Ford 860 questions and choke plate

lka

Member
Hi folks. I bought a rough looking "Golden Jubilee" that didn't look quite right because it had a 5-speed transmission, live PTO, and the wrong hubs. Turns out its a 1957 860 from the serial number when I got it cleaned up, go figure.

Anyway I'm slowly trying to get it running. It did start with a bit of ether at the seller's place and again without ether when I rolled it off my trailer (should have known since the air cleaner assembly was missing, replaced with a foam slip on filter attached to the carb for easy access) but it has been an unreliable starter since then and runs rough and lean and backfires occasionally when it does start.

It is on original 6V wiring. The battery is weak and hasn't been replaced yet. I rebuilt/replaced the whole ignition side (distributor, coil, wires, plugs), and then rebuilt the carb (TSX 593, I think original equipment). Relatively clean inside except the idle screw tip was fouled, all the gaskets were rock hard, and the float was full of fuel. I was optimistic at that point but when trying to start it last night after putting the carb back on it made a loud click sound from the left side somewhere and now the starter does not turn over any more I suspect the solenoid or maybe the switch but I haven't had time to look at it yet.

My kit didn't come with a choke plate, and the one on the tractor has a strange hole in it, maybe a 1/8" center hole surrounded by two C shaped curves, I assume there was some kind of valve there at some point that broke or backfired off. Obviously this wouldn't affect the tractor when running but to what extent would it affect starting? I'm not super excited about having to buy a complete carb kit just for the choke plate.

When running I can stop the tractor engine by closing the throttle all the way. I have heard conflicting reports about whether this is how the throttle is supposed to be adjusted, or if closed throttle is supposed to be low idle.

Oh final thought this tractor came with an exhaust routed under the rear diff, seems a strange location to me -- I would just drive around the pasture starting fires anywhere I stopped this time of year with that setup...
 
You can get individual choke plates, search eBay for the carb and "choke." The one I found there is $31, I'd get the whole kit were I in your shoes.
Have a great weekend!
 
If all is well, engine should idle at approximately 400-450 RPM with throttle lever fully closed.

Most won't due to air leakage between throttle shaft and worn throttle shaft bores.
 
Regarding your low exhaust question Dads 641 has the
lower exhaust out below the differential. Never had any fire
issues with it. Used to rake a lot of dry hay with that tractor.
Its a lot nicer mowing around trees too, without the exhaust
sticking up in front.
 


The "click" was most likely the starter solenoid, most likely due to cable connections with oxidation in them. This is probably the single most common problem with old tractors. Hundreds of thousands of old Fords with under exhausts have been going around pastures for many years with but very very few fires started.
 
Here is what my plate looks like currently.
Thank you pointing out that I can just purchase the plate alone. I did find a few more affordable complete rebuild kits that include a plate and I might just buy one of those and keep the rest in reserve.

I have tried to upload pictures but the forum always tells me I am using restricted language without any clarification whatsoever about what to fix, so I gave up.
 
clicking is probably low battery and or dirty connections. Choke plate will probably work fine until you find a used one somewhere. Tractor shouldn't stall out when throttle is moved to lowest setting it should be idling. If you ever run a gas tractor with vertical exhaust you'll come to love horizontal exhaust. Gas tractor fumes are brutal right in your face as you work.
 
(quoted from post at 14:43:39 07/30/22) Here is what my plate looks like currently.
Thank you pointing out that I can just purchase the plate alone. I did find a few more affordable complete rebuild kits that include a plate and I might just buy one of those and keep the rest in reserve.

I have tried to upload pictures but the forum always tells me I am using restricted language without any clarification whatsoever about what to fix, so I gave up.

Not always, but in many cases new users have to have 5 or more posts on record before the site lets them post pictures (or links), due to site spam filters. Another option is to go down to the Site Comments Forum and ask YT Support for permission to post prior to that. You can try going down to the Test Forum and making several posts there to get your post count up, trying to attach your pictures to each post. That may work after you make several posts. Then make your post here again. It may not work immediately after you get past the 5 posts, if not, you might try logging out and back in at that point. There is a size limit as well, I think it is a total of 7mb per post (be it one picture or the total of several). Some pictures (often taken with phones), are too large and have to be reduced before they will post.
 
