AMG manufactures & supplies obsolete parts and accessories for tractors including fenders, doors, window frames & cab fittings for pre-1990’s tractors including ford & Massey Ferguson. We carry large range of new Leyland, Marshall parts in stock.
Leyland 285 Synchro restoration unearths a can of worms When Michael Griffin and his son Andrew from Alstonefield in Derbyshire decided to restore a Leyland 285 Synchro they had no ideal just how long it would take them, or the extent of the challenges which lay ahead. Which is interesting, because Michael worked as a fitter for a Leyland dealership in Derby and Andrew’s company, AMG Engineering, specialises in manufacturing high-quality custom-made parts for Leyland tractors. In Part One of a Two-Part Series, they explain to
AMG manufactures & supplies obsolete parts for vintage and classic tractors including fenders, doors, window frames & cab fittings. All are parts are re-manufactured where possible to the same standard OEM suppliers. Where possible AMG aims to improve both design & materials used in our parts
Tractor parts cover the Leyland 462, Leyland 472, Leyland 482 tractors.
There were times when Michael and Andrew Griffin could have quite easily have given up on the restoration of the 1979 Leyland 285 Synchro which they bought via eBay at the end of 2005. It’s been a project which, despite their detailed knowledge of the marque and years of engineering expertise, which were invaluable in completing the work, proved to be more challenging than either of them could ever have dreamed was possible. Had they known what lay ahead, even with their experience it’s unlikely that Michael and Andrew would have bothered with what turned from a simple sprucing-up job into a full-blown restoration. A moment of weakness on the internet turned into four years of regret and although the tractor is now mechanically just as it left the factory, down to every last detail. Michael bought the tractor to fulfil a desire which he had harboured for almost 25 years. Whilst working as a fitter for the Burgess Group at its Leyland dealership in Derby during the 1970s and early 1980s he developed a soft spot for the Leyland 285 synchro. This was one of four powerful tractors launched by Leyland during the 1980s, a time when Ford and Massey Ferguson were developing their ranges beyond just two or three core models. Leyland needed to respond with something radical and remarkably, given the fact that the Tractor Division had been starved of the investment it so badly needed, the business developed four new higher horsepower models. Not only did these fulfil the growing demand from farmers for increased power but also staved off competition from other manufacturers who were moving into that sector. Powered by six-cylinder diesel engines, the two-wheel drive 285 and its four-wheel drive sibling, the 485, developed 85hp at 2100rpm and 235 lb ft of torque at 1400rpm. The more powerful two-wheel drive 2100 and four-wheel-drive 4100 models used the same six-cylinder diesel engine, but producing 100hp at 2100rpm and 276 lb ft of torque at 1300rpm. Both the 285/2100 and 485/4100 ranges were fitted with a 10 forward and two reverse ratio transmission, two-speed PTO and had 6000lb hydraulic lift capacity. Despite their showroom appeal, however, these new models would subsequently cause the company, dealers and customers severe problems. Nuffield and Leyland tractors had always been designed around a very strong chassis, but in developing the 285 and 2100 models the company had moved away from this concept. Although the 6/98 series six-cylinder diesel used in the 285 was a great asset, the new tractor design, which incorporated side members and an isomounted engine, was never strong enough. Despite being a delight to drive, the new models were afflicted by major mechanical problems, primarily connected with chassis flexing, which caused clutch and gearbox misalignment and resulted in substantial, unsustainable warranty claims. Michael Griffin’s own experience bears this out. The Leyland 285 had been the last tractor that he worked on whilst with the Burgess Group, which sold several of the troublesome 2100. The problems with that model were essentially caused by the fact that there was too much power going through a transmission that was basically the same as was used on the 60hp Nuffield 4/60 that had preceded it by more than two decades. On the physically smaller and less powerful 285 that was less of a problem, but being in the middle of the range that tractor didn’t hold the same appeal and didn’t sell as well, customers preferring the range-topping 2100. Michael liked the Leyland 285’s six-cylinder engine, which was its strong point, and the fact that it was the most reliable of the four new Leyland models, the only one that didn’t shear teeth off its transmission gears. He should know, because at that time he spent most of his time working on 2100 transmissions which had failed for that very reason. The Synchro transmission, explains Michael was much better and consequently it was a Leyland 285 Synchro that he set out to buy, being a tractor which combined the smooth, six-cylinder engine with the improved gearbox. NO GOING BACK
