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Different Front Axles/Steering on Early Tractors - Tutorial (Pictures)


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#1 oldiron1 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 28, 2015 - 11:40 PM

Hi Guys,

 

One thing that I've had a tough time wrapping my head around as I got interested in the early Economy's have to do with the different front axles they seemed to have used between the first tractor in 1946 and 1963...and it's been hard to determine when they used what.

 

There are still plenty of gaps in what I've figured out, but wanted to share at least what I have learned, observed and believe to be true. Feel free to help me fill in the gaps. I've posted pictures of the different examples based on my tractors but realize there are a couple variations I don't have pictures of. 

 

1946:

-Cable Steer on the very early tractors and then Chain Steer

-"Wishbone" style front wheels/spindles on round tube axle with (3) positioning holes on each side.

 

1947:

-Chain Steer

-"Wishbone" style front wheels/spindles on square stock axle with (3) positioning holes on each side.

 

(1947 Chainsteer Ser # 338)

47%20Chainsteer%20FE_zpsd1oqyzuv.jpg

 

1948:

-Chain Steer

-"Wishbone" style front wheels/spindles on square stock axle with (2) positioning holes on each side.

 

1949-1950:

-Chain Steer on "Standard Economy" or optional "Automotive Steering" utilizing a Ross steering gearbox and tierod for the first time on "Deluxe" and "Deluxe Electric" models.

-"Wishbone" style front wheels/spindles on a square stock axle with (2) positioning holes on each side.

 

(1949 Deluxe-Electric Ser # 1552 with "automotive" type steering)

49%20FE_zpsosnfanr1.jpg

 

 

1951:

-This is the first year that the previously standard "Chain Steering" wasn't available any longer.

- "Standard Economy" tractors still utilized the "Wishbone" style front wheels/spindles on the square stock axle with (2) positioning holes on each side but now come standard with the "automotive" steering utilizing the Ross steering gearbox and tie rod.

-For the first time now as an option, traditional style axle and spindles were offered with 12" bolt-on front wheels.

 

1952 - 1963:

-Traditional style spindles were standard now with 12" bolt-on front wheels. (16" rear wheel models however, such as Power Kings and Country Squires; utilized a slightly shorter front spindle to balance the height of the tractor.

 

(1952 24" Standard Economy with taller front spindles)

52%20FE_zpsnegumytv.jpg

 

(1955 16" Red E with shorter front spindles)

55%20Red%20E%20FE_zpsaqe1qlb1.jpg

 

The other Change that I've observed is the change from a "thicker" front tie rod to a "smaller diameter" front tie rod. I can't pin point yet, when exactly that change took place, but have narrowed it down between 1956-1959. Below is an example of the "smaller diameter" front tie rod on my 1960 Country Squire:

 

60%20CS%20FE_zpsrtxsfkee.jpg

 

 

Hopefully this info is useful or interesting to others as I'm really intrigued by this kind of stuff.

 

Thanks, Rob

 


Edited by oldiron1, January 28, 2015 - 11:47 PM.

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#2 David Brown OFFLINE  

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 05:45 AM

That's some good research but I must throw a caution in there for your consideration as you look further into this.  The only consistency I've ever found with this company is that there is no consistency.  Most early records for the company are long gone, not that they were ever that good to begin with.  If you found a good reliable source for info on these early tractors, well that's fantastic and I hope you have more to accurately get the word out.  If you are going by tractors that people show or place on the internet, well then that's where the caution comes in.  Caution #1, people seldom really know what they have.  Believe me, in my years with these tractors, I've heard it all.  Caution #2, it's very difficult to find a trator in its true original condition.  Many have been modified in some way.  The company actually offered a newer front end kit to replace the chain steer.  I just throw that out as something you may or may not know.  Not sure I ever saw a cable steer but that doesn't mean they don't exist.  Somewhere I have pictures of the first Economy (#101) that rolled off the line.  It had chain steer I THINK.  It has been restored but certified to look like it did when it left the factory.  So what does that mean?  Nothing really.  This company is such that someone could have suggested using cable instead of chain.  It was tried, they didn't like it and went back to chain.  One possible scenario of many.  I'll try to find the picture today and see if it was chain or cable.  I may be all wet.