(quoted from post at 15:00:11 07/30/22)
Not always, but in many cases new users have to have 5 or more posts on record before the site lets them post pictures (or links), due to site spam filters. Another option is to go down to the Site Comments Forum and ask YT Support for permission to post prior to that. You can try going down to the Test Forum and making several posts there to get your post count up, trying to attach your pictures to each post. That may work after you make several posts. Then make your post here again. It may not work immediately after you get past the 5 posts, if not, you might try logging out and back in at that point. There is a size limit as well, I think it is a total of 7mb per post (be it one picture or the total of several). Some pictures (often taken with phones), are too large and have to be reduced before they will post.

Super helpful Jim, thank you. I think I can post pictures now after some messing around in the test forum. Let's try...

mvphoto95258.jpg



mvphoto95259.jpg
 

So the starter not turning over turned out to be corroded positive battery cable connections rather than the solenoid. They looked fine on visual inspection, but jumping the battery negative terminal to starter post did nothing and I didn't believe that the starter failed, so I started troubleshooting and wire wheeling up the cable ends fixed it. Cranks now.

Tractor still doesn't start though, even with rebuilt carb. It "lopes" a little like it wants to turn over and there is some combustion happening but doesn't actually catch. If I crank for a bit then stop I get a few drips of fuel out the air intake so maybe it is flooding still.
 
(quoted from post at 07:22:41 07/31/22)
So the starter not turning over turned out to be corroded positive battery cable connections rather than the solenoid. They looked fine on visual inspection, but jumping the battery negative terminal to starter post did nothing and I didn't believe that the starter failed, so I started troubleshooting and wire wheeling up the cable ends fixed it. Cranks now.

Tractor still doesn't start though, even with rebuilt carb. It "lopes" a little like it wants to turn over and there is some combustion happening but doesn't actually catch. If I crank for a bit then stop I get a few drips of fuel out the air intake so maybe it is flooding still.

It is normal for gas to dribble out the intake of an updraft carb after cranking but no start. Flooding is excessive gas in the cylinders. Check your plugs.
 
Thanks for the replies folks. She still won't start.

I cleaned up the battery negative wires also from batt to solenoid and solenoid to starter. Noticed some long forgotten previous owner bent and badly stripped the terminal post on my starter, I had to add some washers as spacers to get it to sorta tighten up. Is just the post replaceable?

Plugs (Autolite 437) are clean and dry. I put on a brand new set just in case I screwed something up when I gapped the others (.027") but it didn't change anything. My spark seems very weak, I can see that it is firing on a spark tester (which shows a weak red flash) but I cannot see or hear any spark on the plugs when I ground the plug threads and push the starter. I installed new points, condenser, coil, plugs and plug wires recently after hauling the tractor home, using a YouTube video for guidance. I rechecked points gap (.025") and cleaned the points with a little acetone and then ran a dollar bill through them when closed.

The positive side of my 6v coil is connected to distributor.

What should I check next? I suspect I am losing voltage somewhere, or there is something wrong in the distributor itself.

I tried to trace the maybe 14ga green wire that feeds the coil but it heads under the battery tray, through several very suspect looking butt splices, becomes a red wire, then enters the wiring harness on the left side of the tractor and disappears. Where does it terminate? This is what the wiring looks like behind the dash:

mvphoto95326.jpg
 
(quoted from post at 21:24:22 07/31/22) Thanks for the replies folks. She still won't start.

I cleaned up the battery negative wires also from batt to solenoid and solenoid to starter. Noticed some long forgotten previous owner bent and badly stripped the terminal post on my starter, I had to add some washers as spacers to get it to sorta tighten up. Is just the post replaceable?

Plugs (Autolite 437) are clean and dry. I put on a brand new set just in case I screwed something up when I gapped the others (.027") but it didn't change anything. My spark seems very weak, I can see that it is firing on a spark tester (which shows a weak red flash) but I cannot see or hear any spark on the plugs when I ground the plug threads and push the starter. I installed new points, condenser, coil, plugs and plug wires recently after hauling the tractor home, using a YouTube video for guidance. I rechecked points gap (.025") and cleaned the points with a little acetone and then ran a dollar bill through them when closed.

The positive side of my 6v coil is connected to distributor.

What should I check next? I suspect I am losing voltage somewhere, or there is something wrong in the distributor itself.

