Well might as well start back in with a bang, or pop, or hiss, whatever a blown gasket sounds like. This was my all time dumbest purchase a couple years ago. I bought it running on two of four cylinders, and didn't even notice!
I have an excuse, but well, I don't think you're going to have much sympathy. Here goes anyway. I'm a John Deere owner -- a 1951 Model M, which I have worked on and with for a dozen years. It has been vital to our lives here, dug the foundation for the house, hauled logs to the sawmill, plowed snow, scooped the pond, plowed the garden, moved milling machines and everything else... I'm totally familiar with it, know its every mood and sound.
But then I see an ad in Masachusetts Craig's list for a Ford 850, complete with a backhoe and loader (my Model M only has a pathetic rope operated pond scoop. And it's 54 horsepower compared to the green tractor's 18 (not that I'm complaining about that -- that 18 was "real" horsepower) at a price I could afford.
So I traveled an hour to look at it -- the owner started it up and operated the hoe. It looked like hell -- all patches of different color paint and rust, no sheet metal on it (though stored and available with the tractor) and a lot of angle iron patches and cruddy looking farm welds. But it ran, the hoe worked, plus the guy would throw in a bunch of other odds and ends, a snow plow, extra loader, etc. and to top it off, he'd deliver it. So I put a deposit on it and waited eagerly for the arrival.
When it got here a week later, the former owner seemed to have a little trepidation about crossing our stream embankments to get it near my shed. That's no problem for the John Deere, but I figured he must have been worried about the weight of the boom, or something. He did a lot of revving before crossing the 6 inch deep stream and nearly stalled it out. A bit odd, but I thought maybe he was an inexperienced tractor owner (he lived in a split level ranch house with about a quarter acre plot -- why he had a tractor at all, I couldn't guess).
Well the long and short of it was, I eventually discovered only two cylinders were firing -- after he was gone with the money. Took me awhile to realize that, because, and herecomes the BIG EXCUSE:
I was used to the sound of my Model M. It has 2 cylinders and they fire 90 degrees apart. Hence the common name "Johnny Popper" for these tractors. The Ford sounded okay to me when idled at the owner's house. Not too diffeent than the Deere. I of course hadn't brought a gauge with me to check compression, and never even pulled a plug wire while it was running to make sure it slowed. Just blithely assumed he'd mention something as important as half the engine being dead!
Winter snows came early, and I ended up just covering over the tractor with a tarp -- worried I had valve problems after checking compression with oil, etc. or other bad news.
Anyway, two years later, here I am, pulled the head and low and behold, a blown head gasket -- that should be an easy fix!!
Well not quite. Checked the head and it's about 12 thou warped in the middle pulling up off the deck where the blow was right between the center cylinders.
So I'm thinking about what to do about it. Which is why I started to look for that fly cutter I though I'd made last year, but probably didn't.
Anyway, open to all suggestions and help on this -- I'm happy casting iron and building little engines from scratch, but worried about screwing up a real one, for some reason.