The Turner Manufacturing “Yeoman of England” tractor

The basis of the Turner Manufacturing tractor is the V95 series of diesel engines. Patents for details of the engines design were filed by Turner Manufacturing in February 1944 but engine production was started in 1946 firstly in V-twin and single cylinder form. A V4 version was added in 1948. The engines were marketed for a variety of industrial and marine applications and had an output of 7.5 to 9 HP per cylinder depending on the duty cycle and rating applied.

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A farm tractor was considered as another application or outlet for the engines and prototypes were made using the 2V95 and 4V95 engines. These were tested on farms in the Wolverhampton area where Turner Manufacturing were based. Detail work was carried out on the engines to provide a rating suitable for the farm tractor application during 1949. A patent fee or royalty had to be paid to Freeman Sanders. This “second” version of the engine is why the engine serial numbers are stamped as “4V2” and why the first production Turner Manufacturing tractors are called the MK2.

The prototype Turner tractor with the 2V95 engine has survived and is still on the same family farm where it was tested. The prototype Turner tractor with the 4V95 engine has not survived. There are some photographs which show different front chassis and axle configurations. The tractor was launched at the Royal Show held at Shrewsbury in 1949. The Turner tractor can claim to be the first production tractor using an in house designed and produced diesel engine. Much was made of the “lugging power” of the diesel engine in the advertising material. The Turner tractor was marketed as a “40HP” machine with that rating being determined at the “Nebraska Trials”.

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A range of approved implements was marketed for use with the tractor. Ploughs from Adrolic had the Turner name cast into the main legs. A cab to suit the Turner tractor came from Scottish Aviation. A range of tool bar equipment from H Leverton & Co of Spalding was available. The Denning semi mounted mower was “approved” as was the mid mounted Featherstone mower. Brochures also show winches, saw benches and scraper blades.

From the outset the tractor was expensive when compared to the 27 HP (non diesel) offering from Ford. There is no way that the product of a small entrepreneurial based company in Wolverhampton could have ever competed on price against the production capacity and resources of a multi-national such as Ford. Also, much is made in published information about various “reliability problems” which the Turner tractor suffered. So, a few of these will be discussed here.

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A problem with the cooling was encountered whilst on static belt work on trials at the National Institute of Agricultural Engineering. This “static work” problem was cured by the introduction of a larger radiator at tractor serial number 332. The tractor designation was changed to the MK2A and the aluminium front cowl was replaced by a pressed steel item at the same time.

The initial use of a (cheap?) paper element air filter caused problems. This was replaced by an oil bath type unit. It is not clear when the oil bath type air filter was introduced and it would appear that a number of early tractors have been retrofitted.

It is “reported” that head gasket failures were “frequent”. Was part of this simply due to the market being unfamiliar with the higher compression ratio of the diesel which needed the cylinder head bolts to be tightened to 80lbsft? Was a part of this due to the initial design of cylinder head shape which gives a narrow section to the gasket? The design of the cylinder head and the associated gasket were changed at serial number 900 when the MK3 version of the engine was introduced. The cylinder liners were changed from dry to wet at the same time.

The 'Yeoman of England' tractor transmission is reported as being “prone” to failure mainly in the crown wheel and pinion area. The detail design of the gearing was certainly changed during the life of the tractor because of these problems. But, was part of the problem caused by the “lugging capacity” of the diesel engine being fully exploited? The design of the gearing may well have been inadequate for the duty cycle experienced with a fully utilised diesel engine. It is not really my intention to criticise the “opposition” but it would appear that the “competitive” 27HP tractor had a much more robust final drive as they could be repowered with the P6 Perkins engine with no apparent problems.

There are a number of other reported problems that could be discussed but it is clear that despite these the Turner Manufacturing Yeoman of England tractor is highly prized on the preservation scene. A total of just over 2,100 tractors were built and efforts to establish just how many of these have survived are continuing. Please contact the web master if you are the owner of a “Yeoman” or you know to any surviving examples.

I have just 'discovered' the document in the four pictures below:-

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LINKS TO TRACTOR PHOTO'S

The following three links to photo's are provided by an anonymous owner:-

Newark 2008

Newby 2011

Malvern 2015

WHOSE IS IT???

The photograph below was taken by a guy who organises off-roading ventures for Land-Rover owners somewhere outside Eyam in Derbyshire. The far tractor is a Yeoman and if anybody visiting this site knows who owns this tractor could you please send an EM

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The following series of pictures are 'official' Turner promotional pictures.

Shift+R improves the quality of this image. Shift+A improves the quality of all images on this page.

Shift+R improves the quality of this image. Shift+A improves the quality of all images on this page.

Shift+R improves the quality of this image. Shift+A improves the quality of all images on this page.

Shift+R improves the quality of this image. Shift+A improves the quality of all images on this page.

Shift+R improves the quality of this image. Shift+A improves the quality of all images on this page.

