1950 Cub in Cool, CA

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Stoffregen Motorsports
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1950 Cub in Cool, CA

Postby Stoffregen Motorsports » Sun May 30, 2021 11:11 am

Hi everyone. New to the forum here but not a new Farmall owner. We have had our 1950 (?) cub for about 20 years now as yard art, and I was completely happy with that, but just last weekend my eight year old son asked if we could get it running. Why not...?

So after being parked in the same spot for the last 14 years, we dragged it into the shop and got to work. Since my son is only eight, I am always conscious of teachable moments and we started with the basic stuff. I showed him how to remove a zerk fitting to clean it before pumping grease into all the joints. We drained all the fluids so I could explain what to look for. Then I let him soak the entire tractor in WD40 and PB Blaster to prepare for removing various nuts, bolts and hardware. We then removed the spark plugs and squirted the cylinders down with WD40, disconnected the fuel line and made some battery cables for the new 6 volt battery. After all that, we gave her a spin, and I'll be damned if it didn't turn right over.

We should have stopped there, but we didn't...

Not aware that the Cub oiling system needed to be back primed after sitting for a long time, we tried to build oil pressure by cranking. I think that's where the damage occurred. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

That night, I took the carb apart and cleaned it in my ultrasonic cleaner, put it back together with my own custom made gasket and custom made idle adjusting screw (the threads in the carb body were stripped, so a new screw was machined out of a 10-32 screw). With new fuel fed by a funnel, the tractor fired right up and ran for a few seconds before the clacking started. Not deterred, I hit the internet to look up oiling system problems and found out that the pump needed to be back primed, which I did, and we tried it again. But it was too late.

So here we are, with a mini-build thread which will show our progress. I have no intention of restoring the tractor. I just want to get it running and driving and make sure all mechanical systems work properly. Spoiler alert - $500 in parts have already arrived and I should have it running today.

Here is a pic of how she looked after we dragged her into the shop.


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Re: 1950 Cub in Cool, CA

Postby JustJim » Sun May 30, 2021 12:00 pm

Good on ya! And how wonderful to be able to do this with your son! I'm a grey haired old codger now, but many of my happiest memories are of working with my Dad in the shop as he patiently taught me to repair things.

I remember one time we were working on some contraption that was all staked together and obviously never meant to be repaired. I foolishly opined that we would just need to buy a replacement. Dad said, "Son, if one man can be smart enough to design and construct this device, another man should be able to figure out how to take it apart and repair it." Of course he did just that, and I've never forgotten the lesson.

Looks as if you have a wonderful shop to work in. Enjoy yourself! :D

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Re: 1950 Cub in Cool, CA

Postby Gary S. » Sun May 30, 2021 12:12 pm

Yard art :shock: Those rear tires and rims are in better shape than mine that's been in it's whole life :lol: Have fun!

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Re: 1950 Cub in Cool, CA

Postby CapeCodCubs » Sun May 30, 2021 6:33 pm

That is a great project for an 8 year old, starting him off with a Cub will lead to greater things. I know you said the plan is just to get it running but come on, paint it up!!!! With everything you have on hand to restore that 50 you why stop with just getting it running.

Keep the posts coming and get some pictures with your son in them. We like pictures, kids and Cubs!

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Re: 1950 Cub in Cool, CA

Postby Olred » Sun May 30, 2021 7:36 pm

Keep the pictures coming, I did not prime the oil pump properly on my first cub. But it did lead me to tear it down to find I had a cracked piston. Still going strong to this day. Just remember Cubs are like potato chips you can’t have just one
1949 Cub "The Anti-Christ"
1948 Cub "Trailer Queen"
1966 Cub "Ol Yeller"
1948 Cub "Rusty"
1953 Super A
1950 John Deere MT
1941 John Deere B
1944 John Deere B
1948 John Deere B
1942 Case VAI
1974 Ford 3000

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Re: 1950 Cub in Cool, CA

Postby Glen » Sun May 30, 2021 9:10 pm

The headlight in your pic, on the left side, looks like the style IH used from mid 1953 - 1958.
You might want to check the tractor serial number, you can find the year using the serial number, at the top of the page, at Cub Info, and then go to Serial Number Lookup.

The Cub has the style of hood and grille IH used from 1947 - mid 1954.

They have said on here that a Cub engine needs to be running to have oil pressure. You probably won't get oil pressure cranking the engine.