I tried to trace the maybe 14ga green wire that feeds the coil but it heads under the battery tray, through several very suspect looking butt splices, becomes a red wire, then enters the wiring harness on the left side of the tractor and disappears. Where does it terminate? This is what the wiring looks like behind the dash:

mvphoto95326.jpg


try the suggestions that you have here. post back on results.
 
(quoted from post at 05:10:34 08/01/22)
Do you have the spark checker set to the 2/0 scale.
Instructions in this post with pix.
Yes I like to hear the spark POP : )
The pop is an indicator it has reserve energy left over from the event as it should.
Color don't tell me much the color comes from the ozone.

Thanks for the details. I didn't know any better when I bought this inline spark checker, its just a light that fires to show electricity. I don't think it shows spark quality nor is it adjustable. But spark is clearly very weak when I pull the plugs out and ground them.
 
(quoted from post at 20:30:57 08/01/22)
(quoted from post at 05:10:34 08/01/22)
Do you have the spark checker set to the 2/0 scale.
Instructions in this post with pix.
Yes I like to hear the spark POP : )
The pop is an indicator it has reserve energy left over from the event as it should.
Color don't tell me much the color comes from the ozone.

Thanks for the details. I didn't know any better when I bought this inline spark checker, its just a light that fires to show electricity. I don't think it shows spark quality nor is it adjustable. But spark is clearly very weak when I pull the plugs out and ground them.

But spark is clearly very weak when I pull the plugs out and ground them.

Yep go with your gut... get a adjustable checker BTDT...
 
(quoted from post at 07:30:57 08/01/22)
(quoted from post at 05:10:34 08/01/22)
Do you have the spark checker set to the 2/0 scale.
Instructions in this post with pix.
Yes I like to hear the spark POP : )
The pop is an indicator it has reserve energy left over from the event as it should.
Color don't tell me much the color comes from the ozone.

Thanks for the details. I didn't know any better when I bought this inline spark checker, its just a light that fires to show electricity. I don't think it shows spark quality nor is it adjustable. But spark is clearly very weak when I pull the plugs out and ground them.


How is it clear that the spark is weak? Do you have a strong one to compare to?
 
How is it clear that the spark is weak? Do you have a strong one to compare to?

It is inaudible, intermittent, and when present it is reddish orange. I don't have one to compare it to immediately but I know what a decent spark looks and sounds like. I tried various bits of clean metal on the engine block to ground the plug threads to and it was the same result every time.

This post was edited by lka on 08/01/2022 at 10:16 am.
 
Got her running again, at least for a little while. The problem was in the distributor, which I removed from the tractor and completely disassembled and cleaned and then put back in. The good news is that now I know how the distributor works, and the fifty years of muck around the advance weights is removed so they might even work. And I figured out how to mostly get it back into time (at least well enough to start and sound ok).

The issue is some combination of my aftermarket cap (new), aftermarket rotor (new) and dust cover (old, but probably aftermarket) are not compatible despite being nominally made for this distributor. Either the rotor is too tall, or the cap is too small, or the dust cover is too large. To get the cap to actually seat where it is supposed to on the distributor you have to cram it down quite hard, and it becomes one with the dust cover. And then while I got it running great for a few minutes at some point the cap interfered with the rotor which will not seat very far onto the distributor shaft, so the hole on the bottom of the rotor is a bit rounded off now. No spark again. But it sounded great while it lasted.

Putting the distributor back into the tractor it wouldn't just slip all the way in, with some manipulation of the shaft along with turning the distributor back and forth I got it about 3/16" from fully seated then I got it the rest of the way down with the clamp bolts. I was hard to get out initially too, and the O-ring on the shaft is pretty hard but I didn't have a replacement so I reused it. I did have oil pressure when the tractor started so presumably the hex end engaged the oil pump...

Anyway, it fired right up once I got good spark, without any choke!
 
(quoted from post at 21:19:22 08/01/22) Got her running again, at least for a little while. The problem was in the distributor, which I removed from the tractor and completely disassembled and cleaned and then put back in. The good news is that now I know how the distributor works, and the fifty years of muck around the advance weights is removed so they might even work. And I figured out how to mostly get it back into time (at least well enough to start and sound ok).

