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1953 Louisville Super M


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I bought this tractor about a month ago and asked some questions on the hand clutch, but figured I should keep track of other things in a separate project thread while I get it operational. The tractor did not run and I was told it had "TA" issues when I bought it. I'm an AC guy but I quickly figured out before I bought it that it does not have a TA, ha. So, my first focus was the hand clutch. It had a homemade cover plate on it that didn't hold position of the throwout bearing very well. Got a replacement cover and put that on there, adjusted the nut on the hand clutch, and then went to working on getting it running to test things out.

One issue was no spark. I found the coil wired backwards (or probably as original, since the tractor was converted to 12V negative ground at some point) and then I swapped some ignition parts over from one of my ACs and ultimately removing the condenser gave me weak spark. I ordered a whole Tisco ignition kit and installed that, and finally had decent spark. Poured gas in, pulled the choke, and the tractor started right up. It drives forward and backwards pretty well now so I'm hoping the hand clutch was just in need of adjustment and the right cover.

Now that I've gotten it to drive, I need to go through the rest of the tractor. I went through the owner's manual and looked over the tractor and came up with the list below, but being new to these red tractors, is there anything I've missed that commonly needs replaced?

SAE 30 engine oil & Filter + change air cleaner oil and clean out mesh as needed

80W-90 oil for transmission

Some sort of hydraulic fluid for engine-driven hydraulic system

Air intake hoses

PTO shaft seal

Coolant and hoses

Fan & Alternator belts

Carb kit

Valve cover gasket

Distributor felt seal (already replaced rest of ignition parts)

I have a number of other things that are lower priority (gauges, drawbar roller, switches, wiring, seat parts, etc.) that I plan on getting in the near future.

1953 Super M.jpeg

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I should state my goal for this tractor is to get it operational and caught up on maintenance - no paint or anything fancy at this point in time. I have about 20 acres of tillable to mess around with and I plan on disking with this tractor, and a few miles of brush cutting to do to make firebreaks for prescribed burning.

Here's the SN plate for documentation.

SM SN.jpeg

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Nice machine.  I like that live hydraulic pump.

Those old tires on there should perform pretty well at the local farm stock tractor pull (assuming you have one close by).  Your Super M should be able to get down into the 5500 lb class easily enough, if you're interested in such things.

 

We have a Louisville Super M as well.  Dead reliable, sweet running old tractor.

Good luck with yours.  You'll get it sorted out soon enough.  

20210903_161214.jpg

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TN Hillbilly, so far I just never have been able to get too interested in pulling. Nothing against it but give me a choice between a pull and a plow day, and I'll be at the plow day. Who knows though... After I get this tractor fully operational, maybe I'll give it a whirl. Your tractor looks great with much less sun time on the paint than mine!

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On 8/6/2022 at 5:05 PM, Sam_SWIN said:

Looks like a fairly straight tractor. I always wanted one with hand clutch and 9 speed. 

A 9-speed would be cool. Honestly if I'd had a choice I would've rather not had the hand clutch on this tractor (due to parts availability - and probably not needing to do much PTO work) but if it keeps working fine, then I'm happy to have it.

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On 8/7/2022 at 11:52 PM, wjohn said:

TN Hillbilly, so far I just never have been able to get too interested in pulling. Nothing against it but give me a choice between a pull and a plow day, and I'll be at the plow day. Who knows though... After I get this tractor fully operational, maybe I'll give it a whirl. Your tractor looks great with much less sun time on the paint than mine!

Agree totally. However, there aren't near enough plow-days around me to feed the appetite. Pulling helps and has a certain addictive quality to it!

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  • 3 months later...

I got stalled on my AC WD project when I discovered I needed a replacement block, so I pulled the SM up to the shop to change oil and filters. It started right up, and I quickly discovered I hadn't gotten the governor shaft realigned correctly with the throttle shaft. I had pulled the carb off to measure the throttle shaft length. Won't make that mistake again! As I got close to the shop, I had to play with the choke a lot to keep it running, and then it died right after I pulled up and couldn't get it restarted. I'm sure the fuel system is all clogged up.

