!
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Just needs an engine!
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Choosing an engine!
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Finally a block!
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Pistons, sleeves and all!
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New and old heads
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Engine parts
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More engine parts
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Engine's coming together!
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Ready to reinstall
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Engine's back in the tractor!!
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Flywheel is on
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Running again!
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First trip in 30 years
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First trip in 30 years
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Final coat of red
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Finished right side
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Finished left side
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1939 F-14 Farmall
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October, 2000
All great journeys begin with the first step. Here the first step was dragging it out of the hedgerow. Dragging is the key word here as the brakes were solidly rusted in place along with the steering. The wheels were also well sunk into the terra firma. But we did get it out and with a little Yankee ingenuity and my skid steer got it loaded onto my trailer.

Upon getting my new treasure home, the next task was to get it unloaded. Fortunately the trailer has a hydraulic dump. After I got it back on the ground I started some preliminary cleaning, inspecting and dismantling to see what I was up against. Here is what I found. The front wheels and rims were completely shot. The rear tires are 40" and while the tires themselves aren't bad, one rim is rotted beyond repair from being underground and the valve stem on the tube is shot. The steering freed up with a little lube. The brakes were a different story. After finally getting the drums off I found the covers, drums, shoes and springs were all rusted beyond salvage. Additionally the linkage was severely worn and had been cobbled up numerous times.

I drained several gallons of water out of both the transmission and engine. I found the block cracked in the water jacket in the typical spot. The manifold was rotted away along with the remains of the exhaust pipe. I pulled the head and found all the pistons and sleeves were bad. One rod was bent, as you can see in the picture, apparently from ice. I wouldn't believe you could bend one in that manner without it cracking but it happened. Sitting outside for over 30 years takes it toll on everything.

If you notice the first pictures you will see that the steering post was shortened making it look similar to the F12. Apparently this was done to clear a low doorway somewhere in its past. The steering coupling was also welded solid to make matters worse. The drawbar had been broken and welded numerous times.

Now that the brakes are removed and the rear tire temporarily repaired & semi inflated, I rolled the hulk into the barn and continued to strip it down. In the meantime I started to look for parts. My best find was a parts tractor that you can see a portion of on my trailer along with my skid steer, which I used to load it. I picked it up from Charlie Shaffer. He often is selling parts on E-Bay. I also found after considerable searching an uncracked block, which came from Florida and is actually from an F12. Other parts turned up here and there including a rear rim from Paul Fox. You might like to check out his site on his F-14. I also found a radiator shroud & toolbox through one of the classified ads on Yesterdays Tractors. Some other parts were found in the ads on ATIS. The parts tractor provided numerous parts including all the necessary brake parts except for the drum covers. It also had a nice drawbar and another parts engine complete with a cracked block of course. An excellent source of parts for the early Farmalls is Rice Equipment Inc.. I have obtained numerous parts from them including new brake covers, gaskets, unusual seals and more.

I initially was going to start with the engine and even went so far as to repair, clean and paint the original block. At that point I came up with the uncracked block and in waiting for it switched gears and decided to work on the rear half instead. I stripped everything off the rear housing except the wheels. I found the inside in remarkably good shape despite the water in the sump. The gears all seemed fine, as did all the main bearings in there. I sandblasted and painted the main housing at this point before winter forced me to work inside. (The cover in the picture has yet to be done). Smaller pieces would fit in the blast cabinet but the tranny and eventually the rear wheels have to be done outside. The wheels will have to wait.

From that point it has been simply a matter of completely dismantling each assembly, cleaning, sandblasting and painting all the parts and pieces. I even try to salvage the original bolts if at all possible. My hands get cramped from holding all those bolts & nut in the sandblaster. I always try to choose the best part if I have more than one to chose from. Luckily there usually seems to be a good one of each part. I also replaced most all of the seals and some bearings along the way. Starting on the rear housing first actually worked out very well as I can now reassemble the sub assemblies and in turn assemble these to the main transmission housing. This at least let me visualize some progress. I have been painting each piece before assembly but plan on a final coat when final assembly is complete.

