1958 FCub Engine Cylinder and Head Restoration

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1958 FCub Engine Cylinder and Head Restoration

Postby Ironlegs » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:52 am

For the sake of helping others contemplating assessing and improving their Cub's engine cylinder and head, I post the results of my recent work on my 1958 FCub. I fully restored everything on my Cub EXCEPT the engine cylinders and head during the past eight months. I intended to use my time away from work over the recent holiday for the engine fixes. The Cub's exhaust was showing a small amount of crankcase oil burn during use mowing (Danco C-2 belly mower). The spark plugs showed some minor oil fouling. Intake manifold vacuum measured a steady 18 in Hg.

Compression tests showed 60 psi maximum in all four cylinders. The underside of the head showed a fair amount of carbon build-up and an especially oily #2 piston top. The head gasket was not leaking. The cylinders measured 2.630 (0.005 over) in diameter, top and bottom, in all locations. The existing ring gaps measured 0.035 when placed at mid-height...specs for like new rings varies from 0.007 to 0.017. I purchased new, standard rings. Ring gaps measured 0.022 in.

The valves had no errosion and the seats were very clean and defined. Valves were removed, cleaned, stems polished before reinstall and tappet clearances set to 0.013 cold.

I measured the piston connecting rod journal bearing clearance to be around 0.0015 in with Plastigage and, therefore, did not replace them. I did not measure the crank thrust or journal bearings.

After assembly, I had a heck of a time re-starting the tractor...I had to have it towed for compression starting. Once running, further starting has been without issue. The exhaust contains no oil smoke or residue and smells "healthy". I am accumulating some "break-in" time on the new parts before re-testing the cylinder compression and the intake vacuum. I believe they will be fine, especially considering a 54 year old machine.
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Re: 1958 FCub Engine Cylinder and Head Restoration

Postby clodhopper » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:58 am

Thanks for the post. After I get the rear end back in order (the tractor's, not mine) I plan on tackling that same job.
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Re: 1958 FCub Engine Cylinder and Head Restoration

Postby ntrenn » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:52 am

Your experience is similar to mine on the loboy - but I had a little less cylinder wear - only about 0.002, but a whole lot more ring end gap - the originals had just under 0.100 end gap. I put standard rings back in mine too at about the same end gap as yours. I also put it back together with 0.002 piston pin clearance - way over spec, but only a very slight knock cold and none once warmed up.

Great to have another cub engine freshened up.....and thanks for the writeup.
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Re: 1958 FCub Engine Cylinder and Head Restoration

Postby Ironlegs » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:20 am

Ntrenn,
Thanks for sharing your engine rebuild information. I bought the Cub about a year ago to serve initially as a father-son project in getting it in useable condition (which turned into a full restoration due to its poor condition). Now that it's useable, I hope to have it serve as a learning tool for my son and I. I have owned and operated a Super A for about twenty years...which has needed a lot of repairs to keep it going. My son will turn seven in a few weeks.

I discovered this website as a result of searching for service and repair information. Most if not all of the past IHC dealers and mechanics in my area (NW PA) are gone and knowledge about how to evaluate and fix these tractors could only be found by this means. I'm very grateful for the help I've found here and hope some of the information in my posts add to the help available.
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Re: 1958 FCub Engine Cylinder and Head Restoration

Postby ntrenn » Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:59 pm

ironlegs....welcome to the fold...yes there are some really really smart folks here. This site has been invaluable for reference as to how others have fixed their problems. My dad bought our red cub in 1969 - I was just a little older than your son is now and could barely reach the pedals, but I still got drafted to drive the tractor to pull the layoff plow to plow sweet potato ridges. I am lucky enough to live not far from the old Louisville IH plant - many of my neighbors worked there and my wife's uncle still works in service at the local IH dealer. He's been working on cubs and cadets for 30+ years, so I bend his ear when I get stuck on something.

You are far more ambitious that I - doing a full restore on a 50 year old tractor - well done!!!
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Re: 1958 FCub Engine Cylinder and Head Restoration

Postby 64/67lo-boy » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:32 pm

Hey Ironlegs Depending on what you get done at the machine shop it can get pricey. I had a loose wrist pin knocking on my first cub loboy. after getting that sleeved and the others cylinders boared, valve guides all new valve train, crank ground and what ever else i got done to it I had over 2000 in parts and labor. I cant even sell it now. I have to keep it. Lots of leasons to be learned with these cubs indeed. All that money and she's not even pretty to look at yet.
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Re: 1958 FCub Engine Cylinder and Head Restoration

Postby Ironlegs » Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:23 am

I had a mistaken idea that I could buy a Cub and get it in decent running order for $500 or so in repairs when I began this adventure. I had no plan to make this project a restoration. Well, I bought the unit for $1800. I have a bit over $4000 in it now...but, it's fully restored and will provide good service for a long time. I am amazed at how parts are lost and butchered on these machines. A lot of users appear to mis-use these units, resulting in premature wear and damaged parts. My Cub is intended for mowing and light trailer work.

This forum and the information on the web site has been invaluable to me as a guide in how the unit is engineered and intended to function. Without any experienced mechanics and operators of Farmalls in my region, the manuals and forum participants are my sole resources for reference.

