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Picked up another project, 1939 A

3516 Views 37 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Doubletrouble
My uncle and I picked this up to save her from a trip to the scrap yard. Just 3 miles away from the house.

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The old girl appears to be in decent shape cosmetic wise. At least not all beat up. Lifting/mounting pieces are worth a little something..!! Any implements with it..??

And from the looks of the style of tread on the rears, could it be possible they are originals..?? Look like the old Firestone closed center type tread on my old '36 F-12.

Neat little tractor's... I have 2 of them..!! :)
If you have something to pull it with, believe I'd try that first, instead of wearing your arm out. If the mag is timed right, you may be surprised how easy it will start. On my A, 2 cranks full choke, then knock the choke off, and on the 3rd, 99.9% of the time, she up and purring.

To be honest, I'd rather have a mag than a distributor. Dead battery..?? No problem..!! 3 cranks, and she's running..!!
Oh... Don't believe I'd have moved the mag... They are a little different than a distributor, and have an impulse, to kick the mag over when starting. The impulse is to be tripped at TDC. Lag angle is 35º. That's what you'll hear clicking when you turn it over. Might be an idee to find you a manual. If it at least popped, it was close.

If you're cranking by hand... Always..., ALWAYS keep your thumb on top with your fingers when grasping the crank. Never underneath. If it happens to kick, it will lay your thumb back further, than it was intended. I got schooled on that many moons ago, but saw some newbies at shows that found out the hard way . Not pretty...
Well just in case, here are the instructions per the I&T manual. Fairly simple, but sometimes hard to explain, and easier to understand out of the manual.

Hopefully the timing mark on the flywheel will still have a stripe of white paint on it. Lots easier to spot.

And if not in the video, the rotation of the mag is clockwise.

You should be able to click on the pic I posted, and print it off, to a full page size, so it is ledgeable.

Hope this helps. Keep us updated on the progress..!!


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Were you looking through the hand hole in the bottom of the torque tube..?? It takes a trouble light, or flash light to see the groove in the flywheel. It is beyond the starter ring gear. I might suggest finding it, brushing it off, and putting a some white paint on it to find it again. A paint pen may do well for that. As mentioned, all of mine already have them marked. They were that way when I got them, so not sure if someone else did it, or that way from the factory.
LOL...., don't know what I was thinkin'... DUH...

The timing mark isn't very wide. Maybe a 1/16" groove, w/DC on one side of the groove, and 1/4" on the other. Yes the pointer is what you align with.

Have you checked under the plug wire cap..?? They can get corroded, and get a build up on them. More than likely brass lugs if original. You can lightly scrape it with your knife blade, and clean them up. Rotor button too, can get a carbon build up to. Scrape, or some emery cloth will clean it well.

If it's huffing, it's trying..!! You'll get it..!!
1-1/2 turns on the main, and about 3/4 turn on the idle screw should get it close enough to start & run. You can tweek it after it warms up some.

Two things you may want to check. #1 the oil bath breather. If it's been setting out, could have taken on some moisture, and be too high to let it breathe. This is just assuming the hose is still in place between the breather, and carb. Flush & refill with some cheap 30 wt. if you have it.

#2. Where the fuel line goes into the carb. That El, is actually an inline filter screen. Or. at least there should be one there. Catches stuff that snuck by the screen above the sediment bowl. A little spray carb. cleaner, and some low psi air will clean them pretty well. If it gets past that screen, it will get sucked into the main discharge nozzle, and you'll need to remove it, and thoroughly clean, especially check the small cross drilled holes. Just a speck of something will clog one of those holes, and it will not run right.

It doesn't take much to flood them, so if it happens to pop, or huff, it may have enough gas. As mentioned, pull starting at the beginning is a lot better way, until you get the bugs worked out.

Not sure how fast you will be pulling it, but it doesn't have to be all that fast 3-4 mph or so. But do have the throttle at, between 1/3 to 1/2 throttle.

