The System works - Part 2
By: Web Editor
Continuing his restoration of the Ferguson TED-2O, Ben Phillips gets to grips with the innards of the Ferguson System.
Now the engine rebuild was complete and refitted I was making plans to start up the tractor; however, with the hydraulic arms stuck in the up position and not freely going down, overhauling the system became more of a priority.
The Ferguson System is a simple thing to dismantle. First you undo the 11⁄16th bolts around the edge of the top cover (not including the four nuts at the front of the seat mounting studs) then put the lift lever down and drain the oil into a suitable container and remove the two round inspection covers on each side. Inside there are two pins secured by split pins, these need removing and putting somewhere safe, then you reach up inside to the top where there is a long spring stretched from the piston housing to the control valve arm – this needs unclipping.
Now the pin at the end of the big spring by the top link needs removing; this one was seized solid so some heat was required to free it, now the whole top can be removed; it’s not a heavy item but some lifting equipment might be useful at this stage and should be used to prevent any unnecessary strains.
The scene that greeted me was one of rust, rust and more rust – and dirty hydraulic oil. I placed the top cover end up and could see the corrosion stopping the arms moving freely, the whole lot needed to be removed, including the piston and bore.
These however were free of rust and just needed cleaning; the problem lay in the shaft that has a spline at each end which was seized and needed to be got very hot to get things moving. After a good cooking it was working well and the arms were now free.
The piston was tapped out of the bore and then inspected. It was okay as far as I could see. I then ran a glaze buster driven by a drill up and down the bore in conjunction with copious amounts of penetrating oil; this gave a good surface for the rings on the piston to seat to (basically it needs a finish like a new engine liner).
The bottom part of the system slides out underneath the tractor; first the control valve has to be disconnected via two ball sockets. This is connected to the bottom part of the arms where the pins were located, which I had previously said to disconnect first. But in this case the control valve was broken and thus not connected. Once the PTO shaft was removed the whole unit was free to be removed.
I lifted it on to the bench to have a good look and nothing untoward stood out except for the sludge that had built up and which needed to be thoroughly cleaned. I did put the PTO shaft in and turned it to make sure the unit pumped as it should. A new control valve was soon bought and I thought it was amazing how something so small and rather feeble-looking controls the whole hydraulic system.
Refitting the system was simple but care needs to be taken when reconnecting the ball joints on the control valve. This needs to be done before the top cover is fitted. I had to do some further repairs on the spring that connects to the top link as the triangular section bolted to the housing had corroded so badly there was nothing left and the shaft inside the spring that screws into the top link yoke was so seized it sheared off.
Thankfully these items are all available to buy. Once the top cover was carefully lifted into place with a new gasket fitted, connecting up the pins on the forks and the spring to the piston bore at the top were the last jobs to do. It’s easier to connect the spring with a hand through both round inspection holes, then put the PTO lever cover on first so you can see from the other side that it’s located in its slot; then filled up with new oil and the job is complete.
It’s been a while since I’ve started a petrol engine up from an overhaul and it’s a lot less messy than a diesel, no fuel splashed everywhere from priming the system, no injectors to worry about, just a simple carburettor and four new plugs and leads.
A new battery was fitted and I turned the key and depressed the clutch pedal while putting the gear lever into start; a slight bit of choke was probably needed and after only half a turn of the engine it was running nicely. The beautiful sound of a Standard Vanguard engine rang out through the doors of my workshop.
But I pulled the lever on the hydraulics and nothing happened! After around an hour of head scratching and trying various things, I took the round cover off with the dipstick in; and with the engine running I carefully, with a long bolt, just moved the control valve and the arms began to lift after which they worked well. It just needed the help manually to get it pumping. Then I made sure the clutch was properly adjusted and that there weren’t any leaks to contend with. It was a joy to leave it running as it was so smooth. Time after time I’ve heard petrol engines popping and banging and misfiring; it just goes to show that if you replace everything you stand a better chance of a decent result.
The finishing line
Now I was on the home straight with just the painting to do. Although the tractor was sprayed inside, I like to get the tinwork out in the sunshine so a few days of suitable weather were found and the lot was done. The rear wheels had new tyres and rims fitted, the fronts were original and good enough to reuse; the bonnet had a new grille assembly which fitted to the original top and sides without any bother, and finally a new steering wheel and seat pan along with new wings were also needed to complete the job.
Now complete and on schedule, the delivery was required to take place in Cornwall on March 21 at 11am and sure enough Pete did a sterling job and arrived at 10.55am, a delighted customer then took his tractor off for a life by the sea.
Words & pictures Ben Phillips
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