There was 1/4" of sludge on the oil pan drain plug, and about the same in the base of the oil filter housing, so I figured I'd better drop the oil pan. It was pretty nasty. I was worried the pickup screen would be blocked but it wasn't too bad. Of course the oil pressure gauge doesn't move at all... Add that to the list of parts.

Minus the sludge things are looking okay so far. I'm planning on getting new oil pan and valve cover gaskets, adjusting the valve clearances and checking for sludge up top, and refilling with non-detergent oil and running it for a while.

I seem to have a leak near the front of the transmission cover so I may be pulling that off to re-gasket as well.

 

Super M Filter Housing.jpeg

Super M Oil Pan.jpeg

Super M Pickup Screen.jpeg

Super M Bottom End.jpeg

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My opinion the letters don’t get up to temperature these days . I don’t get my Farmall C much  above  150 F that’s a sludge maker. Needs to be 180 or 190. I just don’t run mine they way we use to all day hard in the field the way they were designed. 
check your thermostat ,I recommend A a temperature as high as you can get like 190 for just putting around . Are you going to work hard ? I put a meat thermometer in the warmed radiator and measure the temperature for benchmark before I do any changes .

while you got the pan off do a check of your oil pump and bring back into spec , good maintenance ,well worth it and get a new gasket or make one they known to blow out on letter series cause the bottom plate is not longer flat. 

if interested also check for antifreeze around bottom of wet sleeves while pan is off . Be sure to flush it out and put in fresh antifreeze.

you could also get some plastic gage and check the rods and mains to see what you got there .

I’ll stop there ,you probably heard enough from me 
 

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13 hours ago, 560Dennis said:

My opinion the letters don’t get up to temperature these days . I don’t get my Farmall C much  above  150 F that’s a sludge maker. Needs to be 180 or 190. I just don’t run mine they way we use to all day hard in the field the way they were designed. 
check your thermostat ,I recommend A a temperature as high as you can get like 190 for just putting around . Are you going to work hard ? I put a meat thermometer in the warmed radiator and measure the temperature for benchmark before I do any changes .

while you got the pan off do a check of your oil pump and bring back into spec , good maintenance ,well worth it and get a new gasket or make one they known to blow out on letter series cause the bottom plate is not longer flat. 

if interested also check for antifreeze around bottom of wet sleeves while pan is off . Be sure to flush it out and put in fresh antifreeze.

you could also get some plastic gage and check the rods and mains to see what you got there .

I’ll stop there ,you probably heard enough from me 
 

Thanks for the input Dennis. I'm hoping to pull a 13' 370 disk and do some brush hogging with this tractor so it will get worked, but there would be times it wouldn't get worked so hard (like drilling wheat). I see some 160 degree thermostats available so I'll do some more digging to see if I can find any for other temps in the OE style. I may just put a 160 in and block off the grille if needed. The tractor has evidence of having had a loader on it so I can only imagine how many times it was started up in the winter to move a bale or something and then shut down again.

I'll try to get into the oil pump while I have the pan off. I have to wait a bit for the oil pan gasket anyways. None of the local parts stores seem to be able to get them right now.

I do plan on changing the antifreeze after I've addressed the oil, filter, carb, etc. and hopefully test the tractor out enough to make sure it doesn't have any major issues lurking. Aren't these dry sleeve engines though?

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12 hours ago, DT Fan said:

Good to see you're making progress! Whoever safety wired those main bolts did a pretty hap-hazard job.

Good catch! I found your post on the other color forum when you safety wired your WD-45 engine with the WD block. Now's as good of a time as any to buy some wire and pliers for it.

