Early Model B - Pros/Cons/Caveats?

Farmall B & BN Tractors, 1939-1947
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fontinalis
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Early Model B - Pros/Cons/Caveats?

Postby fontinalis » Mon Jan 31, 2022 4:25 pm

Considering buying a model B as my first ever tractor. It's a 1940... crank start only... not starter, no generator. It looks to be fairly complete to my inexperienced eye but it needs a lot of work (I love a challenge). Anyone have any advice they can offer on model B's? The good, the bad, and the ugly? Parts availability? Is it a good model for a first-timer to cut their teeth on?

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Re: Early Model B - Pros/Cons/Caveats?

Postby Eugene » Mon Jan 31, 2022 6:22 pm

Does the tractor run? Engine locked up? Asking price? Do you know what a B in good condition sells for?

What are you going to do with the tractor? Plans for the tractor; work, parade, hobby as in something to work on?

Do you have the tools, equipment, space, and knowledge to work on the tractor?

The Farmall B is an easy tactor to work on. Down side is that it could get expensive to very expensive in a hurry. You are probably going to have more dollars invested than it will ever sell for. Next down side is that there isn't a lot of implements available.

Parts are available.
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Re: Early Model B - Pros/Cons/Caveats?

Postby T-Mo » Mon Jan 31, 2022 8:44 pm

The engine and transmission is the same as a model A, so engine parts are pretty easy to find. And parts from a 200 may fit also, i.e. clutch, flywheel, etc. A model B is just a model A with a narrow front and same size rear axles on each side.

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Re: Early Model B - Pros/Cons/Caveats?

Postby outdoors4evr » Tue Feb 01, 2022 5:56 am

fontinalis wrote:It's a 1940... crank start only... not starter, no generator.

Timing issues can break thumbs or arms. Do some research on the proper way to use a crank start so you develop "safer" habits while cranking.
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Re: Early Model B - Pros/Cons/Caveats?

Postby Urbish » Tue Feb 01, 2022 10:49 am

outdoors4evr wrote:
fontinalis wrote:It's a 1940... crank start only... not starter, no generator.

Timing issues can break thumbs or arms. Do some research on the proper way to use a crank start so you develop "safer" habits while cranking.


Agreed. The B has a heck of a kick if it backfires. If you have it tuned perfectly, it should start as easily as my 1946 B (below). The B is a nice little parade tractor and is useful for dragging things around. I mowed the lawn with mine for a couple of summers and that worked pretty well.

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Re: Early Model B - Pros/Cons/Caveats?

Postby SamsFarm » Wed Feb 02, 2022 2:13 am

T-Mo wrote:The engine and transmission is the same as a model A, so engine parts are pretty easy to find. And parts from a 200 may fit also, i.e. clutch, flywheel, etc. A model B is just a model A with a narrow front and same size rear axles on each side.


The A and the BN share the right side axle width.

The A does not have a axle housing on the left like a BN (or B) does! Thats what gives the A a offset like the Cub

The B axle housings are wider than the BN!

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Re: Early Model B - Pros/Cons/Caveats?

Postby T-Mo » Wed Feb 02, 2022 4:57 am

SamsFarm wrote:
T-Mo wrote:The engine and transmission is the same as a model A, so engine parts are pretty easy to find. And parts from a 200 may fit also, i.e. clutch, flywheel, etc. A model B is just a model A with a narrow front and same size rear axles on each side.


The A and the BN share the right side axle width.

The A does not have a axle housing on the left like a BN (or B) does! Thats what gives the A a offset like the Cub

The B axle housings are wider than the BN!


The same size axles on both sides of the B and BN puts the engine in the center of the tractor, unlike the A which has the engine offset to the left since it has a shorter left rear axle than it does the right axle. The A, B and BN all have the cultivision design, which means the operator sits to the right of the engine.

I traded my '44 B last summer.

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Re: Early Model B - Pros/Cons/Caveats?

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Wed Feb 02, 2022 10:44 am

The B. as well as the A is a wet sleeve engine, which you may want to learn a little about before doing internal work on it. Also, even with the wheels to the narrowest setting a B requires a large trailer such as a car hauler to transport it if you plan on it being a show vehicle, which being an original non electric one would attract IH fans. If you plan to use it for plowing gardens, light farm work, etc. it does not have hydraulics and may not have a hand lift, so you may be limited to pull type implements.
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Re: Early Model B - Pros/Cons/Caveats?

Postby T-Mo » Thu Feb 03, 2022 5:09 am

As John mentioned, even when a B is set in it's narrowest position, it's still pretty wide in back. The one I had, the rear wheels was set in it's most narrowest, but still was about 79 inches wide. Me and John haul it on a 82-83 inch wide trailer. When I traded it off, I haul it on my 18 foot, 83 inch trailer. It barely fit that trailer with just about an inch to two inches on each side. Also, my trailer has the 3rd ramp for the narrow front.

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Re: Early Model B - Pros/Cons/Caveats?

Postby fontinalis » Sat Feb 05, 2022 12:02 am

Thank you all for the replies. I did buy the machine... the guy just wanted it out of his yard so I got it cheap. Its just something to wrench on... I don't even have an acre of land so I don't really need a tractor. Engine is free but the clutch seems stuck. It needs a seat, but the brackets are there. It has a geared drivetrain under the rear axel... probably for a planter? Also has a belt pulley next to the PTO. The sheet metal needs a lot of TLC but the rest of it looks pretty good. Anyone have any idea what this doohickey is that's mounted on the steering support? Looks like some sort of vacuum valve.
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IMG_2374.jpeg

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Re: Early Model B - Pros/Cons/Caveats?

Postby SamsFarm » Sat Feb 05, 2022 12:57 am

How about some pics of the whole tractor!

Come on, dont be shy! :)


I dont know what your doohickey is! Maybe it is for the exhaust lift that was offered back in the day.

Is it a B?

Or a BN?

Looks like your leaf springs for the seat are missing!

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Re: Early Model B - Pros/Cons/Caveats?

Postby fontinalis » Sat Feb 05, 2022 11:39 pm

Per your request:
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Re: Early Model B - Pros/Cons/Caveats?

Postby Jim Becker » Sat Feb 05, 2022 11:40 pm

Looks like a BN to me. The doohickey is part of an exhaust lift. It was used on the early version of the control lever. It latched the lever in the "lift" position and was supposed to release it when the lift cycle completed. It never worked very well and was eliminated on later tractors.

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Re: Early Model B - Pros/Cons/Caveats?

Postby fontinalis » Mon Feb 07, 2022 11:12 am

Thank you Jim!

I'll have to find some info on the exhaust lift... might be interesting to get it working again if I can. You may be right on the BN vs B... I don't have a frame of reference. Attached are a couple more photos that might help determine that.
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IMG_2382.jpeg
IMG_2317 (1).jpeg

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Re: Early Model B - Pros/Cons/Caveats?

Postby Jim Becker » Mon Feb 07, 2022 4:41 pm

Those pictures settle it. It is a B.


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