Iowa Chapter 5
Work at the North Scott FFA Ag shop continues on our IH 986. Our challenge has grown as many students are consumed by a heavy work load with school,FFA and sports commitments. Progress is still moving forward with our tractor rebuild.
The IH 986 engine was left in the frame for a in-frame rebuild. At this point the crank shaft and camshaft has been inspected and are within specifications. We are replacing rod end bearings, main crank bearings and upper rod pins, along with new sleeves and pistons.
We have sent to our local engine repair shop (Elijah's Enterprises) the fuel injection pump and injectors for testing and repairs, along with the cylinder head to be rebuilt with new valves and other parts. The radiator was also in need of repair and was sent to be recored with a new heavy duty wide fin core at our local radiator shop.
Weeks have passed and all the engine parts are rebuilt or replaced and ready for installation. So we ask Ron Elijah of Elijah Enterprises (Tipton Iowa) to assist putting the engine back together. Ron came to the school for a day to work with 5 students. They spent about 9 hours working on the engine.
The engine still needed fluids added and many other details finalized before the engine could be started. The students would work off and on for about a week to have the engine ready. The last thing we needed was batteries. We purchased the new batteries and installed them in the tractor, now it should be ready to start! Turned the key nothing happened. Looks like we needed a new starter. We had the starter checked out and the starter tested bad. Two days later with a new starter it is time to turn the key again!
Student Rhys Roelandt got the privilege to be the one to turn the key and start the engine after four months of hard work. The engine turned over five revolutions with no sign of starting. So we pumped the primer pump and tried again. Seven rotations and lots of smoke, new life was back in this IH 986. The engine has started and running great. There was a lot of students smiling and a lot of other students coming to the Ag shop to see what all the noise and smoke was about. This was a proud and exciting day for the North Scott FFA Ag program.
I would like to share a little about a tractor restoration project started at the North Scott High School in Eldridge Iowa. Eldridge Iowa is in east central Iowa about 25 miles north west of the old Rock Island International Harvester plant. The International Harvester name runs deep in our community. Just about everyone in this area knows someone who has worked at the IH plant or has worked there themselves.
The project at North Scott FFA was started in September 2017 when a local farmer offered to sell a non-running IH 986 tractor to the local FFA Chapter . The tractor was purchased for salvage price and delivered to the FFA shop for restoration. Mr. Jacob Hunter, the FFA advisor, formed a team of students for this project. He tried to limit the number to 6 students.
The tractor had sat outside most of its life and had over 7000 hours logged on the hour meter. Rain water had gotten into the engine and the tractor sat idle for about two years. Knowing the history from the previous owner the team started to realize their challenge.
They first had to remove all the sheet metal , air cleaner assembly , air conditioner pump, alternator, fuel pump , fuel lines , valve cover and rockers. Once this was done they needed to remove the head to see if the engine was salvageable. Once the head was removed they were able to see the engine could probably be salvaged. So from there, the team called on some Diesel engine experts. They called the local IH dealer and two other reputable diesel mechanics, after talking to the experts. The team had what they needed to move forward with the engine tear down.
Once the head was removed the damage was obvious. Water had entered 4 cylinders causing heavy rusting in the cylinders. There was also rust on 3 of the rockers, possibly from condensation migrating through the open valves. The decision was made to pull the pistons and sleeves to replace them. Next step was to drop the oil pan. First the oil needed to be drained. When we preceded to drain the oil we were a little concerned when all that came out was one cup of oil and one cup of water. So we called the previous owner to see if the engine had been ran with no oil. He reassured us it hadn't been ran without oil. He said he had drained the oil out of the engine in hopes of getting it to run again. The team was relieved and went forward with the engine tear down. When Removing the oil pan there was a small amount of rust on the crank shaft and block.
The project is at a pause for a few days while the students have a school break and work will resume as soon as school is back in session.
Student enthusiasm continues to grow every day with this project. Hopefully with a little luck and a patient advisor this IH 986 we'll come back to life to preserve some of the IH history.
We are in need of a few parts for this tractor. We are in hopes to keep it as close to original as possible. If any one has any parts for a 986 please give us a call.
North Scott FFA Ag Department
Written by Dan Urmie FFA Booster/Ag Mentor & IH Chapter 5 Member
563-370-1731 cell phone
International Harvester Collectors Club
January 2018 - Be sure to scroll down for more to this story....