Brian Overall has restored more than 150 tractors in the past ten to 12 years. He's developed a sterling reputation with customers stretching as far away as Florida. But, what he saw inside the engine of his grandfather's 1981 John Deere 4440 was a first.
What did he see? Nothing.
"We were kind of laughing," Overall said from his shop and family farm in Shorewood, Illinois. "We took the engine apart and we couldn't really see any visible signs of wear. My grandpa always ran FS oil. There was no varnish, no sludge – nothing. It was as clean as clean could be." That tractor had 5,600 hours under its belt and virtually no wear on the bearings or piston liners.
His late grandfather, Edwin Meyer, was a loyal FS customer for longer than anyone in his family can remember. He used FS fuels and lubricants for "at least 50 to 60 years," according to Brian's father Richard Overall. That's a big reason why Brian thinks the engine maintained its beauty. "I think it was a combination of FS having good products and that my grandpa serviced the tractor religiously," added Brian.
The Overall family still uses FS products. They work with Brad Eike, certified energy management specialist at Heritage FS. His reaction when Brian told him the story was simple: "Wow," he laughed. "I just thought - here's another good FS story. I've heard a lot of them throughout my 38 years with FS. It says two things. FS is high quality and [Edwin] had a great maintenance program. With the FS products, that's always been my bragging point. Guys just use it and they don't have trouble," added Eike.
Overall has restored old tractors since 2004, full time since 2007. He balances those duties while managing operations on the farm. His family's owned the land since the 1800s where corn, soybeans and a few acres of wheat are raised.
He says getting started in restoration projects "was kind of a fluke." His first project was a birthday present for his grandpa, restoring his Farmall Super MTA. "I kind of got hooked on it. That was how it kind of became my hobby," he said. Now it's his profession and craft, and that green 1981 tractor is one of his proudest accomplishments. It took him and his cousin Stephen Meyer about three months to complete the restoration in the winter of 2013. They repainted, replaced areas of wear and tear and added all new components. It won the Superior Restoration Award at the John Deere Expo in Waterloo, Iowa in 2015. Brian downplays the achievement. His grandpa would have been proud.
"My grandpa ran FS oil in everything, and fuel too. Looking back, we never really had mechanical issues. It was across the board on any piece of equipment we owned [regardless of the make or model]," Overall said.
That's no fluke.