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Bad thing happened on the ride home with Farmall 400


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Bought a 400 at auction yesterday, needed to drive the 3 miles home, started to smell something, looked down and saw smoke about a half mile down the road. Stopped everything and got down, saw black goo oozing from the brake boot. Obviously hotter than I wanted to see, brake pedals were not locked, e brake wasn't set. Let it sit for a bit started it and went backwards, used brakes, went forward, put clutch in, used both brakes separately, all seemed fine. I drove it home and parked it till I could ask someone about, what did I wreck, what do I check now?

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Well you definitely had a brake stuck on. Boy did that get hot. Shouldn't be anything broken but if it was stuck when you started it would be a good idea to take it apart and at least clean everything up. New discs, springs, and balls can be had from many places if you need them.

Also not sure what you mean by e brake? There's the little park brake lock catch right in front of the pedals but thats all there is. Is that what you mean?

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Yes I meant the parking brake lock, the tractor wasn't even pulling to one side when I was down the road with it. I looked up the date of manufacture today, it is a 1955, same age as me. Started it up and backed it up, went forward a few feet, then couldn't get it back into reverse. It looks like I posted in the correct place, because this may be a project.

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I had the exact same thing happen to my 400. It sat for a few months along the road for sale and the day I sold it the buyer asked if I could drive it home for him it was only a couple miles. When I got into his yard the brake started smoking and locked up, it looked just like yours. I backed up and it released, I didn’t notice anything the whole drive there. I told the buyer what had happened and he said if it’s fine now he is ok with it.

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Had a similar thing happen on a Case 930 I have.  It doesn't take much dragging to cause that kind of heat. As it gets hot the dragging just gets worse from expansion of the brake parts. I just readjusted it then went on about my business. So far so good. I do have a little bit of seepage of gear oil on that side, so I don't know if I damaged the seal or not.

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That's a nice clean looking machine! I assume that is a Drott loader? Mine had a Drott KG9(?) loader, I believe.  On mine the hydraulic tank was to the right of the seat, not behind it like yours. It's always interesting to see the evolution of this old equipment, because with each rendition they seem to get it more refined and usually learned from their prior mistakes.

Looks like you're enjoying a little track tensioning there! That's always interesting with those old screw type tensioners.

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Seen many brake drums that got hot like that. Caused a few myself, although never so bad they were smoking. Always smelled them long before they started doing that.

Just hoped that Dad didn't see the scorched brake drum and chew you out for leaving the brake locked.

We never did anything immediately. In one case it actually improved the brake because it would grab and lock up before getting it hot, and after it worked fine.

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I'm only guessing but it could have been the brakes adjusted too tight. That could cause too much friction on the disc. Also you could have a seal that is leaking that caused the discs to be oil soaked and expanded.

It is just my two cents!

Let us know what you will find. Thanks good luck.

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The seal inside was fine, leakage was old goo inside that got hot and oozed out. The reason for locking up I think was the never seize did seize around the balls, was a crust built up. I polished the ramps up with a mold polishing dremel tool I had in my toolbox from when I built plastic molds, cleaned it all up and greased the balls with a film of high pressure lube. Hopefully it will be good when it is back on and adjusted. About myTD-9, it is a Hough Loader on it.

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I remember on my B414, 4343 and 444, the moment that the brakes became 'hard', I took the brakes apart, and cleaned out all the brake dust in there.  The secret of course is NOT to use any lube on the balls inside the 2 actuator discs, as that would just become a dust magnet. 

But that was before 1984, when we sold the farm..

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