They say that appearances can be deceptive and in this instance it certainly was the case. During the restoration the tractor nearly drove them to the edge of insanity, with trouble lurking at every stage. Michael explains that when he started looking on eBay in 2005 there were plenty of non-Synchro models about, which were notorious for giving trouble, but very few examples of the Leyland 285 Synchro. Eventually, he made what he describes as ‘the mistake of buying one, sight unseen’, from someone who had apparently bought the tractor to use for tractor pulling, but never apparently done so. Having checked the Serial Numbers to establish that it was a genuine Leyland 285 Synchro, he decided to buy, thinking that it would just be a case of attending to a few cosmetic features. The fact that the tractor was fitted with a brand new set of tyres, albeit cheap Polish covers, at least it showed that someone had bothered enough to have them fitted. However, whilst everything looked fine from the photographs which he had seen, it ultimately became evident that the tractor has been under severe strain at some point in its life, badly neglected and poorly ‘restored’, although that would be too kind a word
When the tractor arrived in the Griffin’s yard in Derbyshire there was no going back. At first glance everything appeared to be fine and the tractor seemed to be in good condition for its age. A brief test showed that it was running normally, the temperature was stable and the oil pressure was everything that you’d expect of a 30-year-old tractor. However, as things transpired, about all that was good on it was the oil pressure. It soon became apparent that beneath the veneer of fresh paint, which had been rather casually brushed on, everywhere, not everything was as it seemed. Certainly, the tinwork was well-rotted, though given Andrew’s line of business that was never going to be a problem. At this point it is perhaps worth explaining a little more about that. Some years ago, when Andrew was restoring a Leyland 472 Synchro, he found that whilst engine and transmission components were easily sourced through Leyland specialist J. Charnley & Sons in Lancashire, he couldn’t find quality replacement tin work. The only parts available appeared to be either from breakers’ yards or the small amount of ex-factory stock that remained in circulation. Andrew decided to make his own, which wasn’t difficult given his background as a tooling design engineer and tool room supervisor for the country’s leading manufacturer of concrete mixers. Andrew subsequently formed AMG Engineering, a specialist company to manufacture high-quality components for Leyland tractors. Unlike many poor-quality imports, all the parts manufactured by AMG Engineering are produced to the highest standards using the best possible originals as a pattern. Andrew sets out the engineering specification, works out the manufacturing process then engineers his own prototype-standard tooling that is ideal for short-run production and keeps costs down to realistic levels, but without compromising quality. WORRYING DEVELOPMENTS
During their restoration of the Leyland 285 Synchro Mike & Andy encountered a litany of mechanical ills around every corner. Every time the father and son team went to do one job on the tractor they unearthed another set of problems that had to be fixed. So rife were these that they ended up wondering how it had ever held together long enough to be driven off the lorry that had delivered it. By rights, the tractor should have either mechanically imploded on itself or, at very least, the shocking state of the electrical wiring should have set fire to it. Consequently, what was to have been a simple cosmetic tidy-up job gradually turned into a full-scale restoration, involving dismantling and rebuilding every part on the tractor. It was one of those projects that simply ran away with itself without them even noticing. Michael admits that he didn’t give a lot for the original, about £1500 including delivery, but estimates that the finished product would have cost around £9,000 had he been paying commercial prices for the parts. However, even that doesn’t take account of his own and Andrew’s time and the fact that they spent countless hours working on this project over the space of four years meant that to anyone else the cost would almost certainly have been prohibitive. Michael and Andrew’s suspicions about the true nature of the tractor’s condition were aroused by the fact that, on closer inspection, it became apparent that many areas of the tractor has been butchered using a gas bottle. Acetylene had been used to cut a hole in the thick steel floor plate of the cab, probably in a misguided attempt to access the clutch, while the clutch linkages had been cut and then welded up in a different position and steel plates welded to various parts of the tractor over badly-corroded metalwork. When Mike & Andy removed the cylinder head it was obvious that it had been off before. That was when the real trouble started and they quickly found that the block was cracked, which came as a real surprise given that the tractor appeared to run normally. The only solution was to source a new block and completely rebuild the engine, which was the starting point for their endeavours, as we will see in next Month’s issue of Classic Tractor
. It was also obvious that there was a problem with the Synchro gearbox, because the changes between first and reverse were far from smooth and seamless, as it should have been. The graunching noises that occurred when changing gear indicated that the synchromesh pack was worn out and this was confirmed when they moved into the gearbox. Again, the only solution was to complete strip and restore it, then fit a new Synchro pack.
