Agricultural Heritage

Sandstone Heritage Trust - News

HTN 30 - Western Cape hosts national vintage tractor and engine event

 

Villiersdorp, a delightful town between Elgin and Worcester in the Western Cape in South Africa was the venue for this year’s annual national get together by vintage tractor and engine enthusiasts in South Africa.
The Western Cape has never hosted the event before and the opportunity to do so was embraced enthusiastically by the Villiersdorp Vintage Tractor and Engine Club who are affiliated to the national movement.

The Villiersdorp Club has an interesting history. A number of farmers from this predominantly fruit growing area, attended the Great 100 Working event at Sandstone Estates in the Eastern Free State in 2002 in order to support South Africa’s attempt at the world record. They enjoyed themselves immensely and on the way back by minibus agreed that they would form a club and start collecting and displaying vintage tractors and engines in their area. This club has gone from strength to strength and there are now nearly seventy members.
A delightful aspect of the show was the fact that participants could go for “road runs” on a daily basis through the beautiful orchards adjoining the show grounds. It was literally out of the gate, across the river, into the orchards and then into the mountains. All the properties adjacent to the town and the show grounds are owned by club members who opened their farms for vintage tractor enthusiasts to meander on their aged machines.

This years Villiersdorp Show which had just under 300 tractors on display was noteworthy for the following reasons:-

Firstly it was an “action” show with vintage borehole drilling machines, tractor pulling and demonstrations on threshing, milling and bread-baking, maize shelling and grinding happening almost all of the time. The big turnout of stationary engines meant that there was lots of background noise and action. It was also obvious that the Western Cape collectors take great pride in their machines and the quality of the restorations was extremely high. The judges therefore had a tough job selecting the finalists amongst the restored tractors and engines on show.

Despite the long distances involved, the show was well supported from other areas. A Natal contingent hauled two tractors and two stationary engines over 1,600 kms (1,000 miles), while Sandstone Estates travelled 1,200 kilometres to support the show with two loads of tractors in order to express their appreciation for the support that they had received in 2002 from the same group.

After a quiet period during which very few major events have been held in South Africa it was obvious that as a direct result of the enthusiasm of this group of collectors in the Western Cape and the Villiersdorp club in particular, that working vintage tractor shows will continue to be a feature of the preservation movement in Southern Africa.

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Two identical exhibits, one in fully restored and the other in tip top running condition, but cosmetically unrestored. (Left) The Sandstone Heritage Trust McCormick Deering 1530 and (right) the identical prize winning model owned by Eniel Viljoen.
Chris Wilson on parade
The Sandstone Team (from left to right) Wilfred Mole, Benjamin Mole, Charles Viljoen and Chris Wilson
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A thank you letter
 
The Certificate

Author:  Chris Wilson

Two interesting vintage tractors are currently under restoration by Chris Wilson at Lions River, KZN.

The first is a 1924 Waterloo Boy model N, Ser No 30099. This is one of the last to be built before production switched to the John Deere model D; in fact the first production D's serial number was 30401, so one can speculate that only some 300 N's were built after this one.

All in all it is estimated that close to 20 000 N's were built from 1917 to 1924. A few were constructed after the D was in production.
Deere had bought out the Waterloo Gas Engine Co, which built the Waterloo Boy range of tractors, in 1918, giving Deere a strong foothold in the burgeoning tractor market. The D was the first successful JD tractor, and its design was strongly Waterloo. Most notably it inherited the classic 2 cylinder horizontal layout, which was to last with Deere until 1960.

So the Waterloo Boy can truly said to be the forerunner of JD tractors.
The N produces 12 hp at the drawbar & 25 at the belt pulley, operating at 750 RPM. The engine featured relatively modern features such as a water pump & fan for water-cooling and an oil pump for lubrication. Less advanced were the cone clutch & external spur gear final drives.

Forward speeds were 2 1/4 & 3 MPH.

30099 being one of the last produced, it features automotive type steering with an external worm & sector turning the front wheels together via a tie bar. Earlier N's featured a swiveling axle with fixed wheels, steered by means of a chain - a hangover from steam traction days. Sandstone Heritage has one of these types as well.
No other Waterloo Boy is known to have existed in South Africa before these two, although a well-preserved example exists in Zimbabwe, which was imported as new in the early 20's. It is also known that this tractor came South for exhibition at the Rand Agricultural Show in the 1960's.

30099 was imported together with the earlier version mentioned above, recently - in 1997 in fact. Both came from Oscar's Dreamland, Billings Montana, USA, when that huge collection of antique equipment was auctioned off. Sandstone also acquired a Rumely & 2 Emerson's from the same source.
It was complete and nominally a runner, but had not been in action for many years. However it was cleaned up & started to participate in the Great 100 working at Ficksburg in 1999.

