Sandstone Heritage Trust - News

HTN 107 - Current project for Sandstone Estates being carried out by Chris Wilson at LionsRiver, KZN

13th June 2006

Current project for Sandstone Estates being carried out by Chris Wilson at LionsRiver, KZN, is this unusual ex SA Air Force aircraft tug. Based on a Fordson Super Major tractor, it has a Brockhurst hydraulic transmission in place of the normal Fordson gearbox. The front axle has been specially lowered, and the rear axle modified to accept 9.00-20 truck tyres. The superstructure, which appears to have been built by a company in Johannesburg, is extremely substantial and incorporates ballast over the rear axle presumably to increase traction.

The Ford Motor Company serial number, 31168, was issued in the Ford plant at Port Elizabeth, indicating that this is very much a South African modification.

Fordson Tug – view of engine showing starter used to carry out assessment prior to quoting. Note also the authentic Defense Force stencil lettering, which will be duplicated, as will the yellow livery. (Below left).

Fordson Tug stripped for quote. The engine & transmission appear basically sound, although in need of a lot of attention. (Below right).

Also in line for attention at LionsRiver is this Allis Chalmers model B, with side mower. While it has been cosmetically restored, it requires work to the cooling system, fuel and electrical to get it into good working order.

All vintage machinery at Sandstone is expected to perform in the field from time to time, and this little tractor, with it’s attatched mower, will be particularly useful.
This tractor, ser no. 18154, is an American built unit, as revealed by it’s arched front axle, unlike a similar model B in the collection which was built in Britain and has a straight front axle. It is also unusual being on steel.

Ford V8 pick up, approx 1950. This unit, which was aquired a number of years ago from the late Dennis Petersen at Frere KZN in a very original condition, is being made ready to undertake a trip to Kenya later this year. Despite it’s excellent outward appearance, it does show evidence of a hard life. A blocked radiator had led to blown head gaskets, and the gear box lay shaft bearings had collapsed. However this and many other defects have been rectified, and the old Ford has passed it’s roadworthy. The original interior is largely untouched except that time and rats had taken their toll on the seat and roof lining, which have been sympathetically replaced to blend in with the original. (Left).

100-0487 & 100-0240 (Below middle and right) Condition of gear box components revealed on Ford as above.
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000-0083 (Above left) Interior – note gearbox removed for repair at time of photo.
100-0485 One of Sandstone Heritage’s recent acquisitions; an AEC Matador lorry. This remarkable old vehicle was in commercial service until a few years ago, before being deemed just too slow on today’s roads. Originally fitted with a 9.6 litre AEC engine it has subsequently been fitted with a similar size Leyland power plant of the same vintage. This is a very acceptable substitute, having very similar characteristics.
Colin Heally from Kloof, KZN, bought it subsequently and used it for transporting his steam roller to shows. It has a heavy duty winch driven from the engine, which made it ideal for this purpose.
Chris Wilson drove down to Kloof to learn all about it, then loaded his vehicle on it & drove it back to LionsRiver. Top speed on the highway was about 60 km/h – but on the notorious Town Hill the old girl showed her true worth, zipping effortlessly past modern trucks slogging their way up the hill! Such is the value of old fashioned long stroke torque!
Shown here (below left) loaded onto a Sandstone lowbed for the journey home to Hoekfontein.
One time “Monarch of the Road” AEC Matador basks in the winter sun at Hoekfontein. (Right)
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100-0359/60/61 Sandstone is fortunate in having 2 Waterloo Boy tractors. Both were imported in 1997 from Oscar’s Dreamland, Billings Montana USA. Although both were complete substantial work was required to get them to run reliably.
Shown here is the earlier chain steer version of the model N, unfortunately no serial number exists, but it probably dates from 1918. Similar to the “R” which preceded it ,the N has a 2 forward speed gearbox as opposed to the single speed R.
Waterloo Boy tractors & engines were built by the Waterloo Gas engine company at Waterloo, Iowa. They were bought out by John Deere in 1917. They featured a 2cyl horizontal engine design which lasted with John Deere until 1960.
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100-0253 The tractor below (left), mechanical work completed, prepared, primed, painted & ready for final assembly.

100-0155/0157 Sandstone’s other Waterloo Boy, ser no 30099, was constructed in 1924, one of the last to be built. It has the later automotive type steering. It is likely that it shared factory floor space with the first batch of John Deere’s famous Model D’s, as it is known that the two models were produced simultaneously for a while.
Shown here awaiting collection from LionsRiver after restoration.100-0160 John Deere model B ser no 206022, stripped for quotation. Note condition of panels. The B remains Deere’s most popular model – more B’s were produced than any other model to date. It was in production from 1935 to 1952. This one was produced in 1947.
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100-0163 Note condition of frame, which was removed for re-welding. Cracking of the pressed steel frame here was a weakness. The replacement model 50 reverted to a stronger frame.

100-0209 The frame has been repaired & refitted, the cylinder block honed & replaced, head & valves overhauled & new rings fitted. The whole tractor has been prepared & primed and re-assembly continues.

100 0211 A tense but satisfying moment in any restoration – the engine runs for the first time!

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100-0492 - 206022 back at Hoekfontein, having performed well pulling trailers for tour groups.

100-0166 - JD 730D, stripped for quotation. This unit was in better than average condition, considering most 730 diesels were worked to death due to their overall usefulness. Work revolved around repairing the donkey starting engine, electrical, transmission, brakes, clutch, water pump etc.

The 30 series were the last of the 2 cylinder tractors from John Deere, representing some 40 years of development from the Waterloo Boy. Despite the archaic engine layout, these diesels were thoroughly modern tractors with power steering, 3pt hitch with draft control, live hydraulics & Independent PTO. They were also the most economical in terms of diesel consumption per horsepower, a record held until the ‘80’s. This one, ser no 7321133, was built in 1959.
So successful was the design that it continued to be built in Argentina until 1970.

100-0491 The 730D completed and back at Hoekfontein.

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