“As we progressed with the restoration we kept finding more things that were wrong,” says Michael. “When I rebuild a tractor I expect it to work like it would have done when it was new. Eventually, after four years hard work, we ended up with an example of this rare model that was in as good or better condition as when it left the factory, ready to work at least another 6000 or 7000 hours before requiring any major work.” In Part Two of this article we will look more closely at what was involved in the restoration and show how this sow’s ear eventually turned into a silk purse.
When two tractor restoration experts complain about the problems they faced in bringing a classic back to life it sheds some light on the level of difficulty involved in the project. Particularly when one is a former fitter who worked on this very model in its heyday and the other is a skilled engineer who specialises in manufacturing high-quality spare parts for the marque. However, even with all knowledge bases covered there were times when Michael and Andrew Griffin could quite easily have given up on the restoration of the 1979 Leyland 285 Synchro which they saw advertised on the internet in 2005. Four years later the project has only just been completed. And what a project it has been. Although a nightmare to complete, the result of countless hours work and a significant financial investment is a perfect example of this rare 85hp, six-cylinder model, which was only produced in small numbers, for a short period. The 285 Synchro was produced during a period in which Leyland Tractors was desperate to respond to the advances in power and design being made by the likes of Ford, Massey Ferguson and John Deere. Given the fact that, for years, investment capital had been in short supply it was remarkable that the business was ever able to develop any new products, much less ones that were as good as the 85hp 285, 100hp 2100 together with the Synchro transmission. However, although good in concept, the tractor’s reliability was often called into question. In the short-term, the introduction of the new models helped to increase Leyland’s share of the tractor market and the company to achieve 7% of the UK market in 1982. Despite selling 12,000 – 14,000 tractors a year, together with another 6000 – 8000 skid units to equipment manufacturers, the tractors were simply not selling in sufficient numbers and the business was no longer regarded by the Leyland Board as mainstream to the Group, which was focused on more lucrative markets. Realising that to be a credible force in the market would take serious investment they lost heart in tractor production and decided to divest what was regarded as a capital-intensive risk which could not match the returns achievable in the group’s other core sectors. Consequently, in 1982 the company announced its intention to sell off the Tractor Division. The Leyland 285 Synchro’s appearance was therefore somewhat brief and although that was not entirely a result of shortcomings with the tractor itself there was no doubt that these models did have some significant faults. Many of the problems with the new models could be traced to a fundamental flaw in their design. Nuffield and Leyland tractors had always been based around a very strong chassis, but in developing the 285 and 2100 models the company had moved away from this concept. The system of side members and an isomounted engine was at the heart of their ills because it was simply not strong enough and the flexing of the chassis rails subsequently caused misalignment of the clutch and gearbox, resulting in major mechanical problems. It’s amazing to think that the engine was basically mounted on rubber blocks and whilst it appeared to be something of a design short-cut to save money, the cost of putting things right under warranty made the new models something of a financial disaster for Leyland Tractors. To prevent the chassis flex which caused misalignment of the clutch and gearbox alignment on the original, Andrew Griffin decided to design, manufacture and install two additional rubber mounts at the back of the bell housing to reduce the possibility of the engine twisting on its original rubber mounts. The modification means that there is now little likelihood that the problem will ever happen again, which makes you wonder why a company the size of Leyland couldn’t have done it in the first place. The six-cylinder Leyland 6-98 engine used in the 285 Synchro was noted for its power and smoothness and in other applications delivered up to 145hp, so evidently its full potential was far from realized in this application and the fact that it was very much under-stressed contributed to good reliability. This very robust unit also had great reserves of power, making it ideal for agricultural applications. The long-stroke design produced high-torque