In 2007 we received a note from Seamus Lefroy-Brooks of Buckingham, England about his family’s farm Jeep and brochures from the British company that had sold the Jeep to his father. Somehow this story didn’t get moved from the old Web site and we had forgotten about it until our friend Dave at eWillys wrote asking if we still had the brochure.
Seamus’ story about the ex-British Forces 1942 Ford GPW’s arrival on the farm and his description of its uses as a tractor deserves to be told again. So we have moved the story and brochure. Be sure to check out the photos at the bottom of the story.
We started the 2019 show season by attending the Midwest Willys Reunion in Aurora, OH and the Willys Jeep Rally at Hueston Woods Lodge in College Corner, OH. These two shows are only 2 weeks apart and that can present logistical issues for many. But each has unique attributes that make it worth a weekend trip. If you can’t make them both, then alternate. You won’t be disappointed.
We were presenters at both shows this year, since we were screening our movie find. More on that later. This was our second time presenting at the Reunion. The first had been when the show was held in our home town of Columbus, IN and covered a brief history of the farm jeep. We filled in for a Saturday afternoon speaker who had to cancel at the last minute. That session was the beginning of the transformation of Farm Jeep to the new format were we emphasis more history and research.
This was our first time presenting at the Rally and it was an equally enjoyable experience. But it has been a special event for us because of the equipment demonstration put on by John Ittel and friends at the family farm. We are not aware of any place else one can see so many Farm Jeeps doing real work, right in front of you. It brings the Farm Jeep concept to life. This is a must see for every Jeep fan.
Friday’s showing at the Reunion was informal in nature. We gave a very brief introduction mainly comprising of how we acquired the film. The small group gave the movie a round of applause when it finished. One of the first reactions was from the “lefty” crowd, who were amazed and pleased to see so many “lefty” models displayed.
The movie shows a number of Jeeps leaving a plant with the Monroe lift installed. All of these where the lift is visible in the rear are of the “lefty” variety (spare tire mounted on the driver’s side). Since these “lefty” Jeeps were from a very short production run in 1948, we can use this information to help identify when the film was shot. For more on the history of “lefty” Jeeps, see the CJ2a Page discussion here – https://www.thecj2apage.com/forums/calling-all-leftys_topic16021.html
Another point of interest, that we observed in our first viewing, is that the leveling adjuster is installed on the right-hand side and the body of the left is smooth, not embossed as were later models. This would again indicate very early examples of the lift.
There were other comments related to the location of several scenes. The film will provide plenty of material for Jeep, Newgren and Monroe researches.
At the Rally, we were the keynote presenters, so we presented some history of the Monroe Auto Equipment Company to give some context for the movie. We followed the screening with a short review of what happened after 1949 and ended with a question session.
The movie again received a round of applause and there were many questions about our plans for the film. The presentation also produced a volunteer to help with data gathering on the Greenfield event. We look forward to reporting on these efforts in the near future.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.