Written By Larry Gay
Fifty-five years ago in March 1961, the Ford Motor Company introduced the Ford 6000 as its high-horsepower, row-crop tractor. It was rated as a 5-plow tractor with 66 PTO horsepower. The Ford 6000 featured new styling with a steel casting on the front of the tractor with two built-in headlights. The tractor had a shipping weight of about 6,500 pounds, but an operating weight of 9,700 pounds when equipped with a full set of wheel weights and tires 90 percent filled with calcium chloride. It offered a choice of dual front wheels, a wide adjustable front axle, or a single front wheel.
The original power plant was a Ford 6-cylinder diesel engine with 3.62-inch bore and a 3.90-inch stroke, resulting in a displacement of 242 cubic inches. A Ford 6-cylinder, 223-cubic-inch gasoline engine was soon added with a 3.62-inch bore and a 3.60-inch bore. The intake for the air cleaner was a scoop on the top of the hood. The screens for the radiator were located on each side of the tractor, behind the front casting.
The Ford 6000 tractor featured the Powr-Stor hydraulic system, a unique closed-center hydraulic system with an accumulator. Located behind the front casting, the accumulator was a large cylinder with a free piston which had compressible gas on one side and pressurized hydraulic oil on the other side. This enabled a small hydraulic pump to build up a large volume of pressurized oil for cycling the 3-point hitch or operating a remote hydraulic cylinder and the power brakes. The power steering used a separate hydraulic pump.
Another unique feature of the Ford 6000 was its ten-speed Select-O-Speed full powershift transmission. Ford emphasized the Select-O-Speed was not an automatic transmission with a fluid coupling, but was a mechanical transmission with three planetary gearsets controlled by clutch packs and bands. The operator used a small lever on the side of the dash to select the desired gear without using a clutch. There was no clutch pedal, but an “inching pedal” was provided for hitching to implements or for an emergency stop. Operator comfort was provided by a two-position steering wheel and the Rest-O-Ride rubber torsion spring seat.
The first Ford 6000 tractors were painted Ford’s traditional red with gray hood, fenders, and wheels. However, these first tractors experienced problems with the diesel engine, transmission, and leaks in the hydraulic system. Ford offered the owners the choice of having their tractors updated with improvements or receiving a new tractor with the improvements. The improved tractors were painted blue with a white hood, fenders, or wheels. The recalled tractors were updated and sold as remanufactured tractors.
Larry Gay is the author of four tractor books published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, including A Guide to Ford, Fordson, and New Holland Tractors. This book may be obtained from ASABE by calling 800-695-2723.