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From the editors of the Ageless Iron Almanac

In this Alert:
* Note from the Editor
* Rustoration 101: How to clean spark plugs
* Answer Man: lighthearted advice from antique tractor enthusiast Roger Welsch
* A special deal on an exclusive Charles Freitag print

The Ageless Iron Alert is produced for members of Agriculture Online and subscribers to the Ageless Iron Almanac, a newsletter dedicated to collecting antique tractors and agricultural machinery. To subscribe to the Alert (free of charge) visit and join or update your profile. To subscribe to the Ageless Iron Almanac, our 12-page bi-monthly full-color newsletter, visit or call 800/457-8762.


What is a poor father to do about daughters who have little use for antique tractors? Read about Editor Dave Mowitz's plight in trying to propagate this great hobby with his daughters, Alyssa and Sarah. Also in the April-May issue of the Ageless Iron Almanac:

* Farmall F-20 tractors are hot tickets on auction these days. Auction expert Greg Peterson found that the F-20 has escalated in value 120% in the last 10 years. Peterson provides similar price details on a fleet of IHC tractor models.
* What is your best bet for blasting sheet metal clean without wrapping pieces during the cleaning process? Our restoration expert Jim Deardoff advises using a mixture of walnut shells and aluminum oxide.
* Did you know that common kitchen degreasing agents, like oven cleaners, work great to clean up old tractors for restoration? Read about this and other unusual or unusually cheap restoration supplies in the next Almanac.
* Also read about the largest John Deere tractor ever built. The company's new Model 9620 four-wheel-drive tractor turns out a whopping 500 horsepower.
* Join in our product testing team. The first 10 subscribers that respond to our request for testers will get to test and keep the super glue of tape – Xtreme Tape.

Look for these and dozens of other stories in the April-May issue of the Ageless Iron Almanac.

Dave Mowitz Editor, Ageless Iron Almanac


Restoration tips and advice from the editors of the Ageless Iron Almanac How to clean spark plugs Whether you work vintage horsepower particularly hard or not, you should still make it a point to remove and clean each and every one of your tractor's spark plugs to keep the engine running at top form.

As a general rule of thumb, clean spark plugs after 250 hours of use. However, if the plugs have not be cleaned for several years, regardless of whether the tractor has run 250 hours, still take them out for close inspection and, if necessary, cleaning.

Cleaning plugs is a relatively easily job. Start by brushing and blowing all the dirt and dust from around the base of the plug prior to removing it from the engine. After removal and before cleaning, examine the porcelain insulator and points on each plug. If the insulator at the base of the plug is melted, blistered, cracked, or broken, and the points seem unduly burned, it is evident that the spark plug is running too hot, and it should be replaced with a colder part. If the plug has excessive carbon buildup then too much fuel is not being combusted because the existing plug is too cold and should be replaced with a hotter-firing part.

Finding hotter or colder plugs is easy. Engine and spark plug makers recommend specific plugs for specific uses. When in doubt ask the parts man across the counter or refer to a mechanic.

Also, even the correct plug will experience some carbon buildup. And all electrodes will erode or scale to some extent. But excessive carbon allows electricity to leak away possibly causing a short. And corroded points weaken the spark. If necessary clean a spark plug in an abrasive cleaner case. If you don't have a sandblast case, then employ a small wire brush.

After cleaning be sure to regap the points to that measurement recommended by the manufacturers.


Young people must know about tractor safety Showing off old, restored tractors is fun, says Purdue University farm safety expert Bill Field, but using them can be downright dangerous. Field, who owns antique tractors himself, says precautions are crucial:

"I own two old tractors, and each of them is a potential injury, because of the way they were built and the things that are exposed on them. For example, the most popular tractor is the old Ford Model 8N or 2N, and those tractors have a problem with rear overturns. None of them came equipped with rollover protective structures," Field says.

Everyone takes pride in restoring these old tractors, Field recognizes. But collectors need to recognize that antique tractors are less stable and more prone to overturns, which is the leading cause of farm fatalities. "They also have more exposed moving parts," he adds. "Almost all of the deaths caused by tractor overturn in the past few years have been on older tractors."


And now, more advice from Mr. Rustoration Answer Man (a.k.a. Roger Welsch)

Dear Mr. Rustoration Answer Man, I am about to get into tractor restoration. What are the most expensive parts I will have to buy in rebuilding an antique tractor? - Curious in California

Dear Curious, I presume you are not talking about body parts, right? The most expensive part for a tractor repair is always whatever part you happen to need. If you buy seven junk tractors for parts, the first time you need an oil pressure valve assembly, you will find that all seven of those tractors are missing the oil pressure valve assembly. Or whatever other part you need. Brake lever, timing gear, water pump – doesn't matter. Whatever you need, you won't have, you'll have a hard time finding, and will turn out to be made out of Exploitium, the most valuable material known to man. My theory is that when farm boys in 1953 needed fishing sinkers, for some reason they all removed exactly the same part from every tractor of any particular make; every Allis WC carb, every Avery oil cup, every John Deere B battery cover, etc. I don't know why, but I do consider it proof that there's divine order in the universe. – Ol' Rog


John Deere lovers! This one is for you. One of the Freitag collectibles, this print by Iowa artist Charles Freitag is an exclusive through Successful Farming® magazine, and is available to all Ageless Iron Almanac Subscribers for 10% off the artist's price. "Shelling Days" is inspired by Charles Freitag's favorite illustrator, Norman Rockwell. Growing up on the family farm gave him a deep appreciation for his natural surroundings, which is evident in his paintings of yesteryear. This signed and numbered print measures 13 1/2 x 21 inches.

The print alone sells for $85.00 ($76.50 if you are an Ageless Iron Almanac subscriber and use your special coupon code from the newsletter). Or it comes framed for $189.00 ($170.10 if you use your special coupon code from the newsletter).

The frame is 2-inch solid oak molding and double matted. For an additional charge, Charles is offering original hand-drawn 9-inch pencil remarques on a limited quantity of prints. Your choice of a Model 50, BW, or 4020 tractor will enhance your already collectible print. View the print now in our secure online store:

If you are not a subscriber, click here to learn about the Ageless Iron Almanac: A subscription costs $29.95 for one year, $49.95 for two years, and you get a bunch of free stuff for ordering. If you later purchase the print mentioned above using your special subscriber coupon code, you will have already saved over half of the subscription price. The subscriber discount is good storewide.

To order a subscription, call 800/457-8762 or visit:


Ageless Iron Almanac subscribers, visit the Almanac Web site for discussion groups, restoration tips, newsletter reprints and more.


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