A JPRT in Love country

Spring found us making a JPRT (Jeep Part Retrieval Trip) to southern Michigan. Barry had needed a front weight for an upcoming project and Bob V. had a spare. Bob was also located just 90 minutes or so north of Eau Claire, home of Jabez Love.

Jabez Love patented the first “Jeep Approved” hydraulic lift for the new civilian jeep. You can read the story here. After writing the article, Barry became more intrigued by Mr. Love and continues to search for more information about him. Specifically, Barry wants to know how Love ended up designing the lift for Willys.

The first time Barry had visited Eau Claire, he wasn’t prepared. He had a single copy of a Love Tractor ad to show people. This time he had a number of ads and business cards and made his first stop the Fruit Exchange.

The Eau Claire Fruit Exchange has its own history. A very young Jabez Love had designed his first tractor to serve the needs of local farmers heading to this place to sell their fruit. We are working with the fine folks at the Exchange and will be reporting about what we learn there in the near future.

We also left materials with the local historical society. Again we will be reporting more on this later. We are making great strides in learning about Love pre and post Willys, just not the critical question of how Love come to be the designer of the first lift.

In the mean time, back to the weight

We headed north to meet up with Bob. With the aid of one of Bob’s many antique tractors, we quickly loaded the weight and still had time for a look around. Barry told Bob about his Love research and Bob showed him his Love tractor awaiting restoration. In addition Bob has shared his Love literature.

From there we went into the workshop to see Bob’s Newgren lift that is undergoing refurbishment along with the rest of the Jeep. These JPRTs often result in more than an exchange of parts. We plan to stay in touch with Bob.

Pressure Relief for the Newgren Lift

Sometimes too much hydraulic pressure is worse than not enough. Too much pressure can be dangerous and can result in damage to the pump and other components. Modern hydraulic systems have built-in pressure relief valves, but 70+ years ago, Newgren designers omitted this safety feature. We have added a pressure relief valve to our lift and will explain how we did so in this post. However, we are not experts and present this as an example and not as a definitive answer to adding a pressure relief valve!

The Basics

Simple single acting cylinder system

In the diagram above, you can see the relief valve placed between the pump and the control valve. If pressure exceeds a set level, the relief valve opens and fluid flows straight to the reservoir. In the above system, relief valve and control valve share the same return line to the reservoir. In most modern systems, the relief valve and control valve are a single unit.

In the Newgren system, the control valve sits directly on top of the reservoir and doesn’t allow us to tap into the reservoir return line. So we need to modify the reservoir by installing another inlet or use the port relief inlet on the top of the Newgren tank.

Our solution

We have wanted to keep our Newgren lift as original as possible. But after damaging two pumps by excess pressure, we decided we would add a relief valve. On a side note, the excess pressure appears to be the result of a faulty control valve. We made a couple of attempts to replace the control valve with a modern style control, but these would have resulted in major modifications. So our solution was to insert the relief valve without modifying either the control valve or the reservoir.

The relief valve we used is the Prince Adjustable Relief Valve. It fits between the high pressure hose from the pump and the control valve inlet. A short piece of hose is used to connect the outlet (normal operation) to the inlet of the control valve.

The next task is to connect the relief valve excess pressure outlet to the reservoir tank. Not wanting to modify the tank, we choose to add a “T” to the cylinder relief port on the top of the tank. As can be seen above, we ran a hose from the inlet (located on the top of the tank on the driver’s side) to a “T” on the passenger side. To make all of this easier, we added an elbow to the “T”. One side of the “T” goes to the relief valve and the other side goes to the relief port on the bottom of the cylinder. Read on before taking this approach.

Is that last part really necessary?

The simple answer is no. A quick review of how a single action cylinder may be useful. In a single action system hydraulic fluid under high pressure is used to extend the cylinder and raise the implement and the weight of the implement retracts the cylinder to lower it.  A control valve is used to direct the fluid for the required action.  To raise the implement, the valve must direct the fluid to the upper (or top) chamber of the cylinder.  To maintain the position of the implement, the valve must shut off flow to the cylinder and dump the fluid being pumped under pressure into the reservoir.  To lower the implement, the valve must open the upper chamber and allow the fluid to empty into the reservoir. On the bottom of the cylinder, a relief port allows air to enter and exit the cylinder as it extended and retracted.

To keep dirt and dust out of the cylinder, Newgren used the space at the top of the reservoir as an “air tank” and attached a hose from the cylinder to the top of the reservoir. That hose could be left unhooked from the top of the reservoir. In that case, you would simply attach the outlet of the relief valve to the reservoir and eliminate the “T”. You should also add a small breather plug to the end of the hose or to cylinder port.

The things you learn

After writing this post it is clear that we over-engineered the solution. Unless you have excess fluid seeping past the cylinder seals, we would not include the “T”. In fact, linking the pressure relief valve and the cylinder port may result in damage to the cylinder. We would recommend trying a simple connection from the top of the reservoir to the relief valve. We will be making this change to our lift in the future.

Farm Jeep Friends

For 17 years and counting, we have been lucky enough to meet so many wonderful people, who but for our shared love for Jeeps, would never have been a part of our lives.

As we reviewed our writings and posts in preparation for building a new site, the same names kept reappearing.  These individuals have freely shared their work and expertise with us.  Farm Jeep would simply not be the same without their contributions.

