McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor
McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

This article is excerpted from the full 80 page manual printed in 1940, which includes parts lists, exploded views, options, accessories and troubleshooting. We have added it in its entirety to our SFJ Farm Equipment Manual Reprints and it is now available to order: M-175

Message to Owners

This Tractor is designed and built to give good performance and maximum service. Quality materials and good workmanship are employed throughout the entire unit.

The demand of farmers for a higher traveling speed for pneumatic-tired tractors, to save time on the road or going to and from fields, has been fulfilled with this tractor. While this higher speed has real value, certain precautions should be observed in its use.

Tractors used for cultivating require high clearance; the center of gravity is necessarily higher than in other types of tractors or automobiles, and to avoid accidents and injury when operating at the higher speeds, greater care must be exercised than is used in operating automobiles. Even modern automobiles with their low centers of gravity are frequently wrecked by thoughtless drivers when making sharp turns on smooth paved roads; this demonstrates clearly the need for care in turning in high gear with any high clearance tractor.

Safety First

  • Do not make short turns at high speeds.
  • Always lock brake pedals together when traveling in high gear.
  • Stop power take-off and put gear shifting lever in neutral position before dismounting from Tractor.
  • A careful operator is the best insurance against an accident.

Preparations for Starting

(Distillate or Kerosene Operation)


Check oil level of air cleaner, engine crankcase and transmission case.

Lubricate each place throughout entire Tractor as instructed on “Lubrication Chart.” If any lubrication connections are missing, replace before starting.

McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

Engine Lubrication Chart

Crankcase Oil –

When operating on Distillate or Kerosene: Every 10 hours of operation drain crankcase oil down to level of lower test cock (3) and add new oil to level of upper test cock (2). Oil level should not be checked while engine is running nor should the engine be run with oil below lower test cock.

When operating on Gasoline: Every 10 hours of operation add sufficient new oil to bring oil up to level of upper test cock (2).

  1. Oil Filler
  2. Upper Oil Level Test Cock
  3. Lower Oil Level Test Cock
  4. Crankcase Pan Oil Drain Plug
  5. Oil Filter Element
  6. Water Pump Shaft – Every 10 hours of operation use grease gun to apply not over two strokes of lubricant. Over-lubrication will cause lubricant to be forced into the cooling system.
  7. Air Cleaner – Every 10 hours of operation clean and refill oil cup to oil level bead with same new oil as used in engine crankcase.
  8. Water Pump Bearing – Every 60 hours of operation use grease gun and apply two strokes of lubricant.
  9. Impulse Coupling – Every 60 hours of operation use a light oil such as sewing machine or cream separator oil and oil liberally.
  10. Magneto – Every 500 hours of operation fill oil fitting with the same oil as used in engine crankcase.
McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

Chassis Lubrication Chart

1A. Rear Axle Bearings (2)
1B. Upper Bolster Pivot Shaft (1)
1C. Starting Crank Bearing (1)
2A. Clutch Release Shaft (2)
2B. Steering Shaft Bearing, Center (1)
2C. Steering Shaft Universal Joint (1)

Every 10 hours of operation use grease gun to apply 2 or 3 strokes of lubricant to all of the above.

  1. Clutch Release Bearing – Every 60 hours of operation use grease gun to apply ten complete strokes of lubricant. Fitting can be reached through hole in left side of clutch housing.
  2. Clutch Pilot Bearing – Once a month use grease gun to apply 3 or 4 strokes of lubricant. To get at grease fitting, turn crank until third single notch in fan drive pulley is in line with pointer. Fitting is then in line with hole in bottom of flywheel housing.
  3. Transmission and Differential Oil Filler Plug –
  4. Transmission and Differential Oil Level Plug –
  5. Transmission and Differential Oil Drain Plug – Keep lubricant up to level of plug (6) on left front side of transmission case. Once a season, or when necessary, drain and refill with lubricant. Capacity 14 U.S. gallons.
  6. Steering Worm Gear – Lubricant should cover top of sector. To check and add lubricant to steering gears in housing of upper bolster, remove cover plate. Drain and replace lubricant once a season or when necessary.
  7. Front Wheels – Once every 6 months remove, clean and repack front wheels and bearings.

