1935 F-12 Farmall

By Staff
1 / 3
2 / 3
3 / 3

395 S. Burnham Hwy. Lisbon, Connecticut 06351

I am 28 years old and have been reading Gas Engine Magazine for
two years. was hoping you would like to hear from one of your
younger tractor restorers.

My 1935 F-12 Farmall tractor started life on a farm in Hebron,
Connecticut, where it was used for years as the sole tractor on the
farm. A problem arose after many years of faithful service when, on
a cold fall morning, water that was left in the block caused a
crack. Unfortunately this is a common problem with early model
Farmalls since they are not equipped with freeze plugs. With the
crack in the block, water had gotten into the oil pan and froze the
oil pump. When the owner tried starting the tractor he broke the
oil pump drive shaft. After that the farmer retired his F-12
tractor to the corner of his field.

A few years later Ben Staba, a good friend of mine also of
Hebron, Connecticut, got tired of driving by the F-12 and inquired
about it. A deal was made and he then towed it home. Ben then
started to work on getting it to run.

With a cleaning of the points the mag was hot again. He then
drained the fuel tank and the water from the oil pan. He then fixed
the crack in the block. Then the big problem was next: fixing the
oil pump drive shaft. Since it was the year 1960, old hand crank
F-12’s were not popular and parts were getting very hard to
come by. Ben being very handy made one up from an old Volkswagen
cylinder case stud (yes, I know it’s hard to believe but
it’s true, and it worked for ten years). But after that, the
crack that was now 31 inches long became impossible to keep fixed.
After that Ben retired it to his barn where he took the motor out
in hopes of finding another one. Then Ben found a Farmall 200 which
he still uses to this day, so the old tired F-12 never got its new
motor.

When I was at Ben’s farm cutting my winter supply of
firewood, I was telling Ben I was looking for a tractor to haul
firewood out of the woods. That’s when Ben took me inside his
barn and showed me his F-12. It was completely covered with steel
and wood right next to his baler. Ben then told me the story of the
tractor and he told me I could have the tractor if I was willing to
fix it up. So I borrowed a trailer and towed it to its new
home.

My first two big problems were a cracked block and two 40 inch
rear tires that were completely shot. I looked for a couple of
months for a good block, but with no luck. During that time I had
already started with the cleaning of the radiator, rebuilding the
mag, carburetor, and the fuel pump. I also sent the crankshaft out
to be ground and was very surprised to find out it was still
standard. The crank and cam gear were shot, as were all the
lifters.

One cold winter morning a friend of mine, Lloyd Holden, who also
happens to be a Farmall collector, called to tell me he had just
picked up a couple of F-12’s for parts. We set a date to meet
one night. When I arrived I was surprised to see how complete both
tractors were. Lloyd had decided to fix up one of the tractors
because it had turned out to be a F-14 with overdrive. The F-12
tractor for parts had a complete motor that was stuck, but a
crack-free block. I bought the short block from Lloyd and loaded it
in my pickup and headed home. Out of the short block I got all the
parts I needed: lifters, oil pump, cam and crank gears. Another
friend of mine, Lyle Crouch, came up with a piston and sleeve kit,
gaskets, and a lot of good advice and F-12 specifications.

My next big problem was the 40 inch rear tires. I looked for
over two years with no luck. After looking at many old pictures and
doing a lot of research I found out that the original owner had
removed the steel wheels after WWII. Since my tractor is a 1935 it
would have come with 36 inch rims. With a little luck I found
another F-12 with good rims (they were the only good part of the
tractor).

I then started on sandblasting all my parts and what I
couldn’t sandblast I hand sanded and wire brushed. I
straightened all the radiator fins, which took ten hours alone. I
primed and painted each part before final assembly. I had a lot of
people tell me that the 1935 tractor should be painted gray, but
the tractor had only been repainted once and all the paint under
the hidden parts like the gas tank straps, seat posts, engine
mounts, etc. were painted red. I then decided to paint the tractor
red.,

I finished assembling the tractor with no major problems. The
only parts that were missing were the air cleaner top and belt
pulley which I now have. Now the F-12 was fully assembled except
for the rims and tires. I painted the tractor on a warm sunny day
and put on the decals and detailed some spots. Then I dismounted
the tires that were not in that good of shape, but would have to do
for now. I sandblasted the rims and painted them.

One day when I came home from work my wife had, sitting in the
yard, a brand new pair of 36 inch rear tractor tires. I installed
them on my rims and put them on the tractor and the tractor looked
great!

The tractor was finished just in time for the Brooklyn Antique
Tractor Show, but I still had one problem to solve; two days before
the show I got the tractor running but it would not stay running.
It was acting like it had a bad fuel pump, but with all the
checking I found a rusted fuel line on the inside. When I fixed
that, it ran great.

The Brooklyn Antique Show put on by Connecticut Yankee Tractor
turned out to be great and worth all the work I did on my
tractor.

I want to thank my wife and all my friends for making all of
this possible, because without their help I never would have
finished the tractor.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines