Farmall receives new life, despite difficulties
Austin Reed (seated) and Alex Douglas proudly exhibit the 1947 Farmall MD tractor they restored in the Floresville High School Ag Department.
FLORESVILLE -- Austin Reed and Alex Douglas continue the tradition of tractor restoration at Floresville High School, restoring a 1947 Farmall MD tractor to compete in stock shows and ag mechanics competitions.
Anyone familiar with trying to find parts for older vehicles or tractors can understand the problems the duo faced with finding the parts.
The task at hand was not easy, according to Floresville ag teacher Michael Billings.
Billings said the tractor belongs to Harvey and Teresa Boeck, who were on a list of people who had tractors to restore.
“This tractor belonged to his dad and has been in the family for many years,” Billings said. The tractor had not run since the 1980s.
“The boys completely disassembled the entire tractor, inspecting and replacing parts as necessary,” he said.
According to TractorData.com, the Farmall MD was manufactured by International Harvester and marketed as a “row-crop tractor.” See “Farmall MD” for more.
Austin and Alex first entered the tractor restoration contest at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo in February, where the duo placed third in their class.
Bad luck befell the two, however, when the tractor blew a head gasket, causing water to leak into the engine.
They did not let that problem deter them, even after they were shipped the wrong gasket and it failed. For Alex and Austin to fix the problem, they had to take the engine apart.
“They worked most of spring break in order to have the tractor ready for the Houston stock show,” Billings said.
At the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Austin and Alex received a blue ribbon for quality.
The last stop for competition was April 29 in Kingsville, where the students received another blue ribbon for quality.
The restored tractor has now been returned to the Boecks for another generation to learn about and enjoy.
Restoring tractors is not new to Floresville High School. The school has been involved with this program since 2005.
“The Farmall is the 10th tractor that my students have restored,” Billings said. “This was a great learning project for Austin and Alex, as well as many other students who watched it come apart and go back together.”
The Floresville FFA would like to recognize those who helped complete this tractor project in many ways: Howard Samuel, Danny Bolf, Terry Bolf, Joey Wiatrek, Robert Douglas, and Anthony Douglas. Titan Tire Co. again donated a new set of tires for the program.
“The Farmall MD was the diesel version of the M. The MD was started on gasoline, by pulling a lever which enlarged the combustion chamber (to lower the compression) and closed the circuit for the spark plugs. After the engine was warm, it was switched over to diesel.”
A total of 18,253 such tractors were built from 1941-52. Original cost in 1952 was $2,400.