The issue is some combination of my aftermarket cap (new), aftermarket rotor (new) and dust cover (old, but probably aftermarket) are not compatible despite being nominally made for this distributor. Either the rotor is too tall, or the cap is too small, or the dust cover is too large. To get the cap to actually seat where it is supposed to on the distributor you have to cram it down quite hard, and it becomes one with the dust cover. And then while I got it running great for a few minutes at some point the cap interfered with the rotor which will not seat very far onto the distributor shaft, so the hole on the bottom of the rotor is a bit rounded off now. No spark again. But it sounded great while it lasted.

Putting the distributor back into the tractor it wouldn't just slip all the way in, with some manipulation of the shaft along with turning the distributor back and forth I got it about 3/16" from fully seated then I got it the rest of the way down with the clamp bolts. I was hard to get out initially too, and the O-ring on the shaft is pretty hard but I didn't have a replacement so I reused it. I did have oil pressure when the tractor started so presumably the hex end engaged the oil pump...

Anyway, it fired right up once I got good spark, without any choke!


" cram it down quite hard, and it becomes one with the dust cover. And then cap interfered with the rotor which will not seat very far onto the distributor shaft, so the hole on the bottom of the rotor is a bit rounded off now. No spark again. But it sounded great while it lasted"


Not sounding like a good liklihood of running.
 
New rotor, new distributor cap, and new dust cover (which came with a gasket, my old one didn't have one) and I got a nice hot spark that would jump almost a half inch on all four plug wires. And the tractor fires right up!

I also rewired the whole thing, sized up to 2/0 awg battery/starter cables and switched it to negative ground. Finally installed new instrument gauges which let me tune the carb and throttle. I adjusted the carb and throttle linkage to where it idles between 350 and 400 rpm, sounds pretty good but not sure if that is the right range or not. I do notice I have low (5psi or maybe even less) oil pressure at idle when up to temp. How big of an issue is this? I have 35-40 psi at 2400 rpm, more when cold. Temp gauge doesn't really get much above 170F when running the tractor. I did test the probe in a kettle before installing it so it is accurate. I haven't really put it to hard work yet, just mowing with a 5 ft brush mower on fairly dry pasture.

I'm concerned about the low oil pressure at idle but the motor does not smoke at all. It fires right up (it wants one little quick pull on the choke, not sure if that is normal) and it's hard to tell under all the rattling from loose bodywork and broken glass inside the headlights but it sounds fairly tight. Pretty thrilled with the old girl!

Edit: Oh and it takes maybe 5-7 seconds to get oil pressure on startup. I'm not sure if it has all drained down and is having to re-pressurize or what. Is this typical?

This post was edited by lka on 08/14/2022 at 07:18 pm.
 
(quoted from post at 11:02:41 07/29/22) Hi folks. I bought a rough looking "Golden Jubilee" that didn't look quite right because it had a 5-speed transmission, live PTO, and the wrong hubs. Turns out its a 1957 860 from the serial number when I got it cleaned up, go figure.

Anyway I'm slowly trying to get it running. It did start with a bit of ether at the seller's place and again without ether when I rolled it off my trailer (should have known since the air cleaner assembly was missing, replaced with a foam slip on filter attached to the carb for easy access) but it has been an unreliable starter since then and runs rough and lean and backfires occasionally when it does start.

It is on original 6V wiring. The battery is weak and hasn't been replaced yet. I rebuilt/replaced the whole ignition side (distributor, coil, wires, plugs), and then rebuilt the carb (TSX 593, I think original equipment). Relatively clean inside except the idle screw tip was fouled, all the gaskets were rock hard, and the float was full of fuel. I was optimistic at that point but when trying to start it last night after putting the carb back on it made a loud click sound from the left side somewhere and now the starter does not turn over any more I suspect the solenoid or maybe the switch but I haven't had time to look at it yet.

My kit didn't come with a choke plate, and the one on the tractor has a strange hole in it, maybe a 1/8" center hole surrounded by two C shaped curves, I assume there was some kind of valve there at some point that broke or backfired off. Obviously this wouldn't affect the tractor when running but to what extent would it affect starting? I'm not super excited about having to buy a complete carb kit just for the choke plate.

When running I can stop the tractor engine by closing the throttle all the way. I have heard conflicting reports about whether this is how the throttle is supposed to be adjusted, or if closed throttle is supposed to be low idle.

Oh final thought this tractor came with an exhaust routed under the rear diff, seems a strange location to me -- I would just drive around the pasture starting fires anywhere I stopped this time of year with that setup...
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