If you only ran the engine for a minute, and saw there was no oil pressure, and shut it off, there might be no engine damage.
But no telling what condition the engine is in from the use it had, and the time it has been sitting.
Piston rings get stuck in the pistons from sitting.
If you get it to run, and it smokes blue smoke, from oil burning, because of stuck rings, the people on here use Seafoam oil additive in the motor oil, and have had good results. The smoking slows down, or mostly stops.
It takes time for the Seafoam to work. One of the experts on here said use it for 2 oil change periods.
The 1947 Cub owner's manual says change the engine oil every 120 hours of use.
They say on here make the engine do work during that time, so it gets warmed up.
The additive won't do much if the rings are wornout.
I haven't used that brand. :)

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Re: 1950 Cub in Cool, CA

Postby Stoffregen Motorsports » Mon May 31, 2021 11:23 am

Wow! Thanks for al the encouragement. I did not know what to expect, but you guys are great!

Yes, yard art. A lot of my childhood memories are centered around all the weekends spent at our cabin in Iron River, Wisconsin. My grandfather (Papa) was a do it all kind of guy who built his own snow-cat out of steel and a Studebaker flathead six, built his own snowblower for his JD to help with the runway at the Duluth airport, basically anything that could be cut out of steel and welded together, he and my dad were game. Growing up around that was priceless and obviously led me to the career I am in today. So it's no coincidence that I like to surround myself with classic, vintage, antique or just plain old stuff.

As far as restoring it, I am a firm believer that there are stories contained inside anything old, and there is a soul inside of each and every piece of machinery. Where is the soul? In the paint? In the engine? Chassis? I don't know, but I do know that once you start chipping away at that soul, it disappears rapidly. There's a saying in my business - you can restore a car a hundred times over, but it's only original once. While I can appreciate a beautifully restored car, truck, tractor, whatever, if it came to me in original condition, and can reasonably be useful wearing it's current clothing, that's how I like to leave it.

The serial number is barely legible, but it leads me to believe it is in the low 205,000 range, which would be a 1950, right? Anything this old is bound to have some parts interchanged at some point.

Engine-wise, and mechanically speaking, the overall condition of the tractor is impressive. The engine oil was black but thick enough to still be called oil, the piston rings were not stuck and there is virtually no wear to the main bearings. The rod bearings were loose, and scuffed, but I was able to polish the crank to remove the light scuffing and still be within spec. Near as I can tell, this engine has never been apart. It still has standard rods, mains and pistons. There was no ridge in the bores either, but measuring showed a solid .010" taper from the top of the bore to the bottom of the bore. I light hone was all it took to get them looking good again.

I did get it running and moving under its own power last night, and I'll post pics of that as soon as I can, but in the meantime, here are some pics I took last week. Enjoy! And again, thanks for all the enthusiasm.


There is no generator on this tractor. Somebody must have stolen it for another project.


Enjoying some shade for the first time in 20+ years.


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Re: 1950 Cub in Cool, CA

Postby Stanton » Mon May 31, 2021 12:39 pm

Welcome to the Forum! Looks like you (more than) know what you're doing.

Take some time and read through a few threads to acquaint yourself with the Forum:

Now that you’ve logged your 2nd post, you'll have access to the all the PDF Manuals on this site. There’s a few ways to do that:
  • From a desktop or laptop, go to "Quick Links" in the upper left corner of your screen. Hit that and a pull-down appears where you'll find "PDF Manuals".
  • You can also go to “Cub Info” in the upper toolbar, then hit “Rudi’s Manuals”. From there, you can access a variety of information.
  • If you're using a phone, go to the "Links Directory" (second category down the main page). Once in "Links Directory" , scroll down to the second section "Tractor Parts & Manuals" and you'll find them there.

Owner's manual and any service manuals, as well as implement manuals are also available.

There are a lot of good threads dealing with Cub repair and maintenance in the How To Forum. Located here: http://farmallcub.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=11

We’d encourage you to take the Safety Test located in the Safety Forum: http://farmallcub.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=68084

Thanks for posting pictures of your tractor, we enjoy them. As for the serial number, looks like low 205,000 would place it around 1957. The serial number range for a 1950 would be #99536 - #121453. There are also casting dates on your cast iron pieces that you may cross reference here: http://www.tmtractor.com/id/id_001.htm

  • When you have a specific question, start a new thread in the appropriate sub-forum.
  • Before posting, use the Preview button before hitting Submit--it'll show you exactly what your post will look like, including pictures.
  • When adding your comments to a thread, be sure to look at the date of the last poster. If it’s more than a 6 months old, the posters are probably not going to see it. Consider starting a new thread.

Glad you joined us.

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Re: 1950 Cub in Cool, CA

Postby Dale Finch » Mon May 31, 2021 1:00 pm

Holy mackerel!!! All that accomplished in a week or so??!! Congratulations!

Want to bring your son to my house and show him how to do a front seal replacement on one of my cubs??!!!! :lol:
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Re: 1950 Cub in Cool, CA

Postby k hutchins » Wed Jun 02, 2021 7:33 am

Up and running in a week? That is impressive, especially after sitting as lawn art for 14 years. I've been reading stories on this forum for years of "barn finds" that only sat for a few years and "ran when it was parked" that took weeks just to free up the crank.
I agree with leaving old tractors in their "work clothes". They've earned their colors. Unless you're doing a complete restore/rebuild, leave them weathered.

