Project Super C, Rear Wheels

This is the ninth post in our ongoing series on Project Super C. We are chronicling the rehabilitation of our 1954 Farmall Super C tractor, which has taken up residence outside of the Farmers Business Network office. If you are new to this series, please start with the introduction to the project in our first post.

Before we get started, if you want to see more of the tractor the team from Cultural Capital made a short video on FBN’s office in which the Super C plays a starring role. Check it out here!

Having overhauled the front wheels, as covered in the last couple posts, next up are the rear wheels and axles. Going into it, we expected that this would be a big job, and it was.

We first looked at the rims and tires and it wasn’t a pretty picture - the right rear rim was rusted through, and the tire had rotted and collapsed. Neither could be salvaged:

right-rear-rust right-rear-rust-closeup

The left rear rim was in better condition, but the tire was ruined by a wide crack that had gone all the way through the side wall:

hole-in-left-rearWe needed to remove the rims from the inner wheels. After our experience shearing off the heads of most of the front wheel bolts, we approached this with some apprehension. Luckily, while the bolts were difficult to dislodge after decades in place, none of them broke and they can all be cleaned up and used again.

removing-wheel-3 removing-wheel-2

When we went to remove the left rear rim and tire combination we discovered that it was incredibly heavy, and far heavier than its counterpart on the right side. We estimate that it may have weighed as much as 300 pounds given how challenging it was to move it around. As the tire was ruined already, we decided to cut into it to investigate further:

The tire contained a huge amount of water, possibly as much as 35 gallons based on this chart. While it makes sense that the rear wheels were weighed down with water given that the tractor had been used as a front end loader, we were surprised that the left inner tube was completely intact and watertight after decades. 

Thinking on our feet, we realized that there could be an untapped market in “vintage water”, so we bottled up some of our tire water and stashed it in the office fridge. We are a little concerned that the color might hinder sales however...  

fridge-water-2With the rims and tires removed, we were able to get a good look at the inner wheels. They needed some light grinding to remove surface rust, and a bit of paint to coat some exposed metal, but overall they are in good shape.  

inner-wheel-after-outer-removed inner-wheel-cleaning

We bought used rims and tires and painted them to match the rest of the tractor. 

forklift painting

At this point, if we bolted the new rims and tires to the inner wheels, the rear wheels would be done. However, we actually need to go the opposite direction and further disassemble the tractor because the gaskets between the rear axle carriers and the transmission case have clearly failed, allowing oil to leak out:

leaked-sludge-1 leaked-sludge-2

To replace the gasket requires removing the entire axle assembly. Having to go to that trouble, we’ll also inspect and overhaul the seals and bearings that are internal to the axle assembly.  

In the next post where we see what the rear axles have in store for us!

green line

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