1938 Farmall F14, Part III

It is now July 2007, nine years after I rescued the McCormick-Deering Farmall F14 that has come to be known as The Red Menace out of the weeds. The initial rebuild, chronicled in Parts I and II turned a derelict and forgotten junker into a useful tractor, but several little things were still missing or wrong with the tractor.

1. The steering wheel was crumbling, bent and rusty. I'd checked several times and couldn't find a source for a reproduction wheel. Finally a pal from the Tales board on Yesterday's Tractors mentioned he'd found an outfit that was reproducing them. I wasn't long ordering and installing one.

2. It was missing the brake drum covers. Reproduction parts were available, but I never got around to getting a set. Then another Tales buddy, Larry806, was parting out an F14 and came up with a bunch of stuff I needed at a very reasonable price. Included was a nice, original set of brake drum covers. A bit of pounding out and a coat of paint, and they look quite nice indeed. And, I don't need to watch where I put my feet quite so closely...

3.  I really like the look of an F12/F14 with fenders. I'd looked around and reproductions were available in the $300-$400 range, which I couldn't quite bring myself to buy. Occasionally, I'd see a set of decent originals, but the asking price was well beyond my means. I had about made up my mind to try fabricating a set from scratch. But, yet again, it was YTMAG to the rescue. I saw a set that someone had chopped up to retrofit them to a Powerking or somesuch.  The really difficult part to make was intact, the missing section was basically just flat sheetmetal.

Fenders as received

New brace and sheetmetal laid out

Welding and basic bodywork done, with a coat of primer and first pass at mounting brackets.

Finished product with a couple of coats of 2150 Red

4. The vast majority of F12 and F14 Farmalls were crank-start and mine is too.  Over the several years I've owned it, starting it has varied from a one-flip affair to pulling it with another tractor to not starting under any inducement. The great bulk of problems have been due to carburation issues. When it got to the point where it flat would NOT start, I discovered I had a pinhole leak in my carb float. Replacing that (after spending several months looking for one) has gotten me back to where it rarely takes more than two or three cranks to start it, if I do my part right. Still, electric start WAS an option, and it sure would be nice to just push a button...

Needless to say, original equipment electric starters and associated bits like flywheels and bellhousings are very rare and exceedingly expensive. Therefore, there are about as many ways to cobble an electric start onto a non-electric F14 as there are farmers. Some examples of the way other folks have gone about it:



Chain or gear drive to belt pulley shaft


Chain drive to clutch shaft

Chain or gear drive to PTO Shaft

Ring gear drive on clutch shaft

The same feller that found the brake covers and the fenders for me also had a "shop built" electric start that very closely aproximates the factory setup. It needed quite a bit of work to clean it up and get it ready to install.

Original flywheel that has had a lip turned down and a ring gear shrunk onto it

An original Farmall/Delco starter.  Just needs bushings and a bendix

Generator.  Gen is okay, not so sure about the regulator Letter-series control box.  May or may not use that, haven't decided

It's now after Thanksgiving 2007 and I have had the generator and starter gone though by an automotive electric shop. It's time to start putting this thing together. First order of business is to make a mount for the generator and voltage regulator. I decided to get a new regulator to replace the old cutout relay and avoid any problems.

The Red Menace is pulled into the garage and surgery commences. 22o in the garage necessitates a propane heater and the extra heat from halogen worklights is appreciated as well.

Generator bracket with plate to mount voltage regulator. The bracket mounts to two bolts on the magneto bracket and one bolt where the plug wire conduit bolts to the block.

Generator and VR mounted. It tucks up under the hood quite nicely. I'm not all that thrilled about the position of the belt tensioning bracket, but couldn't see any other option.

New steering column, ammeter box and starter switch mounted.

New flywheel with ring gear, bellhousing with starter mount, and starter in place.

I bought the biggest 6 volt battery I could find, 900 cranking amps at 0o and built a battery box out of aluminum angle for it.

After some minor fussing with a faulty cable, everything is in place and working. It starts very well indeed, even at sub-freezing temperatures. I'm very happy with the results. All that remains is some painting and I intend to replace the plastic-insulated wires with some more period-appropriate cloth covered wire in the near future.

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