characteristics, up to 235 lb ft at 1400 rpm, yet was very economical on fuel because the combustion chamber design allowed efficient breathing. Providing three ranges, each incorporating three speeds, the Synchro gearbox allowed full synchromesh changes to be made within each range and provided constant mesh changes between each range. Resulting from a major £3 million development programme aimed at making Leyland Tractors the most successful producer of tractors in any horsepower class, the transmission was cutting-edge in terms of its design. In the Leyland 285, this transmission contributed to an outstanding driveline with which to counter other six-cylinder heavyweights in this power class. The ability to change gear, from forward to reverse on the move, with a straight-through movement across the main lever gate, meant speedy shuttle operations and greater overall efficiency, which was a strong selling point. The gearbox, which offered fast, positive changes, was controlled by two levers on either side of the driver’s seat. The one on the left was used to select from the ‘Low’, ‘Medium’ and ‘High’, ranges, while the right-hand lever selected the gear needed in each range. REBUILD BEGINS
Most of 2006 was spent dismantling the tractor and sourcing parts, which in many cases wasn’t too difficult. John Carnley & Sons at Brindle in Lancashire is the main supplier and specialises in Nuffield, Leyland, Marshall and JWD tractors. The family-owned business still carries a large, comprehensive stock of spare parts and manuals for all models, including most of the items that were required. Parts that could not be sourced were re-manufactured by Andrew and are now available through AMG Engineering. However, since the Griffins began their mammoth restoration project the popularity of Leylands has soared. The few remaining factory-original spares have quickly been snapped up by restorers and collectors, which means that finding the right bits has become increasingly difficult. For example, the high-flow hydraulic pump and console used in this restoration were all the last of their type which Charnleys had in stock, while new exhaust systems, hydraulic boxes and toolboxes are hard to find. However, other components are more easily obtainable: the axles, for example, were the same as those used by County, for which spares are easy to come by. When sourcing components it is important to ensure that you buy the exact type needed. Even the experts make mistakes and Michael Griffin says that when setting out to rebuild the engine, for example, he bought a new set of Leyland 6-98 engine pistons, without realizing that the 285 models needed special high-compression units and stronger con rods. This was because the tractor in question 285 Synchro was rated @ 85hp therefore the high-compression pistons where fitted to cut down on fuel consumption. Luckily, Charnleys still had a set of the correct pistons for this model. The list of components used in this restoration is almost endless, such was the state of its mechanical ills at the outset. One of the few saving graces was that a new clutch had been fitted, although incorrectly, but nevertheless everything from bearings and seals to brake discs and Synchro packs on first and reverse have been replaced. However, despite the obvious shortcomings in certain areas of the tractor it was apparent that the Synchro gearbox was up to the job, as there was not a mark on any of the gears when the transmission was dismantled, so it must have suffered extensive operator abuse in its time. As part of the mechanical work on the engine, transmission, axles and hydraulics Michael replaced the seals on any component that could possibly leak, because on a project of this nature it’s simply not worth taking the risk. With that side of things sorted the chassis was the first component that the Griffins wanted to paint, as it was the starting point for the whole process of getting the tractor back together. In fact, this was one of the few areas of the tractor that had not been cut about using an acetylene torch, which had wreaked havoc in other areas. However, before it could even be grit blasted the snow set in during the winter of 2006, further delaying the restoration process. At the time the lack of specialist facilities meant that Andrew Griffin had to do all his spraying outside, which meant waiting patiently for dry days when the air humidity was low. Once the chassis had been grit blasted the next step was to apply a beige primer coat, which preceded the undercoat and final paint finish. To achieve a high overall standard it was necessary to spray components individually, which had certainly not been the case when the tractor has been painted before. Only parts that we visible had been coated, and then using a brush, which meant that when the tractor was disassembled it became evident