As you can see in the photos mine has the optional hydraulic lift and also the optional foot brake. The parts tractor also had the hydraulic lift, which was fortunate, as the pump was cracked on mine presumably from ice damage. I have the frame rails on and am currently working on the front end. I just purchased new front tires, rims and tubes from M. E. Miller Tire Co. .

Its now July 1, 2001 and I am preparing to remove the rear wheels. I have rolled it outside to provide more room and set up a small tent to work under. The past 7 months was probably the longest it had been under cover in its 62-year life span. As you can see the front end is back together and the new tires and rims installed. I also had the steering wheel recovered by Minn Kota Repair but it is covered in masking tape in the first picture. I have the rear wheels freed up on the axel but removing the rim from the wheel is giving me more trouble than I expected. The bolts and clamps are removed but that rust is a powerful bond. The one rim is shot as I knew but I'm hoping the other will be usable. Tomorrow will tell! At least it's starting to resemble a tractor again.

It's now August 8, 2001. It has taken a little longer than I anticipated finishing the rear wheels. I should expect these things by now! Unfortunately the rim I had hoped to salvage was not to be. To make matters worse I broke the cords in the tire trying to dismount it from that rim. I should have given up and just cut the rim away from the tire. Hindsight is always 20/20.

Soooo! I had to break out the checkbook and start searching for another 40" rim and a matching set of 40" tires. Well they're as scarce as hen's teeth! M. E. Miller Tire Co. came through again with one old stock 40" split rim and a pair of new 40" tires. I now have new rubber all around. I also had to replace all the rim clamp bolts as they were shot also. Trying to stay reasonably authentic I obtained 5/8" square head bolts from McMaster-Carr Supply along with heavy nuts. The sandblasting and painting of the rims and wheels at least went well and I gave the whole assembly another coat of red while I was waiting for the tires. She is back in the barn tonight and now I can whittle away at some more of the smaller parts as I prepare to tackle the engine once again.

Now lets jump ahead to February 6, 2002. I have been sidetracked a few times during the last few months working on some of my other projects. I have however finished most everything but the engine. The radiator proved to be the worst problem to date. After numerous attempts at repairing the old core I decided to scrap it. For each leak I repaired, 3 more appeared. It was just too far-gone. I contacted Rice Equipment once again and inquired about a new core. Unfortunately they had none but if I was willing to send them mine he said he could have one custom made for under $250. I had little to lose, as mine was junk as far as I was concerned. I went ahead and ordered one and sent mine to him. In less than 2 weeks a brand new core arrived at a cost of $225. He is a man of his word! The bad news was that it wasn't a perfect fit. It was about 3/16" short. I was however with a little fidgeting able to make her fit OK. I nervously filled it again with water as I had done with the old core dozens of times. This time it was a happier ending, NO LEAKS!

The air cleaner required complete disassembly along with the usual sandblasting etc. It, the gas tanks and the hood also required some dent removal and bondo applications. The large tank was also fiber glassed on the bottom to repair some pinholes. I then cleaned and coated the inside of both tanks with a Tank Sealer & Etch kit I got from The Shop .

A few other minor parts were also finished and all the above was assembled as much as possible for the time being. Some parts are only temporarily in place in the picture until time to install the engine. That's where I am at this point. I have three engine blocks now, two of which you can see on the bench. The painted one is the original and is cracked in the water jacket. It is repaired but I have chosen to use the one I got from Florida, as it's the only one that is not cracked in the water jacket even though its from an F-12. Tomorrow it's off to the machine shop with the block, cranks and cams to see what they think.

Now it's March 5th 2002. I'm getting discouraged! The really bad news is the machine shop didn't think much of any of my parts. The cranks are all bad beyond repair. The cam is questionable and it turns out the F-12 block is cracked between two of the cylinders. UGH!
Its apparently possible to repair this block but since its not really the right one (different casting # and a few minor differences) and still requires repair, I'm thinking I would like to still find an F-14 block in good shape. I have already searched in vain locally for an intact block and I spent $300 getting the F-12 engine from Florida only to find its little better than what I had. I am losing my patience and do not want to repeat this procedure again nor throw any more money away on useless blocks. I just want to get an engine I can use.

