By Wayne Musser. Published in the Summer N-News issue, July-August-September 2016 Volume 31 Number 3
Like many N-News readers, I spent my youth on tractors. Much of that time was spent on my grandfather’s farm in central Pennsylvania. My grandfather started farming with horses, and then he progressed to a Farmall F-14 tractor, then to a Ford 8N. He was so impressed with the 8N, he purchased a second one. After a few years of farming with the Ns, he traded one for a used 1954 NAA. The two year old NAA showed an improvement over the 8N with more horsepower and a Sherman Over/Under transmission that provided twelve forward speeds and three reverse speeds. It was also equipped with the live PTO option.When I was about twelve years old, I learned to drive the tractors. I was doubly blessed in that both of my grandfathers were dairy farmers, so when one grandfather didn’t need me to help put hay away, the other one did. My grandfather chose the NAA with live PTO for hay baling.
The live PTO worked fairly well, but it didn’t always engage smoothly. My job was to stack the hay on the wagon. With the erratic engagement of the PTO, I sometimes found myself sitting down faster than I planned. My second cousin was stacking hay on the top of the hay wagon when he suddenly found himself on the ground after somersaulting off the back of the wagon!
When my grandfather died, my father took over the farm. He worked as an automotive technician during the day and farmed the sixty acres at night, growing corn and oats. I guess you could call him a “heavy hobby farmer.”
When my father died, my mother decided to keep the tractors in the family rather than sell them. She divided the Ford tractors among my sisters and myself. My father had acquired the 1954 NAA, a 1953 Jubilee and a 1958 Ford 800 series. Since I am the oldest in the family, I had first choice of the tractors. I chose the 1954 NAA because it had belonged to both my father and grandfather.
Last winter, I restored the NAA. I ordered the power pack overhaul kit which provided the tractor with approximately 18% more horsepower for a total of almost 35 horsepower. I installed new axle seals, brakes, clutch, pressure plate, and new tires.
The tires are loaded with a methanol mixture and there are also wheel weights on the inside of the rim. We found that with our clay soil, plowing with any of these Fords required extra weight. I chose Firestone 13.6×28 6-ply SAT 11 23 Super All Tractor tires. They certainly weren’t the cheapest, but they work well for us. This tractor has proved very reliable over the years and I hope it will continue to provide reliable service for the next generation.
Because I occasionally pull a trailer on the road with this tractor, I added a set of flashers on top of the fenders and also a trailer plug to the rear fender to plug in the lights on the trailer.
I also added an extra knob on the left hand fender to help me get on and off (see the top left image). I didn’t drill any extra holes, I just used the fender skin bolt holes that were already there.