Bought a tractor rear end full of ice frooze solid need help

Mon Jan 22, 2007 6:59 am

Ok I bought this 1947 Farmall A. Yes it is not a cub but there build is so similiar and this could happen to the cub so plaease leave here.

I went to go pick it up the 85 year old man that has it has let it sit for a long time. He is down south for the winter and his daughter met me so I could pay for it.
after I picked away the froozen dirt around the tires I hooked the truck up to give it a few jerks well the tractor hops but could not pull it out. got to looking and the rear wheels are not budging. I reached down wiggled the shiffter it is in neutral so I tried turning the pto could not turn it. I tired to put it in gear and you could not get it in any gear. I have heard and have saw even my cub when I got it that the rear end was full of water.
I really need to get this out of there before the spring thaw becasue then it wont be till summer before it dryes out enough to tow it out with the truck.
I really need to get it out the engine it partial seized. With the hand crank I can wiggle the crank back and forth about 1/4 inch and the more i did it the more it moved but I want to get it out. Part of the selling deal was that it wouldn't crank over. Weather there is ice from condensation or the cylineders are rusty I want to get it before it sets up firm.
Do you guys have any ideas of how to get it thawed out? temps have been 0-25 for 2 weeks.
I could take a blow toruch over and heat it up maybe have to take the shifter cover and pto off?
how can I thaw this out?
if temps rasied up what kind of temps and how long to melt the ice? I think the cast iron will act like a cooler and keep it frooze for a long time.
any suggestions?
if the rear end is frooze what is the chances that the bull gears are full of ice? can water get down by the shifter and into the bull gears?
the old guy says it just ran 5 years ogo it can not be frooze up I put good oil in it. I just smiled.
any help?

Mon Jan 22, 2007 7:13 am

Chad, it maybe possible that only the final gears are frozen. Water tends to settle in the bottom of these housings. If that is the case, it wouldn't take much to thaw it out.

Mon Jan 22, 2007 8:13 am

Chad - you can carefully place a pan of hot charcoal under the finals and tranny area. Then patiently wait for the tractor to warm up enough to thaw.

Mon Jan 22, 2007 8:24 am


You're going to have to brute force that tractor out of there however you can and get it into a heated shop to thaw it out. There's no way you're going to make any progress with a blow torch, especially outdoors. It takes a lot of heat to melt water, especially water encased in cast steel. You'll be at it for hours just to see any progress at all, and it'll freeze right back up as soon as you start heating another area.

Jack the tractor up, and set the rear wheels on an old car hood or whatever you can find to act as a sled. Maybe they've got an old stone boat you can borrow? You may need to slip 2x8s under the wheels to reinforce the sled. Get the tractor out to the driveway and winch it up on the trailer.

Mon Jan 22, 2007 8:40 am

when you say finals do you guys mean the outer bull gears with the half moon cover?
It was suggested to use a propane torch you can get them cheap at harbor frieght. I could possibly pull the pto out and the top shifter cover I hope and heat it up and let it run out?
or would direct heat screw things up?
the charcoal idea is cool but this place is 45 minutes from home.

Mon Jan 22, 2007 8:48 am

I don't think that heating with a torch or similar will get you much. The heat is too concentrated and you are trying to heat too much area.

If there is electricity available, perhaps a couple of those magnetic heaters.

Whatever you do, you should probably pull the drain plugs first if possible, so what does melt can run out so it cant just refreeze. If you do this, you MAY be able to get away with using a torch.

Mon Jan 22, 2007 8:54 am

Yes I planned on pulling at least the drain plugs and possibly the whole pto out it would allow me to see inside and pull the shifter out if possible and melt from to places.
I could possibly hook up electic heaters if I had them I can find long extension cords.

Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:03 am

Electricity opens up a whole host of possibilites.

Although they dont make a ton of heat, things like heating pads and electric blankets can do alot of good if left for hours or days.

It may be worth getting a rollback in there and just let them drag it out of there for you. Seems like this isnt the kind of project you can or want to go by and tinker with every day or two. And, I don't think you are going to find a way to thaw it in an hour or two. May be worth the $100 to just get it out of there without any real fuss or fires. Winch on a rollback should be able to drag it up there with no real problems.

Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:11 am

If you have, or know someone that has a heater similar to this, it should do the job, but you may need to put a tarpualin or something similar over the rear of the tractor to block air from it. be careful to keep plenty of clearance between heater and any combustible. The engine not turning may be stuck valves.

Image ... 577_211577

Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:25 am

To thaw the outer bull gear areas, one could pull the bolts holding the half-moon pans in place. A little heat on the pans and they should drop, allowing heat to be applied directly to the large gears. Or so it seems to me. Dan

Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:29 am

I agree with Matt. I'd jack up the tires and put something slippery, like Matt suggested or maybe some plastic visqueen, or something that will act like a sled and just slide it out and up to the trailer.

Some plastic with snow mixed in will act like a "banana peel" :D

I hope you have something on your trailer to winch it on, and don't plan to just roll it up onto the trailer :shock: .


Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:48 am

Hi Chad

When we have problems with equipment in the field. We take a generator and torpedo heater. put a tarp over it off put the torpedo heater under it and let it run. If it is compleatly full be perpared for it to need to be heated for three hours or so. You might use one of those frost burners that go on a 20 gal propane tank. We used to use them on water pumps when I used to work for a drilling company. Set it so that the flame is a ltiile below the trans.

You do not want to pull the drain plug out :!: The heat has to be tranfered from the metal to the ice. As it melts the water will transfer the heat to the ice in deeper. If you let that water drain out you will get a air gap and it will take forever to melt the rest of the water. If you can get the shifter cover off you can pour boiling hot water into it. That may be the fastest way. Considering that it already full of water more water won't hurt anything.

Good luck


Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:01 am

Boiling hat water will be a problem the owner is gone to florida or alabama and the daughter wont let me in the house which is fine.
as for skids I am not sure how I would get them or what to use.
I can use a 1-1/3 ton chain fall to pull it up on the trailer. But I have to get it to the tairler first.
if some one can post a pic or 2 for me I will email it to you. I can not use photobucket from work nor can I see anything you guys post from there.
some post I can see pics others I can not. I am not sure why.

Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:03 am

Sent you a PM with my email. I can post them for you.b

Mon Jan 22, 2007 10:05 am

ok if I had skids made out of some steel?
how about 1/8" to 1/4" thick steel 10-15" wide with some sort of hook on each side so I can jack up ther tire and then put a ratchet strap around it to hold it to the wheel? then take and bend up the sheet metal like a ski in the front?
1/8" steel 12" wide 30" long? got to get the tire chains out of the of way.