Dear Ole Mechanic;
I recently purchased an old Ford tractor at a very good price because the fella that had it didn’t know what year it was. There are some things that need repair, and I ddn't know what year parts to buy. Can you help? I did find a stamped number on the engine. It is 9N98726. Does that help?
"Old Tractor" Owner
my three loyal readers; I
was able to look
at the tractor and verify what year--or in this case what years--the
Dear New "Old" Tractor Owner;
First of all, the serial number explanation. The 9N was introduced in 1939 and production was started with serial number 9N1. Production of the 9N continued into 1943, even though the 2N was introduced in 1942. The serial numbers started with 2N99003. 2N production continued into 1947. The 8N was introduced in 1948; however, over 3,000 were built in 1947. The serial numbers started with 8N1. My I&T Shop Service Manual, purchased at Tractor Supply Co.®, breaks down the serial numbers by year. There is only one serial number stamped on the tractor, and that is on the engine. Your serial number--9N98726--was a 9N, produced in 1942.
As I looked at your tractor, I noticed some things that just didn’t match up. I noticed that it had foot boards. The 9N and 2N did not have foot boards--they had foot pegs. The foot boards only came on the later model 8N. The tractor also had a transmission with four forward and one reverse gears. The 9N and 2N only had three forward and one reverse gears. Only the 8N came with four forward speeds. The next thing I noticed was the steering gear box. Ford used three different styles of steering boxes in the N series tractors. The 9N and 2N used one style of steering gear box, and then two different styles were used in the 8N. The first 8N style was used up to serial number 8N216988, and a different style was used to the end of 8N production in 1952. The change came during 1949. The new "old" tractor had the latest style of 8N steering gear. The last thing that I noticed was that the engine had the distributor on the front of the engine, not sticking out the side like tractors built in 1950 and later.
Trying to put all of this conflicting information made absolutely no sense. The only thing that I can conclude is that the tractor is a mongrel. It is a 9N/8N Ford. Someone has pulled the bad engine out of their later model 8N that had a good transmission and chassis and replaced the bad engine with a good one out of a older 9N.
To order parts for the engine, use the 1942 model year and serial number. For ordering chassis, transmission and running gear parts, use the 1949 model and a 8N serial number chosen at random after 8N216989. Fortunately, many of the parts were used without change during the entire run of N series tractors from 1939 through 1952. One thing that will help is the I&T Shop Service Ford Shop Manual number F0-4. Any good book store can get it if they do not have it in stock. As I pointed out earlier, I got my copy at the local Tractor Supply Co.® or TSC® store which usually has them in stock. The manual has all of the changes and the serial numbers when the changes were made. It is well worth whatever it costs! Have fun with your New "Old" tractor.
By the way, during the WWII war years, there were some Ford pickup trucks made with the four cylinder N series tractor engine. If any readers know of one of these rare pickups, please contact me!
Herr Professor Nuzanbolts