Vintage Farming In Washington State

International Crawler tractor

Mr. Chase

Content Tools

Route 1, Box 14, Lowden, Washington 99360  

Here are pictures of wheat harvesting that we did in 1985. The pictures are of a 1940 Model 51 International Harvester hillside combine pulled by a 1936 TD-40 International Crawler tractor with a 1948 K-6 International truck. This combination was used a great deal in our hill wheat country in the forties and the fifties and some into the sixties until the self-propelled hillside combines took their place.

The model 51 combine still does an excellent job harvesting hill land wheat with its self leveling shoe and side hill leveling. We harvested 35 acres on our shakedown run. It can be beaten by the self propelled combines only in capacity and operator comfort but not in cleaning and saving the grain. The TD-40 is in excellent condition with new undercarriage, steering clutches and brakes plus a new paint job. My son thinks so much of it that he waxed it.

The tractor starts easily and runs very well. The combine has been completely overhauled with many new parts from a friend's barn and IH dealers in Lind and Colfax, Washington who still had some parts left. The only thing we didn't get done before harvesting was a paint job on the combine. I plan to paint it before the next time out. During the days we were cutting we had a lot of wind (as shown by the chaff on the radiator screen-and how well I remember a tail wind!) and our rear canvas was excellent when we started. But by the time we finished it was shreds because the old canvas was so rotten. Some paint on the machine, a new canvas, two seeping soft plugs on the engine and she will be ready for a 40 day run.

I know this is not too old yet but by the time Mark is my age it will be and it will still be ready to harvest wheat. My father farmed with horses and mules and in 1935 he sold them and purchased a TD-40. It was a gray one. So I have many years and miles of driving one of these tractors and I have a soft spot in my heart for this old girl.

I have been a wheat farmer on my own since 1946. This was after 4 years of World War II and being a 4 engine bomber pilot. In the fifties I started a hobby of restoring old cars. This has progressed through cars, a motorcycle, stationary engines, wheel tractors and crawler tractors. Most of my projects have come from within 30 miles of home. I have many pieces of equipment I still want to restore but 'Uncle Ronald' has made times pretty rough down on the farm and right now I don't expect I will be able to finish my 'Farm Power Exhibit.' It has been a lot of fun and a great deal of satisfaction to see this old machinery run well again and be operational.  

Many people restoring Caterpillar 10 crawler tractors find, as I did, that the pins and bushings in the tracks are worn beyond turning or using. Used track chain is sometimes available but motor freight is extremely expensive. If your side rail links are good and you are willing to spend the money, you can replace the pins and bushings with new pins, bushings and master pins from your John Deere dealer that are used on the track of a John Deere MC crawler tractor. Also some undercarriage parts on a MC crawler tractor were used on John Deere Lindeman crawlers. Any parts in the MC parts book that have a 'Y' in the number will fit on a John Deere Lindeman. The 'Y' in the number denotes 'Yakima' as the Lindeman tractor was assembled in Yakima, Washington. These pins and bushings will also fit the track chain of a Cat 15-7C model as this tractor was a warmed over Cat 10.

This last year I have been corresponding with a man in England who advertised in GEM for 'Help' in restoring the brakes on a tractor from World War II which appeared to be an 1-6 International. In reality it was an 1-6 that was altered to U.S. Air Force specifications to pull bomb trailers for hauling bombs to U.S. planes. I recognized the parts he was wanting to be the same used on the late 40s International K-6 or K-7 trucks (the same as the truck loading wheat in my pictures). I have sent him two rear wheel brake cylinders, information on adjusting Wagner Lockheed brakes of this type and now have nearly ready to send a master cylinder. He is extremely appreciative and I am happy that I am the one in the United States that recognized what he needed and am able to supply the parts to finish his tractor.