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TAS Country : August 12th 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010 Tasmanian Country 25 Tractors ‘ You can’t work the clutch on a McCormick from a standing position so from a comfort point of view the Case was well ahead on points. ’ The ever reliable chain-drive. machines and seemingly lacked a dealer with the urge to push the product for its quality. By 1940 styling and colour had become import- ant issues in selling a tractor and International Harvester were fast becoming the standard of the industry with their sleek panel work designed by Raymond Lowey. With their modern looks and red paint the McCormick tractors were hot sellers and Case followed suit in 1940 when they adopted a new orange colour called Flambeau Red. The first in the colour was the model D replacing the grey C model that had been in production for ten years. The Styled line of Case tractors intro- duced in 1940 consisted of the model R, model V, model D and the mighty model LA and the model S of Novem- ber 1941 filled the horsepower gap be- tween the model V and D. Even with their new image the Case line of tractors were small vol- ume sellers in Tas- mania. The model D was the most popular here followed by the model SandthemodelLAbutitisthemodelSwewill take a look at in depth this time. The model S was offered for sale from 1941 in two basic forms — the standard tread model S and the narrow tricycle front model SC row crop but from these two basic models were further derivatives in the S-O (orchard model), the SC3 and the SC4 and the S-I for industrial application. By 1954 both models were replaced with the new improved model 300 series. Power for the model S Case came from a four cylinder overhead valve engine of Case design and build. In its final form this took horsepower up from just over 21 to almost 30 horsepower running on gasoline. The engine crankshaft was carried on three main journals. Lubrication to the vital mechanical com- ponents was by full pressure gear type pump with inbuilt relief valve.. While most if not all Case model S tractors in Australia were petrol/kerosene or straight gaso- line powered. Kerosene powered tractors ran a lower compression ratio and had slightly less horsepower than a straight gasoline burner. A petrol/kerosene tractor was easily identified by the small petrol tank under the bonnet, a heat shield over the manifold and a set of radiator shut- ters behind the grille. Burning kerosene was economical as it was a cheap fuel but it did mean extra main- tenance as it was a heavy, abrasive sub- stance, valve regrinds were a fact of life as was draining the sump down of a night. A look at the sump of a kero- sene tractor would reveal at least two drain plugs on the side of the sump pan, during the working day kerosene that did not vaporise would leak past the rings into the sump so it was necessary to drain this kerosene off and refill with clean oil to the correct level. Cooling the engine was a tube/ fin radiator aided by a belt driven water pump with thermostat and a six bladed impellor that circulated four US gallons of water through the engine block.. Delivering the engine power was a traditional Case hand operated clutch from the Twin Disc Company, the system used a single plate clutch in oil incorporating a pulley brake for faster shifting. A four speed transmission was employed which in the model S standard tread tractor gave 2.54/3.61/4.97 and 10.12mph with 2.85mph in reverse. Final drive to the rear wheels was by roller chain which was a design Case had remained faithful to and was immensely strong. While it sounds old fashioned, a chain wraps around half a sprockets diameter while conventional gearing will only have a few teeth in permanent contact so the chain drive was supremely reliable and rarely gave trouble during the tractor’s working life. While some manufacturers may have con- sidered Case’s choice of chain final drive as old fashioned, the Case braking system certainly was not. Most manufacturers were relied on contract- ing band type brakes that were quite effective — easily affected by oil on the linings. Case introduced contracting disc type brakes operating on the high speed differential shaft for maximum efficiency. At the time of release, the Case model S tractor range offered rubber tyres as standard which were 5x16 inch up front with 11x26 inch on the rear for the standard tread models and 10x38 inch diameter on the rear of the row crop models. With wartime restrictions steel wheels with a choice of bolt on grips or ‘‘lugs’’ would become regular fitment until hostilities ceased and rubber was taken off the restricted supply list. Being designed for trailed implements, a swinging drawbar was standard equipment acro- ss the model range although later row crop models could be had with Case’s own quick coupled implement design called the ‘‘Eagle Hitch’’. In all, the model S was a well equipped tractor but there were many options to better tailor the tractor to your uses. Power and size wise, the Case model S was a perfect competitor to the W-4 McCormick Deer- ing. Both used reliable overhead valve engines that produced similar horsepower but from there the similarities ended; the Case used a hand clutch with a four speed transmission and chain final drive while McCormick Deering used a foot clutch, spur gear drive and the luxury of a five speed transmission but as many operators of a W4, W6 or W9 will tell you, the driving position was not comfortable with your clutch operating leg straight out in front of you and that foot operated clutch could be very sudden in engage- ment. That in mind and having driven both makes, I can attest that any of the Case tractors are very comfortable to drive with the hand clutch easily operated from a standing or sitting position — you can’t work the clutch on a McCormick from a standing position so from a comfort point of view the Case was well ahead on points. Nevertheless, McCormick Deering tractors are great machines that sold in huge numbers from a large dealer network with excellent back up. After World War II the Case Flambeau Red tractors got a toe in the door when it was impossible to get hold of a McCormick W6. Dealer William Crosby had managed to land a shipment of Case tractors and soon placed these machines with would-be McCormick Deering customers. There should have been great numbers of Case tractors in Tasmania but not so. Perhaps Crosby’s simply could not get hold of stock — and then there was the cost factor, but when you brought a Case, you bought quality. Our Vintage Tractor Shed Museum at We- stbury is home to a Case model D-O orchard and a model S, both having done sterling service for their owners before coming to us but recently we obtained another model S from the original owners that is also a most interesting tractor. Sold new by William Crosby’s Hobart branch in 1950 to the Davis family who farmed the Murrayfield property at Trumpeter Bay on Bruny Island, this Case S standard tread tractor was provided in non-electric form. The tractor was transported by barge from Tinderbox to Dennes Point on Bruny Island where it was unloaded and put to work on the ‘‘Murrayfield’’ property doing general farm work but also used for road maintenance work with a trailing scraper. After many years of general farm work its last job was hauling oysters out from the farm beds to the processing shed. Over the years the environment had seen the original pressed steel front wheels replaced and the rear fenders corroded out but it was still in excellent condition after 50 plus years of service to the Davis family. Mr and Mrs John and Bev Davis visited our museum and upon seeing our Case model S told us of their example and its history which greatly interested me, especially as it turned out that their tractor was quite a bit different to ours in respect to a number of areas including the brake pedals, steering column, operators platform and the fact that it was non-electric equipped. We were delighted when Mr and Mrs Davis offered us their tractor to exhibit and within a few weeks the tractor made the trip up from Bruny Island to Westbury safely tied down on David Perry’s trailer. Only then could we compare the two tractors and it now appears that our original Case model S is an orchard variant which explains the differences between the two examp- les. It won’t take much work to have the Case in running condition again and I hope it will be restored to as new appearance. Our thanks go to Mr and Mrs Davis for the opportunity to obtain the Case for all enthusiasts to see and experience a tractor that lead a most interesting life and is a rare tractor to go with it!
August 5th 2010
August 19th 2010