St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Farmall 350 Gets Attention

Parked back in the big shed is the Farmall 350 tractor.  It has been unused and unstarted for several years.   It was Dad's favorite tractor in his later years, with live power, power steering and live hydraulics and a Torque Amplifier and about 40 horsepower. 

It has set for many years as it is in need of rings, and possibly a whole overhaul.  It began burning a lot of oil and lost power and as Dad no longer could drive a tractor from his Parkinson's disease, it got moved to the back and ignored. 

I pulled it out yesterday and began trying to get it started.  The rubber gas line was chewed off; the points corroded, and the battery dead and not chargeable.  I picked up a new 6-volt battery at Farm and Fleet in Rice Lake, WI for $40 and installed it.  Turned over fine, but no firing even with starting fluid blown in the manifold.  

So I began the teardown with removing the two side hood panels.  Under the dash, a red squirrel had packed the area full with fiber from materials scavanged from elsewhere on the farm.  Cleaned it out and no noticeable damage -- just the mess. 

Then filed the badly corroded points and still no firing.  So put a new set of points on the list for a trip to Tractor Supply.  Next decided to find out why the choke wouldn't open or close.  Unbolted the carburetor and disconnected the gas line -- which was rubber and chewed off-- and got the carburetor off and loosened the choke plate mechanism and sprayed it all to soak with carb cleaner.  The needle valve appeared to be sticking, so soaking all of that and the float too.    #2 on the list of parts:  new gas line and more carb cleaner spray. 

My guess is with new points and a cleaned carb and new gas line, I should be able to get it started.  I plan to run it awhile to loosen everything up and then, if ambition continues, pull off the valve cage cover and inspect that to make sure, as we had seen one time many years ago, a rocker mount had come loose, causing problems.  

If I get it running, and if it runs somewhat OK, even burning oil, my next step is to mount a loader on it so I can have a functioning loader tractor here.  My WD Allis is in Pine Island, MN and is my loader tractor there --but without power steering not a great machine for a loader.   I think I can move the Paulson loader to the 350.  

Dad's big tractor, a Farmall 450 Diesel had a bad habit -- it would crack the engine head as it cooled down.  After three replacements and moving into partial retirement, Dad asked me to find him a smaller gas Farmall tractor down by Rochester, MN where we lived and small tractors were not as expensive as in NW Wisconsin.  

I found this 350 Farmall in decent shape for $900 about 20 miles SW of Rochester owned by a farmer who had much newer machinery.  Farmal 350s were made in the late 1950s for about 3 years, and although a good tractor, were a little under powered in the modern days of farming in the 1990s.  

I bought it, drove it 130 miles up to the farm where Dad did a little tinkering with it and then it became his main tractor as the 450 was left in the boneyard to ponder its head problems.  It gradually disappeared as parts were removed for other repairs on Byron's 400 and on neighbor's machines and tires, rims etc reused. 

The 350 ran the mower-conditioner, baler, corn picker, combine, and pulled 3 plows over the hard red clay hills.  Dad reconfigured the 3-bottom plow to a two bottom plow so it wouldn't strain so hard on the red clay.   

Along the way, it got rolled over in the ditch as a grandson made a turn from farm to road (he was lucky in a minor injury rather than major).  The power steering at times "lost it's prime" and became hard to steer, causing the rollover I think.  Had to keep the power steering fluid level high and things were OK. 

Eventually Dad was unable to drive tractor any more and the tractor was loaned to others to use a here and there.  For some reason or other, it began to use oil at an increasing rate rather rapidly and lost power to pull a plow or most anything other than itself.  And so it has rested in the back of the shed for many years, a squirrel home and taking up space.  

If I get it running again, and it seems to be functional, it may become a winter project to overhaul it with rings and if needed the whole works.  

Brother Marv with his HS FFA jacket and Ev get on the school bus on the farm a few years ago (1960?)