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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Jun 2012
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    2
    Location
    West Tawakoni, TX
    Tractor
    Kubota L3400, '59 Ford 851, '51 Ford 8N

    Default 1959 Ford 851 12v Starting System Woes

    Hello All,

    I'm having a problem with my 1959 851 12v starting system. After spending quite a bit of time researching it based on what I've found so far, I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around next steps. I'm relatively new to DIY tractor mechanic'ing, but I take direction well.

    First, it all started about 2 months ago when it just quit starting. No turnover, no clicking, couldn't jump it from a known good battery, nothing. Was able to determine with a multimeter that the solenoid post that cables to the starter motor wasn't putting out any juice no matter what, so replaced the solenoid. Worked great for a month, then quit starting again. It would click, but starter motor wouldn't turn over. And again, couldn't jump it from a known good battery. Disconnected the starter motor wire at the starter motor, put the tractor in neutral, chocked the tires, tried putting 12v directly on the starter motor terminal, no starter motor noise, just a giant spark. Replaced the starter motor, worked great for another month, then quit starting again.

    I should also note that during the troubleshooting of these other problems, I replaced pretty much all the wiring (there's not much, and a lot of it looked tired), and I had the battery tested (weak) and replaced it with a good, heavy duty Interstate battery.

    Which brings us to now. I suspect my alternator is bad. I am going to have it tested just as soon as I can get the long bolt out of it that a previous owner welded in (grrr). The current suspect alternator is a Delco-Remy #1102480 61a. I can jump start the tractor from a good battery, but the voltage reading at the tractor battery doesn't move from 12v much if at all, revved or not. And if the tractor sits, the battery doesn't keep enough umph to start the tractor; the voltage goes from 12v to 10v and sits there until I put a charger on it.

    If the alt ends up testing bad, O'Reilly tells me they have the replacement for $60 (minus $15 core fee back on old one), and that is the better quality one of the two replacements they sell. The other is $45 before core fee refund. Just8Ns & More tells me they can sell me the replacement for $80 + shipping. Yesterday's Tractor wants something similar price-wise to J8Ns.

    I want to repair this tractor properly. It's too important to my farm operation, and I don't believe in band-aiding.

    The questions I have are:
    - If the alternator is shot, do I really need to go with what J8Ns or YT sells? Is there really something about their products that makes them better suited to these old tractors than what the auto parts houses sell?

    - Is it normal for me to be having to replace one part, then shortly thereafter the next part down the line fails? Am I just snakebit? Did I step into an alternate dimension? I've been consulting at each step with my trusted auto mechanic and a couple of other shade tree tractor mechanics, so I don't think I'm must completely lost on this, but it does seem a bit odd.

    Your thoughts, experiences, and ideas are greatly appreciated. I have been looking on the old tractor forums, but felt like I was getting too much conflicting info, and I've been unable to reach the J8Ns guy to pick his brain.

    Speaking of which, would love to hear who you all like for old Ford tractor parts besides Just8Ns & More and Yesterday's Tractors. I've looked at Dennis Carpenter, and they are probably good parts, but seem to be on the high end price wise.

    Respectfully,
    Laurie

  2. #2
    New Member
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    Jun 2012
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    Location
    West Tawakoni, TX
    Tractor
    Kubota L3400, '59 Ford 851, '51 Ford 8N

    Default Re: 1959 Ford 851 12v Starting System Woes

    I didn't get any bites on these questions, so I figure they must be either really dumb questions or the people who know the answers haven't seen the post. Just reporting back what I've found for future reference.

    >The questions I have are:
    >- If the alternator is shot, do I really need to go with what J8Ns or YT sells? Is there really something about their products >that makes them better suited to these old tractors than what the auto parts houses sell?

    My alternator did fail various tests by various mechanics and auto parts store workers. I did quite a bit of research online and asking both auto and old tractor mechanics, and following is the gist of what I've learned. I could buy a rebuilt alternator from one of the local auto parts houses that looks very similar to and operates the same as my shot one before it died. That part can be had in my area for about $60, and then I get $20 or so core fee back if/when I return the old one for rebuild. That part is made overseas and is not a known brand name, but it would probably work fine. Or I could take my Delco-Remy alternator that came off the tractor and have it rebuilt for somewhere in the $60-$80 range. Or I could go to the junkyard and get another Delco-Remy alternator for $20 or less and have it rebuilt if necessary. I decided to go with the middle option. The general feel I got from the auto mechanics and old tractor mechanics is that these Delco alternators are very good and that I should keep it if possible. I'm picking it up today from my local alternator/starter rebuilder and installing it tomorrow.