March 8th 2002. I found a copy of the VALU-BILT catalog and flipped through it hoping to find a rebuilt engine for the F-14. Nope! Not one to give up, I called them anyway and after a little searching they came up with a good 4818D block in their warehouse that they could rebuild for me. Bad news is it was expensive but at least I get a guarantee and am assured it's a usable block and already has the crank, cams, pistons, timing gears, etc. installed and ready to go. In reality the price isn't that bad considering what's already done for me. I got thinking about the head too and didn't want to repeat my mistakes on it either. I decided to go ahead and order a rebuilt head while I'm at it.

March 18th 2002. The rebuilt engine and head arrived today! You can see them both in the pictures on the left. I just got the engine mounted on the stand. It's painted gray so I will just spray it red before continuing. Everything's installed as promised and all looks good. The head has new valve guides and hardened seats installed. I still have to install the valve train but that was expected.

March 20th 2002. While I was waiting for the rebuilt engine to arrive I was working on some of the remaining engine parts. I disassembled, cleaned, sandblasted and painted a pile of parts. Some of them you can see along with the heads lying under the tractor. Some others are in the process of being painted. Still others that don't require paint are oiled and awaiting reassembly.

March 31, 2002. The engine is starting to take shape now. The front cover is on along with the main part of the governor. The governor received all new bearings also. I've also installed the oil filter and magneto bracket. I'm in the process of rebuilding the fuel pump. After that I have to install the valve train in the new head and install that. Then comes the magneto and carb! Oh boy!

April 12, 2002. I cleaned up some of the old valves from my original head and found them to be in surprisingly great shape compared to the actual head they came out of. All but one was usable and I came up with another good one from another head. The shafts all miked out perfect so I lapped them in place and reassembled the head and installed it. Finally something seems to be going well!

April 22, 2002. The fuel pump rebuild seemed to go according to plan. The carburetor was a bit more trouble but with lots of penetrating oil and a little heat, everything finally was persuaded to come apart. The main parts got sandblasted and thoroughly cleaned. I ordered a carb kit from VALU-BILT which included the throttle shaft which was very badly worn. A few other parts were ordered from Rice Equipment . Between the two suppliers I came up with enough parts to rebuild her. However the throttle shaft was not an exact match and required a little modification to suit me. Both the pump and carb are now in place. I'm not sure about the carb adjustments however.

May 1, 2002. I have disassembled the magneto and started cleaning the parts. This is the first magneto I have ever worked on so am awaiting a book and a CD on it before proceeding much further. I did notice that the magnet is broken in two and was held together by just the clamp. I had previously picked up a cheap E4A mag and hopefully can use the magnet off that. I even ordered a manual on how to build a magneto magnet recharger off Ebay.

May 13, 2002. I decided to go ahead and put the oil pan on and reunite the engine with the tractor. It was one of the biggest moments thus far in the project. Its really starting to come together and one can almost envision the day it will live again! I hooked up the radiator hoses and air cleaner. Since the original clutch seems to be in exceptionally good shape also, I think it should clean up easily and be usable as is. I already have welded and redrilled all the sloppy holes in the clutch linkage. The clutch coupling still needs a lot of TLC though. The magneto info has arrived too so I need to finally tackle that problem. It looks complicated but I guess I will just have to take it one step at a time. I guess I'm lucky in the respect that according to the info, the most commonly broken parts seem to be intact on mine. The magnet being the only exception. I also ordered points, condenser, and the brushes for the cap again from Rice Equipment .

June 2002. The CD I received from Karl Olmstead on the F-4 magneto rebuild proved to be a godsend! Following his instructions I managed to get the mag working in tiptop order. I highly recommend it! I did have to pick up another magnet, as the E4A magnet was too large. I went ahead and installed the magneto even though I still want to replace the oil fillers. I figure I will remove it again before the final paint job anyway and maybe I can find some before that. The clutch all went together with no problems. I did rebuild the coupling between the clutch and tranny however. I got new rubbers from Rice Equipment and built up the worn parts by welding and remachining. It came out very well also.