Now the time has come to give it the first rate restoration it deserves.
Assessment revealed a healthy engine, but that wear in the transmission & clutch mechanisms and steering was considerable. Wear is also noted on the archaic final drives, but not enough to hinder operation. Having these enormous gears re-cast would be a formidable task indeed!

Apart from that, decades of dirt, grease & neglect had to be overcome.
Work commenced on the front axle, which was stripped & removed. The kingpins swivel in a floating bush, while the wheels do not have any form of bearings - also turning on bushes. These were sent for building up & turning.
Finding someone to undertake this type of work is not always easy as it is usually complicated. Such was the case here as it turns out that the kingpins are composed of one complete casting. Today a kingpin on a tractor has a cast elbow while the spindle, which rotates in the housing, is made of high-grade steel & pressed in to the elbow.
Since the spindle here is a casting the welding process to build it up made the metal extremely hard, and thus the machining had to be undertaken with great care. The cutting tool had to removed & sharpened every minute or so. However experience counts in a situation, and the engineer merely commented that he had found the process interesting, and enjoyed the challenge!

The radiator has returned from a repair, which involved removing the core entirely, as well as repairing the corroded bottom tank. Again the specialist employed appreciates working on antique equipment - most radiator shops would not look at such a job.
The fuel tank was corroded wafer thin at the bottom and has been reinforced. In addition the prominent spherical ends were badly dented, too much for the application of filler, so have had to be cut out, beaten & replaced.
The main transmission shaft & pulley are receiving attention to eliminate wear, while the clutch receives a re-line.

The magneto has been serviced, and found to have a brass cladding under the paint & grime. This has been polished & will be given a coat of clear lacquer. Similarly the carburetor is a substantial brass casting, and will also be polished.
The engine sump was found to be extremely dirty and has been thoroughly cleaned. The sight glass lubricators have been polished and new seals obtained. New plugs are ready to fit. Various & numerous small repairs have been carried out.
Meanwhile the engine & chassis have been stripped of all dirt & loose paint and primed with a high quality etch primer, mudguards & other panels sandblasted & professionally panel beaten and the wheels removed, stripped & primed.

Next step is a thorough sanding and then as soon as the weather (which has been atrocious) permits, the first coat of acrylic JD green applied.

After that comes final assembly & testing!

The second unit under repair is a John Deere model 70 all fuel standard, ser no 7018829, dating from 1955.
The standard configuration gives it a purposeful appearance, while as a worthy successor to the renowned model G, the 70 is capable of some serious work.
Rated at 38.2 hp on the belt, the classic JD 2 cylinder engine has a torque that far exceeds that of many modern tractors.

With a displacement of 376 Cu inches and a 6-speed transmission as well as the option of independent hydraulics & PTO, the 70 were a thoroughly modern tractor.
Today the 70 all fuel standard is rated 5 stars for collectability, as few were built in this combination. This puts it up with the High-crops and even more desirable than a Waterloo Boy, in the eyes of many!

At first glance this unit appeared to be restored, in so much as the paint & decals were relatively fresh, apart from an ugly gash in the bonnet. However when being assessed for the GT 400 it would only run full bat on one cylinder, when it could be coaxed to run at all, and was left as too unreliable.
Subsequently the carb was removed and surprise! - One of the throttle butterflies was missing - no wonder it ran flat out on one cylinder! This was rectified and the tractor did run a whole lot better, but not all that reliably. This together with shabby appearance, poor clutch, brakes & steering prompted a re-build.

Again first priority was the front axle, which was removed & stripped, receiving new kingpins, bushes, centre pin etc. All the steering joints were set up and bearings renewed. All components were well worn, particularly the centre pin which was about 50% worn away!

Next the engine. A growing suspicion developed that the missing butterfly might be lurking in the manifold - after all, who would install a carb without it?
The manifold was removed & revealed nothing. Of course 2 of the bolts sheared off - par for the course - and a full mornings work to drill the studs out ensued!
Since a re-ring was on the cards the head had to come off - and once on the bench out fell the missing butterfly!

Obviously the 2 tiny screws had come loose and the disc had slipped through and been sucked down to the inlet valve where it jammed. It had got just far enough to damage the rim of the valve, but luckily there was enough meat to re-face.
From there on the job was straightforward, and the head is back in place. The carb has been completely re-built, and various controls & linkages repaired.
Meanwhile the rear platform has been stripped and the wide distinctive mudguards and bonnet professionally repaired, while the balance of the tractor has been stripped & cleaned, and primed.