Hope you made some headway today..!!
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Did you set the mag, per the instructions on the page I posted..?? Crank engine, and get #1 on TDC. Losen mag, and turn clockwise as far as possible. Then, crank engine almost one more revolution, getting the timing mark on TDC once again. Then slowly rotate the mag CCW until the impulse snaps. Snug it down right there. Should be right on the money, if the mags timing marks are in the proper place with the crankshaft gear. If you have an older neon light type, timing light laying around, you can check the timing, via the timing mark on the flywheel. If the leads are long enough...

If you do a tune up, the dwell angle may change the timing, so re-time it. A lot depends on how much the points wear block is worn. I know on my old Chevy's with the dial in points set up's, dwell angle would change the timing, but timing will not change the dwell angle.

Make sure you use copper core wires, not hypalon. NAPA sells a copper core kit for up to a 6 cyl. with copper wire, ends, boots etc., for between $20 & $25. Or get some bulk copper wire, boots, ends, etc., and make you own up. Unless those are cracked, or really bad shape, they will probably do fine. Copper wires last almost indefinitely, as long as the rubber coating is intact, or the wires have been really crimped in a turn, and broke.

Not sure where you get your tune-up parts, but I believe NAPA or IH would be your best bet. Just be sure to tell them it is a mag. An H-4 mag to be exact. Breaker gap according to I&T is .013. I'm thinking an old IH, or Motor's Manual, manual we had here years ago said .013 -.015. We always set them at .014, a happy medium, per that manual. Never had any problems.

For plugs, I'd imagine you'll end up with Champion D-15Y's. Do expect them to carbon up within 50 hours or so. Or at least they used to... It is due to the protective coating put on at the factory. If you have a sandblaster type plug cleaner, blast, and clean with some carb cleaner, and compressed air dry. If not, a soft wire brush, such as a brass wire brush will clean them up. Spray with carb. cleaner, compressed air dry. Re-set, and re-install. Plugs are gapped @ .025.

That's not a stupid question on the cooling system. And, no they don't. The straight A's, B's and C series used what is called a Thermo-Siphon system. Hot water will perc out into the top of the radiator, and as it cools, will re-enter the engine block at the bottom. Unless you pull the living guts out of them, it does a very good job of keeping the engine within it's intended temp range. On hot days, or after working it pretty good, you will hear it gurgling well after you shut it off, which is normal. Just doing it's thing... Water pumps were put on, when the Super Series came out.

One other thing... If you can get the hood off without too much trouble. Look at the fan hub assembly. Behind the pulley grooves, in the flat space, look for the head of a larger screw. Should take a flat blade type screwdriver to remove. It should also have a small gasket under the head of the screw. Back that screw out, and place 4-6 drops of like 30wt. non-det. oil in there, and re-install the screw. Some manuals call to fill it to the top, then rotate until the hole is at the bottom, and let it drain, then put the screw back in... I just add 4-6 drops... Better than nothing, and not near the mess.
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How much free travel do you have in the clutch pedal? Should be about an inch, to inch and a half. Could be due to a slightly rusty flywheel or pressure plate because it's been sitting, and/or the pilot bushing could be worn too. Have you checked the trans. oil..??

That 90wt. ought to be slowing things down some, so as to get it in gear. I usually use 4th gear to stop the tranny from spinning, from the get go.

Will the engine rev up past, say half throttle..?? Could be the thrust bearing is out of the gov. if it won't. Then again, if the mag is in a retarded timing mode, it may not be able to pick up rpm's.

Bet that was a nice ride with a flat tire..!! LOL... At least it is moving..!!
The T-O bearing is a sealed unit, so no way to lube.

Engine should max out @ 1540 rpm, but as long as it does rev up, the gov should be working. If the thrust bearing is out, they will only go to about 1/3 throttle.

I use straight bulk radiator hose for the air intake hose. Places like NAPA carry "sticks" of that hose, and will cut to length for you.

Have you checked the oil bath breather yet..?? If the hose has a hole, it may have let water in, and has pushed the oil level up high enough, it may not be able to breathe properly.