 

Years ago (twice actually) I attempted to put together a chart that would enable me or anyone else using it to look at a tractor in which the serial number was missing and be able to tell what year the tractor is.  Twice tried, twice failed.  Too many variables tot he point where you needed to leave room on your trailer for the chart.  Very frustrating endeavor.  I am not trying to poo poo your research.  On the contrary, I admire it and I hope you press forward because I know I'll learn some things in the process.  PKs are like life, you never stop learning.  I just want to make sure you realize that, though your findings may seem consistent, there will be an oddball popping up that throws you a curve.  March on, dig in and teach us something.  Good stuff!


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#3 David Brown OFFLINE  

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 07:51 AM

I did some digging this morning and found my pics of Economy 101.  It does have chain steering.  Did it always?  That's anybody's guess but it was my understanding that this tractor was brought back to look like it did when it left the factory.  Maybe they took liberties, maybe not.  The world may never know.2008_0801pkdodge0039.JPG


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#4 Username OFFLINE  

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 11:30 AM

The 1951 or early 1951 Country Squire's had a square axle with traditional style spindles.

 

Bill C has a blue 1946 with cable steering and I think I may have seen another with cable steer at the dodge Co show several years ago but I don't know what the story behind them are..


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#5 David Brown OFFLINE  

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 11:49 AM

The 1951 or early 1951 Country Squire's had a square axle with traditional style spindles.

Bill C has a blue 1946 with cable steering and I think I may have seen another with cable steer at the dodge Co show several years ago but I don't know what the story behind them are..

I heard of such an animal but have never seen one. You just never know.

#6 oldiron1 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 01:51 PM

Thanks Guys, I appreciate the input and feedback.

 

Jeff, I completely understand your words of caution and completely agree that documentation is virtually non-existent and it seems like there wasn't much rhyme or reason for many of the changes nor much consistency which is what interests me most about these tractors....it's the fun of the hunt for me and as a result is why I wanted to document what I can. I recognize that I'll never be able to document or reason every single exception; but it's not the exceptions that I even want to try to understand or figure out. (I have one tractor that takes everything I've ever thought to be true and threw it out the window...I'll post some pictures and info of that "mystery" tractor in a separate thread. 

 

I haven't come to the conclusions or partial conclusions above based on looking at tractors at shows; although I do look at every old Economy I stumble across and most fall within the stated parameters. My info has come from reading factory parts/accessory/price lists that I've found with dates associated. That and picking the brain of a now friend of mine, who is a nephew of Jim Turner that started the company. While the documented lists I've found have more concrete data, I've learned a lot more of the "why" through interesting conversations.

 

The earliest tractors (1946/1947) are the ones I feel the least confident in because of the lack of documentation. Thanks for posting the picture of #101...I have seen that tractor too; while I know it was restored at the time as believed to have left the factory, I'm not so sure that's the case currently as we've found even more weird things since that tractor was restored. (Such as Bill Cunninghams blue 1946 and another 1946 with evidence of originally being blue.) That in itself is interesting....and kinda makes sense being that the Page tractor company was owned by the father in law of EPCO, so they used Page blue on the first few Economy's...that's a thought anyway; which is what most of this is....thoughts backed by some evidence but never to be considered the Economy "bible".

 

Thanks, Rob


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#7 David Brown OFFLINE  

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 02:06 PM

Well it sounds like you have better sources than most of us so now I'll just sit back and see what you come up with next.  I may not be into these tractors anymore but I still enjoy learning about them.  I've probably forgotten more than I ever learned so this will double as a refresher for me.  Thanks for your efforts.  They are appreciated.


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#8 oldiron1 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 04:00 PM

I stumbled onto two Price Sheets that I've found most interesting; one from 1948 and the other from 1950. I only cut the sections relating to the standard tractor model offerings, but they include parts, accessories and impliments as well offered in that respective era.

 

Again, I know there are exceptions out there as EPCO would build anything that someone was willing to purchase and in the past 65 years, most have been altered to fit their specific need; but it's still interesting to know what what the "standard" offering included..I think anyway.

 

1948%20Economy%20Models_zpsrqck1jvg.jpg

 

1950%20Economy%20Models_zpsgtqtqvja.jpg


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#9 Username OFFLINE  

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 05:00 PM

Average car price in 1948 was $1250 so that was a nice chunk of change back then.



#10 MNGB OFFLINE  

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Posted January 29, 2015 - 06:53 PM

Hi Rob, thanks for the great information, I just did a quick check on what the $730.00 tractor would cost in today's dollars which is $7263.15 that is a good chunk of change but then for the time the Economy was probably the same as today's SCUT or CUT and the price of those are a good chunk of change so I guess its all relative.






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