1951 Ford 8N Serial # 362570
The "St.Jude" Restoration Project

This 8N restoration project was completed in 2002-2003.
This is the webpage just as it was created during the restoration process.

7-10-02 This 1951 Ford 8N tractor will be undergoing a full and complete restoration from the ground up, both mechanical and cosmetic, to return it to like new original condition. This page will be updated regularly to follow the progress until the tractor is completed.

Before restoration

Upon completion of the restoration the finished tractor will be donated to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital annual charity auction and pork chop dinner which will be held in Brimfield, Illinois on April 12th, 2003. The tractor, along with it's original Ford tool kit and operators manual will be sold to the highest bidder and all proceeds will benefit St. Jude. Some background: In early June we asked Steve Parker, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Ford/Fordson Collectors, if he knew of a straight 8N we could buy for this project. Steve contacted several other Ford guys and Marvin Baumann in Michigan offered a nice 8N that he had available. He kindly agreed to bring the tractor to Illinois and he and several others have generously contributed to the purchase. The tractor is exceptionally straight and original with excellent sheet metal. The Proofmeter shows only 1557 hours and by all appearances this is probably correct. A quick appraisal finds the engine to be solid but a little tired (smokes), a noisy bearing somewhere in the transmission, and one loose rear hub. Everything else seems in great shape. This is certainly the nicest original tractor we've ever had for a restoration project and will be a pleasure to work on.


7-14-02 Except for some of the component assemblies like the steering box, transmission, and lift cover, the tractor is completely disassembled. Now, each part gets inspected and separated into piles to go to the sandblaster, machine shop, etc. A list will be made of new parts to order and the solvent tank starts running to get everything cleaned up.


7-18-02 The first load of parts is degreased and ready to go to the sandblaster. The calcium chloride was pumped out of the rear tires and all four dismounted. Fortunately, the original rear rims look good inside and out with no major corrosion. The hood is the best one I've ever had. There's no rust and no dents which is very rare. Rear end and axle housings were blasted clean inside with hot soap at the do it yourself car wash.

bearings bearings

7-19-02 The transmission is apart and all the gears look good. The bearing noise wasn't hard to find - all the bearings are badly rust pitted from moisture in the gear case. The differential carrier bearings are pitted also. All the bearings will be replaced.

Starter & generator

7-27-02 While we wait for the majority of the parts to get sandblasted and the engine to get back from the machine shop, we will work on cleaning and rebuilding some of the components on the tractor. Here, the starter and generator are being rebuilt.

Steering box

7-27-02 The steering box is in good shape and will need only new bushings, new seals, and a new upper shaft bearing.

Hyd lift parts

7-28-02 Rebuilding the hydraulic lift controls. Some shadetree "mechanic" has bent the long control rod to avoid replacing the worn cam follower pin. The lift cylinder has some deep scoring in the bore. Fortunately, we have some good used replacements.

New bearings

7-30-02 Preparing to install new bearings on the differential carrier and transmission shafts. We use a high tech bearing heater (old toaster oven) so the warm bearings drop right on and no hammering is required.

Paint supplies

7-31-02 We've collected all the paint supplies for the project. One gallon of gray primer for the gray parts, one gallon of red primer for the red and black parts. Two gallons of lacquer thinner for the primer. Five quarts of red acrylic enamel, one gallon of gray acrylic enamel, one quart of silver for the rear rims and one quart of black for the seat, radiator, radiator cap, etc. Two gallons of enamel reducer and 2 pints of hardener for the paint. Also some sandpaper, abrasive pads, stir sticks, strainers, and a roll of masking paper. Buying this type of paint is not for the faint of heart - the total retail cost for what you see here was about $840.

Spraying primer

8-3-02 All the parts are back from the sandblaster and most are ready for a coat of primer. With temperatures here in the 90's and humidity over 90%, the bare metal will start to rust soon if not covered. Here we're spraying some of the pieces that will be painted red with red oxide primer in our state of the art paint spraying facility.

Red primered parts

8-3-02 The primered parts in the drying area.

Engine block

8-9-02 Parts are back from the machine shop. The engine block and pan have been hot tanked, the crankshaft reground, the flywheel resurfaced, and a new ring gear installed. Once the oil pump bushing and wrist pin bushings are resized the engine reassembly can begin.

Differential assembly

8-13-02 A milestone - the first major component which begins the reassembly, the rear end housing, gets the differential carrier, pinion gear and axle housings installed. The pile of parts will begin to resemble a tractor again soon.

Transmission assembly

8-14-02 Assembling the transmission internals with all new bearings and cups.

Trans & differential

8-15-02 Transmission is assembled and attached to the rear end. We have an extra Sherman Step-up transmission on the shelf and this looks like a good place to use it.

Trans & differential

8-22-02 The rear lift cover is rebuilt and installed as well as the steering box, shifter plate, hydraulic pump, pto shaft, and Sherman transmission.

Engine assembly

8-26-02 The engine is being reassembled with all new pistons and sleeves, new valves and guides, new bearings, etc.

Ready for paint

9-3-02 Another milestone! Thanks to some volunteer help from a friend, all of the mechanical repair and rebuilding is finished and the main part of the tractor is assembled. Now we switch gears and begin the long hours of priming and sanding to prepare the accessories and the sheetmetal parts for painting.

Ready for paint

9-3-02 Several parts have been spot painted or edged with the red paint so that it will be behind and inside all the places it should be. Next step is a thorough cleaning and scuff sanding, masking where necessary, and then the finish coats of red paint will be applied.

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