that many metal components were completely devoid of any covering and had become badly corroded. The fact that Andrew was working as a design engineer for a major manufacturer of construction equipment at that time meant that being around when conditions were ideal to carry out spraying was extremely difficult, extending the process still further. When dry, sunny weather finally arrived the chassis was sprayed in Leyland dark blue, but even in perfect weather it took numerous coats to achieve the high gloss finish he wanted. The very thickness of these multiple coats then made the paint susceptible to chipping, but this has since been remedied by changing to a new system. Although it came too late for the Leyland, but few would complain at the finish which Andrew achieved. The paintwork on the restored Leyland 285 Synchro is of a very high standard, but Andrew says that it could have been even better had his new facilities been installed at the time. Whilst restoring a Nuffield 10/42 for a customer last year Andrew realized that it would cost almost as much to have it sprayed professionally as to buy the equipment to it himself. Consequently, he now has a fully-enclosed and ventilated area with air filtration and extraction equipment, which provides an ideal environment for this type of work, irrespective of the conditions outside. With new spraying facilities in place it no longer takes days to finish each panel. He also now uses two-pack paint system, comprising an acid-etched primer which ‘bites’ into the grist-blasted steel, followed by a primer, finished with the top coat. These professional paints are quick drying & tough and can be applied in quick sensation once the previous coated flash over (touch dry). Once the chassis had been completed it meant that the process of rebuilding the tractor could continue. Andrew spent days spraying the restored tractor and now there’s more paint on this Leyland than it’s ever had in its life, even when it left the factory. One of the key pieces of equipment in the restoration was the Matbro telescopic handler, which proved invaluable for lifting all the major components accurately into place. It wasn’t long before the engine had been bolted to the chassis, the radiator was back in place and new steel hydraulic pipes for the hydrostatic steering system had been installed in place of a tangle of flexible hydraulic hoses, which made a huge different. Some of the pipes were available from Charnleys, the remainder Andrew manufactured. In all, there are four hydraulic pipes, the flow and return from the steering pump and two to the steering ram. What is amazing about this project is just how badly the tractor had been cut about, seemingly at random, using an acetylene torch. At the front of the tractor even the light steel frame that provides a mounting point for the grill and holds the lights in place had been cut through with the acetylene torch, apparently without rhyme nor reason. Needless to say, a replacement had to be made and new headlights fitted. New tyres have also been fitted all-round to complete the as-new appearance. This is a key area that is often missed when restoring tractors, but a ‘must’ for any serious project. The rear PAVT (variable-track) wheels Michael purchased from Charnleys at an early stage in the project as he felt that they added significantly to the appearance and wanted as many of what were originally ‘optional extras’ to give the tractor a visual lift and maximise its impact.
This is one of the longest-running restorations that Classic Tractor has ever covered and no-one is more delighted that it is over than those most closely involved. In fact, Michael put the finishing touches to it on the morning that we arrived to take photographs, installing the roof lining which Andrew had sourced two days before. As Michael points out, it is often this type of component, which are essential in terms of finishing the project off, that lets you down. After more than four years it went to the wire, but by anyone’s standards, the result is stunning and was well worth the wait. The addition of the revitalized Leyland 285 adds further to the Griffins’ collection of Synchro models, which also include a 472 and 482. In addition, they own a Marshall 954XL and a Marshall 100, which is currently awaiting restoration, although they hope that it won’t take as long to complete as this one! Tractor enthusiasts keep looking for something ‘new’ to restore and once someone does something unusual and it get s noticed, values tend to rise and others tend to follow. That has happened with Leylands and things are getting a whole lot more expensive an interest in this once-neglected marque increases and very limited supplies of good raw material and original components dry up. Now might be a good time to grab your own slice of British engineering history!
