Author Topic: Tractor recommendations  (Read 38857 times)

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Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2016, 05:04:11 AM »
I know this thread is old... but I was just wondering if Grover ever did buy a tractor.

[ThreadJack]

I am also wondering about what kind of tractor to get, and if I really need one versus just want one.
Part of me wants a crawler to dozer the land, and I can find some old machines for relatively cheap... but most of the time the transportation fees are insane.  I think a farm tractor, that has the PTO 3-point would give me the best of both worlds.  I can rent a trailer with ramps from UHaul and as long as the weight is under what my truck can pull safely then it's only $50 for transport.

I want to find something with a loader, just to make things easier on the land.  My land was de-forested, and it hard to walk through due to logs and brush and stones all over the place.  It is 7.5 acres (almost square) so doing it all by hand is tough work.  I wonder, can you actually dig at all with a loader?  The land is relatively flat, but after moving some big stones and tree stumps, there will be some leveling to do... 

Since cash flow is very low after buying the land, I am looking at 1940's-1960's farm tractors.  I see a few here and there around the $1000 mark, which is right around where I want to be, factoring in $500 or so for the extras like changing old hoses etc.



If they have been working for the past 75 years, figure they will still last another few years?
Other option is to go a bit more expensive, bit bigger machine, and once the land is done then sell it to recoup some of my investment.

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Offline hpinson

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2016, 06:55:21 AM »
Hi Adam. Parts availability is something to consider. I can't say I've seen a working tractor for 1K.  Whatever you might find in that price area you can assume it will need a lot of work. Mostly what is available in that price range is scrap. 

It seems a rebuilt tractor with low hours and in decent shape like a Yanmar or Mitsubishi, with 4WD and a loader would be in the 10-20 K range.  For the kind of work you describe, I'm not sure that the low horsepower older 2wd tractors like the Ford 8n, would be up to the task. I'd be thinking 28HP+ or even much higher.  A loader is not a bulldozer or grader!

If you are going to be pulling stumps, boulders, or skidding, find out what the loader lift capacity is.  Those smaller ones may only be able to lift 800 pounds!

My neighbor has a 115HP 4WD Deere and he uses it to maintain the road with a box blade and for harrowing.  It gets stuck from time to time.

« Last Edit: January 31, 2016, 10:32:55 AM by hpinson »

Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2016, 07:52:31 AM »
Hi,  appreciate the feedback.

I was considering renting some equipment, but at $250+ per day for small machines, factor in the transport and possibly not being allowed to rent due to lack of permits or training documentation... makes it a bit hard.  I was hoping an older machine, while not in perfect condition, I can at least work at a more reasonable pace and not worry about the lack of time.

All of the ads I am seeing for $1000 - $2500 say they are daily workers...  while I am sure they are not in mint condition, I figured they were at least working machines...  I guess I would have to see them working, and get a feel for how the owner is. 

Why I was considering the farm tractor, besides the lower weight for transport, is because my best friend who also has land 1/2 mile away has an old Oliver, along with the mower attachment so we figured we could share and I could get a rake or whatever and just share as needed.  His was also in the same price range, and it was working good for the past 2 years but the gas cap somehow let in water last winter and the gas tank completely rusted out.  He is cleaning and treating the tank this winter and will probably get the old Oliver back up and running this summer.  They also have a couple dozers and a loader... although they are all being worked on.  So I get what you are saying, even a "working" machine will need repairs.  $10-20k purchase price puts it out of range.

Do you know if the rental companies will rent to just anyone?
Do they also provide trailers?  I could borrow a Ford F-350 to pull it... but don't have a trailer.


Offline OlJarhead

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2016, 08:31:29 AM »
I started that way.  Was going to buy a used Massey but the more I researched the more I realized I was just as well off buying new considering what I needed.  Used tractors weren't much cheaper unless they were in need of a lot of work, had a lot less power and were 2wd which in my case wouldn't work.

Offline Don_P

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2016, 05:08:55 PM »
I can get a tracked bobcat delivered and picked up for $750/week here. Unlimited hours, your kidneys will tell you when  ::).

If it has a loader or if you intend on one look at the size of the front spindles. On something like an 8N or my old Massey 35 if you work a loader in that environment you'll be looking for spindles.

I'd beat the rental equipment up and then buy a small tractor if needed to tend it.

Although to be honest, I'd have already been standing in the shop door holding a new tank  ;)

Offline GaryT

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2016, 10:09:51 AM »
I have an early '80's Kubota 2850, 4wd, loader on front, 3-point on the back.  I have a blade, a rake and a bush hog for that.  I've always found it to be the perfect size for working in the woods (I cut my own firewood) and does a great job of snowplowing.  It can sit for months and start at the first turn of the key.  I have an in-line heater in one of the radiator lines that I plug in in the winter when I know I'm going to use it.  Helps a great deal in that easy starting.  I also make sure to put conditioner in the diesel fuel to keep it from jelling, etc.    Remains the best 13,000 I ever spent (bought used back in the '90's sometime.

Gary

Offline MushCreek

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #31 on: February 04, 2016, 03:38:32 AM »
I'm in the market for a tractor too. We have 7 acres of woods and a long gravel drive. The only two purposes I really have is maintaining the drive and pulling small trees out of the woods for processing. I want to thin the woods, and will be cutting a lot of trees that are 8" or smaller for firewood. Currently, I'm regrading the driveway with an old Gravely walk-behind, and I swear it's more work than just using a shovel!

Around here, 4WD seems to be standard, especially with a loader. We have red clay that gets slick when wet. No one uses a skid steer on tires; they are all on tracks. My issue is money, plain and simple. There simple isn't $10K+ available. I'll probably just get an older tractor in usable condition, and choose my battles. It would probably be worth my while to just rent a tracked skid steer from time to time for the heavy work.

