Flash does the hard work, so you don't have to 
Amazingly the starter solenoid has sprung back to life!
I gave it a good soaking in Flash and scrubbed all the muck off with an old toothbrush, then washed it all out thoroughly with water. This was just to get it clean enough to handle and see what was what, but after hitting it with screwdrivers for a bit I gave up trying to open it up and tested it with the multimeter again, just to be sure.
As if by magic there was suddenly a circuit through the coil, I took it through to my workshop and touched it across my bench supply and sure enough it's operating again.
I guess there was just so much filth and grime on the mountings that there was no earth return to the tractor body.
That's saved me a few quid anyway!

I also took some photos, here's one of the tractor's face with it's furrowed brow/angry eyebrows


More photos in my gallery

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Tractor! 
Yesterday saw me really start work on my tractor. I've removed the 3 point lift link arms (after lots of heating up nuts with an electric paint stripper and jumping up and down on a socket wrench). The pins through the universal joints attaching the lift rods to the lift shaft arms are rusted solid so the lift rods are just dangling untidily for now. Unfortunately this meant I had to disconnect the lift rods from the link arms, the thread on one of the bolts was completely ruined beyond the nut so I had to saw the bolt off flush to the nut. The folding pin that attaches the pivot piece of the top link assembly to the diff housing is also jammed in with rust, once the mudguards and wheels are off that might shift with a good clobbering from the sledgehammer.

Today was spend mostly cleaning oil and matted grass clippings off everything. The other main triumph was digging the front wheels out of the holes they'd made in the mud and towing the tractor backwards with the Peugeot, so that it's nose wasn't buried in the hedge (made it impossible to tip the bonnet and rather hard to get anywhere near the engine).
I also decided to investigate why the self start won't work. I poked around with a multimeter and determined that the starter solenoid is burnt out. I removed that from it's bracket ready for getting a replacement (another two bolts hacksawed through).
Also the starting switch though working is not being actuated by the linkage from the gearbox. Its mounting bracket seems to be a bit bent so that could be the problem. Unfortunately I can't really get the bracket off without taking the whole starter motor out so I'll leave that for the time being.

The last thing I did before packing up for the evening was to disconnect all the cables and un-thread the wiring loom. I shall make up a whole new set of cables, it's not really something that urgently needs doing (the cables all work) but it's a fairly simple job that's well within my abilities and I can do it in the comfort of the house so it's a rainy day job!

The list of parts I need to get it all going again (discovered so far) is now:
A new starter solenoid.
A new ammeter (the old one was smashed years ago but if I'm rewiring the electrical system I may as well replace it).
A plug in the coolant system on the side of the engine block.

As for non essential parts:
The top link arm has been cut up and the ends welded onto a steel bar so ought to be replaced.
The adjustable lift rod is seized with rust (and bent too) I don't know if I'll ever be able to un-jam it somehow.
There's a few missing nuts and bolts etc, and the tin work is all in a very rough condition. I ought to put that out of my mind entirely really, at least until I find a way to get the old mudguards OFF!

I can't really do much more until I get the back end jacked up and the wheels off. Unjamming the brakes is the number one priority before I worry about the engine. I don't want to make it go until I can make it stop.

I will try to remember to get out and take some photos tomorrow if it's nice again. It's a shame not having any real "Before" photos to show how much filth I've cleaned off but it wouldn't have been easy with it buried in the hedge anyway.

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