Project Super C, Pistons Revealed

FBN Network

Feb 27, 2020

This is the 13th 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. If you are new to this series, please start with the introduction to the project in our first post.

Where we left off in our last post, we had removed the engine’s head to expose the cylinders and had discovered a sad landscape of water and rust.

This time, we’re going to attempt to remove the rust and debris to assess the underlying condition of the cylinders and pistons. We will then decide what to do next.

We started by vacuuming out the rusty water and digging out the sludge in the cylinders. A drill with a wire wheel also helped to remove layers of rust and carbon. 

The sludge in cylinders 3 and 4 (at left in the above pictures) proved to be a mixture of water, rusted metal, and carbon buildup. As we dug out the sludge, we discovered this large and interesting looking lump of carbon and metal deposits:

With the cylinders excavated and fully cleaned up, the tops of the pistons were exposed and we could assess the damage:

Surprisingly the piston in cylinder 4 (at left above), which was submerged in water, is in the best shape of the four! It may be that the standing water prevented oxygen from reaching the piston so that it didn’t rust, in similar fashion to what we discovered in the transmission. That’s where the good news stops, though— moving to the right, the piston in cylinder 3 is so corroded that it looks like it melted! 

The tops of the other two pistons are also partially eaten away by rust. 

At this point, if we’re going to get this engine working again, we’re going to need to replace the pistons. This isn’t great news, but the parts we need are available if we choose to go this route. First though, we’re going to need to get a look at the rest of the engine’s internals to assess their condition. This is going to require removing the engine from the tractor, which will be the topic of the next post!

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FBN Network

Feb 27, 2020