Monday, May 15, 2017

Super W-30

Ok all you hawk-eyed experts out there, It’s pop quiz time at the Mule School. This will be a timed exam and you only have until the end of this post to answer the question but since there’s only one, that shouldn’t be a problem. This is not open book so no fair skipping ahead. Ready? You may begin now.
  1. What is it that’s not exactly original equipment on this tractor?  
Hint: It’s not the tires.

International Harvester developed the W-30 in 1931 as an intended replacement for the 10-20, a more powerful 2 to 3 plow tractor but still smaller than the 15-30. Things didn’t work out exactly as planned however since the 10-20 remained quite popular among small farmers and both tractors were produced for a number of years. The W-30 was in production until 1939 with a total of 32,541 sold.

The W-30 was sent to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where it was tested from July 26 to August 10, 1932 in Tractor Test No. 210 where it posted results of 19.69 hp on the drawbar and 31.31 hp on the belt. During the 43 hours of evaluation it was noted in the report that no repairs or adjustments were required. You can download the complete test results by visiting .

Powered by an International Harvester vertical four cylinder engine with a bore of 4.25” and a stroke of 5” displacing 284 cu inches of Kerosene vapors, the tractor’s 4820 pounds rolled along at 2.5 mph in low gear, 3.25 mph in medium and 3.75 mph in high. Reverse was 2.75mph.

International Harvester’s general catalog for 1935 listed as optional equipment: pneumatic tires, power takeoff, lighting equipment, specialty belt pulleys, a sliding drawbar and a spark arrester ( no doubt a good thing to have if you ran a threshing outfit ). The catalog also highlighted the “roomy driver’s compartment with protection from dust and dirt.”

The 1935 model shown here is owned by Pat Carpenter from Anderson, SC who brought it to the 2016 Dacusville Farm Show and  provides the following about his tractor. It was manufactured at the International Harvester factory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in January 1935 and shipped to the company sales office in Bismark, North Dakota where it was sold in the Summer of that year. It was used as a tillage tractor in the wheat fields until someone buggered up an engine rebuild after which it was parked for forty years. Pat bought it in 2010 and had it shipped to South Carolina. When he tore the engine down for his restoration he decided that what he had was beyond repair which brings us to the nut of this story.

Pat found himself looking at a pile of useless but expensive junk. What to do now? Rebuilt crate engines for 1935 W-30’s aren’t something you can pick up at your local parts house. Time for some creative mechanicing. “I repowered it with an engine from a Farmall M. The conversion works well, much to the surprise of many skeptics.”

Nebraska Test No. 327 rated the Farmall M at 30.62 HP drawbar and 34.82 HP belt power. With the transplanted M motor purring happily away in it’s new home, Pat decided he now had a new type of tractor hence the Super W-30 designation.

Additional Resources:
Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors by C.H. Wendell

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