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Was The Ford 8N or any of the N Series tractors any good?


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My Dad and Grandpa used an 8N as their primary loader tractor for feeding cattle up until the late 80’s-early 90’s when they quit feeding cattle. Other than getting into a low shed to scoop some manure, that was the ONLY thing the 8N was used for. It had a 55 gal. barrel of rocks on the back as a counterweight. I think they bought it used just for a dedicated loader tractor that could stay parked in the bunker year round. All the farming was done with Oliver’s and then IH’s after the 2255 broke a crankshaft with 400 hours on it. We had one place we parked the loader by a low fence to shovel hog manure into the bucket, it didn’t take long for the loader to settle so had to keep running back to raise it. The Ford moved a little manure, and most of the silage, but that was it. Never used it to move snow or anything else. After I was out of college and Dad wasn’t feeding cattle anymore he took the loader off and had it repainted, then my brother used it for a few years to water trees in his new grove. 

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1 hour ago, Dirt_Floor_Poor said:

I guess you could say that in spite of the N series success Ford farm equipment suffered the same fate as IH. You can no more buy a brand new Ford tractor than a brand new IH. By this logic the John Deere Two cylinder tractors are the only ones that were any good since they were built through the end of the 1950’s and the company is still in tact? I don’t see what one has to do with the other. If lack of a three point hitch is someone’s main complaint this is easily solved today with the availability of attachments for many old tractors. 
 

i think farmers in the past were much more astute than most people give them credit for. Just because a Ford salesman said it was a two plow tractor doesn’t mean that every farmer believed them. They knew what they were, especially by 1948. My grandfather had a Dearborn plow as well, but did not use the 8N as a primary plow tractor. Just because they won’t pull two bottoms as well as Ford claimed doesn’t mean they are useless either. I remember him recalling with laughter about many salesman's claims back then. Specifically how long it took to attach/remove fully mounted corn pickers and use the tractor for a different purpose that often required different tread spacing. 

Big difference. Ford got out of the Farm market and sold their share of that division off when they saw it as a wise move. IH took a nose dive and sold off the outdoor power product, construction and AG divisions at bargain basement prices and only managed to hang onto the truck division. There is a huge difference in ducking out when it's time to duck. It's another to sell out at fire sales prices when the company is failing. Ford is still selling shares. Go by and active IHC share.

 

Rick

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2 hours ago, iowaboy1965 said:

Rick,

    Sorry your banged up! Hope you heal up quickly.

How is the shop coming? 

  I'm not a N hater. It appears to me they were used on a lot of farms as a utility, especially after they had been around a few years and newer and bigger stuff came out. We all have to remember things were a lot different then. Farming practices,  building sizes, farm sizes for that matter also. The Ns could get in low small buildings of the day so I suppose loaders made sense to clean small livestock buildings.  A lot got Bush mowers mounted in the summer and blades in the winter. Yes a lot had tillage implements early in life and were sole power on small farms for a number or years. But for heavy tillage I believe ih and others did outshine them.  And different parts of the country made the Ford a better or worse  choice as well. I can see them being good for a small tobacco operation?

   In their day and time they had a place and still can if you like them and don't mind working around their short comings.

I too would like to see a picture of your M when you feel up to it. 

 

The shop is coming slower than I would like. I still have to finish the inside. 

shop706.thumb.jpg.062a712514eb7ce279dcdb6a8e3a6840.jpg

But the hip replacement and now the tailbone is holding things up.

 

Rick

 

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20 minutes ago, oldtanker said:

The shop is coming slower than I would like. I still have to finish the inside. 

shop706.thumb.jpg.062a712514eb7ce279dcdb6a8e3a6840.jpg

But the hip replacement and now the tailbone is holding things up.

 

Rick

 

That will be nice when done, and you will like it.

Ron

 

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17 minutes ago, oldtanker said:

Big difference. Ford got out of the Farm market and sold their share of that division off when they saw it as a wise move. IH took a nose dive and sold off the outdoor power product, construction and AG divisions at bargain basement prices and only managed to hang onto the truck division. There is a huge difference in ducking out when it's time to duck. It's another to sell out at fire sales prices when the company is failing. Ford is still selling shares. Go by and active IHC share.

 

Rick

That seems to be more of a commentary on the management of the companies than the quality of the products produced. The management of IHC has been debated to no end. If your entire appreciation for Ford and dislike of letter series IH is based on three point, or lack there of, why not just add it?  Are you doing hundreds of hours of moldboard plowing that you need draft sensing for? Were there not add ons for N series to increase their usefulness? Seems to me like a Sherman transmission on an N series is a major upgrade. I haven’t been on here that long, but I gather you like having this discussion. The decision of Ford to sell out and the decision of IH to sell out, albeit under different circumstances, both had the same result. That is no more Ford farm equipment and no more IH farm equipment, although blue and red tractors can still be purchased. All this is neither here nor there with the original question on this thread. Is three point a great invention? Yes. Does that mean every tractor that doesn’t have it sucks? No. If Ford farm equipment is the greatest thing ever it might also be worth pointing out that Fordson tractors, not IH tractors, rolling over backwards and killing people is the reason the three point was invented in the first place. 