Restoration Poppy Orange Shines Through in Derbyshire we went along to the Peak District in Derbyshire to meet Andrew Griffin of AMG Engineering who had just finished a stunning five month restoration on a 1966 Nuffield 10/42. We go through the restoration with Andrew and pick up some hints and tips to help you with your own projects in the future.
Having gained a reputation for good quality restoration work , and being the maker of many of the cab panels and sundry items associated with Leylands and Marshalls today, (more on this next month) qualified engineer Andrew Griffin was asked by a farmer in Cheshire if he could rebuild the family 1966 Nuffield 10/42. The answer was of course YES.
Andrew has such tractors in his veins as his father David was an apprentice for FH Burgess in Derby and whilst essentially a Leyland man, Nuffields were all part of the daily diet for him. However, after finishing his time David went on to become a tremendously skilled cabinet maker and his business flourishes today. His natural skills with his hands were passed down to one of his two sons, Andrew, who has had a proper engineering background which enables him to make the parts that otherwise are hard to find, hence AMG Engineering. Between them they have built up quite a line in Nuffield parts and some of the items required for the restoration of the 10/42 came straight off the shelf here.
At the time the three-cylinder Nuffield 10/42 was announced in August 1964 it was very much an interim model for the ‘new’ modern ten series tractors that were introduced on Monday 26 June 1967. The 10/42 was replaced with the 3/45 and its bigger brother the 10/60 by the 4/65. However the pedigree for the 10/42 goes back to 1957 when production started in November of that year of the Universal Three (3DL) fitted with the British Motor Corporation three-cylinder OEC 2.55 litre 37bhp engine. Quite naturally it was a smaller brother to the Universal Four (4DM) four-cylinder tractor that had its roots way back to 1948 and had been well proven with the fitment of BMC’s own OEA 3.4 litre diesel engine in 1954.
It’s said the Nuffield sales guys wanted a smaller tractor to sell that could take on the Massey-Harris-Ferguson grey/gold FE-35, International 250 and of course the Fordson Dexta that was coming on line. Unfortunately what they got was a slightly larger, cumbersome but reliable, machine that would never set the world alight. It was not helped by the fact the tractor was only £55 cheaper to buy than the larger four-cylinder Nuffield 10/60, which by 1966 were very outdated.
When the 10/42 came on line it was to feature for the first time energising disc brakes and ten speeds through a high low splitter gear placed in the front of the transmission. This gave the tractor a top speed of just on 18mph. A twin delivery Plessey hydraulic pump was added besides a mechanical governor. Considering all these things Nuffield should have added these components by 1960. The engine had undergone further developments in 1961 with an increase in the engine bore by 5mm to 100mm now developing 42bhp with the Simms Minimec pump in place the 2.8 litre was designated as the OEG engine. One must remember the three-cylinder engine was always built at Adderley Park, Birmingham, not Bathgate, Scotland, and didn’t suffer from the liner problem that really brought sales down for the company in the 60’s, and that applied to the Red Line trucks as well.
The Cheshire owned 10/42 which Andrew had in his workshop, worked for the current owner’s grandfather on the livestock farm and ended up as the yard scrapper for at least 15 years, hence the condition of the wheels. The customer wanted the tractor to be put back into first class condition, not over the top, and so it could be used for haying and such work if required.
Assess the Tractor First
When undertaking such work and the same applies when looking to buy a tractor at auction, come with a check list and an idea of what it will cost to overhaul .. With this in mind Andrew steam cleaned the tractor thoroughly then left it to dry. He got his check list out and having run the engine up knew straight away that it was not running properly on its three-cylinders. it sounded as though it needed a cylinder head overhaul and possible valve replacement. The water pump was leaking and the radiator didn’t look a good proposition and was full of the last 40 years harvest by the looks of things from the front.