Turners Agricultural Involvement

Turners are perhaps best known for the “Yeoman of England” tractor {featured above} which utilised the 4V95 engine and was offered with a range of “approved” implements such as ploughs (made by Adrolic), tool bar equipment & cultivators (made by Leverton) and a cab (made by Scottish Aviation).

The V95 engines came in single, V twin and V4 sizes and were used for all of the typical stationary engine applications such as simple belt pulley drive for saw benches etc, as electrical generating sets and as pumping sets.

The 4V95 engine was also offered in the crawler tractors made by F H Loyd of Camberwell, Surrey.

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Loyd Crawlers

F H Loyd of Camberwell Surrey were major producers of utility (Bren Gun) carriers during WW2. After the war they marketed a crawler tractor with the same driveline as the carrier powered by the Ford “flat head” V8 petrol engine.

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The Turner 4V95 engine was offered as an alternative for this carrier based machine. There were problems with track wear and brakes and the machine was considered to be too fast for agricultural work.

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An upgrade to the machine was called the “Loyd Dragon” and offered with the Turner 4V95 or a Dorman engine as options.

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After the tractors, the V95 series four stroke diesels and the List designed two stroke blown diesel ceased production Turners remained involved in agriculture in many ways.

They were a major sub contract supplier to Ford.

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Fordson E1AN Major

After the “Yeoman of England” tractor ceased production Turners gained major sub contract work for FORD tractor. For the Fordson E1AN Major range of tractors they supplied: -

COMPLETE HYDRAULIC ASSEMBLIES

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TOP LINKS

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BELT PULLEY ASSEMBLIES

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Ford 6X

When the 6X range of tractors were introduced Turners supplied all of the front end timing gears including the balance weight gears for the 4 cylinder engines.

These were shown in a typical publicity brochure for Turners.

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Synchroniser units from the range of truck gearboxes that started production in the early 1960’s were utilised in tractor gearboxes. 

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International Harvester & Case

In 1968 Turners developed a new gearbox for the 7.5 ton Leyland Terrier vehicle in the Redline range of trucks produced at Bathgate.


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The gearbox had a number of innovations such as all the shaft support bearings being taper roller type and for the synchroniser assemblies the “cup” of the cone clutch was made as a separate steel pressing. The gearbox was the T4-200.

A five speed version of the gearbox was also done and this developed on into the T5-250 and then the T5-290 gearbox with the main customer being Leyland trucks, the “Roadrunner” and then the 45 series.

When the gearbox of the International harvester range of tractors was revised to fit synchronisers the unit chosen was a version of that from the T4-200 gearbox. The main difference being that a finer pitch spline was used for the dog teeth in the tractor gearbox.

The turner Synchronisers tractors were introduced in 1972 on the 454, 475, 574 and 674 models.

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The use of Turner synchroniser continued through the introduction of the Case 85 and 95 series up until 1996 when, as part of the MX05 upgrade, the “ZF” style or “strut” type synchroniser was used.

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Leyland Synchro

When the Leyland tractors gearbox was revised to include synchroniser units the engineers at Bathgate contacted Turners.

In the 1970’s Turners had been developing a whole new range of truck gearboxes called the “M Series”. These were 5 and six speed units with capacities of 350 476 and 650 lbsft torque. These had a number of innovative features such as the primary reduction ratio being achieved using a pair of “bull gears” located at the rear of the gearbox. This allowed the use of very narrow face width gears and for the synchronisers to be put on the layshaft.

For a variety of reasons only the M6-476 transmission was put in to limited production for the Bedford Military vehicle based on the tilt cab TM range.

The synchroniser unit selected for the Leyland tractors was taken from the M6-350 transmission.


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------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Complete truck gearboxes were also used in a variety of machines such as the lime spreader machines produced by OnTop Tractors and the Clayton Buggy

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Scotlon Flotation

Agricultural Lime and Fertilizer spreader designed by Mr Gillon.

The company name was later changed to OnTop Tractors.

The early machines used a Ford industrial engine with a Turner T5-300 Ford truck gearbox.

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Have any of these early machines survived?

The driveline on the later machines was changed to be Cummins engines with Eaton gearboxes.

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Clayton Buggy,

Lucassen Young, a John Deere dealership, developed a sprayer machine using a JD engine.

This was coupled to the T5-290 gearbox from the Leyland Roadrunner vehicle.

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Speed variation of the chain drive of various drainage “ditch digger” machines was also an application. 

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Drainage machines

Turner truck gearboxes were used in the driveline of various drainage or ditch digging machines to vary the speed of the digging chain.

A T5-300 box was used with the Ford engine on the small machines made by Bruff Engineering. At the suggestion of Turners the cable linkage from the drivers platform to the gearbox was upgraded from the standard “ Morse” type to the linear ball bearing “Bowden-flex” type.

