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Hey all,

I recently purchased a well-maintained 1956 Ford 860 for my farm.

I have worked on motorcycles and old cars, but tractors are a new machine to me. I had a few questions for you guys, sorry if these are stupidly basic:

  • Does this thing take a specific octane gasoline, or is regular 87 okay?
  • Do I need to turn the fuel valve off on the tank everytime I am going to leave it for a week or so?
  • Is the ignition "hot wired"? No matter how I turn the key, left, right or center, I can still crank the engine over.
I appreciate any responses, and tips for maintaining it. I downloaded the Owner's Manual and have it for references.

Thanks in advance, some pics too:




 

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I burn 87 in mine. some guys like to burn higher octane. I believe regular leaded gasoline was 89.
I would definitely turn the fuel valve off every time I was done with the tractor for the day. Turn it
off and let the tractor run the carb dry if not going to use it for like a few months.
As far as it turning over with the key off, does it start up with the key off, or just crank over?
Some I have seen are wired to where the key will kill the tractors engine, but not kill the starter.
We have a farmall H thats wired that way. you can crank it all day long, but if the switch is not in the on position, it will not run. Nice looking tractor. Thanks for the pictures.
 

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Hello and welcome That's a sweet old Ford you've got. 860s are great little tractors in my opinion.
Your first two questions are subjective, you will get differing opinions.

Yes it will run ok with any gas, but I like use conventional gas (no alcohol) in my old tractors.
That's what was available when they were built, and like R.J. says regular was 89 octane at that time.

The only reason one should need to shut off the fuel is if the carburetor float or needle lets it leak.
I never turn off the fuel on my tractors unless I have a problem, and they sit for months at times.

Older Fords that have the starter switch on the transmission case would crank the engine without the ignition turned on.

Follow the owners manual for maintenance guidelines. That's the best source for information.

Thanks for the photos. Have fun with your tractor.
 

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Definitely a nice tractor! I always try to turn off the gas when I park mine. If it is gonna be a long time between uses, I will run it to grain the carb. My old machines like 87 octane just fine.
 

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Welcome! Vey nice ford tractor. I use cheap gas, it loves it. I do not turn the fuel off. On most of my Allis tractors I turn the fuel off. They will tell you if that have a flooding issue. My Jubilee has a neutral safety switch which is a good safety feature. Be very carefull to only start it when you are seated on the tractor.
Regards,
Chris
 

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Nice looking tractor. All of the advice above is good. I will worn you about an issue with the gas tank and fuel shut off switch. This tractor is notorious for leaking fuel. The shut off valve doesn't work very well so even if you shut off the valve, fuel still flows toward the carburetor. I once came out to find my tank had drained overnight. That is usually a broken or leaky float in the carb. I then put about 1 gallon of gas in the tank and tried to shut the fuel valve. NEVER HAPPENED.

I spoke to the local NH dealer to order parts. I was told that the fuel valve usually doesn't work very well. A new valve was about $150. Getting to the valve location to install is not fun. A neighbor also has an 860. He says his valve has leaked for 40 + years. His solution is to only put 1/2 gallon of fuel in the tank.

If your valve is working, not mess with it.

Regarding starting. Can you ask the previous owner (PO) if the starter switch was rewired from the factor? Usually the tractor has on on/off switch then use the starter switch. Mine was rewired to the starter on/off/starter switch all in one.
 

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That nice looking tractor was designed to run on leaded fuel. Remember that old gal called Ethyl? You can still buy it if you can find it. We got some local owned Convenience stores that sell it as racing fuel. Check your area for either dirt track racing or asphalt racing. It ain't cheap but your tractor will love it.
 
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