    >- Is it normal for me to be having to replace one part, then shortly thereafter the next part down the line fails? Am I just >snakebit? Did I step into an alternate dimension? I've been consulting at each step with my trusted auto mechanic and a >couple of other shade tree tractor mechanics, so I don't think I'm must completely lost on this, but it does seem a bit odd.

    The auto guys say this is just how the cookie crumbles sometimes. The alternator/starter rebuilder inspected my starter motor and said its malfunctioning was caused by trying to start the tractor with either a battery with a weak charge, a bad solenoid, or something along those lines. In other words, it wasn't completely shot, but did need to have some work done. Even though I had already replaced the starter, I'm having him rebuild the original starter motor for spare.


    >Speaking of which, would love to hear who you all like for old Ford tractor parts besides Just8Ns & More and Yesterday's >Tractors. I've looked at Dennis Carpenter, and they are probably good parts, but seem to be on the high end price wise.

    Didn't get any opinions on this.

    Thanks for listening,
    Laurie

  3. #3
    Super Star Member murphy1244's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
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    17,973
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    Ohio
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    Kioti DK-40, MF-135, Ventrac 4500Y

    Default Re: 1959 Ford 851 12v Starting System Woes

    Quote Originally Posted by NETXFarmers View Post
    I didn't get any bites on these questions, so I figure they must be either really dumb questions or the people who know the answers haven't seen the post. Just reporting back what I've found for future reference.

    >The questions I have are:
    >- If the alternator is shot, do I really need to go with what J8Ns or YT sells? Is there really something about their products >that makes them better suited to these old tractors than what the auto parts houses sell?

    My alternator did fail various tests by various mechanics and auto parts store workers. I did quite a bit of research online and asking both auto and old tractor mechanics, and following is the gist of what I've learned. I could buy a rebuilt alternator from one of the local auto parts houses that looks very similar to and operates the same as my shot one before it died. That part can be had in my area for about $60, and then I get $20 or so core fee back if/when I return the old one for rebuild. That part is made overseas and is not a known brand name, but it would probably work fine. Or I could take my Delco-Remy alternator that came off the tractor and have it rebuilt for somewhere in the $60-$80 range. Or I could go to the junkyard and get another Delco-Remy alternator for $20 or less and have it rebuilt if necessary. I decided to go with the middle option. The general feel I got from the auto mechanics and old tractor mechanics is that these Delco alternators are very good and that I should keep it if possible. I'm picking it up today from my local alternator/starter rebuilder and installing it tomorrow.


    >- Is it normal for me to be having to replace one part, then shortly thereafter the next part down the line fails? Am I just >snakebit? Did I step into an alternate dimension? I've been consulting at each step with my trusted auto mechanic and a >couple of other shade tree tractor mechanics, so I don't think I'm must completely lost on this, but it does seem a bit odd.

    The auto guys say this is just how the cookie crumbles sometimes. The alternator/starter rebuilder inspected my starter motor and said its malfunctioning was caused by trying to start the tractor with either a battery with a weak charge, a bad solenoid, or something along those lines. In other words, it wasn't completely shot, but did need to have some work done. Even though I had already replaced the starter, I'm having him rebuild the original starter motor for spare.


    >Speaking of which, would love to hear who you all like for old Ford tractor parts besides Just8Ns & More and Yesterday's >Tractors. I've looked at Dennis Carpenter, and they are probably good parts, but seem to be on the high end price wise.

    Didn't get any opinions on this.

    Thanks for listening,
    Laurie
    to TBN from Ohio. You need to post this in this in the Ford forum and Sound Guy will solve your problem. Your very welcome.
    Murph ------------

  4. #4
    Veteran Member GPintheMitten's Avatar
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    Flushing, Michigan
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    Kubota B2620, Ford 2N

    Default Re: 1959 Ford 851 12v Starting System Woes

    I read your post yesterday but didn't have the answer.

    I second the recommendation for posting this elsewhere. There is a Vintage Tractor section and within that there is a Ford section. I think you'll like that section in addition to getting help on yours.

    Glad you're making progress.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member Gem99ultra's Avatar
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    May 2009
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    Location
    Warm Springs, GA
    Tractor
    Kubota L3400HST

    Default Re: 1959 Ford 851 12v Starting System Woes

    Sounds to me like the regulator is bad. If the starter has the built in regulator, replacing the alternator should take care of the problem. If it doesn't, I'd replace the regulator for sure, just to be 'sure'. The fact that the alternator doesn't produce more than 12V at any speed tells me that's the problem.

    Bad regulator will burn up a good battery, starter, solenoid, and/or an alternator. BTW - you need to send that idiot that welded the mounting bolt in a nice Thank You note. How stupid can one be? The bolt hold was probably stripped out so he took the idiot's route to 'fix' it.

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