July 2002. I cleaned up all the gas line fittings and decided to bend my own fuel lines from 5/16" steel brake line. I didn't care much for the copper lines I bought for it. With the gas tank now permanently installed its really looking like a tractor again! Unfortunately I'm going to have to take a break from this project and do some work on my Cat D2, as I need to use it this summer.

August 2002. Still working mainly on the Cat but occasionally putter around with this project too. I finished some of the minor details like the plug wires, throttle and spark linkages, temperature gauge, etc. I spent some time just looking at it trying to think if I forgot anything before the big day arrives when I try and start it. It's getting close.

September 2002. The Cat D2 has taken much more time than I anticipated for the few things I was going to do to it. Each one led to something else and none went smoothly. The time has come to get serious about starting the F-14 up if I want to finish it this year. I filled the system with plain water. I lubed everything in the engine with STP when I assembled it but wanted to prime the oil system somehow too. I rigged up a way to force oil into the oil galley under pressure and added about a gallon of oil this way. I then filled it up the rest of the way to the upper petcock.

September 21, 2002. It's a Sunday afternoon and I have decided today to try and start the beast! The Cat D2 is still in the doorway so I can't get the F-14 outside to try it. What are the chances of starting it the first time using just the crank?? I poured some gas into the tank and gave everything one last look over. I set the spark to the start position and opened the throttle part way. I remembered reading how to crank the engine safely in case it kicked back. I place my right hand on the steering gearbox and grasp the crank with my left making sure not to wrap my thumb around the handle and give it a quick jerk upwardÖ. Nothing! Not that I expected it to start on the first crank anyway. After all it will probably take a minute to pump fuel up to the carb. That is if everything is working properly! I repeated the same sequence several times with exactly the same outcome, Nothing! I decided to shut off the spark and crank it with both hands several times to get fuel up to the carb.
OK, now I will turn on the spark again and try the upward jerk method. On the first attempt there was a definite pop! I'm encouraged! Second attempt, Nothing! Third time is the charm and it roars into action!!! Uh-oh. Its revving way too fast so I immediately shut off the spark. Something's wrong with the throttle or governor linkage but I did hear it run at last! I also notice a couple leaks in my gas lines. I know that one line was a wee short and I tried to make it reach. Tomorrow I have the day off so I will try to fix these things and try again. All in all it was a very satisfying day! I've given life back to a machine that had set idle for close to 40 years and would have otherwise rusted into oblivion!

September 22, 2002. I fixed the short fuel line with another piece. I also adjusted the governor linkage quite a bit to slow it down. I check the oil again and all seems OK so I attempt to start it again. I cranked it with the spark off again since I had the fuel lines apart. After that it started easily with a couple quick pulls! This time its running at a much more reasonable speed. I check the oil pressure gauge and its reading good pressure. I haven't installed the fan belt yet so keep an eye on the temp gauge also. I let it run and try to adjust the carb some as its running pretty rich. I notice another small leak in the gas lines. Damn! Might as well shut it down and fix that.

October 2002. Been working on the Cat again trying to get it out of the way so I can get the tractor outside and drive it. I finally got the gas lines fixed and ran it briefly again to adjust the carb. It sounds much better now.

October 7, 2002. I decide today might be a good day to get it outside and drive it around a bit. I decide to recheck the head torque and valve settings first. I give it a look over and notice some water around a couple of the head bolts. Not a good sign so I check the oil and you guessed it, WATER! Damn! Damn! Damn! I drain the oil and there is well over a quart of water in it. Some of it must have been in it the last time I ran it too as its mixed well with the oil. Damn again! I pull the valve cover and find lots of clean water lying in there. The oil filter is also full of clean water. Not a good Day!