You can pull the front cover off the gov., but be forewarned, if the cage that holds the tiny ball bearings in the thrust bearing is worn/broken, it will let the bearings drop out, and you will then need a new bearing. There is no return spring on the carb. It is inside the gov. housing. If you do take the cover off, do check the condition of the gov. spring. If the hooks are worn, I'd repalce it ASAP. If this spring breaks, it will let it rev, until something lets go. Just make sure your ignition/kill switch is always operational.

You said you did some carb. cleaning... Did you remove the carb. from the manifold to do this..?? I ask this, because sometimes when re-installing the gov. linkage rod to the carb., it can be put on in the wrong position, not allowing it to work, and binds on the block some. Don't ask me how I know.... :)
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Well, you got me there... I said binding on the block, and now that I think about it, it may have been binding on the little bell crank on the throttle shaft. as long as it's not binding is the main thing...

I don't believe you'll get resistance unless it is running. Just be careful with the rockshaft arm on the carb. side. It is cast aluminum, or pot metal, and they do break somewhat easily. Lets just say they won't take what a cast steel one will...

Yep, springs and thrust bearing are available. I keep a couple springs, and an extra thrust bearing in the shop. Not that they break all that often, but I have 5 tractors that have the C-113/123 engines. And if I have something break, seems it's 2 minutes after the dealer closes on a Saturday..., and I got hay down... :(
Here is an exploded view of the gov. @ Case/IH online parts manual. Just[/url] pulling the front cover off will let you into what you need to see, and/or work on. But really not thinking it is a gov. problem. Sounds more like giving it more fuel via the gov. activating than it can handle, or not enough fuel, or, a timing issue.

If the mag was not timed per the directions I posted with that manual page, the timing may be retarded enough to not pick up/advance the timing. Basically, the engine would be fighting itself.

Does it puff any black smoke when it try's to stall..?? Definitely a sign of too much fuel.

Another thing to check is the linkage between the rockshaft arm, and the carb. With the tractor NOT running, and the throttle in the wide open position, you should be able to easily slide the pin connecting the two. If not, remove the pin, and adjust the yoke, until you can slide the pin in and out.

If you do have the mag in time per the instructions, then I'd check the linkage, get it set, then tweek on the carb., and try leaning the main jet a bit at a time.

Then again, there may be a speck of something in the main nozzle of the carb. A little speck of something in one of the cross drilled holes will make it falter, by not being able to deliver enough fuel...

You just have to diagnose if it is getting too much fuel, or not enough. Setting that long, it may have some fine dirt stirred up now..., and clogging things up.
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Never boiled any carbs. Back years ago, when I was into restoring tractors and engines, I got a like 2 gal. bucket of carb. cleaner at Napa. It had a basket where you totally immersed the carb for a few hours, and it DID clean them..!! Those were for the ones that were pretty caked up with gunk on the outside.

Anymore, just a spray bomb carb. cleaner, and compressed air does the job. The floats can be touchy setting them, but the rest is pretty simple. Do remove the elbow going into the carb. There is a fine mesh screen attached to the el, or should be, & make sure it is clean.

If you do try boiling it, let us know how it works..!!
Are the weights moving freely..?? Not sure at what point it is hanging up, but travel is limited by the main spring when the weights spread. That is its purpose...

I haven't used any of the Majic brand paint from TSC, since they switched brands. As long as you get as decent primer underneath, it should be alright. I haven't checked out the paint enough to see if they still offer a hardner with this new brand or not. But, at $25.00 a gallon, I don't know if it will hold it's color for long. When I paint a tractor, I have always used the IH red from the dealer. It's been 25 years since I've done that, but still holding it's color well. Dad painted his Super C back in the mid 70's with the then TSC IH red. Within 5 years, it started losing the redness, and now, since I inheireted it, is somewhat orange-ish. Even with setting inside all of it's life when not in use. So guess you get what you pay for...
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