A T5-400 was used on the Vandenede machines fitted with the Cummins Vale V8 engine. As the gearbox was some distance from the operator the gearbox was fitted with an “airshift” control unit. This basically used a simple arrangement of air cylinders to move the gear selectors within the gearbox. It had been evaluated with reasonable functional success on coaches including some in service with Don Everalls, the Ford dealer and travel operator in Wolverhampton. The idea was not taken up by the vehicle manufactures.

It was not very successful on the Vandende machines. The unit would attempt to “force” the synchroniser to activate even when the operating conditions were against it. In a road going vehicle the synchroniser cone clutch works because the output of the gearbox is essentially being driven at a constant speed by the rear wheels. When a digging chain has come to a complete stop the synchroniser becomes simply a dog clutch. In fact the gearbox was modified to be a simple dog engagement box rather than being synchronised. However, it would be interesting to know if any of these airshift units have survived even if they have been removed from the machine.

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In the ealy 1960’s a Turner subsidiary, H&P, developed a pump to actuate a power steering ram.

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Power Steering Kit

Done by the Turner subsidiary H&P.

Used their own design of hydraulic pump with a “Leduc” steering ram.Various gearbox based items were supplied to Pyrene and the rear wheel weights for Massey Fergusson were machined at Turners.

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It is thought that these were offered for Fordson tractors but the only known application was as shown on a Chaseside loader shovel – which is based on a Ford skid unit.

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The Turner-List two stroke blown diesel engines were offered as a repower unit for the Land Rover. After that engine ceased production the machine tools were utilised to supply “kits of major parts” to the initial production of the Perkins 4.99 in 1958. Once production volumes built up the work was taken in house at Peterborough. A typical early agricultural application of the Perkins 4.99 would be the Claas Europa combines of 1958 and 1959 and the Claas Columbus combine of 1959. These machines were also offered with a petrol engine or a Mercedes diesel but it is the Perkins engine option that has the Turner interest.

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Claas Combines

The Turner-List two stroke blown diesel engines were offered as a repower unit for the Land Rover. After that engine ceased production in 1958 the machine tools were utilised to supply “kits of major parts” to the initial production of the Perkins 4.99 engine. Once production volumes built up the work was taken in house at Peterborough.

A typical early agricultural application of the Perkins 4.99 would be the Claas Europa combines of 1958 and 1959 and the Claas Columbus combine of 1959. These machines were also offered with a petrol engine or a Mercedes diesel but it is the Perkins engine option that has the Turner interest.

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Another major agricultural application of Turner based products is the “Telehandler” shuttle gearbox. This starts with an adaptation of the T4-200 gearbox from the Leyland Bathgate produced Terrier vehicle. When JCB stopped using tractor backbones as the basis of their machines and introduced torque converters the initial machines used a Warner truck gearbox. Turners replaced this with a version of the T4-200 gearbox. As the gearbox reverse ratio was redundant it was deleted and the space used to widen the first and second gear pairs. The whole driveline package of torque converter, reversing unit and gearbox was put together by Turners for JCB. Some of the early Sanderson Teleporters also used this transmission arrangement. The unit was developed into the “Compact Shuttle” where the four speed gearbox is tucked under the forward & reverse shuttle unit. This was during the period when Turners became part of the Dana Corporation with its Spicer brands. The former Technical Director of Turners worked with JCB on the development of their shuttle unit and many gearbox components were supplied by Turners to them on a sub contract basis. The true Turner derived Compact Shuttle was not marketed until 1985 and the first customer was Manitou. The Compact shuttle units have been used in a number of agricultural and other off high way machines. The detail design of the unit has been revised several times but the design parentage of current production units can still be traced back to the early Turner items.

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Tele-handlers

In the 1970’s JCB stopped using tractor backbones as the basis of their machines and introduced torque convertors in to the drive line. The torque converter drove a Warner reversing unit couples to a Warner four speed truck gearbox. JCB asked Turner to provide an alternative transmission. They took the T4-200, as originally developed for the Leyland Terrier, removed the reverse gear and used the resulting “space” to widen the first and reverse gears. They also made up the sub assembly of converter, reversing unit and gearbox calling this the CRT4-200.

Whilst many thousands of these units were shipped from Wolverhampton to Rochester a small number went to Sanderson for their tele-handler machines.

The design did progress to be made more “compact” by putting a forward and reverse set of clutch pack, or a “shuttle unit” on top of the four speed transmission. This was eventually marketed to Manitou for their tele-handlers in 1985. The basic “compact shuttle” transmission has undergone a number of design revisions. The Caterpillar back hoe loader (BHL) machines became a major customer which resulted in them buying the Spicer European transmission division (the former “Turners”).

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Please use the email link on the home page of the web site if you have any questions about these various agricultural applications bearing in mind that Turners effectively ceased to exist in 1978 and the Turner trade marks were de-registered by the Dana Corporation in 1985.