Good luck with the rest of your project.
Why is there never enough time to do the job right, but always enough time to do it over. :?:

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Re: 1950 Cub in Cool, CA

Postby Stoffregen Motorsports » Wed Jun 02, 2021 10:27 am

I'll have to double check that serial number. I could have sworn it was either a 1949 or a 1950, but from what I can tell, it doesn't really matter that much...as far as ordering parts and such.

Yes, I was surprised at how good everything looked after sitting for so long. There was water in the transmission, but also good oil, the air cleaner was full of junk and sludge, but the engine oil was near spotless. Once I pulled the head and saw down the bores, I was shocked to find it in as good a condition as it is.

I did break two head bolts when removing the head, and they both fought me the whole way. Took me two hours to remove them, but I was able to salvage the threads in the block. I replaced the head bolts with some grade 8 hardware, but let them sit in metal etch for a few minutes to kill the bright gold finish, so they look more at home on an old engine. The tractor fires right up and runs pretty smoothly, but there are two water leaks. One at the far left front corner of the head (at the gasket). and at the bottom of the radiator tank/steering box housing thing. I don't really want to replace that, so I'll see what I can do to repair it. The head gasket was sprayed with copper coat before installation, and I was able to torque the head while it was hot (to gain a bit of extra torque) and the leak has slowed to barely a spot of moisture, so I think that one will disappear.

Now we need to get some tubes in the front tires and clean out the gas tank. Maybe I am overly ambitious, but I thought we might drive it in our local 4th of July parade this year.

Thanks for all the positive replies guys.

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Re: 1950 Cub in Cool, CA

Postby Don McCombs » Wed Jun 02, 2021 11:49 am

Did you use a sealant on the head bolts when you installed them? They protrude into the water jacket. Also, did you retorque after running?
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Re: 1950 Cub in Cool, CA

Postby Stoffregen Motorsports » Wed Jun 02, 2021 2:27 pm

Yep, I used thread sealer on the head bolts, and on the intake/exhaust manifold studs, and on the water neck.

Yes, I also retorqued the head. I clamped it down tight, to 52 lbs/in.

There was some pretty bad scale around the outer water passages, the long sort of rectangular ones, and I had to chip away at it with a knife to dig it out. The block could probably use a resurface, but the head came out nice and flat with only a sanding block.

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Re: 1950 Cub in Cool, CA

Postby Glen » Wed Jun 02, 2021 5:55 pm

The Cub service manual says the head bolt torque is 45 ft lbs, not inch pounds.

The Cub looks like a 1940's to early 1950's Cub. Some of the equipment it has was not used in 1957, they had changed to newer equipment. The Touch Control rockshaft, oil filter cover, the long arm on the starter switch, were changed to other styles.
Few 1957 Cubs that I have seen on here have a magneto. The Battery Ignition unit came out during 1950.

The hood and grille it has were used from 1947 - mid 1954. after that there were other styles.

I would use a good light and look at the serial number.
205000 would be a 1958 Cub, the serial number list at the top of the page at Cub Info shows.
It's possible the radiator lower housing was replaced because it froze and cracked, the serial number plate is on that housing, sometimes people don't change the serial number plate to the housing on the tractor.

There is an engine serial number, it is stamped on the left side of the engine.
Below is a page from the 1950 Cub owner's manual, showing where the engine serial number is, you may need to clean it to see it.

http://farmallcub.com/rudi_cub/www.clea ... e%2002.jpg

There are casting date codes on the larger castings on Cubs. They tell the date when the parts were made. They use a letter for the year.
Below is info from TM Tractor showing what the codes are.


The info below shows where the codes are.
The code on the clutch housing is usually partly behind the clutch pedal.
The code on the last part on the page, the steering gear housing, usually can't be seen with the tractor assembled.


I would work oil into the pivot at the arm on the governor, that the long throttle rod connects onto, they commonly get tight there from no lube. :)

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Re: 1950 Cub in Cool, CA

Postby Waif » Wed Jun 02, 2021 9:52 pm

Wow! Rapid advancement in short order.
Congrats on it breathing life again.

I agree on the work cloths. (No offence to repainting.)
Unless the rest is mint , paint won't change character anyways.

You have a gasket leak at the bottom of your radiator seems a strong possibility , or a crack in the bolster. I've not seen many , but most are lower on the bolster than near the radiator.
Not unusual to find mended bolsters.
With Cubs able to run on water alone in the radiator, it meant draining them prior to freezing temps. Didn't always happen...

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