Sandstone Heritage Trust - News

HTN 6 - Farmal Cub restored in record time

Jannie Du Toit who is unquestionably the top Farmal owner and restorer, not to mention expert on these wonderful tractors, has done it again. This beautiful Farmal cub was in an untidy condition when Jannie received it. It is now like new. Oom Jannie, from all of us at the Sandstone Heritage Trust, congratulations and well done!

Herewith is Jannie’s full restoration report, which will be of interest to vintage tractor collectors worldwide:

The 6 volt generator I replaced with a 12 volt alternator. 6-volt batteries are difficult to obtain, no more mass production, not reliable and only handmade.
The pulley on the crankshaft was loose, resulting in an oil leak and the two brackets for the crank-handle were broken off. The pulley was removed, so was the timing cover and the old oil seal replaced by a new one and the two brackets on the pulley built up.

The cylinder head was removed to extract a broken bolt (one of two for securing air cleaner) and decarbonised the engine. I did not remove the pistons and no new rings were fitted. Did not find it necessary.

Removed the steering box. Serviced it, tried to limit play and fitted new bolts, a dowel and gasket. Play was excessive, is reasonable now. The front axle was removed. Both the steering arm knuckles were welded onto the stub axles. Had to cut them loose and build them up to original. Because the right hand extension had a repair and not professionally done, I replaced it with a second hand one. Did not replace the front wheel weights and will advise to leave them off.

The carburettor kept me busy for quite a long time due to a blocked jet. The float had to be readjusted and is fine now. A new pipe for the air cleaner to the carburettor was fitted with new hosepipes and clamps. A new fuel strainer underneath the fuel tank and a new fuel pipe from the strainer to the carburettor were fitted.

The power take off was out of order. The shaft and rod was damaged and worn and the guide and lever missing. I managed to get new parts from the States. Works fine now.

Had to strip the rear axle. The left brake lining had to be replaced with a next to new one. I did not change the oil in the gearbox. Had the seat covered, a complete new battery box and covers made and front screw.

The platform under the feat was warped. I removed it and straightened it. This procedure was important to get the brake pedals lined up. The teeth on the governor sector were worn and I replaced them with new ones.

Forgot to mention, when I opened the left final drive to get the brake lining, I also replaced the leaking oil seal with a new one in the bearing retainer in the transmission case. The drawbar and brackets I had copied from parts I borrowed.
To keep costs low, I did not make the swing drawbar and anchor. There might be one at Sandstone Estates and is simple and easy to fit.

A complete new harness was made up and new battery cable with terminals. A pilot light and toggle switch (not original) was fitted because the switch on magneto models cannot be used with alternators. The pilot light only warns you when the toggle switch is on or off. In the off position, it does not charge and leaving it on, it discharges when the engine stops.

The bonnet and tank got its necessary attention with some minor repairs. A complete new radiator screen was made by me and fitted. All old paint was removed by hand and no sandblasting was done.

Rear light with new lens and reflector, 3 bulbs, 3 lens gaskets and a new 12-volt battery were also fitted.
The Farmal cub is painted and looks really smart with her decals. I am quite happy and satisfied with a job well done.”

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Sandstone Heritage Trust - News

HTN 4 - Offloading Aussie Tractors

The travellers finally return to home soil! Oct 13th was a good day for Sandstone Heritage, and 3 tractors in particular. The JD 60 Hi-Crop, General Ordinance & emerson Brantingham Big 4 had been shipped to Australia early in the year to participate in the Plough & be Counted in April.

This they did and bought much credit to South Africa in the process. However after the event getting them home again proved difficult, as certain arrangements fell through leaving the tractors stranded. Finally they embarked in a container from Sidney, and arrived in Durban a few days ago.

The trip was obviously not without mishap as the one side of the container has received a huge dent, hitting the rear wheel of the John Deere, although with no apparent damage. The container was offloaded in the port area and the tractors loaded onto a Sandstone lowbed, by Baas de Bruin.

This was not easy as no real facilities exist there for such an exercise, but fortunately the JD was last in, and proved easy to start. Having started the JD, it was then used to pull out the others and pull them onto the lowbed.

Chris Wilson who was on hand to assist was pleasantly surprised by the condition of the tractors. "After hearing so much about the tractors being stranded at Cootamundra, and then on Sydney Docks, I expected them to be at least badly weather worn, if not seriously damaged" said Chris "However they are in excellent shape, the JD started first kick, and whoever loaded them knew what he was doing"

Some very slight damage has occoured to the "GO" caused by panels working loose from vibration, and the Emerson has a very minor bend to it's one fender - otherwise all ok. No doubt the custodians of the "GO" & Emerson, Charles Viljoen & Neels Booyen, will be anxious to check them over for themselves at the first opportunity.

The units are on their way to Sandstone, and will probably be seen in action at the forthcoming Steam Day.

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