October 25, 2002. I pulled the head back off since this seemed to be the source of the leaks. I notice signs of leaks between the water and oil passages but not around the cylinders. It also appears to have leaked around a couple of the bolts that penetrate the water jacket even though I put some gasket sealer on them when I installed them. I posted some questions about the leaking gasket on the ATIS mailing list and Yesterdays Tractors discussion board. It was recommended to use some spray copper gasket sealer available at NAPA on the head gasket and use Permatex sealant on any bolts or studs that enter the water jacket. Several also recommended adding a coolant system sealer such as Bars Leaks to the coolant. I followed this advice and reinstalled the head. I left the drain plug out of the oil pan for several days after filling the radiator. I wanted to see if any water still leaked out. After a few days there were a couple thimblefuls of water/oil mixture in the bucket that I left under it. I believe it to be remnants of the mix still remaining in the engine from the first time.
I decided to add oil again with a new filter and start it up keeping an eye on everything. I let it run until the operating temp was in the normal range. You can see it running in the barn in a couple of the pictures. I shut it down and checked the oil. It looks OK so far. I will check the head torque and valve adjustments again when it cools. Maybe let it set for a couple days and then check and drain the oil again. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's OK this time!

October 17, 2003 Wow! Itís been nearly a year since I last updated the web page. The F-14 was put on the back burner for the winter and most of the summer too. I had to repair the transmission in my D2 cat over the winter and worked on a ďnewĒ IH 574 this summer.
I did occasionally start the F-14 and check the fluids, which seemed to remain fine. No more signs of water in the oil or vice-versa. There was always another project in front of it in the shop until late this summer. Finally in August I had space enough cleared to get it out of the barn and try it out. I hadnít installed the fan belt since it is a pain to do and I still had another coat or two of paint left to go. I felt it would be OK as long as I watched the temp gauge and didnít let it overheat.
It seems to start easily with the hand crank except for one problem. If it sits for a period of time it seems as if the gas drains out of the line and it takes a bit to get it up to the carb again. Not sure of the problem there, but its minor and Iím not going to worry about it right at this point. Once the gas is there it pops right off. I've adjusted the carb and got it running much better than my first few runs.
I climbed aboard, put it in gear, released the clutch and off I went. My first thought was that the term ďergonomicsĒ had not yet been invented when this was made. To say that the F-14 is a bit cumbersome to operate is an understatement. At least for someone my size. Fortunately itís a slow moving beast which allows you time to wriggle your foot onto the clutch when needed. I was worried about the adjustment of the brakes in relation to the steering but to my surprise it seemed to be just fine. I ran it around the yard a couple times then took it up the hill and around my field a couple more. There I stopped and took some pictures. A couple of which you see here. I repeated the test drives a few more times just to make sure all was working well. I made sure to check all the fluids each time but all remained as it should.
It certainly was a good feeling to be able to drive her around under her own power again. Especially since she had been abandoned in that hedgerow for so long. My only regret is that I didnít finish it in time for the original owner to see her in her glory again. He passed away about midway through the restoration.
I decided the time had come to apply the final coats of paint. I gave it a good cleaning to remove the dust and any oil or grease that had settled on it. I then parked it under my enclosed tent. The weather then turned very nasty here for a couple weeks with unusually cold temperatures and rain or snow. Naturally on any days that I had time to work on it, the weather was at its worst. I felt that time was getting short for this year and I really wanted to get this done. I removed the tires and masked off or removed everything that I didnít want red. Finally we got a dry day with the temp in the 50ís. I placed a big heater in the tent in the morning and let everything get nice and warm. I removed the heater about noon and began painting. For the final coat I used Magnet Paints International Red with their hardener added to it also for a glossy finish. Iím pleased with the outcome.
Finally assembly time has now arrived. I reinstalled previously remove items along with the fanbelt and removed all the masking tape. The last step was the decals. These are the Mylar type. I trimmed all excess off the edges of the decals. I then applied a little water with a couple drops of dish soap to the area where each went to allow positioning. Then I squeegeed out all the air and water. Itís hard to believe but the F-14 project has finally come to an end! The weather is supposed to turn ugly again the next day so I want to get some pictures before it does. The leaves are turning and should make for a nice background.
What began in October also ended in October. Three years have passed in between. What did it cost? I donít even want to know! Would I do it again? Heck yeah! I would like to extend my thanks to all those who helped me in any way with this project. I appreciate all the advice and help locating parts I received especially through the Internet. I couldnít have done it without all your help and vast knowledge.
Thanks again and I hope you enjoyed seeing the project unfold.
Tim Wafer

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