We have invited our friends to share their own Jeep stories and their friends Jeep stories too. These will be added over time. We will begin with our own stories about these great people who have given so much to us.

While the list is not complete we wanted to start saying thanks now. You can see the list here. Harry Sheets has the honor of being the first person we met and of being the first person to give us his story. Thank you Harry.

On Guard While Making Hay


We have written about the role the Farm Jeep had in making hay. While doing some research on another topic, we were reminded of another hay making story. At one of our first shows, we heard a story about raking hay with a Farm Jeep. The story teller’s father had managed a dairy farm and had asked his young son (he was 10 or 11) to help with the hay making by using the Jeep to rake the grass into windrows. The father was careful to tell his son to not drive over the windrows. He didn’t explain why, but the son was just too excited to get to drive the Jeep to worry about the warning.

Forgetting his father’s instruction, he drove the Jeep all over the hay field. Suddenly, the Jeep began to slow, no matter how much gas he gave it. It finally rolled to a stop. When he got out of the Jeep and looked underneath, grass was wrapped around both drive shafts. It was so tight that it had stopped the shafts from turning and the driver spent a long period with a pocket knife freeing the shafts. Needless to say, after that experience, he listened to his father.

We recalled this story while reading through some very early Service Bulletins. In June of 1946, Willys announced the introduction of a “Propeller Shaft Guards” kit. Ten days later, they sent out another bulletin urging dealers to install the new shields as soon as possible. What happened?

While we may never know for sure, it is possible that farmers, treating the newly introduced Jeep as they had their tractors, were encountering the same problems as the boy above. Wording in the Special Equipment description would indicate the possibility of damage to bearings and even possible fires from grass or straw wrapped around the shafts.

These service bulletins certainly give us clues to how the first Farm Jeeps were being used. Given the short period of time between the bulletins, this must have been a common and serious issue. Along with the PTO shield, these guards seem to be among the hardest to find Farm Jeep accessories. Perhaps it is because when service on the shafts was needed, the shields were removed and not re-installed. Tossed in a corner they became another forgotten item.

Always hopeful, we keep looking for a set of guards. We doubt that we will be able to purchase them for the original $11.15 price.

New “Ask Farm Jeep” section

Over the years, whether via email or at shows, we have gotten lots of questions about Farm Jeeps. We try to answer these question and decided we should share the questions and our answers in a new section. So far, we have listed a few of the questions that we have answered in posts or have answered a number of times in emails or in person.

We have been reviewing archived emails containing questions while developing the new site. In some cases, we have found that we couldn’t give an answer or flat-out gave wrong answers. We will correct those situations in future posts.

For now, we invite you to check out “Ask Farm Jeep” and keep asking those questions.

Old Stuff New Stuff

It has been almost a month since we launched the new version of the site. In the process we have rediscovered some old stuff. We have reorganized material from the old site and placed items under one heading. For example, any post dealing with the Newgren lift is now in a single location – Parts>Hydraulic Implement Lifts>Newgren Lift.

We have added new items too. There is now a section for “Other Hydraulic Lifts” that includes information on three lifts that didn’t make the “Jeep Approved” list. There is a “1947 Equipment Book” available now under Parts>Implements and Accessories.

More new material will be coming soon. We plan to do more regular posts and will continue our efforts to find and fix lost links. If you do find a broken link, please let us know.

Breaking News – Orphan & Oddball Tractors to be Featured!

We just received the Farm Collector Show Directory 2019. While marking the calendar for the shows we regularly attend, we noticed some exciting news. These shows normally feature one of the major tractor manufactures. These tractors get the best display locations and therefore receive the most traffic. Since at many (most) shows we are the only “Jeep” brand tractor we have assumed that we would never be granted “featured” status.

Until this year. Two, that’s right two, of the shows we normally attend are featuring, in one case, “Ford, Orphans & Oddball” tractors and “Lesser Known Classics…” in the second case. We prefer the term “Lesser Known Classics” to “Orphan” or “Oddball”, but we won’t complain (actually we will, but not until we have secured a prime spot). We will be sure to report on this development this summer.

Edit – Shortly after posting this, Bill Norris sent me the following show ad. As far as I know this is the only show of 2019 featuring Farm Jeeps!

Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

Speaking of programming, we are working hard to complete the transformation of farmjeep.com. We have added new sections including Stories, Shows and Ask Farm Jeep. We have also added history sections for each of the “Approved” lifts. Based on suggestions, we have added a section on equipment and options and will, in the future, be adding information on other hydraulic lifts made for the Jeep .

Please continue to help make farmjeep.com better. Help us find errors and fix broken links. We look forward to hearing from you.

New (&Old) Farm Jeep site!

We are happy to announce the launch of the new www.farmjeep.com site  It is still a work-in-progress, but this update is long overdue.  We have saved the old site at oldfarmjeep.com just in case you might wish to access it.  Everything has been moved over to the new site, except for broken items.

We have several goals for the new site.  The first is to keep it up to date, eliminating broken links and adding new resource material.  The second is to make it easy to find the Farm Jeep information you need.  We are making sure all the information we have posted on a subject, the Newgren lift for example, is located in one place.

The third goal is to increase the amount of historic material available from our own research and from others.  We will be making articles and resource materials available from our own collection in addition to linking to other sites.  We are aware of important farm jeep related sites that have disappeared and hope to bring them back.

The final goal is to continue to tell farm jeep stories and most importantly to have fun sharing them with you.