1950 Ferguson TO-20 slow cranking problem - MyTractorForum.com - The Friendliest Tractor Forum and Best Place for Tractor Information
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-23-2019, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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1950 Ferguson TO-20 slow cranking problem

Good morning to all!! I have a Fergy TO-20 and it's sure been a help around this place since I got it. However, lately it seems to be harder and harder to start, i.e., slow cranking to the point of where I might only get 20 to 30 seconds of cranking before it won't anymore. The battery is relatively new (2 years ago) and it's all original as it still has the positive ground 6V system and generator. Once I get it started, it runs well and strong but that is the problem now - getting enough cranking to get it started.

I am probably going to look at cables, battery, and starter (in that order) and get a better picture of the old girl's electrical system. I am assuming that the starter is original so that would make it 69 years old and it sounds like bearings might be going in it?

Just looking for experienced advice from someone who knows a bit more about these tractors to let me know what exactly to look for. As always, your comments and suggestions are wlecome!!

- Jon

- Jon

2009 John Deere x540, 1950 Ferguson TO20
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-23-2019, 11:45 AM
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Re: 1950 Ferguson TO-20 slow cranking problem

"Slow cranking" as in actually turning over the engine? Or "slow cranking" as in the amount of time it actually takes to start? It shouldn't take 20-30 seconds of "cranking" to fire up if everything is normal.

If it's the speed of turning over the engine you're referring to, then it's possibly electrical and the battery may be the culprit despite being only a couple years old. A load test will tell you, and you can troubleshoot downstream from there. Get your meter out and start measuring.

If it's the amount of time it takes to start and the speed that it's turning over is normal for a 6 volt system, then compression is also a potential factor. Get your compression tester out and check the compression values.
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-23-2019, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1950 Ferguson TO-20 slow cranking problem

Thanks for your response.

When I say "slow cranking", I mean just that - it cranks (turns the engine over) very slowly NOT the actual time it takes to start. At this point, things do point to the battery but I am wondering now if the starter is worn enough where it might be unable to turn at the regular speed, due to worn bearings, bushings, etc. Like I said, I get 20-30 seconds of cranking and then nothing - as if the battery were dead.

I see on some YT videos where the owners crank for a couple of seconds and the tractor fires right up - and the cranking speed is considerably faster than what I am getting. Also, the starter has a grinding sound to it like someone taking a coarse-toothed file and using it on a piece of metal.

I will nose around and let you all know what I find out!

- Jon

- Jon

2009 John Deere x540, 1950 Ferguson TO20
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-24-2019, 11:35 AM
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Re: 1950 Ferguson TO-20 slow cranking problem

Starters can go bad and do more so than most people think.
However, I would start with ALL of the electrical connections along with the battery. Ground cable attaching points must be clean of rust, grease or oils between the cable ends and the surface they contact as well as the bolt that attaches the end to your ground point. You would be surprised what a bad ground connection can cause.
Every so often, I set aside a time to loosen all of my battery cables on all of my machines to check and thoroughly clean all of the connections, making them shiny like new again, before reattaching them. This sounds a bit like over kill, but I absolutely hate electrical problems, so I work to avoid having them.

Dave N.
Rust N Dust Acres
Kimberly, Idaho
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-29-2019, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1950 Ferguson TO-20 slow cranking problem

Here is an update: I cleaned all the connections that had anything to do with cranking the engine. Put it all back together and it still didn't crank long (about 10-15 seconds). Put the voltmeter on it when cranking and it dropped way off. Bought a new battery and it cranked a whole lot better. I might convert it to a 12V system just to get the cranking issue a bit better. Runs like a champ still; all I gotta do is get it cranked!

Thanks for all the advice - I really appreciate it!!

- Jon

- Jon

2009 John Deere x540, 1950 Ferguson TO20
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-29-2019, 10:35 PM
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I'm not sure if your issue is resolved, but i though I'd mention this. I have several times come to a "dead end" when it comes to slow cranking on both autos and tractors. I'd check all the connections/cables and grounds and replace the batteries and it would help some but not completely. At that point i can usually be very sure its the starter. Especially at your starters age, i would consider replacing it sooner or later.

Someone on this forum suggested me the site DB electrical for starters and i have been their customer ever since. They seem to sell good starters for good prices.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-29-2019, 11:10 PM
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Re: 1950 Ferguson TO-20 slow cranking problem

If it has 4ga. battery cables, replace them with 1/0, or 2/0 cables. You'll no believe the difference it makes. The 4ga. cables (automotive size) aren't heavy enough to carry the amperage, so it will appear you have a lazy starter.

I put a set of 2/0 cables on my Super C Farmall 5 years ago, only because the local NAPA store, where I had them made was out of 1/0 cable. You'd think it was hooked up to a 12V battery.

I recently bought a set of cables for my other Super C here. https://www.batterycablesusa.com/ I was looking at 1/0 cable, and for only a couple dollars more, I could get 2/0. On mine, one is 18" long, and the other 12" long. Both with shipping were under $29.00. These are very nice cables, with nice terminals, and shrink wrap beyond the terminals.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-04-2019, 10:00 AM
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Re: 1950 Ferguson TO-20 slow cranking problem

The advice about heavier cables is on target. It will make a huge difference. I had y my 8N starter rebuilt, bearings and brushes for $50 at a local shop and it cranks as fast as any other engine I have now. Drag in the starter is a big cause of slow cranking and high current draw shortening battery power.


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