Engine Cooling System

Always use clean water. (Rain or soft water preferred.) Water from creeks and stagnant pools usually contains dirt or other matter that leaves a deposit in system that impairs cooling efficiency.

McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

Radiator Shutter

To assist in warming up a cold engine quickly, close shutter completely by turning the control handle all the way to the left (counterclockwise).

When heat indicator begins to show “Hot,” open shutter just enough to maintain the operating temperature on the high side of the working range (on heat indicator). (Illustration No. 2)

Adjustment of shutter will vary according to Tractor load, long periods of idling, or atmospheric temperatures.

Fuel System

Distillate or kerosene tank capacity is approximately 22 U.S. gallons. Gasoline tank capacity is 1 U.S. gallon. Gasoline is only necessary when starting and warming up the engine.

Before Starting Engine

  • Open gasoline shut-off valve under the gasoline tank.
  • Do not open distillate or kerosene valve until engine is thoroughly warmed up.
  • Do not have both distillate and gasoline valves open at the same time.
  • Place transmission gear shift lever in neutral position.
  • Advance governor control hand lever about one-third (pull back to advance).
  • Be sure that grounding switch control button is pushed in so that magneto is not grounded.
McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

Manifold Heat Control

Set manifold heat control valve at “Hot” (starting position). When starting on gasoline and operating on distillate or kerosene, it will be desirable to keep the valve in “Hot” position most of the time unless the weather is hot. In hot weather, with a heavy load on the engine, good results may be obtained with this valve in “Cold” position, but, generally, better results will be secured if the intake manifold is kept hot when using distillate or kerosene. If not kept hot, fuel will not be properly vaporized and dilution of the crankcase lubricating oil will result. (Illustration No. 4)

Manifold Shield

When operating on distillate in cold weather, manifold shield should be used, but may be removed for hot weather, or when operating heavy loads.

When operating on kerosene, manifold shield must always be used.

To Start Engine

Pull choke lever (on air intake housing of carburetor) half-way back (toward rear of Tractor).

Crank engine using quick up-strokes until engine starts. Do not spin the engine. The use of choke for starting will vary, depending on temperature and altitude.

When using electric starter (Attachment), set choke lever half-way back and step on starter button. Push choke lever forward after first few revolutions of engine.

As soon as engine starts, the choke should be adjusted to where the engine runs without missing, and as the engine warms up, push choke lever all the way forward.

Do not use choke to enrich fuel mixture, except when starting engine. Never operate engine with choke partly on.

See that oil pressure indicator is registering pressure.

Should engine stop on distillate or kerosene, it can be started by cranking if it is hot enough.

If engine has been stopped on distillate or kerosene, and is cold, close distillate or kerosene shut-off valve, then drain carburetor fuel bowl and empty fuel strainer bowl. Then proceed in accordance with starting engine instructions.

After Engine is Warmed Up

After the engine is thoroughly warmed up, change over to operate on distillate or kerosene by closing gasoline shut-off valve tight, and quickly open distillate or kerosene valve under the fuel tank.

Never have both valves open, or partly open, at the same time, otherwise distillate or kerosene will mix with gasoline, making it unsatisfactory for starting.

Adjust governor control lever for load to be handled.

McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

To Start Tractor

Place left foot on clutch pedal and press down firmly, holding in this position; this disengages the clutch. Clutch must always be disengaged while shifting gears.

Move gear shifting lever to desired speed.

Gently release pressure on clutch pedal; this engages clutch and causes Tractor to move. Do not drive with foot resting on clutch pedal.

To Stop Tractor

Disengage clutch by pressing down firmly on clutch pedal, then move gear shifting lever to neutral position. Use brakes if necessary.

To Stop Engine

Close distillate or kerosene valve and immediately open gasoline valve. Run engine on gasoline 2 or 3 minutes, long enough to empty fuel lines of distillate and fill lines and fuel bowl with gasoline. This will ensure having gasoline in the fuel bowl for starting.

Pull grounding switch control button out and leave out until engine stops. (This short circuits the magneto.)

It is advisable to close fuel shut-off valve.

Retard governor control lever.

