Working: Dave Westen’s NAA Keeps Going!

By Dave Westen. Published in the N-News Winter issue, Jan-Feb-Mar 2019, Volume 34 Number 1

Dave Westen's NAA and splitter

Dave Westen’s NAA and splitter getting ready to work!

[Editor’s note: I am continually amazed by any piece of machinery that is still at work 40, 50, 60 even 70 years after it was new. There is nothing wrong with taking a worn machine, restoring it to showroom condition and bringing it around to shows. I think that is important too. But what is equally astounding is seeing a vintage Ford tractor still mowing a field, moving firewood or preparing soil for planting.]

We purchased this five-acre property in 2000 from my wife’s parent’s estate. In 2002 a man about five miles away had the 8N sitting along the road for sale and we made a deal. My brother had bought his NAA from a neighbor and I had the 1948 8N at the time. I traded the 8N to him for the NAA — I’ve had it since 2004 — and find the NAA is a much more versatile tractor. Mainly because of the live hydraulics for the 3-point hitch. (Also, it has more power.)

I purchased a rotary mower from a dealer in Sturgeon Bay, WI to be able to knock down the weeds. We added a couple of pieces of land since then and now have 25 acres. I have cleared a lot of it and am working to clear more. I mow it over once a year to keep the brush and trees from growing up again. The NAA has been the workhorse for mowing. My daughters love to use it when they visit.

Dave Westen's NAA in action

Dave Westen’s NAA and splitter made short work of this log!

I made the splitter myself. I’m retired from a company that manufactures and installs truck equipment. I fabricated the necessary steel parts and welded it up at home. The pump, valve, tank and filter came from suppliers we use. The original cylinder was a left over, but ended up being too small in diameter and didn’t have enough power. I bought a larger cylinder and was able to install it with minor modifications. Otherwise everything worked as planned. I try to put any implement like this on wheels so that I can move it around easily in the shed which has a concrete floor.

You can see the pump is under the frame of the splitter. The suction and pressure lines are coming out of it. There is a regular driveshaft like any used on PTO driven implements.

Dave Westen's splitter

Dave Westen’s splitter.

The NAA has been a great tractor. It is still 6-volt and starts easily in all weather!

I’ve always been interested in Ford tractors. There was a Ford dealer in Sturgeon Bay for years, so there are a number of old Fords around. My Dad had a 9N for quite a while. When I was a kid we lived in Chicago and had a hobby farm in Kewaunee County, WI. He would bring parts of tractors home to work on. I can remember bringing the engine from the 9N home in the back of the station wagon. It was a job to get it into the basement to work on. When I saw the 8N along the road it seemed like the way to go. The JD BR is one that my Dad restored, too. When my folks retired they moved to the farm permanently. When they died my brother moved there. When my brother sold the farm and moved to Florida, a number of the tractors came up here to live with us.

Dave Westen's NAA

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NAA – And a Member of the Family

By Dennis Hamblin. Published in the N-News Summer 2017. Vol. 32 No. 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

Wayne Musser's NAA 1954

By Wayne Musser. N-News Summer 2016. Vol. 31 No. 3

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. Last winter, I restored the NAA. I hope it will continue to provide reliable service for the next generation. Continue reading

Tractors Are Good For the Soul!

Lauran Paine

By Lauran Paine. N-News Winter 2015. Vol. 30 No. 1

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