R.D. #1, Box 356, Phillipsburg, NJ 08865
The story of this F-12 starts with planting potatoes. My dad grows potatoes, too many to plant by hand, but too little to be a large scale operation. One day in February 1987 while reading the want ads in Lancaster Farming, a farmers' newspaper, I saw an ad for an old one row potato planter for sale. As it happens the fellow who had the potato planter was the same fellow I had bought a Caterpillar '15' from two years earlier. I bought the planter and before I left he gave me another tour of his old iron collection, mostly John Deeres. He knew I collected I.H.C. tractors, so he showed me a couple of unrestored F-12's he had. One had a Waukesha engine. Since his prides were John Deeres, he was willing to sell the Waukesha F-12.
There is no interesting story about getting the tractor home, other than it sat in the middle of a cow pasture, so we had to watch where we stepped.
Upon getting the tractor home, I noticed the serial number to be FS-530, making it the thirtieth F-12 made. The engine was free, and with a little work and the help of another tractor belted to the F-12 it started, but it smoked and knocked to beat the band. I also noticed that the front end casting was cracked and broken beyond repair. This old front end is different, because the casting is hollowed out and much lighter than the newer F-12's. I had no idea where to find an old style front end so I was discouraged from restoring the tractor. It was parked in line with the rest of my unrestored tractors.
In May I went to the Blue Mountain Antique Gas & Steam Engine Association's annual swap meet in Jacktown, Pennsylvania, where I found an old style front end. This encouraged me to restore the F-12 in time for Blue Mountain's summer show in July. I had less than two months.
The entire tractor was disassembled, sandblasted, and primed. Sheet metal and fuel tank were sanded, primed, and sanded smooth. I took the radiator apart, sandblasted the tanks and sides, and fixed the leaky core. The original rear steel wheels with cast hubs were on the tractor when I got it, but the front had a single rubber tire. A farm equipment junkyard near here had the single steel wheel, although it is off a slightly newer F-12. I thought it was better than the rubber tire.
The engine was in sad shape as I mentioned earlier. I had the E4A magneto rebuilt and installed a set of old style plug wires. There was no carburetor on the tractor. I thought it was going to be a problem locating a carburetor because it is a special Zenith carburetor that I think was used only on this model Waukesha engine. I thought it would be a long shot chance that Rice Equipment in Clarion, Pennsylvania would have one, but when I called them, and the answer was, 'I have three N.O.S. carburetors in stock', I could hardly believe my ears.
All other valves were burnt or rusted, timing gears worn, and the piston rings were weak. I was able to get the valves, gears, gasket set, and standard size rings at the local N.A.P.A. auto parts store.
The poured babbitt in the connecting rods was completely gone out of three of the rods, and the fourth was badly scored, as was the crankshaft. The same junkyard that had the front wheel, also had the remains of a Waukesha F-12. I bought what little was left of the tractor with the hope that the crankshaft and connecting rods were good. Luckily they were good, but were the only usable parts on the tractor.
With less than two weeks before the show I started cleaning the engine parts. It wasn't until then that I noticed the pistons were O.30 oversize. I went back to the N.A.P.A. store to exchange the standard size rings for O.30 oversize but they couldn't get any oversize. Time was running short so I put the engine together with the standard rings. There was not enough compression to start it with the crank, but with just a little pull it started.
I painted the tractor with Martin Senour #99L-8711, which is the same as Dupont Dulux #93-27625 for the gray, and International red for the wheels.
The Friday morning of the show arrived and I still had some finishing touches to do before we could load the tractor and head for Jacktown. We arrived at the showgrounds by early afternoon, and almost immediately people began to gather around and tell me what a nice job I did. It sure makes you feel good when you work so hard at something, and know that others appreciate it by all the compliments I received the three days of the show. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.
The only trouble I had was, with those standard rings, everytime I wanted to start my tractor I had to find someone to give me a pull. But you know, at an antique engine show that's not much trouble at all.
Between the July show at Blue Mountain, and their October show, I found 0.30 oversize rings and put them in. Now she starts with just two or three pull-ups on the crank, and sounds like a brand new 1933 Farmall '12'.