Farmall Super A, AV, 1939 - 1954
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This thread will document the restoration of my white demonstrator Super A, aka "Ol Whitey." Hopefully this thread will also demonstrate how to maintain a restoration thread that's easy for members to access and the author to update.
Anyway. I purchased Ol Whitey from Boss Hog in May '11. It was not running, had one flat rear tire, and improvised tie rods to hold the front wheels forward. But it had white paint shining everywhere. There was no doubt what it really was......
Took me better part of 2 weeks to salt all that white
IN GOD WE TRUST
All others pay cash
Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely byJohn Emerich Edward Dalberg
LOL You did good!!
So after I got Ol Whitey home, I decided to see if she'd run. I put a new coil and set of points in the mag, installed a new set of plugs and wires, and cleaned out the carb. The carb, by the way, is a Carter. I think I like the Zenith better. I rigged up a pony tank to get some gas to the carb, and tried to get it to start. Anyway I cranked and cranked and cranked. Finally got her to fire and after a few more tries, she fired up and I was able to drive it under its own power.
Good: It runs.
Bad: It runs very badly. Afterward I did a wet compression test and it wouldn't even move the needle on the compression tester. The transmission sounds like small animals are inside fighting each other with steel numchucks and cat o' nine tails. Oh and the PTO shaft is frozen.
But it's a white demo.....
I should add, I had a lot of helpers, but they tended to goof off on the job. A lot.
It's going to be a LONG run. More soon.
Id say to make it easy! Find a part's Super A take two an make one! Good luck Al Cheer's
Tractors are like watermelons..Eat the red and throw away the green!!
Brendan Dixon Greenville NC
1964 Farmall Cub #223883
1964 Farmall 140 #27512
Not so easy when we're talking about a demo. I want to avoid swapping out anything major like an engine block (more on that later) because then you have a Heinz 57. But a parts tractor would be nice for some of the internals. For example the transmission has some real issues. More later....
Thanks for starting this thread, Al! I know that I'll be following your progress! Kinda want a "bigger tractor" now that I have a little bit of property... But that is for later!
Good luck on Ol' Whitey!
Mike (Happy as a Lark in Allison Park, PA)
Check out my Restoration Thread (1955 Cub, Lewis)
So here's some pics of what I am up against. First, I am not a big fan of the old Farm Bureau Safemark tires, but this one is so near new, it still has the little nibs on it. The other one is nearly 95-98%.
On the other hand, the "new" tire is in not so good shape. Oh well.
Rims ain't too good either. Stupid calcium chloride..... I have a couple rims already laid up for it.
Here's the bad part. Block is cracked right at the front, right hand corner. Same place Cubs crack. I have never seen an A-140 crack here, I am thinking somebody got stupid with a chain and another tractor. The PO did some bubblegumming to try to fix it but it didn't really help. Anyway this is the deal breaker. I have some leads on some shops that can weld it "good as new" so we'll see. This will be the next major step in this project. If it turns out non-fixable, this may turn into just another Super A. My personal restoration philosophy doesn't allow replacing a major casting on a demo.....
Al, how is it going with the weld? Are you going to be able to get it fixed to your satisfaction?
"Time makes more converts than reason."- Thomas Paine
At the earliest, it will be Christmastime before I have time and funds to work on it. We are about 3 weeks away from moving into our new house, and pile finishing my Ed.D. and day to day teaching responsibilities on top of that, I don't have time for nuthin......
I have leads on 2-3 shops though, that from what I hear can "fix it like new." We shall see.....
Well, funds is tight, so I am not progressing much, but I did overcome a major hurdle last night.
The serial number tag is damaged on this tractor. (See the first post in this thread.) It is very difficult to read the three center digits in the serial number. That's sort of a serious issue on a white demo! So last night, I took the entire seat support off, and brought it in the house where I could look at it closely in good light.
For reasons only known to the fine folks at IH, they were using a sorry method for stamping their serial number tags in 1950. My '48 Super A and '49 Cub have nice, neat, DEEP stamped numbers. In 1950 (and I don't know when they started or when they switched back; my '54 Super A-1 has the nice deep stamped numbers again) they were using stamping that looked like this:
(Thanks to 61cub51 this is the tag on his white demo Cub)
If you "look at it too hard," the numbers get damaged. I think somebody must've been riding around with a heavy tool or something under their feet, and it banged against tag. Also, it's only holding by two rivets, so it's had some abuse. Anyway, I could for sure read two of the three damaged numbers in good light, but the third digit in the number was partly obliterated. I tried holding a light at all different angles, rubbing it with a pencil, laying a piece of paper over it and rubbing it, rubbing it with a q-tip, rubbing it with a pencil eraser (that did the best job of cleaning it), using 2-3 different flashlights, etc. I could see enough of the top of the digit to tell it was either a 2 or a 3. I had the production list for Louisville from the IH Archives, and narrowed it down to sometime in February production. So I went dragging outside last night about 10PM to check casting codes. Most of them were towards the end of February, with the newest one being Feb. 26 of '50. So, that helped me narrow it down to a 3.
Sort of jumping the gun, but now I have a decision to make. Do I leave the plate as-is when I restore it, or get a reproduction. I don't believe in reproductions, but in this case it may be warranted. I think I have some time to decide...
I'll try to post some more pics but there's no doubt what this tractor is, as if there was before! It's just as white as it can be on the back side of the seat support, where it met the transmission case....
Last edited by Super A on Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tst would probably make you one of the overlay decals if you wanted to go that route.
"We don't need to think more,
we need to think differently."
Great progress on the White Super A . How do I follow this post ?
I don't think there's a way to follow it, depending on your settings you'll get an email when someone replies. There's also a link to it in my signature.
Maybe it won't be long before I can look that guy up in Goldsboro you told me about and get that block tended to. Or then again, I could just buy that one Brendan sent the link to on FB and be done with it!!
I had forgotten to post a pic of my screwed up serial number plate:
Thankfully, I have been able to decipher it, thank goodness for casting codes.
Aaand....that pretty white paint!
One more thing. The IH Archives at the University of WI has full digital copies of Harvester World magazine online. Thought it would be fun to look for white demo information in some of the issues in '49-'50. Found a VERY interesting pic on the cover of the May, 1950 issue:
Look at the Super A emblem. Normally there would be the word CULTI-VISION in white at the bottom of the circle. In other words, CULTI-VISION would form the bottom part of the circle. The decal on this tractor is a solid black/white bordered circle, like a normal A, B, C, or circle Cub decal. I had wondered how they handled the fact that these letters were in white and wouldnt' show up well on white paint, I guess now we know!
By the way, the reason there is a NATIONALIZED sign on the IH dealer's window, and the guy is holding a Soviet/communist newspaper is because 1950 was during the early Cold War and this small town was staging a mock takeover to illustrate the dangers of communism. Pretty interesting article in and of itself.
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