Andrew Naughton brought his 1947 Fordson E27N tractor back to life, by finishing a restoration that had been started 41 years ago!
Andrew is following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, and has become the owner of a vintage tractor. His restored 1947 Fordson E27N now stands proudly alongside his father’s Ferguson 20 and his grandfather’s Dexta.
He bought the tractor in August 2019, at the tender age of 16. “It was formerly owned by a vintage enthusiast from County Roscommon, in Southern Ireland,” he explained. “He’d started the restoration way back in September, 1980, but sadly died before he could finish it. I acquired it from his brother, on the agreement that it be fully restored, and that he could see it one more time when it was done.”
On the plus side
However, Andrew soon found the Fordson was missing a lot of parts, and that it hadn’t been put back together properly. But on the plus side, it did have a brand new set of Vredestein tyres. “When I bought the tractor, the distributor cap was missing,” he said. “So, I fitted one and turned the engine to see if there was a spark, but there was nothing. So, the I thought that the magneto may need to be rewound. As that’s a complicated job – and I had no experience with it – I decided to send the mag away to an expert in Northern Ireland, John Donnelly, of Co Tyrone.
“He completed the work for me, supplied a new distributor cap, and tested it for 11 hours on a testing table. He also cleaned the outer housing, cut the cables to length and crimped them. Once I got it back, I tested it myself and it was sparking perfectly, so was ready for work.”
Andrew stripped the tractor back to the bare chassis, then split it into three sections. “I replaced the troublesome back end-to-gearbox seal,” he explained, “and did the half shaft and pulley wheel seals, too. I also installed new, anti-rattle springs in the clutch release bearing.
“After that I removed the tombstone then rebored and bushed it for the axle. Eamonn Finnegan, from Co Roscommon, relined the kingpins for me, and I replaced the bearings in the front wheels. Once everything was back together, I focused on the panels, and replaced the centres of the mudguards, while Allyn Hanlon repaired the fuel tank.
“I decided the best thing to do was to get it running before I resprayed it. So, with the help of two local experts – Johnathan Regan and Simon Coffee who timed the engine and brought a starter motor – and then, for the first time in almost 50 years, the Fordson’s engine ran again.
“With this done, I then set about shot-blasting and spraying the tinwork. I did the shot-blasting myself and, while doing so, made an interesting discovery. I found that the tractor’s original registration number was hidden under many coats of paint. So I got that number printed on vintage plates, then applied to the local tax office to search for the tax book; I’m still awaiting a response.
“I primed everything using 2K epoxy, then applied a 2K acrylic finish on top of that. The centres were taken out of the wheels for painting and bolted back with high-grade stainless steel bolts, supplied by Cannas McGovern, in Dublin. I then completely re-assembled it, retimed the engine and sourced my own starter motor. Finally came the day, on Christmas Eve in 2020, when the E27N set off on its maiden voyage!”
Andrew has put together a video of the Fordson E27N’s restoration, so if you’d like to see more of the project , simply click here
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