NAA – And a Member of the Family

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By Dennis Hamblin. Published in the N-News summer issue, July-August 2017, Volume 32 Number 3

Dennis Hamblin's NAA

I have enjoyed the N-News for several years. I have noticed that I rarely see an article from Texas. I was raised in Oklahoma, but have lived in Texas since my separation from the service in 1975. I guess you would classify me as a city boy, but, thanks to my Dad, I have worked with tractors my whole life. You can hardly drive a mile in any direction around here without seeing a Ford N-series tractor. I have seen a few old timers that still plow their small acreages with them. The most common use for these old Fords down here seems to be running a brush hog and mowing pastures and small acreages.

My NAA story goes like this: my wife and I moved to a small piece of property outside of Dallas in 1990. My dad said that I needed a tractor to maintain the place, so we started the search. We soon found a mechanically restored NAA Golden Jubilee sitting next to a Ford 601 Workmaster along the roadside. The Jubilee was painted all one color and looked more like an Allis Chalmers. We pooled our money and bought it. It came with a box blade and a bush hog.

We started a project building a wood fence for my horses, digging the holes with a manual posthole digger. Given the Texas cotton field gumbo, this quickly proved futile. We soon became the proud owners of a 3-point hitch post hole digger for the Jubilee. That one implement proved to be a life- saver.

Over the years, that Jubilee and I have mowed a lot of pasture and dug a lot of post holes for neighbors. In May 2012, I decided to retire my faithful Jubilee from service and restore it to its original state as much as possible. The only change I had made over the years was to convert it to 12-volts.

This was my first restoration, so I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had not read any restoration books or watched any videos. That was probably a good thing or it might still be in its work clothes today. I started by spraying down the whole thing with degreaser and then power washed the tractor.

Dennis Hamblin starts the breakdown of his NAA.

Starting the breakdown.

Being my first restoration and on a budget, I did all the work myself, including the painting with brush and shaker cans. My biggest surprise was how inadequate the power washing was. It seems there is no way to get all of that baked on oily dirt off, especially around bolt/nut heads and on the bottom side of the tractor. Consequently, there was a lot of meticulous scraping with a small flat tip screwdriver, followed by brass bristle toothbrushes and wire brush on a Dremel tool. Larger areas and parts were brushed with a bigger wire brush and powered wire brush wheel. Needless to say, I would starve to death if I did restorations for a living. I have great respect for those in the profession

Hamblin's tools.

The collection of tools the author got to be very familiar with!

Another problem was removing the wheel hub in order to replace the outer oil seal that was leaking. I was told that all you had to do was get a good pry on it and give it a lick with a hammer and it would pop loose. That didn’t happen. The hub had probably been in place since 1953. I acquired a large puller from a friend and off it came. I took pictures as the dismantling process began so I could remember how to put things back together. Fortunately, the engine did not require an overhaul, so most of the work was on tune-up parts and leaking gasket replacements.

Though there was no problem with parts like the radiator and water pump, I elected to replace them with new ones, since I had it torn down this far and wanted it to be a good looking restoration. I replaced the brake shoes, tie rod ends, battery box, and anything else to tighten it up, stop leaks, and make it like new again.

Hamblin brake parts

Working though the brake issues.

I became good friends with a brass bristled tooth brush for cleaning baked-on grease and dirt from around bolt heads and crevices. Parts were removed, hung up all over my barn for spray painting.

I didn’t do any professional painting on this restoration. The sheet metal was in such good shape, sanding and taping were all that was needed to do the painting with rattle cans.

Hamblin's spray-painted parts

Just some of the parts that were laying all over the place during the painting process.

People that have seen the paint job could hardly believe it. I found a knowledgeable company in Hico, Texas that knew the correct shades of gray and red. I sprayed what I could and painted by brush the undersides and cast parts.

Hamblin's NAA rear tire masked for painting.

Masking the rear tire for a second coat of paint.

Thirteen months later, my Jubilee was finished. The crowning piece was mounting a new Golden Jubilee Medallion. I also restored a Dearborn Model 10 two bottom plow.

My dad passed away in 2002. I wish he could have seen our 1990 acquisition now. I show my prized Jubilee at tractor shows in the area and have great fun telling (and listening to) stories about growing up with these great vintage Fords. I am very proud of this tractor and its contribution to farming history. My daughter, Kimberly, now married, has always loved to drive this tractor. It will probably be hers some day.

Dennis Hamblin

Dennis and the NAA.

My next project is a 1952 8N six cylinder Funk conversion. Do you think Henry Ford every envisioned these tractors still being used 65 years later?

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1954 NAA

By Wayne Musser. Published in the Summer N-News issue, July-August-September 2016 Volume 31 Number 3

Wayne Musser's NAA 1954

Wayne Musser’s beautiful NAA 1954 newly restored. The overhaul boosted the NAA’s horsepower by 18%!

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.

Wayne Musser's NAA 1954

The rear view of Wayne Musser’s 1954 NAA with the live PTO (which his family used for hay bailing).

Wayne Musser's 1954 NAA PTO lever

Live PTO lever (lower left), cup holder and an extra handle on the fender.

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!

Musser's NAA 1954 PTO operatiing sticker

Pay attention!

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.”

Wayne Musser's dad atop the 1954 NAA

The author’s father, Ralph Musser, planting corn circa 1998.

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.

Wayne Musser's NAA 1954 in the shop

At the beginning of the restoration process.

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.

Wayne Musser's 1954 NAA with wheel weights.

Inner wheel weight and trailer plug.

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.

Wayne Musser's 1954 NAA front view

Wayne Musser’s 1954 NAA front view post-restoration. Not only does it work harder – it looks as good as new too!

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Tractors Are Good For the Soul!

Lauran Paine

Our tractor wasn’t just about work on the farm. It was about hayrides and picnics, too. I can’t think of those things and not smile. Now I use it for parades and teaching the grandkids about old tractors. But I recently restored my harrow – a Dearborn-Towner Model 11-29 – and now when I drive my tractor, the sights, sounds, vibration and even the rattle of the harrow take me right back to 1961. “Magical,” I say. “Old tractors are good for the soul!” Continue reading