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1 hour ago, oldtanker said:

The shop is coming slower than I would like. I still have to finish the inside. 

shop706.thumb.jpg.062a712514eb7ce279dcdb6a8e3a6840.jpg

But the hip replacement and now the tailbone is holding things up.

 

Rick

 

That looks nice! Hope your able to get back into fighting shape so you can finish it up soon.  

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28 minutes ago, nomorejohndeere said:

The real question is how good the N series would have been if they used Hytran........

 

Actually users today are telling new owners that Hytran works great in them......

 

Rick

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4 hours ago, oldtanker said:

But the hip replacement and now the tailbone is holding things up.

Wow! Sorry to hear, hope things will get better soon and the new shop looks great!

Ole Emmy  can be out of the weeds and be inside on her flat tire!....??

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6 minutes ago, TomH said:

Wow! Sorry to hear, hope things will get better soon and the new shop looks great!

Ole Emmy can out of the weeds and be inside on her flat tire!....??

Old Emmy can sit in the weeds and rust!

 

Rick

 

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1 hour ago, nomorejohndeere said:

The real question is how good the N series would have been if they used Hytran........

 

Not much better. They were okay for what is yard duty but anything else they were not up to par

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4 hours ago, oldtanker said:

It's another to sell out at fire sales prices when the company is failing. Ford is still selling shares.

IIRC they read the wind on when to get out of things they'd acquired in Europe too

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8 minutes ago, Ian Beale said:

IIRC they read the wind on when to get out of things they'd acquired in Europe too

Yep

Rick

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thank y'all for commenting ;) not sure yet if I am even going to bid for one of em yet still got 6 more days to do so its all online unfortunally. Have read somewhere that someone in Saskatchewan farmed a half section with a Ford 9N or 2N. There is another auction that has also a 8N for sale but its even an earlier one then the two in this one I talked about. Oh ya there is also a J.I Case threshing machine in working condition in that second auction lol 

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The N Series Fords I think where more for the 40 acre farm or even the European farms. Ford did sell the Fordson Major E27N here in North America which was more like an update of the Fordson N tractors I think that was a 3 plow tractor. 

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I personally would not want to own an 8N.  I generally would not look at anything earlier than the NAA Ford.

I think that context is important when discussing the Ford N-series.  Given the era, they were really handy tractors for the small farm.  My father recently restored a John Deere M which was built during the exact same years ('47-'52) as the 8N and roughly in the same horsepower class.  Comparing the M to the 8N, I would far rather use the 8N on a daily basis.  Hundreds of thousands of other people must have felt that same way.  The 8N sold over 540,000 tractors while the Deere sold just over 45,000.  Using that Deere seems like a climbing on a jungle jim in comparison to the Ford.  However, would I rather farm with a horse than an John Deere M?  No way.

Virtually all utility tractors since the '50s have followed the basic design format as the Ford and Ferguson tractors.  It is simply a winning design for versatility, center of gravity, and operator convenience.

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had an 8N with front distributor growing up and grew to like it... very light so it wouldn't rut up the ground if it was a little wet. Underpowered for hard work, but was a great shredding tractor... with the addition of an over-running clutch. lol

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10 hours ago, EquipmentJunkie said:

I personally would not want to own an 8N.  I generally would not look at anything earlier than the NAA Ford.

I think that context is important when discussing the Ford N-series.  Given the era, they were really handy tractors for the small farm.  My father recently restored a John Deere M which was built during the exact same years ('47-'52) as the 8N and roughly in the same horsepower class.  Comparing the M to the 8N, I would far rather use the 8N on a daily basis.  Hundreds of thousands of other people must have felt that same way.  The 8N sold over 540,000 tractors while the Deere sold just over 45,000.  Using that Deere seems like a climbing on a jungle jim in comparison to the Ford.  However, would I rather farm with a horse than an John Deere M?  No way.

Virtually all utility tractors since the '50s have followed the basic design format as the Ford and Ferguson tractors.  It is simply a winning design for versatility, center of gravity, and operator convenience.

The M was built in response to the N series however JD didn’t have a true competitor to them until the 40U.  And JD new that.  Had to bid their time until the 3 point patents expired.  

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11 hours ago, EquipmentJunkie said:

I personally would not want to own an 8N.  I generally would not look at anything earlier than the NAA Ford.

