North Dundas, Ontario – The shop has been cleared and transportation technology students at North Dundas District High School (NDDHS) are geared up for a very big project this semester – the restoration of a 1948 Ford 8N tractor for the Stormont Dundas & Glengarry 2015 International Plowing Match and Rural Expo next September.
“The students have already begun carefully disassembling, cleaning and tagging parts,” says transportation technology instructor, Andrew Whitton. And allowances have been made for students to use their own iPhones in the shop to search web sites and decode the tractor. They’ll also be using their phones and the shop’s iPad to take lots of pictures to help with the reassembly.
Over the course of the semester students will work on a number of repairs including rear axle seals, an electronic ignition retrofit, fuel system repairs, tie rods and of course body and paint.
The tractor is also a pet project for David Brown, local businessman, SDG 2015 IPM Chair of the Related Events Committee and vintage tractor collector. He bought the little grey Ford at a farm auction in December and delivered it to the school just before the Christmas break. “I knew the school was interested in a restoration project and I had been looking around all fall to pick up the right one,” he says. “This one was in good shape and the tin ware was fairly decent. There wasn’t a lot of rust on it,” he says, of the simple, hardworking, affordable and very popular post-World War II tractor model. “There are a lot of them out there but the trick is to find one that hadn’t been worked into the ground.”
The tractor appears to be as sound as expected according to Whitton “We sanded down areas to look for serial numbers and found that the engine, transmission, and differential have matching production dates and model numbers. That would indicate a complete untouched original tractor, “he says.
While still expected to complete other assignment to meet curriculum expectations, the students are focused on the little grey Ford. “Students have rebuilt tractors at NDDHS in the past. But this one is the oldest and we are hoping to showcase our best talents,” said Whitton. Their aim is to bring it to showroom condition.
Many of the students working on the Ford restoration are part of the Specialist High Skill Major in Agriculture program offered at NDDHS. “The program focuses on specific skills and goals in the agriculture industry, “Whitton says. “It helps them make informed decisions on post-secondary education and also puts them in a good position to move into the work force, apprenticeship training, college or university.”
“Antique tractors are a big draw at the IPM and the students are excited about working on the Ford and proud to be involved in the plowing match”, he adds.
Calling it a good project for a good cause, Brown was also able to locate a two- furrow Dearborn plow to go along with the tractor. Once completed the tractor and plow will be on display and auctioned at the 2015 IPM in Finch, September 22-26. IPM proceeds above and beyond expenses are to be shared with charitable organizations in the community.