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by Anthony West
George bought his Fordson Major from a an implement sale about 18 years ago for £200.00 (UK). There is no known history regarding its origins or what service it had done, but the following work was undertaken alone to bring it up to show standard.
From the engine number, it was found that this Major was produced late 1946. It was almost complete but had various parts that would definitely need replacing.
As with most tractors, there had been a few working improvements over the years. Although relatively minor ones they included the addition of the later 1950 type vaporizer and an improved model of magneto. For reasons of working authenticity it was decided that these modifications would be retained in the restoration.
Someone had at some stage begun to take pity on the old girl and treated the red castings and the fuel tank to a coat of blue paint (albeit the wrong shade of blue).
The steering bushes were okay and showed little signs of wear unlike the pulley wheel bearings which were nothing short of a pile of grey dust. This lead George to the assumption that the machine had spent a great amount of time on a thresher box.
First off a general strip down was undertaken. The radiator was pulled apart, flushed and new gaskets made and the whole thing was sealed after painting. The fuel tank was flushed with diesel and 1/2 pound of aquarium gravel to dislodge any rust. a small number of pin hole leaks had developed where the asbestos packing belts had been and they were soldered up.
The control rods were removed and used for templates to make new ones. The magneto was sent to the local auto electrician for overhaul, but was returned after the armature was found u/s so a another Lucas type was purchased and fitted with new points.
All the tin work was sent away for dry sand bead blasting and undercoated ready for spraying, while new foot boards were made from fresh sheet metal as the old ones were rotten. In trying to remove the rear wheels, two studs sheared on one side which caused a great amount of concern. As George intended plowing with the tractor he felt uneasy with this and a lot of trouble was undertaken to replace them.
Finally the castings were paint stripped, undercoated in red oxide and spray painted blue. Last but not least, the cylinder head was removed and the pistons and head were de-coaked after finding that the cylinder bores and valves were in good shape.
So once the steering wheel and new air cleaner top had been obtained the whole thing was rebuilt and minor details sorted out, resulting in a very good and authentic example as seen in the finished photo below.