Sunday, February 19, 2012


A lot of the parts for old tractors, machinery, and other vehicles, seems to be made from that rare element - "Unobtainium". This is that EXTREMELY rare material that almost all obsolete and non-existent spares are made from.

I've found that a LOT of gaskets are made from Unobtainium....

Oh sure, you can get gaskets for the motor, radiators, and a few others, but if you tear a 1937 Farmall F-12 (or a HOST of other machines...) down to "bare bones" (every last nut, bolt, cotter pin, and washer....), you had BETTER be ready to make a LOT of them on your own - and a couple of them are BIG gaskets - like the one under the transmission cover. This one measures in at around 33" x 15" - and NOBODY carries it "off the shelf". It's a special order or you make it yourself.

F-12 Transmission Gasket

Since it was over $100 to "special order" it, I decided to make it on my own. A 10-20 has a similar gasket - and a few more - that nobody makes for an affordable price, so it is a good thing I learned how at a young age. In addition to making them, try to store them as flat as possible - sandwiching them between two good pieces of card board does wonders.

In addition to gaskets, other parts are hard to find, even though they are not real expensive when you DO find them, it takes time, energy, and perseverance to hunt down and that part.

These parts are known in the scientific world as "Elusivids" - you hunt, and hunt, chase leads, and chase leads, then come up empty, only to jump when you hear the next rumor that someone has one.

These are usually parts that are simple to make - if you had the right tools. If you go to the machine shop, they charge you $200 for a $10 part (if someone actually made it).

I ran into a couple of these for my F-12 - the "Brake Countershaft Spacer".

These little gizmos aren't much to look at, but do important work in there, behind the brakes - and pretty scarce to buy off the shelf.

Luckily, I know somebody with a metal lathe...

He turned these out in no time, and all I needed to do was a little final polishing and burnishing (the old one is on the left).

F-12 Brake Countershaft Spacers

Next, there are the "Brokenoids" - stuff you THINK you've found, only to open the box, and find them worn out beyond use, or have broken parts. Usually, the bad parts are Elusivids, so you know what you have to do there.

Still other parts are classified under the heading of "Goneivites" - they are just plain missing - the only thing left is where it bolted on. Not only are these hard to find - most people (nor books) can even tell you what one LOOKS like. Sometimes you get lucky, and get a quick look at a grainy black and white photograph from 1938 that shows a GLIMPSE of one, but that's about it.

The good thing is - you can fabricate a new one, and make it look just about however you want because nobody really knows what it looks like anyhow.

Then there are the "Unknowbians". These are those mystery parts that are THERE, but nobody can tell you just what they are actually FOR...(In German they are called "Vhatinzeeheck"). In fact, if you ask 10 different people, you'll get five different answers, and the other five will agree with the first five....

Go figure.

Usually, you have two choices - remove the part, and act like it was never there, or leave it on so at Tractor Shows - when someone asks what it's for - you can baffle them with some long winded explanation as to what it is ( in other words - BS them to death....).

These are just some things we deal with on old machines.

You don't EVEN want to know what a "MFSOBGDW" is......

(HINT -- It's what appears when you drop your newly found Elusivid on the concrete floor, and it shatters......commonly called "paint peelers")

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