Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Appearances can be deceptive

I was thinking about the appearance of things today. The main task  for the day was to start getting the tractor serviceable. I've been avoiding the issue for about seven weeks  from the first day of being given (very generously) the tractor along with the farm.

Its a Massey Fergusson 35 (MF35) - almost 50 years old. It originally looked red, shiny, and was probably the first owners pride and joy the week he bought it from the dealer. It would have looked like this...
I have used the tractor once or twice already but with that deep sense that I really shouldnt be , fun as it was.
Rather like playing on a sunny summer evening as a child ,but not enjoying it because you haven't done your homework and know that you're going to pay heavily tomorrow.

Basically I couldnt bear to face up to the reality that my tractor looks awful. These photos of the engine block and rear end give an idea...

As a former engineer it was painful to look at, everything coated in a layer of thick stinking grease. It was also dangerous, the last time I drove it, I sheared off two wheel bolts and the front nearly collapsed. The brakes dont really work and bits appeared to be missing... important bits like the pins that stop the big bolts falling out of the front loader and decapitating the driver. A sorry state of affairs for a tractor to get into.

And thats why I started thinking about the appearance of things because I realised that of course the tractor was no different to the house and the entire farm itself - (understandable since all were previously owned by the same person.) However it was also somewhat like myself after a long days work. Tired , worn out, in need of some attention.
 Of course it doesnt really matter what the tractor looks like at the moment but rather does the tractor still possess the abilities which are required of it now and in the future.  Reflecting on this I realised that I'd probably be a lot more enthused about fixing the tractor if only I cleaned it, that way my previous engineering interests could then kick in and restoring the tractor could be another thing to look forward to doing rather than avoiding.  

I changed my perspective on the issue and before you could say "Where did that come from !"  I'd wired up a 3 phase extension lead, rushed into town and borrowed a steam cleaner and got to work.

After an hour I realised that the tractor was in quite good condition after all. It needs a few tweaks to the fuel lines and theres a tiny bit of oil leakage. Half the muck was stuck to the tractor because the previous owner had run out of energy or enthusiasm for it - a few loose bolts and crossthreaded unions and after a few years the whole thing was buried in diesel flavoured mud. The tractor certainly doesnt look new even now but I bet that someone will still be driving it in 50 years if I look after it and appreciate it for what it really is not what it looks like on the surface.

I'll start ordering the parts tomorrow, until then I think I need steam cleaning myself...


  1. Good stuff, Is that front loader arm a custom built one? Don't forget to check the welds on it! (I speak from experience having charged a small pile of gravel on my Big John aged 7, only to snap off the bucket mounts due to a failing plastic bracket and too much enthusiasm ;) ) I'm thinking a roll bar would be a good precaution too.....

  2. It looks like a genuine part - though its held on with a variety of shonky old crap bolts - though not for long. Inspired by my own blog "I'll start ordering the parts tomorrow" - I did TODAY !! so should have new front wheels and steering complete with bush and bearings which actually have rollers in them rather than old baler-twine and grease