Instruction books and Workshop and Service Manuals, Parts Lists etc. Ferguson TE20 Tractors

Graham Pressman

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A brief note from the author

Before proceding with this article, I need to explain that it is written out of a real interest in the Perkins P3 conversion to Ferguson tractors but from a place of inexperience about many of the issues raised in the subject. At aged 48 years, I am too young to have any personal experience of WWII or it's effects and consequences or of the intentions of Ferguson at the time. Anything I write here is a repetition, collection and edition of what I have heard and read or concluded from what I have heard and read. I would welcome any real help offered in co-editing this article. I hope someone with greater knowledge than I will come forward in a spirit of kindness with an offer of help in clarifying facts and establishing the truth. In the mean time, it's an interesting subject and many folk are restoring these tractors. We sell parts for them and therefore have an interest; so here it is. If you are going to contact me with help to correct any errors, be kind.

The political and economic background

Following WWII, there were two factors which meant that petrol was at a premium. There had been terrible losses at sea during The War, in both human and shipping terms. At that time, all fuel had to be imported by ship as North Sea Oil had not been established. A tax was levied on petrol for road use in order to raise monies towards the repayment of the War Debt and to discourage the wateful use of liquid road fuels (petrol, benzine etc). This tax, innevitably added to the cost of running farm machinery as well as the road vehicles at which it was aimed. There was much pressure on engineers to develope tax-free fuels for agricultural and industrial use. In general, following wartime propoganda, it was percieved by the public that agricultural and industrial production was extremely beneficial to the nation and should be encouraged. It was not percieved that to find a tax-free fuel for agriculural use, was a case agriculture 'evading' taxation. At that time, there was a great deal of use made of parafine for domestic heating and parafine was known as the 'poor man's fuel'. Once again it should be noted that many thousands of miners had died in the fighting and as a result, coal was in short supply and, therefore, expensive. It was the case that all gas and most electricity was made/generated using coal. Use of it had to be prioritised. Tractor Vapourising Oil was based upon parafine and the general idea was that Government of the time would be well advised to avoid taxing fuel which was used to keep the poorer people warm and provide power to agriculture and industry. Most people will be aware that heating oils, parafines and agricultural Diesel fuel are coloured. This is in order that Customs Officers can easily see if non-road-taxed fuel is used in road vehicles.

Perkins P3 Conversions to Ferguson TE A 20 tractors

As we understand it, Mr Ferguson was reluctant to change his tractor from petrol engine propulsion; this being largely because the whole consept of The ferguson System was based upon weights and geometry and keeping pressure off the soil. I imagine that after all that effort developing a tractor which was light weight and geometrically sound, he would be horrified at changing to a heavier engine, which would upset all those calculations. In general, because of engineering constraints of higher compression ratios in Diesel engine design principle and lack of modern alloy metals of the strength required to contain these pressures and efforts, all Diesel engines were heavier than petrol engines needed to be for a given power and structural integrity. I can also imagine that he might have felt that the savings in terms of labour costs, provided by his 'Ferguson System' were so great that the cost of this tax might be irrelevent. I have heard that the Perkins 3 cylinder conversion kit for the Ferguson TE A 20 was sold by Perkins, not only as straight forward sale to farmers but also as an effort to persuade Ferguson management that their P3 engine would make a good Diesel engine replacement for the Standard Petrol engine fitted to the Tractor England series of tractor. I the event, when Ferguson did offer a Diesel engined TE series tractor, the TE F 20, it was powered by the Standard Motor Company 20C Diesel which, like the P3, had an indirect (Ricardo) combustion chamber, which rather smooths the combustion process by allowing the explosion to feed through to the piston crown via a small hole at a controlled rate over the length of the stroke rather than directly on top of the piston in one quick, sharp, bang so-to-speak. This invention followed the developement of mineral diesel to replace the vegetible oil upon which the original 'Diesel' engine was intended to run.

The photo on the right is of a Ferguson TE A 20 with a Perkins P3 conversion. You will note the raised bonnet. This is to accomodate the extra height of the Perkins P3 unit. The risk to the driver of catching his knuckles on the dash is infamous. The engine was more powerful than the 'Standard' engine preferred by Mr Ferguson, developing approximately 33hp at similar engine speed. Furthermore, being 3 cylinders, it had a distinctive sound and was enclined to be smooth running as a result of it's 60 degree crank configuration.

It's worth mentioning that at the time this photo was taken, this tractor sold at auction for 250.00. Given that it lacked a seat, is clearly in need of paint, did not start, had leaking steering-box seals, axle-seals, PTO shaft seal and the steering wheel was shot, it had no starter motor or dynamo along with any number of other problmes including tyres which could do with replacing, it just goes to show that this particular configuration of Ferguson tractor is commanding much interest.

This Ferguson TE A 20 with Perkins P3 conversion. sold at the same auction for 400.00. Restoration of tractors like this is a marathon task. When ordering parts from us, please be aware that there were more than one type of P3 engine fitted. If you are in any doubt at all, please let us have the engine number (which will start with 11 or 101 and will be found somewhere on the engine block) before ordering so that we can identify your tractor engine properly.

Reduction Gearboxes
Picture to follow

It was often the case that when a Perkins conversion was fitted, the owner had a reduction gearbox assembly fitted to the tractor at the same time. This had the effect of slowing the ground speed of the tractor for use when rotovating etc. It would also come in handy if the owner had a non-Ferguson finger bar mower which was designed for a slower tractor. Please note that LOW speed should never be engaged for plouging etc as the increased torque could break the back axle on a tractor which was designed for less horse power and less torque (the later TE F 20, Standard Diesel-engined models of 28hp had an up-rated back axle). There were 2 types of gearbox available, the 'Ferguson Reduction Gearbox' and the 'Howard Reduction Gearbox'. This picture shows some of the guts of a Howard Reduction Gearbox which was fitted inside the hydraulic housing of the tractor and gives a reduction ratio of 3.4:1. It did not change the overall length of the tractor as did the Ferguson model. The video, 'Fergusons on the Farm part one' (available form our collection of videos), tell us that the ferguson model also had the effect of providing 'live PTO'. I cannot confirm or deny this claim.

These fitting instructions are given in good faith without prejudice from the personal experience of the author but it must be understood that no responsibility can be accepted for any work that the readers or their representatives undertake by the author, Holland-Brand, or any of it's subsidiaries or employees.