How can I tell if I have an original Ferguson Top Link, and what is the best way to repair the ends?. October 31, 2016.
There are 3 versions of the two piece, flat bar top link.
The first version came with the first 9N tractors, and is held together with 2 carriage bolts. These early versions are thinner, and lighter weight than the second version.
The second version came with the 2N, 8N, TE/O-20, and TO-30 tractors, and are held together with 3 carriage bolts. All of these top links are identical, and appear to have been made by the same company. The two halves are identical, and each half has slotted holes and round holes. When the round holes are lined up the top link is in the standard setting.
The third version came with the TO-35, MH-50, F-40 and early MF-50 tractors. This version has the slotted holes plus multiple holes in the center as well as the round holes. The two halves are different in that they have a different number of holes in the middle of the halves.
I am not positive about the manufacturing process, but it does appear the balls on the ends are held in place by compressing the metal around them. The only way I know to repair them is to cut off the bad end, and weld on a new one. There are two versions of the weld on ends. One version is just the ball surrounded by a metal collar while the other one is the ball mounted in a weld on stub like the original top link end. I prefer this version with the weld on stub. I had a top link rebuilt by a local welding shop. The shop made a jig using bolts welded to a piece of bar stock. We used a 3/4″ bolt for the ball and 7/16″ bolts for the other hole. By using the bolt hole closest to the end of the top link as the indexing hole we were able to use the same jig to repair both the second, and third versions of the top link. Because the weld on stubs are smaller than the bar stock of the top link half it is necessary to build up the stub beyond the weld to the same size as the top link bar. After welding, I used an angle-head grinder to shape the built up area to match the bar stock.
If you find another way of rebuilding these top links I’d be interested in hearing about it.
There is a company in England that is selling a reproduction of the two piece top link, but I believe it is the third version. These are available on Ebay.