Instructions When Operating on Gasoline

If it is desired to operate this engine on gasoline, follow the same instructions as described for Distillate or Kerosene Operation, except as follows:

Radiator Shutter – Close radiator shutter when starting engine in cold weather. Open shutter when engine is warmed up. Maintain operating temperature on low side of working range (on heat indicator).

Manifold Heat Control – In extremely cold weather, the heat control valve may be set in the Intermediate position, otherwise set heat control valve in Cold position.

Manifold Shield – When operating on gasoline it is advisable to remove manifold shield, except in very cold weather.

Air Cleaning System

Service Air Cleaner Daily – The engine is equipped with a Donaldson oil wash air cleaner. Clean and refill oil cup to oil level bead with same grade oil as used in engine crankcase.

McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

Carburetor – IHC 1-1/4” Updraft

The proper mixture of fuel and air is controlled by the main fuel adjustment and the idle fuel adjustment. The throttle position to give the proper idling engine speed is controlled by the idle throttle stop screw.

NOTE: The carburetor is correctly set from the factory. If settings have been disturbed, the following procedure should be followed: Before starting the engine, set the main fuel adjusting screw 2-1/2 to 3 turns open and the idle fuel adjusting screw 1 to 1-1/2 turns open. Also set manifold heat control valve in “Hot” position.

McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

Fuel Strainer

Cleaning the Fuel Strainer – The fuel strainer should be taken apart and cleaned at least once a week when Tractor is in use. Close all shut-off valves before taking strainer apart.

To take strainer apart, loosen the lower jam nut (1) and swing the bail wire (2) to one side. Fuel bowl (3) can then be lowered, removed and cleaned. (Illustration No. 9)

McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

Care of Oil Filter and Element

IMPORTANT! Oil filter element must be replaced with new element every 120 working hours.

NOTE: Drain and refill crankcase oil completely after every 120 hours of operation at the same time filter element is replaced.

To Change Element: (Illustration No. 10)

  • Remove oil filter base drain plug, allowing the oil filter to drain.
  • Unscrew and remove retaining bar “A”.
  • Lift up and remove outer shell “B”.
  • Remove element “C” and replace with new element.
  • Flush out the base with kerosene.
  • See that the case gasket “D” is in position, then replace the drain plug, filter element, case, retaining nut, and draw the nut up tight.
  • Check the oil in crankcase. Now start up the engine and inspect the filter for oil leaks.
McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

Spark Plugs and Cables

Spark plugs should be removed every 200 to 300 hours or oftener, if necessary, for cleaning and checking gaps between electrodes. A gap of .020” to .025” should be maintained between the electrodes.

The spark plugs selected after careful tests as best suited for this engine are the Champion No. 15 or AC No. J-7. Only a complete set of either type of spark plug should be used.

To remedy fouling or sooting, use a hotter spark plug. To remedy pre-ignition and burning of electrodes, use a colder spark plug.

If for any reason spark plug cables are removed, note position of each cable on magneto. (Illustration No. 11 shows correct wiring.)

McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

Magneto – IHC Type H-4

Lubrication – Every week oil impulse coupling liberally. Use light oil. Use kerosene in cold weather.

McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

Distributor Cap – should be kept reasonably free of dust and oil deposits inside and outside. Care must be taken to keep the two small ventilator holes “B” (see Illustration No. 12) open at all times to ensure long life of the distributor. Also keep distributor rotor clean.

McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

Breaker Points – The breaker points should be inspected at intervals of 200 to 300 hours of operation for adjustment and general conditioning. The point opening should be .013” when rubbing block is on high point of cam. A gauge of this thickness is furnished with tool equipment.

McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

To Adjust Points – Remove distributor cap, turn engine over until distributor rotor points toward No. 1 terminal on distributor cap and impulse coupling just trips. Then remove distributor rotor and distributor body. (Do not turn distributor spindle when removing distributor body.) Insert gauge between breaker points. If points are too wide or too close, loosen screw slightly. Adjust so gauge will slip snugly in opening. If necessary use sharp fine file to polish contact surfaces. One point should be slightly rounded. (See Illustration No. 15)

Timing the Magneto to Engine – Crank the engine until No. 1 piston (the piston next to the radiator) is on the top dead center of the compression stroke. Continue cranking slowly until first notch on the fan drive pulley is in line with pointer on front crankcase cover. Both intake and exhaust valves should be closed at this time.

