Advice on N-Series Fords

Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:12 pm

My brother and I are potentially in the market for a tractor/6 foot bush hog setup. I have seen many N-series Fords configured this way and assume that it is a good combination. I know there are a few of you out there that own Fords, so please let me in on what to look for while examining potential candidates. What specific things are trouble spots on these tractors? Thanks in advance.

Re: Advice on N-Series Fords

Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:42 pm

Don, as most folks know I own 3 N's; '39 9N, '42 2N and a '47 8N. The '39 is my baby and rare due to it's one of the "Aluminum" Fords so it's a trailer/parade queen and I'm real careful with it due to the aluminum hood/grill/dash and the one piece cast axle/hub assemblies are easy to damage. But while my other two are restored, I use them to mow, plow, disc, etc. I've ran both a 6' finish mower & bush hog with those 2, and no problems unless it was tall grass with the finish mower of course. I prefer using the 8N as the Hyd's on the 8N's was improved upon as it has both position & draft control built-in, while the 9 & 2N's don't and are only draft control so you have to "jockey" the lever at times, but it's really not an issue for me. I'd also recommend installing a PTO over-run clutch as the PTO's on all of them aren't live, so it will "push" the tractor along when you don't want it to.

Down size to the N's: No live Hyd or PTO, but I'm used to that & I'll shortly be adapting the 8N to live Hyd's later this year as I finally figured out how to do it rather easily. Installing the over-run clutch helps out as well. Some folks don't live the earlier Ford N's distributors either, as the early models are up front and directly behind the radiator/fan and some find them hard to work on. All 3 of mine have the front mount system, and I've gotten real good at working on them and even have a hot spare, that I can swap in if there is a major failure, but knock on wood, I haven't been required to fix anything on all three in about 6-7 years expect for fluid changes and tune-ups.

Up size: Parts are readily available at just about any TSC, Rural King, and of course on-line as it is one of the most popular small size farm tractors around and like the Cub's, they are pretty reliable and easy to work on.

I did down-size to a 5' bush hog 2 years ago though. I feel much more comfortable having a mower width a little narrower than my wheel spacing, and I like the fact that as long as my wheels/tires don't hit an object, the mower behind me won't either unless I'm turning.

Just my opinion for what it's worth.....MD

Re: Advice on N-Series Fords

Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:48 pm

I do not know if it is true on all the "N" series, but I know that on some of them the pto must be running for the lift to work.

Re: Advice on N-Series Fords

Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:34 am

You would be better off with a 601 or 801.Power steering, Live pto , and as John says, the pto doesn't have to be running for the lift to work.
On the old ones, if you choke the tractor down in heavey grass, you have to unhook the PTO to lift the bush hog.

This will give you ideas;
Last edited by Virginia Mike on Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Advice on N-Series Fords

Sat Jun 29, 2013 6:11 am

Another one to consider is the NAA (1953-54) The 1953 is called the "jubilee" and the 54 is called the NAA. More horsepower then the N series and it was the first of the Fords to have live hydraulics. Good running ones around here are priced $1800 and up it seems.Very similiar price to the N fords but more tractor, and the live PTO a HUGE plus

I have one and like it very much. Mine has the 12 speed Sherman transmition so mowing slow ground speed/high rpms is covered well, and road speeds are excellent too.

Re: Advice on N-Series Fords

Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:08 am

There is no way I would consider a N-series Ford. It's one of my biases I guess but they are too light, crude, and over-priced for me. One of my basic requirements is if it has hydraulics, they must be live. I can live with non-live PTO but the :censored: lift better work all the time! If you must have a Ford, I would do as Virginia Mike says and look for a newer one with live hydraulics and live pto, although I would look for a later model IH or JD. Again that is just personal preference on my part.


Re: Advice on N-Series Fords

Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:39 am

Don, I have an 8N and a 5' rotary cutter. it handles it very well and those tractors are very well built and reliable. As previously mentioned, I would not run one without an overrun clutch, it also converts the 1 1/8" pto to the 1 3/8" . JMHO


Re: Advice on N-Series Fords

Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:23 pm

All good comments, guys. Keep 'em coming. I'm especially interested in knowing what model specific things to look for/at.

Re: Advice on N-Series Fords

Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:53 am

One tip I know of that has held true on several accounts I have heard of---it it has a front end loader, the kingpin and front axle bushings are most certainly toast and will have to be replaced. Not hugely expensive but will take time.
The loaders were way overbuilt and the tractor front end took the abuse from over lifting

You can tell by driving the tractor if the kingpins and bushings are badly worn. Front wheels will wobble at even slow speeds.

more info here on other tips