He instantly noted an oil leak from the bell housing and the fixing bolts were loose to the tractor frame in fact 7mm in the air with no washers underneath either, out came his note book again. Also the lift pump was leaking oil and derv along the way and the engine chucked out a good proliferation of blue smoke as well. This was all disappointing as the tractor had a replacement block during its life and one was hoping for good things from it. Now on the footplate Andrew drove the tractor around the field to find the steering was totally worn out, as was the front axle pivot pin. Also the transmission had a mighty whine in top gear.
On the good side the hydraulics were working fine although things were rather sloppy. Turning to the panels the cab frame, that had been on it from new, was in a mess and the wings were rusted right through. Nuffields had offered this model in three versions when new, basic, standard and deluxe, with a difference of £160 from the bottom to the top of the range. However the owners had added a genuine lighting kit during the 10/42s early life. On the face of it the tractor looked as though it was going to be a straight forward restoration but until you get down to these things and check them out, as in this case here, it can be a different story.
Having informed the customer of what was required from the outside at least, the panels were all removed. Mark all the items indicating where they went and record things with the camera as well; it all helps when putting it back together. The cylinder head was removed to discover 20 thou wear on the valve guides and a number of well cocked and burnt valves. With the cylinder head stripped right down and the straight edge applied, the head was found to be warped and a 10 thou reface on the milling machine was necessary. New valves and guides were fitted but at least the valve springs were good.
With the engine block lifted out of the frame and disconnected from the bell housing it was time to investigate the situation. After pulling the timing gear cover off it took some time to pull the idler gear off the shaft, as this had become seized on, however with a puller in place behind it eventually gave up the fight. With the crankshaft dropped out it was found to be in excellent condition and didn’t even need a grind and with the pistons removed it was time to pull the worn liners out. After removing them it was discovered the block had corroded away between number one and two bores, what a disappointment and now more cost as the old block was just scrap.
However luck was on Andrew’s side as Charnley’s at Marsh Lane, Chorley, Lancashire, who keep much of the BMC/Leyland Empire spares as well as selling McCormick tractors, had just one brand new block left. New liners and a seal set went in, that was shimmed to the correct height (one of the major problems in working times) before new pistons went back in with a standard set of shells. A new oil pump was the order of the day and the oil pipe work was thoroughly cleaned inside. Also to be fitted was a new front pulley something that was well worn and had to be set up with new washers that Andrew laser cut. On the front end, the two idler gears were replaced, before the CAV injector pump had been checked over and overhauled as had the injectors. All brass washers and pipes were renewed where required.
After timing the engine up on went the timing cover with a new oil seal remembering that on the rear end these range of engines do not have a seal but a screw that was used by so many manufacturers for years and with good success. With a new copper asbestos type head gasket in place, with the correct gasket sealant, the cylinder head was torqued down appropriately. Quite surprisingly the rocker arms on the shaft were well worn. These were built up by Andrew and ground down equally and polished before refitting, then adjusting to the appropriate tappet clearance. These were then checked again after the engine had been run up and the cylinder head retorqued again. The water system was thoroughly overhauled with a new water pump and radiator core besides hoses and the correct type of water clips going on as well. To finish off a new exhaust was fitted.
With the engine completed Andrew’s attention turned to the two stage clutch and transmission. Having pulled the bell housing off and removed the gearbox, a new clutch assembly was fitted, after cleaning the area off for surplus oil and grease with another power wash along the way. The new clutch was fitted with thrust pads, bronze carrier bushes, linkage bushes, besides new springs. At the same time the flywheel ring gear was dressed up with the file, luckily it didn’t need replacing and the flywheel itself was in good order, but a new input phouterious bronze bush went in as well.
