By: Bill Hudson
Pictures by: Don McCombs & Jo Hudson
Illustrations provided by: Bob Melusky
Cub provided by: Peter Person
Plowing is one of those activities that those who love the land really enjoy. Nothing beats the smell of freshly turned soil or the sight of straight, even furrows extending to the horizon (okay, to the end of the field or garden). Many new owners of "old" Cubs are wanting to plow and plant something -- a garden (large or small) or something more extensive. Either way, they may lack the experience necessary to properly mount, adjust and operate their wonderful Cub with a plow attached.
This article serves as an introduction to plow mounting, adjustments, and operation for those using the popular F-Cub with either the 193 or 194 moldboard plow. There are versions of two-way plows available for use with the F-Cub but they will not be covered specifically in this article. However, the same principles will apply for these plows. You just need to make the mounting and adjusting apply to both sides of the Cub.
First and foremost, before ever attempting to plow -- read the manual for the plow you have. Yes, I'm sure that there is a good chance that you do not have the 50+ years-old manual. I have good news for you. Implement manuals are available through this forum, via the "Quick Links" pull-down menu in the upper left portion of the screen: Quick Links / PDF Manuals / Farmall Cub / Cub Attachments.
Print off the manual that corresponds to the plow you are going to use and read it over thoroughly. Save it for future reference. For those who are new to plowing, I would suggest that you take the manual to the field with you for answering those questions you may have as you make the inevitable final in-field adjustments.
After reading your manual, you should evaluate your plow. Remember, this plow is probably over 50 years old and may have seen hard use before you got it. Are all parts/pieces present and accounted for? Are all parts/pieces in good repair? If you need to repair/replace parts, do so before attempting to mount the plow.
The plow share is the logical place to start when evaluating the plow. There are a multitude of shares/points available for these plows. Covering all of the possible options is beyond the scope of this article. This first picture shows a point and share in need of replacement. Will this point and share still work? Probably, but if you have hard soil, it may not work well.
Another example of a point and share, one that shows recent use and replacement.
Note the difference in the appearance of the points and the leading edge of the share. The rusty share shows a much more curved leading edge, a sure sign of wear.
Finally, it may be instructive to look at a point that has been replaced while the share has not. This point has seen little use since it was installed, however, the share and moldboard are showing lots of wear when compared to the point.
The landside is an important part of the plow subject to a lot of wear and should be examined to determine if there is sufficient thickness to still fulfill its function.
This part slides along the furrow wall and serves to help keep the plow pulling in a straight line. Check the landside for wear, both along the lower edge and on the vertical side. Some of these parts on 50+ year old plows will be completely worn through the vertical side as shown here. Although this landside is still somewhat functional, it should be replaced.
The colter and or jointer should be examined for excessive wear to be sure the bearing is not worn out.
Unless your plow has been well cared for, you will need to shine up the share, moldboard, landside, colter and/or jointer before even attempting to plow. The heavy coat of rust should be removed to allow the soil to flow smoothly across those surfaces. A plow that has the rust removed pulls easier and does a much neater job.
The best way I have found to clean these surfaces is with either an electric or air powered right angle grinder with a coarse sanding disk attached. Sand until you have removed most of the rust and the surfaces begin to show some shiny metal. Some of your surfaces may be severely rust pitted but you need to see some shiny metal before you stop. You will not need to polish the surface, let the soil do the final polishing. (More about soil polishing later.) Wearing a face mask is advised because you will be making a lot of dust and there is no need to inhale it.
Once again refer to your manual for mounting and adjustment instructions. The manual has detailed instructions and illustrations of the adjustments that need to be made. Many of the adjustments on the plow can be made without mounting the plow on the Cub. If you follow the instructions closely you will minimize the need for in-the-field adjustments. You will probably need to make some but a properly adjusted plow to start puts you in position to begin with a minimum of problems.
Let's look at those adjustments in detail by referring to illustrations from the manuals. The colter, on the 193 plow, can be adjusted easily before mounting the plow.
Adjust the colter to run parallel to the beam and 2" from the beam. As can be seen in this illustration, there is a gap between the plow point and colter. This gap should be 3/4". When viewed from the side, the colter hub needs to be directly above the plow point and the bottom edge of the colter should be at least 2" above the plow point. Follow the manual directions for which bolts need to be used to make these adjustments.
The colter adjustments for the 194 plow are very similar except the coulter is not mounted to the plow beam. The colter is mounted directly to the pull bar, as shown here.
Final colter adjustments need to be made with the plow mounted to the Cub.
For pictures of mounted plows you can go to TM Tractor Parts website TM Tractor Implement Gallery. The 189, 193, and 194 plows are shown mounted, check these pictures before you begin and save yourself some frustration.
Once you have the plow shined up, the colter greased, the adjustments made, and all the bolts tight -- it is time to turn your attention to the Cub. I'm making the assumption that you have all the parts/pieces required to mount your plow properly. If you are not sure, refer to your copy of the "Owner's Manual."
