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Project Super C - Mission: Transmission, Part 1

FBN Network

18 July 2018

This is the second post in our ongoing series on Project Super C. We are chronicling the rehabilitation of our 1954 Farmall Super C tractor, which has taken up residence outside of the Farmers Business Network office in California. If you are new to this series, please read the introduction to the project in our prior post.

Transmission Exploration

In order to get the tractor rolling (our first major goal), the first project is to figure out why the rear wheels and gearshift are seized. What we discover has the potential to make or break the entire Super C project, because if the transmission or differential are in bad condition it could be very costly to repair them. For all we know, the tractor might have been retired due to major damage to these parts.

We knew that the transmission oil had not been drained from the rear end of the tractor, as it was slowly seeping out, so we decided to start by draining it. That yielded our first surprise.

Watch the video below to see what came out.

As you can see in the video, there were several gallons of water at the bottom of the transmission case. What remained of the transmission oil was a thick, nasty smelling sludge that had been floating on top of the water. This isn’t good news at all. It means that at least some of the gears have been marinating in water for years, maybe even decades, and might be completely rusted out and destroyed.

To determine that, we’ll need to get access to the interior of the transmission case so we can get a look at the gears. That requires removing the seat and the lid of the transmission case (see the red arrow in the picture below).

Seat Excavation

When we went to remove the seat, we noticed that the ride comfort was going to be a little… rough. The seat spring (which should be at the left of the picture below) is completely missing (it was probably scavenged for parts), and the shock absorber (at center in the picture) is in terrible condition and has leaked all of its fluid. It won’t be absorbing any more shocks.  

Removing the seat proved to be a much bigger project than expected due to parts being both painted and rusted together. We ultimately had to cut through the bolt attaching the bottom of the shock absorber in order to get it off.  

Finally, we got the seat off, but it took so long that we didn’t have time to open the transmission case and get a look. We decided in the interim to refill the transmission case with diesel to cut the remaining oil sludge and help to dissolve rust that may be present.

(Keep reading!) in the next post, we cracked open the transmission case to discover what’s going on inside. We’re crossing our fingers that the gears are not rusted beyond repair!

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FBN Network

18 July 2018