Next on was the transmission which was stripped right down to find the noise and back lash that could be heard in top gear, this turned out to be the differential pinion bearing that had collapsed. This was screwed out and a new assembly fitted at some expense too. It took some time to set up the 10 thou end float, which is adjusted via the bearing lock nuts. Andrew’s engineering expertise came in very handy, particularly as he had the correct tools to do the job. A new gearbox input seal went in here again and at the same time a new set of axle seals went on, besides a new set of discs for the brakes and the end plates were slightly ground to keep the faces flat. Talking of brakes the handbrake racket pull was replaced owing to worn teeth and the linkage was either replaced or rebushed. At the same time a new pto seal was fitted at the back end and the shaft refurbished.
As we said at the beginning, the steering was not good, the box was first on the bench and bearings and other parts went in, to be followed by new track rod ends. On the axle itself, king pins, bushes and new thrust washers were the name of the game and the axle centre pin was bored out, rebushed, and a new pivot pin went in, at least the wheel bearings were fine. The job was certainly going on a bit and it didn’t finish there though.
Wheels and Tyres
New wheel studs and nuts were the order of the day as some were loose and in other cases missing or just broken. For the front wheels were eaten away with rust so badly a new pair was acquired and sandblasted, similarly the backs were in poor condition but salvaged. These were then etched and primered followed by UPF cellulose primer, before new flaps, tubes and tyres were fitted. These were then covered in plastic and taped down before the top coats of Nuffield Poppy Red went on. The back wheels took some work to get right, but Richard has left a number of the pits in the steel work as the end result is not to create a concours tractor, but a good solid working machine.
One good thing about this tractor was the hydraulics. The dual pump was in excellent order and had plenty of pressure, but the gaskets were replaced. The PTO linkage was seized and this was freed off with heat and new pins fitted where required. The sturdy link arms were overhauled along with the stabilizers and new balls and plates fitted along the way.
Andrew is an advocator of sandblasting and at various stages this was carried out on a dry day in his own designated area with a fan system incorporated. The pure metal is coated with Tetrosol etched primer to be followed by UPF cellulose primer and then finally a synthetic top coat where you add hardener to enhance its drying capacity. This takes two-three hours to dry and Andrew likes to keep the filling to a minimum, but preparation is the key to a good dust free top coat in any spray booth like Andrew’s. In fact some three top coats were applied with lots of time given to let the previous coats go hard and of course lightly rubbing them down in-between with 600-800 grit paper.
Electrics & Instruments
These were a major problem on this tractor, the starter and dynamo needed a major overhaul, as did the control box - voltage regulator, which played up along the way. A new battery box was obtained as these are offered these days, but major modifications were needed to make it fit properly, but all was well in the end. A new wiring loom was actually on Andrew’s shelf and this went on with suitable modifications along the way, easier said than done though. The 10/42 had a instrument face lift when introduced in 1964 and the oil pressure, water temperature and rev counter are still all original, but are totally overhauled as was the drive cable for the rev counter as well.
Panels & Sundries
Two re manufactured shelf clamshell wings were obtained and went though similar treatment to the floor plates, bonnet, front cowl, fuel tank that had been thoroughly cleaned out before running the tractor up. All were placed on the tractor and adjusted to fit properly, then taken off and painted to the method described above. All the nuts and bolts were plated and cannot go rusty now. A new roll bar was obtained for the tractor of a similar period and again totally overhauled and fitted on, it’s better to be safe than sorry particularly if you are going to work the tractor again. A new seat pan, brackets and cushion went on along with the correct decals making sure they were straight and the correct ones for the period. A finishing touch is a new PTO cover that was copied from a rusty prototype.
By May 2009 the job had been finished and was completed by the original lights that had been overhauled and painted in the correct black colour of the period. These were fitted and rewired before the first major road test that Andrew gave the tractor on a bright, dry and sunny day. It was very rewarding indeed and yet another satisfied customer took his tractor home not long after. What had started off as a normal run of the mill restoration ended up being a major rebuild. However it has been well worth it in the end after a number of trials and tribulations with deep satisfaction for all those involved from rebuilder, to customer who is looking forward to using the tractor in the summer months.