The first item to address is wheel width. The most desirable wheel width is 44", although other widths will work after making appropriate allowances for the difference in wheel width.
You may want to consider adding weight, to the rear wheels, for additional traction when plowing. Some of the factors affecting the need for additional weight are:
- The type of soil you will be plowing is the major factor. Light sandy soil plows easily and should not require additional weight. If you have a heavy clay soil, additional weight may be required to provide the traction necessary to plow.
- Plow setup and adjustment are critical. An improperly adjusted plow is simply harder to pull. Properly adjusted, the plow pulls much easier and does a much neater job.
- Finally, soil moisture content affects how difficult it is to plow. Soil that is wet makes it more difficult to plow. Don't plow if the soil is too wet to work! If, after the furrow slice is turned over, the soil appears to be smeared and/or shiny looking, it is too wet to plow. If you continue to plow, you are creating a multitude of problems that will be difficult to solve later.
Calcium chloride has been used for years as liquid ballast for tractor tires. Currently, there are other options for liquid ballast. When pumped into rear tires liquid ballast makes a significant addition to the tractor weight. An advantage of liquid ballast is that there is no visible change to the appearance of the Cub. In addition there is no heavy lifting (great for us old folks). Since it is pumped in (normally at a tire service center), removal is difficult for the owner. Also, calcium chloride will rust the rims if a leak occurs, the newer materials are formulated to reduce rusting and be more environmentally friendly.
Wheel weights add 150 pounds to each rear wheel, when used singly or 300 pounds when two weights are used per wheel. Wheel weights can be used with or without liquid ballast in the tires. The advantage of wheel weights is that you can easily (?) mount or dismount the weights as needed, however, in practice, most people mount the weights and leave them mounted.
It is always important to maintain the correct tire air pressure and becomes more so when adding weight to the rear tire and then doing some serious pulling, as you will when plowing. Especially with a Cub lowering air pressure will not make a noticeable difference in traction, therefore, follow the inflation recommendations printed on the tire sidewalls. Your tires will last longer and give better service as a result.
This picture shows a Cub on an asphalt driveway with the left side elevated on wooden blocks 7-1/2" high.
Throughout the rest of this article I will be using this Cub to illustrate various principles/adjustments. This is done to simulate the effects of being in a field with the right side in a plowed furrow. The yellow block under the right tire is a chock block used as a safety feature to prevent the Cub from backing off the wood blocks.
Please notice that the Cub is tilted and the colter attached to the pull bar is vertical. This will be more important as the plow is attached. The bottom of the furrow needs to be nearly level. This is achieved by twisting the plow beam, in the opposite direction, an amount equal to the tilt of the Cub. This is readily apparent when viewing the plow beam here.
The beam is vertical even though the Cub is tilted. Please follow your manual instructions for making this adjustment.
As you make the adjustment to get the plow beam vertical, or nearly so, the trailing end of the plow share will be about ½" higher than the point. This is rather easy to illustrate here on asphalt, but more difficult to do in the field.
Note that my fingers are under the end on the share and, although it can't be seen in this picture, the point is firmly on the asphalt. When lowering the plow, the point always touches the ground first and leads the plow into the ground. If the share touches the ground first you will need to make more adjustment to bring it up. This adjustment, on the 193, is made with an eccentric bolt at the front of the beam and is described in the manual. The fast hitch 194 plow is adjusted with the leveling crank on the left side of the fast hitch. The bottom of the furrow will be "nearly" level when this adjustment is correct.
The plowing depth is controlled by adjusting the bail height or the drawbar height. These are controlled by an adjusting lever or an adjusting screw. The adjusting lever or screw should be adjusted so that plowing depth is achieved when the adjusting lever is in the middle of the quadrant. This will allow quick, accurate changes in plow depth in response to changing soil conditions.
Plowing depth is ALWAYS controlled by this adjusting lever NEVER with the lifting mechanism (hydraulic or mechanical). Since the 193 is lifted by a chain no down pressure can be exerted but some may be tempted to keep the chain tight. Do not do this.
Likewise, those using a 194 may want to use the Touch Control to control depth. Therefore, I feel the most important adjustment is the one pictured here.
Make certain that the set collar is at least 6" away from the swivel on the lift rod. When lowering the plow, pull the Touch Control lever all the way back and let the plow float, as determined by the hitch bail.
As you are in the field, you need to visualize an imaginary line that runs straight from the inside of your front tire to the inside of the rear tire to the end of the plow share. Your plow is set properly for width of cut when this occurs. A side benefit is that, when you are in the furrow, a slight steady pressure to the left on the steering wheel will keep your front tire on the furrow wall and minimize the need to constantly watch the front wheel.
Some would suggest that the tires should run an inch or two away from the furrow wall with the plow adjusted accordingly, so as to not damage the tire sidewalls. In my experience, I have never seen tires worn out or seriously damaged from contact with the furrow wall.
Don't forget to take your manual and tools necessary for adjustment to the field. Refer to the manual as needed for adjustments, but most of all enjoy the experience!