I think that context is important when discussing the Ford N-series.  Given the era, they were really handy tractors for the small farm.  My father recently restored a John Deere M which was built during the exact same years ('47-'52) as the 8N and roughly in the same horsepower class.  Comparing the M to the 8N, I would far rather use the 8N on a daily basis.  Hundreds of thousands of other people must have felt that same way.  The 8N sold over 540,000 tractors while the Deere sold just over 45,000.  Using that Deere seems like a climbing on a jungle jim in comparison to the Ford.  However, would I rather farm with a horse than an John Deere M?  No way.

Virtually all utility tractors since the '50s have followed the basic design format as the Ford and Ferguson tractors.  It is simply a winning design for versatility, center of gravity, and operator convenience.

  I look at the JD M in a different way.  The M replaced the H along with the L and LA.  The earlier tractors were meant for comparatively limited uses compared to the Ford N series.  The earlier tractors could do tillage on a small scale usually 5 acres or less but in the case of the H could also power things such as a sickle bar mower.  There were M's around here back in the day and in the neighborhood they actually outnumbered the Fords as there were no Fords but 3 M's.  The M's were the feature tractor for owners that had maybe 10 acres to handle annually.  They were most likely a garden tractor before the term was coined.  No doubt that when the patent expired on the three point hitch that gave JD the impetus to come out with the 40 but by the time the 20  series came out in 1956 JD had the 3pt hitch on all utilities and row crop tractors.  

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6 hours ago, Sterling B. said:

had an 8N with front distributor growing up and grew to like it... very light so it wouldn't rut up the ground if it was a little wet. Underpowered for hard work, but was a great shredding tractor... with the addition of an over-running clutch. lol

Our sole ranch wheeled tractor is a Ferg TEA 20.  As there is no plowing, no hay, no feeding etc it is basically a mobile power unit and adequate for what we do - mainly post holes, pto welder in its day, slasher, occasional grading, concrete mixer etc.  And it was paid for long ago.  Some days a two stage clutch would be nice though.

And for some jobs it is "just right".  I made a fence wire winder that goes on the post hole digger.  Found that you need to pull as slowly as possible to minimise whip of the loose end and subsequent wire jams.  The Ferg has enough power at idle of about 400 rpm to pull up to about 1.5 km of wire.  But it stalls if there is a jam before you wreck anything.

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  Don't know how it was in other regions around the US but the AC WD was a formidable competitor in the value tractor class that people might place the N's in.  I could find more WD's around here on a ready basis today versus N Fords.  It was said that the aggressive AC dealers could price a WD and plow within 250 dollars of an 8N.  The WD had slightly more engine power than a Farmall H.  

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if you really have a hankering for a ford, I would suggest a 600 or an 800 at the earliest.. if you are looking for something similar but a little different how about a dexta? variants of the 6 and 800 were available with live PTO.. personally I always wanted a Super Major, a friend has a Dexta, its a very useful little tractor. 3 Cyl diesel IIRC

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So, back in the day, there was the Funk conversion kits for a V8, has there been any other kits made since?

The couple N series tractor I run had a little usefulness, but pretty much found them disappointing because there just wasn't enough power. Now, if you could put a 25-35 hp pre-emissions diesel in one, with a little ballast I bet it would be one handy little unit.

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...I would  vehemently  disagree with the  folk that thought the wee small  Ford tractor is/was good for feeding out to cattle......it may have sufficed..if you were in a hurry...but no good  if you had to leave the tractor seat......

I was discing with a long frame BTD 6   crawler...and the home made offsets  ,this   for a sheep and beef farmer out in the boonies....It necessitated  bringing feul up a long easy slope , then through a very wet gully , and finally onto the hill face to be disced....The wee Ford tractor  ...and trailer was the 'prime mover '   in this case....and  at the end of the first day, s work..I had to walk back way down to my truck.....so the next day...after    a late start due to having to replace the spark plug leads........and walking way back up the hill.....

I covered around the plug leads    with a woolen coat .....which  Australians and NZ'er's call a "Swanny "".....The bloody cows ate half my coat, almost.......and placed fresh, wet  fecal matter on the rest of it...and chewed the plug leads again...to the point of having to walk back   down to my truck.....

My rising fitness levels helped with all this walking, next day after making up more plug leads....trudged back up the hill to the BTD6....and..in case you are wondering....the crawler  was always covered with a tarp...thus no damage was done to it.......

This convinced me to remove the plug leads   every day after this...place them in a metal tool box...( a  mandatory  requirement when using the venerable British built crawler........)......and the moral of the story......buy diesel.....every time...:rolleyes:........

Mike

....and @Pukeko..if you read this...it was Ralph Hadfield's   place !!

 

 

 

 

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