I have my grandfathers TO 30 tractor and draw bar. How can I tell if it is a genuine Ferguson draw bar? December 27, 2015
The original TO-30 cross draw bar will have a TO-XXXX number molded into the 9 hole cross draw bar. The original Ferguson upper stays are thicker and stronger than the upper stays that originally came with the 9N, 2N, 8N, NAA, etc. The original Ferguson and Ford cross draw bars are unbelievably strong. The after-market cross draw bars are made of softer steel and the cheapest ones have link pins that are fitted into drilled holes in the cross draw bar and welded.
The slightly better quality after-market cross draw bars are made from a single piece of stock with the pins turned down the rectangular draw bar stock. These better quality after-market draw bars still are not as strong as the originals. The original ones are either cast or forged steel with a seam mark along the edge of the flat part.
The original “horseshoe” draw bars are fairly easy to identify by just looking at them. The “V” draw bars are also fairly easy to identify by looking at them. The “V” draw bars are made from two pieces of rectangular stock with a welding seam between the hitch hole and the two holes for attaching the “V” to the cross draw bar.
There is an after-market version of the “V” draw bar made by Red Rock Manufacturing. The Red Rock version is cut from a single piece of stock, laser cut I believe.
The swinging draw bar that uses a support hanger that hangs from the 4 studs around the PTO housing where the check-chain brackets attach is the most common after-market swinging draw bar. This draw bar is very similar to the original Ford design with the exception of the plate under the rear axle housing.
The after-market version uses a pin to hold the draw bar tongue that fits in a pipe or sleeve welded to the bottom of the plate. This sleeve has a cross-drilled hole for a linch pin which holds the draw bar pin in position.
The original Ford versions are stepped down in the middle so there is room between the top of the plate and the bottom of the rear axle-housing. The original style Ford pin has a groove in it for a hair pin.
There are other after-market swinging draw bars but these are relatively rare today. A few additional things. Original Ford cross draw bars are as strong as the original Ferguson cross draw bars except they have a 9N-XXXX part number molded into them. They also have the same seam along the edge. The very earliest 9N cross draw bars are slightly narrower, as in the stock the bar is made from, than the later design which is the same as the original Ferguson version or later MHF version. The MHF version has an MHF part number ending in M1.
The after-market draw bars that mimic the Ford design are much softer steel. The hangers and the tongue will bend when sufficient force is applied.
The original Ford draw bar tongues do not bend and the hangers are very strong and made from two pieces of material riveted together.
There are also several versions of the original hangers, made to fit different models. The original Ford hangers have different drop heights which are needed to fit some models, the 800 series tractors for instance.
The tongues of the after-market draw bars will bend easily when subjected to strong side forces. I recall a neighbor purchasing one of these after-market draw bars for his TO-35 to pull an International PTO operated combine. The first time he pulled the combine on a hillside the draw bar developed a significant bend. He was less than pleased needless to say and surprised to find the after-market version was so much weaker than the original Ford version on his neighbors tractor.