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Restoration of a 1953 Farmall Cub with Wagner Loader

Restoration of a 1953 Farmall Cub with Wagner Loader

Update 11/30/2010: Well folks, grim reality has set in. We took a long hard look at the time required for this restoration and realized that it just is not going to happen.

We have made the difficult decision to part out this tractor and, in fact, we have already sold the loader and the engine. Other items will be posted for sale on the used parts page as we find the time to add them. Thanks for taking an interest in this project and please email through the Contact Us page if you would like some of the parts from this tractor
Last year we had an opportunity to acquire an unrestored 1953 Farmall Cub. The tractor is equipped with an early Wagner Loader and we thought it would make a good project and result in a nice and somewhat unusual show exhibit.

A friend of ours was over for a visit recently and he was looking at the photos taken so far of the project. He thought that you, our valued customers, might find them interesting. So, at the suggestion of my friend Bill, we offer the following pictures. Hope you enjoy them.
The Tractor as Found
As you can see, the machine was a bit rough. It did not run; but, we were able to get it going in just a couple of hours after disassembling and cleaning the carb and bypassing the rusty gas tank.

Check out the rear tires, they look like new. Unfortunately they sat outside so long that they are full of weather cracks. However, we think they are still usable because the casings are in good shape. The rear wheels were a bit rough and one was full of holes from previously carrying "loaded" tires that leaked a bit. "Loaded" meaning that the tubes were filled with a calcium chloride and water mixture for extra weight. This is done to add about 300 lbs to each tire for traction and weight distribution, which can be important for a tractor with a loader. Note the rear wheel weights as well. Each one is 150 lbs.

The utility box in the rear is a nice feature of the Wagner loader, and also a good place to add more weight if needed. The bucket is a simple "trip" bucket that dumps when the T-handle on the loader is pulled. To lock the bucket back in a loadable position, it must be lowered to the ground to tilt it until the retention pin engages. We found a brochure of the Wagner loader online, here's a shot of the front cover:
Update: The next step was to begin to disassemble the tractor (now that we know it runs), so here are a few photos of the machine as parts are progressively stripped away. Disassembly of a 55 year old machine requires good six-point wrenches, sockets, breaker bars, penetrating oil, elbow grease, and sometimes the heat of a torch to break loose parts that have not moved for many years. This is especially true for tractors that have been left outside like this one.
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Notice the wide spacing of the front and rear wheels to accomodate the loader frame.
We went as far as these next pictures show with the disassembly. Then it was time for sandblasting. It always amazes me how good parts look after sandblasting and priming, as shown below. The first two pictures show sandblasting only, and the third shows some primer applied.

Note: We just recieved an email from an interested observer of this restoration page. He was wondering if we were concerned about getting sand (or "black beauty" metal blast in this case) into all the seals, bearings, and other sensitive parts of the tractor. VERY good observation! We should have mentioned that we ONLY do this because we intend to completely disassemble the machine down to the last nut and bolt. We will clean, inspect, and restore each part before re-assembly. So, if you plan to keep certain assemblies together on your project, be sure and avoid sandblasting those sensitive items. Wire brushing, oven cleaner, and degreasers would all be much safer.
Now that the whole tractor is pretty clean from the sandblasting process, we continued to strip it down to smaller subassemblies.
Notice the non-original gussets that were welded into the right-angle space between the spindles and the horizontal adjustable axle. Probably a good idea for a tractor that has to support a loader.
At this point we had the fever to actually overhaul something, so we chose the touch control unit. This is the unit that takes the hydraulic fluid flow from the hydraulic pump and processes it to do all the "heavy lifting". Here's some shots of the unit as removed and then opened up.
Unit with back removed:
Unit with bottom removed:
It's hard to believe this thing actually still worked (although not well). Notice the condition of the tubular brass filter screen. This is supposed to be a nice round filter tube extending from one end of the unit to the other. This one is completely shredded, with all the debris floating around in the oil reservoir.

All of the valves and other component parts were removed, cleaned, checked, and re-installed with new O-rings and gaskets. We used one of the touch control rebuild kits we sell here at Farmall Cub Forever, and also a new filter screen. There are lots of parts in a touch control. Here is a drawing to give you an idea of what to expect:
Here's a couple of shots of the unit all finished and buttoned back up:
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