Remove the distributor cap and turn magneto coupling in a counter-clockwise direction (as viewed from the coupling end) until the arm on the distributor rotor points toward the No. 1 terminal on the distributor cap.

Assemble magneto to engine, making sure that lugs on the impulse coupling engage in slots on magneto drive coupling. (Assemble magneto so that top is as close to crankcase as possible.)

Insert magneto mounting bolts loosely in magneto flange, just enough to hold magneto in place. Then turn the engine one complete revolution to next top dead center. Next, pull the upper part of the magneto mounting flange away from the engine until impulse coupling just trips. Tighten mounting bolts securely.

To check timing, crank engine slowly until top dead center of No. 1 cylinder is reached, at which time impulse coupling should just trip.

Attach spark plug cable to engine and magneto. Start by connecting No. 1 cylinder spark plug to socket marked “1” on distributor block, connect next socket with No. 3 cylinder, next with No. 4 cylinder, next with No. 2 cylinder. (See Illustrations Nos. 11 and 12.)

Be sure all wires are pushed in to the bottom of socket in the distributor cap and coil cover.

The magneto is now correctly wired and timed.

McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

Valve Clearance Adjustment

Check valves for clearance every 400 hours and adjust if necessary.

Clearance of .017” is necessary between end of valve levers and valve stems when valves are closed, when engine is warm.

To determine when valves are closed proceed as follows:

Crank the engine until No. 1 piston (the piston next to the radiator) is on the top dead center of the compression stroke. Continue cranking slowly until first notch on the fan drive pulley is in line with pointer on front crankcase cover. Both intake and exhaust valves should be closed at this time.

Check and adjust clearance of two valves for No. 1 cylinder.

Then crank engine through 1/2 revolution and check and adjust clearance of two valves for No. 3 cylinder.

Continue this procedure turning engine 1/2 revolution at a time and measuring and adjusting clearances of each cylinder’s valves in succession according to firing order of engine, which is 1–3–4–2.

To Adjust Valves – Remove valve housing. Loosen lock nut. Adjust screw in valve lever so gauge will snugly slip between end of valve lever and valve stem. Tighten lock nut and recheck for clearance with gauge. (See Illustration No. 18). Replace valve housing.

McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor


Brakes are external contracting bands on case steel drums, mounted on differential shafts in housings. Brakes are operated by foot pedals which can be operated either individually or interlocked.

Adjustment (See Illustration No. 19) – Brakes should not drag and should not require excessive travel of the pedals before they take hold. Pedals should have a free movement of one inch, measured at the pedal pad, or just enough movement so that when a slight pressure is applied on the brake pedals the brake lock “E” will drop into first notch in the rack “F”.

To adjust brakes, first turn up the set screw “C” in the bottom of the housing as far as it will go, then back off the set screw a quarter to a half a turn and lock it. Secure the correct free pedal movement by changing the length of brake rod “D”. The length of the brake rod is changed by removing the pin from the clevis and turning the clevis either to the right or to the left.

Engine Clutch

The engine is equipped with a spring-loaded 11” diameter single-plate dry disk clutch.

Clutch Clearance – It is very important that a clearance of 3/16” be maintained between the clutch release bearing and the clutch release levers. In order to maintain this clearance, the clutch pedal should have a free movement of 1” from the stop on brake housing when the clutch is fully engaged. As the clutch wears, this free movement decreases and adjustment should be made before free movement has become less than 7/8”. Clutch may be badly damaged unless a free movement of foot pedal is maintained. The clutch can easily be reset to the original position by lengthening the rod “B” (Illustration No. 19) between foot pedal and clutch shifter lever.

McCormick-Deering Farmall-M Tractor

Drawbar and Hitch

The Tractor exerts its pulling power by means of the drawbar. This is adjusted up and down to accommodate different hitches.

To raise or lower drawbar, loosen bolts “A”, remove bolts “B” and put braces in desired position. Replace bolts “B” and tighten bolts “A”.