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Old 07-01-2018, 09:59 PM   #1
IronCanine
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1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

There is a BF Avery collectors' site and a Facebook page, but the collectors' page is not really one that you could share a detailed build on and I honestly hate Facebook. But I love this site and everybody on it, moreover it's robust enough that if you've got an Avery and want to find some pictures...Google will get you here. My first restoration project wasn't a K5...it was my late grandfather's 1949 Allis Chalmers G. Then when I was 20 (100 years ago) I did a nut and bolt on a 1949 John Deere MT.

My daughter just turned 7 and I thought it'd be fun to have a project to work on together. I figured I'd have a short window of time when she'd be big enough to drive a tractor in a parade but not so big she thought it was stupid. So, in hopes of hitting that window in stride, I set out to find a single front Avery Model A that was complete and reasonably priced. I found one in Maryland and got her bought and shipped rather uneventfully. Here's what she looked like the day I rolled her into the basement for the first time.
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Old 07-01-2018, 10:05 PM   #2
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

Sweet!!!
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Old 07-01-2018, 10:08 PM   #3
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

I bought her from the second owner, who'd had her for about 25 years. The engine was stuck, but she was remarkably complete and original--down to the original tires. These tractors could be ordered right out of the Montgomery Ward's catalogue--hence the Ward's Riverside tires. She also came with a full set of cultivators and the original owner's manual for both.
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"zander208? Yeah I met him once...he was something. You post all you want young man...won't matter...there's only one zander208 and he's the best there ever was."
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Old 07-01-2018, 10:22 PM   #4
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

Around 1939 Cletrac put rubber tires on it's HG crawler and called it the General. BF Avery made implements specific to that tractor. This same tractor was marketed as the Ward's Twin Row. Around 1944 Oliver took over Cletrac's crawlers and BF Avery bought the tooling for the General and moved production to it's Louisville, KY plant and re-named it the Model A. Below is a photo from the Louisville assembly line in 1948 as well as a "new" 1946 like ours.
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Old 07-01-2018, 10:36 PM   #5
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

B.F. Avery's Tru Draft system was one of it's big selling points. You can check out this sales film strip to see the pitch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufuRps3Z_qM

While the set up may have improved depth control of implements, it was hell on the tractor frame. This is really the only thing on this tractor that had been altered or worked on. The reservoir (pictured below) hangs on the outside of the right frame rail. It has an actuator, but an external cylinder was added by a PO for power, and like many of these tractors, the right frame rail cracked where it mounted to the transaxle from being torqued unilaterally. It had been re-welded-sloppily. Both lower frame rail mounting studs had broken. Only the right side had been replaced and it was with a larger stud. I pretty quickly decided that we were going to remove the lift set up. Mainly because I really want this thing to be dry when I'm done, and I'll never show it with the cultivators.
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Old 07-01-2018, 10:38 PM   #6
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

So we got right to work taking it apart.
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"zander208? Yeah I met him once...he was something. You post all you want young man...won't matter...there's only one zander208 and he's the best there ever was."
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Old 07-01-2018, 10:51 PM   #7
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

The '46 A was powered by a Hercules IXB3. The serial number on this engine was 1281970...which could be the "born on" date of my K5. I thought that was kind of cool. Breakdown of this little Herc yielded the first broken bolt of the teardown and then eventually the cause of her inability to turn over. She was full of soup.
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:11 PM   #8
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

So all four cylinders got load of Marvel Mystery Oil and a dash of holy water, and my partner and I carried on with the teardown. As it turns out, her passion is grease removal. The thicker and gooey-er the better. She quickly traded her wrench for scrapers and wire brushes delightfully searching for any bright red that still clung to this old iron. Unfortunately, no matter how much we suited up or covered up, we never seemed to make it out of the basement unscathed. Much to her mother's chagrin...we had a bad habit of letting that grease hitch a ride upstairs.
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"zander208? Yeah I met him once...he was something. You post all you want young man...won't matter...there's only one zander208 and he's the best there ever was."

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Old 07-01-2018, 11:23 PM   #9
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

There is something about taking apart something for the first time since it was built that is just cool. The guy who twisted the wire on these flywheel bolts is long gone...just like the guy that torqued these rod and main bolts. I sure hope neither would frown on the removal of pistons 2 and 3. After a few weeks soaking, what started as a polite request became a forced eviction.
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:43 PM   #10
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

Of course I drug poor Eric (OLDYELLOW) into this. I don't think he'd ever painted a tractor and we spent (continue to spend) a fair amount of time considering the best way to paint this. From the factory, it's obvious that some things were painted as subassemblies then I guess re-sprayed as part of the whole. So that was the approach. Parts were cleaned, assessed and if appropriate painted as a component. We still want to be factory considerate, but recognize like most restorations, we're upping the ante a bit on paint. We're only working the surfaces where it makes sense. For instance we're leaving all the tooling marks on stamped pieces, and even leaving spatter on factory welds, but cleaning up any pitting on factory smooth surfaces, like the rims.
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:49 PM   #11
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

Epoxy, base, clear is the replacement for the remarkably tenacious factory lacquer.
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Old 07-01-2018, 11:55 PM   #12
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

There's not a lot in the way of helpful instruction on rebuilding the factory Tillotson YC2B carburetor online. The rebuild kit is not the best and the instructions that come with that are a little wanting. So I just took a ton of pics and notes at disassembly.
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:00 AM   #13
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

Hopefully I haven't screwed anything up...
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"zander208? Yeah I met him once...he was something. You post all you want young man...won't matter...there's only one zander208 and he's the best there ever was."
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:09 AM   #14
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

Vortox supplied the air filter and Fram the oil filter. They came to the assembly plant painted beige and orange respectively, and were painted over. Fortunately I was able to acquire the correct NOS decals for these two pieces. Fingers crossed they'll actually stick when the time comes.
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"zander208? Yeah I met him once...he was something. You post all you want young man...won't matter...there's only one zander208 and he's the best there ever was."
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:29 AM   #15
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

Brad's Machine Shop (no relation) in Gainesville, GA cleaned up my block and crank and did the valves. I've never assembled an engine without the safety net of someone looking over my shoulder and I've seen this for a while as my chance. Like a lot of things on this tractor, there was very little wear. If not for 2 and 3 cylinders being rusted to the pistons, we could have almost gone standard. As it is, you can only get 20 over rings, so that's what we did. The crank was 10 under and it all came back clean as a whistle.

