Getting M started
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Thread: Getting M started

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    Mar 2015
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    05-31-2016 @ 07:50 AM
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    Getting M started

    Been working on plow, cultivator, a lot on sickle. Was thinking of using 20/50W synthetic been sitting for years inside shop. planning on cranking up oil pressure before trying to start. Any tips or things to check before starting will pull valve cover make sure not stuck. ALL HELP welcomed THANKS.

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    Evergreen's Avatar
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    06-02-2017 @ 07:24 PM
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    Make sure that any oil you use in it is rated for a flat-tappet cam. Modern car oils will drastically shorten the life of your valve train as they are formulated differently! Use the same kind of oil which you would run in a diesel truck as they have the correct anti-wear additives for old tractors. I use conventional Shell Rotella 15w-40 in the summer and 10w-30 in the winter with Lucas Oil Stabilizer.

    If you are going to have the valve cover off, you might try pre-lubricanting the top end by hand as it is most certainly dry from sitting.

    Do not attempt to run your tractor without an oil pressure gauge! Even if you have to rig one up for testing purposes, make sure you have good pressure. I don't know if you'll be able to pressurize the oil system using the starter if you have a 12volt system, but I know that the 6volt will turn too slowly to do it. At the very least though you should be able to pump oil up to the head. Just be careful you don't fry the starter as those are not cheap!

    Hint: there is a little drain plug on the bottom of the oil filter housing which really helps to cut down on the mess made while changing the filter.

    There is nothing wrong with synthetic oil, however, your first oil change interval is going to be a break in cycle since it has been sitting for so long. After only a few hours you will need to drain out all the crap which has broken free else you could risk oil starvation by clogging up the oil filter. At six quarts per oil change, that could get expensive fast. I'm also curious why you want to go with 20w-50 in the middle of a Midwestern winter? Especially for a machine which has sat for a while, thinner is better because it will work itself into all the little spaces quicker. I'm not saying you are wrong, I'm just curious as to your reasoning for doing that. Which oil grade/brand/type/etc to use can be a very prickly topic on the Internet.

    For your hydraulic system, use either straight 10w motor oil or ISO 32 spec hydraulic oil.

    Don't forget to clean out and top off the air filter!

    Your trans and final drives take 90w gear lube or something within that range. Do not neglect your transmission! It is a huge casting and it can sweat a lot of moisture. I like to run marine gear oil in mine because it is formulated to fight against water.

    Flush your radiator before running the tractor for too long. A garden hose will be enough since the passages are fairly large. Better to find out that way that it is plugged than half way through plowing the garden! I have run about a 60/40 water/anti-freeze mix in my M for years without any issues. They like to run hot so don't worry if you peg your temp gauge in the summer.

    One of the nice things about the M is that it is very easy to work on. Except for the fuel, air filter, battery and the transmission drain plug, everything can be done from the right side of the machine. The ignition/electric system is very simple and easy to diagnose too. Once you have determined that the engine can run, an overhaul of the ignition system is a fast and cheap way to get it running well. Rather than try to figure out what pieces are bad, just do the whole thing; plugs, wires, cap, rotor, condenser, etc. it is a lot easier to have a fresh start all at once than it is to spend a year slowly replacing it anyway.

    Lastly, get yourself a set of genuine John Deere manuals; parts, shop, and owners. They are sooooooooooo much better than the generic ones which tractor supply sells. Even if you aren't planning a full restoration, they are full of valuable information.

    Good luck!

    '50 Model M w/electronic ignition, 12v conversion, and a 3pt conversion plus a homemade snowplow, a Deere Model 51 trailer plow, a Woods RM59 finish mower, a Bark Buster splitter, and a few other toys.
    '69 Sears Suburban 14 48" deck and 42" back blade, an estate rake, and a sweeper.
    '07 F250 XL Powerstroke, crew cab, short box, 4x4.
    '85 F150... I finally sold my very first truck after racking up over half-a-million miles on the original drivetrain.

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