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I don’t recommend 80 / 90 wt for your differential,your got brass bushings  in there. Straight Sae 90 wt Gl1 mineral oil.
for that tractor differential. 

you can get it at tractor supply or napa 

gl4 or gl5 has high sulphur for hypoid gear extra pressure . That sulfur latches onto brass in extra pressure situation and fret soff brass . Made that mistake in supercc and c had frets of brass collected in bottom of differential in a year latter ,drain all that stinking gray crap out and went to napa and got sae 90 gl1 and put it in.cs . 
 

my advice do what you want your choice 
 

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13 hours ago, wjohn said:

Good catch! I found your post on the other color forum when you safety wired your WD-45 engine with the WD block. Now's as good of a time as any to buy some wire and pliers for it.

Lots of good video on you-tube of how to do it right. Wire is cheap. If you saw the pictures you know it took a few tries to get it right! I really don't think it's necessary, torque has kept a lot of main bolts tight since safety wiring went out.

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11 hours ago, 560Dennis said:

I don’t recommend 80 / 90 wt for your differential,your got brass bushings  in there. Straight Sae 90 wt Gl1 mineral oil.
for that tractor differential. 

you can get it at tractor supply or napa 

gl4 or gl5 has high sulphur for hypoid gear extra pressure . That sulfur latches onto brass in extra pressure situation and fret soff brass . Made that mistake in supercc and c had frets of brass collected in bottom of differential in a year latter ,drain all that stinking gray crap out and went to napa and got sae 90 gl1 and put it in.cs . 
 

my advice do what you want your choice 
 

When I was looking around, anymore most GL-5 is 1B in the ASTM D130 copper corrosion testing. I verified that the stuff I got is 1B. 1A is the only better rating available. GL-1s are typically 1A or 1B rated from what I have found.

I do believe there was a period of time when GL-5 was pretty hard on yellow metals and for the most part that has changed (there are a few exceptions, so be sure to check the data sheet for the stuff you get).

GL-1 is not cheap around here at least, either. TSC had a couple of 2 gallon jugs for $33/ea. Of course you're right that it was probably what was around when these tractors were new, and if you get one that is rated 1A for copper corrosion, that's the best you can do.

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14 minutes ago, wjohn said:

When I was looking around, anymore most GL-5 is 1B in the ASTM D130 copper corrosion testing. I verified that the stuff I got is 1B. 1A is the only better rating available. GL-1s are typically 1A or 1B rated from what I have found.

I do believe there was a period of time when GL-5 was pretty hard on yellow metals and for the most part that has changed (there are a few exceptions, so be sure to check the data sheet for the stuff you get).

GL-1 is not cheap around here at least, either. TSC had a couple of 2 gallon jugs for $33/ea. Of course you're right that it was probably what was around when these tractors were new, and if you get one that is rated 1A for copper corrosion, that's the best you can do.

Have not bought any recently ,got a sweet deal from napa couple of years back for sae 90 napa. 
Good for you your doing your research 

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I pulled the oil pump last night... It sure was stuck in there. It's worn and dirty, but I'm hoping it's usable for now. Clearances measured as follows:

Drive gear to housing wall: .009" (.004-.006" per spec)

Driven gear to housing wall: .003" (.004-.006" per spec)

Gear to gear/backlash: .023" (.003-.006" per spec)

The drive shaft has just a bit of side play so must have some wear (that seems to be where the .009" drive gear to housing clearance is coming from, and contributing to the backlash value). Unfortunately I can't find that hardly any of the internals (shaft, gears, etc.) are still available, so I'm leaning towards buttoning it back up after cleaning. I haven't plastigaged the gear to bottom plate clearance yet but plan on doing that and seeing if it need to flatten the plate out. Then I'll reassemble with a new thin gasket.

I do see Bates appears to have a pump rebuilding option for $445 where you send your pump in as a core. I'd be inclined to do that if I were rebuilding this engine.

I also can't seem to get Mahle or Fel-Pro oil pan gaskets anywhere right now so that has been a pain. The Fel-Pro head gasket set came next day, no problems. I may have to order some no-name brand from Steiner or Amazon.

What do you all think - would you reuse a pump with this amount of wear as-is?

Super M Pump Internals.jpeg

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