My Cub undertaking has got me to understand alot about the history of these tractors and the farming history of mid-twentieth century America. I now see my machines (1951 Super A and 1958 Cub) as antiques and myself as a sort of throw-back user.
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Re: 1958 FCub Engine Cylinder and Head Restoration

Postby ntrenn » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:25 pm

Wow, you really did it up!! I have one in college and one going to college, so that kind of investment escapes me at the present.
I bought my parts tractor for $500 for the tires and rims and possibly to part out the rest. Put the rears on the '63, then decided to see what I could do to get it running.
Counting tools, I only had about $200 in it to get it first running, but then I spent another $100 or so on transmission gears and seals. It's functional and has been put back to mowing duty, but I would be hard pressed to get $1000 out of it without more work.

I'm with you on the misuse and abuse....it seemed like everything on the loboy was broken - heck - even one of the steering ball sockets in a tie rod was missing - made one out of a grade 8 3/8 nut....
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Re: 1958 FCub Engine Cylinder and Head Restoration

Postby Jason (IL) » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:42 pm

ntrenn wrote:I bought my parts tractor for $500 for the tires and rims and possibly to part out the rest.


I am in the same boat. I bought one for $450 a year ago and I pulled it into the shop last week to pull off some parts. Parts only ended up being added to it and now I am refreshing the engine to see if I can get it running to use as a mowing tractor. Sickle mower will be used on it and cultivator. I was contemplating selling the tractor last Friday and on Sunday it ends up in my garage being torn down. I spent all of Sunday working with it and all of monday cleaning up the engine. I guess it is hard for me to see one bite the dust, I just have to keep em all running.

It is sure an ugly looking unit but as long as it runs here shortly?? Priceless to me, I just enjoy tinkering with them.


I tell my wife, I never want to run out of project to piddle around with, and so far she agree's! :)
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Re: 1958 FCub Engine Cylinder and Head Restoration

Postby ntrenn » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:30 am

:D :D
Here's some pics of mine shortly after coming home. Engine still stuck. Tie rods bent. Trans full of green goop. I figured I could get a few hundred out of the deluxe seat and rear light. Fronts nowhere to be found.
It's now got the original tires off my '63 on it and has about 10 hours on the rering job. Seal tabs are keeping the head gasket water leak (to outside) at bay for now.
bolted a $20 set of Autozone lights to the top hood bolts and I can mow all night now...

I've seen ugly. Had buyer's remorse. Didn't want a loboy. But....it's really nice mowing under the trees - I have fewer welts after mowing now..if I could only get that front axle to come loose...
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Re: 1958 FCub Engine Cylinder and Head Restoration

Postby Ironlegs » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:39 pm

Okay, fellows here's a photograph of the '58 Cub with my son, Daniel.
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Re: 1958 FCub Engine Cylinder and Head Restoration

Postby Eugene » Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:59 pm

Real nice looking tractor, and son.

Ironlegs wrote:I had a mistaken idea that I could buy a Cub and get it in decent running order for $500 or so in repairs when I began this adventure.
I have the feeling that a lot of new Cub purchasers are of the same opinion. It's surprising how much money and time an individual invests in a project tractor.
I have an excuse. CRS.
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Re: 1958 FCub Engine Cylinder and Head Restoration

Postby ntrenn » Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:53 pm

Find job you did. Enjoy the youngen while you can, next thing you know he'll be going to college in the fall....
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Re: 1958 FCub Engine Cylinder and Head Restoration

Postby Rudi » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:43 pm

Nicely done Cub :D Cubs and sons are a good mix. As was said, enjoy your time with him while he is young, they grow up way too fast at least that is the way it seems 20 years later down the road :roll:
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Re: 1958 FCub Engine Cylinder and Head Restoration

Postby JackF » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:21 am

y 64/67lo-boy wrote:
Hey Ironlegs Depending on what you get done at the machine shop it can get pricey. ……..i got done to it I had over 2000 in parts and labor. I cant even sell it now.
Ironlegs wrote:
I had a mistaken idea that I could buy a Cub and get it in decent running order for $500 or so in repairs when I began this adventure. I had no plan to make this project a restoration. Well, I bought the unit for $1800. I have a bit over $4000 in it now...
y ntrenn wrote:
I have one in college and one going to college, so that kind of investment escapes me at the present.
Jason (IL) wrote:
I am in the same boat

I too had the idea that I could build these tractors at what I think is a reasonable cost. When I began my adventure (fifteen years ago) I talked my family into giving me a Cub that I grew up with that was heading to the junk yard. I rebuilt the tractor completely for $2000 and I did all the labor/machine work myself. You can consider the engine; all bearings/seals in the transmission/final drives’ and TC are new.

I built the tractor for show and attend Cub events for when I retired but mostly to visit and meet people that frequent forums like this. After family issues and four sons in college at the same time that dream changed…..but in the future sometimes dreams come true.

I did help restore three more Cubs for charity sales. I was the one who also managed the cost of the tractors and after the sales of all three we decided to abandon the tractor sale idea. We had an average of $1800 in the tractors and sold them for average of $1725. No equipment was offered at the sales which in my opinion hurt the value of the tractors.

What really “rubbed salt into the wound” was one day when I was going for a ride with my Cub on a back rural road and I was stopped and offered $1500 for it. I told the person who made the offer that I had $2000 in it and what I did to it and I had almost all the equipment/attachments that went with it. He then offered $2000….needless to say we parted company.

After restoring a few cars/trucks and tractors I have a lot of respect for the people who do this…. believe me it takes a lot to restore one of these tractors.
Last edited by JackF on Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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