PS I love how you don't need a cheat sheet to decipher those casting numbers.
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"zander208? Yeah I met him once...he was something. You post all you want young man...won't matter...there's only one zander208 and he's the best there ever was."

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Old 07-02-2018, 12:35 AM   #16
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

It was mighty considerate of them to stamp the rods and mains at the factory...
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"zander208? Yeah I met him once...he was something. You post all you want young man...won't matter...there's only one zander208 and he's the best there ever was."
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Old 07-02-2018, 12:47 AM   #17
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

I have learned a lot from Tony (71CHEVYSHORTBED402) on hardware restoration. His build thread is fantastic. We have worked hard to document, restore and reuse hardware on this project too. The oil pan has 14 bolts of three different types. I don't think a great deal of care was put into keeping the oil in these engines. The oil pan is roughly welded out of about 5 or 6 parts, the front seal does not evoke confidence and the back of the oil pan is the front of the bell housing. In some places I've used traditional gaskets with Hi-Tack and in cases like the oil pan, it's Super Black RTV. That's also the gasket maker of choice when there is no replacement gasket to be had...like in the fan assembly.
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"zander208? Yeah I met him once...he was something. You post all you want young man...won't matter...there's only one zander208 and he's the best there ever was."
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:00 AM   #18
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

This is a distributor version of this engine. The hydraulic pump is driven by the governor in the place where a magneto would otherwise be. Since I was removing the hydraulic reservoir and lift control, I felt obliged to plug the pump, not having a good way to close the opening on the block. Since I wanted to further my chances keeping this puppy dry, I simply removed one of the pump gears so it won't build pressure.

The governor shaft showed no wear and in fact measured the same as a new replacement, so I left it. I did however replace the brass end bushing before reinstallation.
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Old 07-02-2018, 11:51 AM   #19
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

Nice job so far! I used to run and old 46 Farmal M, back when I was a kid. Loved that tractor, always started and ran like a champ!!
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Old 07-02-2018, 06:03 PM   #20
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by mongocanfly View Post
Sweet!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clyde65 View Post
Nice job so far! I used to run and old 46 Farmal M, back when I was a kid. Loved that tractor, always started and ran like a champ!!
Thanks! I just hope this one cranks!
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"zander208? Yeah I met him once...he was something. You post all you want young man...won't matter...there's only one zander208 and he's the best there ever was."
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Old 07-02-2018, 06:16 PM   #21
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

One of the more difficult teardowns and subsequent re-assemblies was the front pedestal. It is attached to the frame with four long bolts. The two right side bolts were fully rusted/seized in the casting. It was a bear just driving them out once the nuts were off. The main rotating gear is held on by a constant section external snap ring. Trust me when I tell you that profanity alone is not enough to extricate this little rascal. Finally, the universal joint on the end of the hand crank that engages the crank pulley required Archimedes' galvanized half brother to convince it to come off.
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"zander208? Yeah I met him once...he was something. You post all you want young man...won't matter...there's only one zander208 and he's the best there ever was."
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Old 07-02-2018, 06:30 PM   #22
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

Going back together it was a little difficult to replace those original Victor seals and Timken bearings with the overseas replacements offered at NAPA. But just the few bearings and seals that are in the pedestal and front wheel clocked in at over $300. All the seals on this tractor wear originally double walled and thick. The replacements are clearly not, and you have to take care to not ding em when you're installing them. Of course it's always a challenge when working with painted surfaces. Not on this particular sub, but later on in reassembly we put a ziplock bag between the bolt and the socket and it was very effective in protecting the finish when tightening. A lot of the gaskets for this tractor are just not available. I had to make this felt ring that protects the bottom spindle bearing.
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Old 07-02-2018, 06:39 PM   #23
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

That bottom bearing in question is another one of those moments where will and frustration and the lack of a blow torch made for some fun. It took a 20 ton press to get the new one all the way back on. Since the original snap ring was sprung on removal, I went back with a conventional round end ring. This was a concession too...I couldn't get an .10 ring in the groove and had to concede a .05 thickness ring. I can't imagine it would fail in this circumstance, but my replacement is definitely less robust again than the original.
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"zander208? Yeah I met him once...he was something. You post all you want young man...won't matter...there's only one zander208 and he's the best there ever was."
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Old 07-02-2018, 10:47 PM   #24
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

Finally, we're getting her back together! Looking good.
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Old 07-02-2018, 10:54 PM   #25
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Re: 1946 B.F. Avery Model A Tractor Restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by OLDYELLOW View Post
Finally, we're getting her back together! Looking good.
Look at you finding this thread! I thought I'd get it caught up before you noticed. It's taking me a while...I'll work on it some more tonight. If you like what's been posted so far...wait'll you get a load of the paintwork just ahead. Somebody really knows how to make it stick slick.
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