Old tractors are dirt (pun intended) cheap around here. You can get a good running old tractor for $1500; sometimes less if you're willing to do a little work on it. The big issue I see with used tractors is tires. If the tires are totally shot, you can double the price of a bargain tractor by the time you put 4 tires on it. Tractor tires have gotten crazy expensive in recent years.
Jay

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Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #32 on: April 24, 2016, 05:04:02 AM »
I am looking at exact that scenario right now. 
I need a tractor, something under my 3500 lb weight limit of my truck, with PTO 3-point and a loader.
I am looking at a 1954 Ford NAA, small tractor but runs well.  Problem is the rear tires don't have much left on them, and they have chains on them right now.

How well do chains work in the mud?  I am not doing a lot of work, mostly cleaning a 7.5 acre lot of deforested land.  Need to move a few tons of rock and left over logs and debris.  By hand it will take me years.  I can get this thing for around $1500, have a make-shift cabin on it so I can have some sun protection while I work...  just not sure if I will get stuck in the mud constantly.


Offline NathanS

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #33 on: April 24, 2016, 05:25:36 AM »
I've been in the market for awhile too.

I think there are a few problems with those older tractors. Most of what I'm saying are just things my FIL (farmer) has told me.

The older tractors don't have the hydraulics to run a lot of stuff. I think one test is to see if the loader can lift the front of the tractor at, or just above, idle.
Parts.. some of those old models you might not be able to find parts for. This can be true for all brands.
Older diesel tractors will not start in cold weather without a block heater. The old gassers don't have as much power, but you can start them all winter.


It is kind of ridiculous how much tractors cost. Even a beater can cost $5k.. more than I spend on my cars. I'm not sure how people that don't earn income from their land justify purchasing a new compact tractor (with implements) in the 20-30-40k range.

Sometimes I also think 4wd is a double edged sword. It makes you do things you shouldn't be doing in the first place. If the land is really muddy, I think it's better to just wait for good weather.

That said, if you have a couple hundred pounds of stone in your bucket, your rear tires are going to have very little traction.

Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #34 on: April 24, 2016, 05:43:35 AM »
Thanks for the feedback, food for thought for sure.

Currently the PTO is capped off, and they have a bucket attached to the 3-point filled with cement.
I was planning to go see it, as soon as the seller can confirm that when uncapped the PTO is working.  He said it was, but needed to remove the counterweight to be able to show me so he needed some time to get it ready.

I know what you mean about the money factor.  I bought the land for $6000.  I go up only in the summer, and if I am lucky every 2nd the 3rd weekend, just for a day or 1/2 day depending on what other stuff is happening that weekend.  If I go by hand, 4 hours every 3 weeks, I estimate 22 years and 7 months before the lot is clear of debris (just an estimate).  I am willing to "suffer" with being stuck sometimes, or needing to take smaller loads if it means not doing things completely by hand.  But my budget of $1500 is about all I can see ever investing in this considering the amount of usage it will see.  $25,000 for 20 hours or work per year is just not sensible for me.

Offline OlJarhead

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #35 on: April 24, 2016, 06:19:18 AM »
Tractors are amazing, the torque produced will get you out of trouble in the mud a lot more often than you think unless, of course, you get too deep into it.

Chains will help, but I'd just get new tires -- that's just me.

Old tractors do great, get some logging chains and cables and you can yank a lot of logs out of muddy spots without getting the tractor too deep into it or get a winch for skidding logs out that way...so many options.

Offline NathanS

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #36 on: April 24, 2016, 09:24:49 AM »
Thanks for the feedback, food for thought for sure.

Currently the PTO is capped off, and they have a bucket attached to the 3-point filled with cement.
I was planning to go see it, as soon as the seller can confirm that when uncapped the PTO is working.  He said it was, but needed to remove the counterweight to be able to show me so he needed some time to get it ready.

I know what you mean about the money factor.  I bought the land for $6000.  I go up only in the summer, and if I am lucky every 2nd the 3rd weekend, just for a day or 1/2 day depending on what other stuff is happening that weekend.  If I go by hand, 4 hours every 3 weeks, I estimate 22 years and 7 months before the lot is clear of debris (just an estimate).  I am willing to "suffer" with being stuck sometimes, or needing to take smaller loads if it means not doing things completely by hand.  But my budget of $1500 is about all I can see ever investing in this considering the amount of usage it will see.  $25,000 for 20 hours or work per year is just not sensible for me.

Yep I hear ya and 1500 doesnt represent a huge investment.

I cleared out a bunch of spruce trees last fall and am still working on carrying them to where I want the logs stacked. If I had a tractor it would take an hour to do the whole job. If I don't find something this summer I'm also going to be carrying around 2 full cords by hand. That's going to be fun.

Also if I had a PTO driven chipper it would take a fraction of the time that the little gasser chipper I'm trying to use has taken.

Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #37 on: April 24, 2016, 09:35:15 AM »
Again, thanks to both for the valuable feedback.

My buddy has a place 3 minutes up the road and has the lawn mower attachment for the PTO, so we can share accessories which is great.

How does it work in NY state for tractors driving on the roads.  Here in Quebec, where I will likely make the purchase and bring it to my land in NY, nobody seems to have the registration papers anymore for these things (back from the 50's).  Will a trooper pull me over if I am driving on the side of the road?  I will make sure I conform to all state lighting laws etc, but if I don't have the paperwork... is it even worth buying it?

Offline NathanS

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #38 on: April 24, 2016, 10:37:04 AM »
Again, thanks to both for the valuable feedback.

My buddy has a place 3 minutes up the road and has the lawn mower attachment for the PTO, so we can share accessories which is great.

How does it work in NY state for tractors driving on the roads.  Here in Quebec, where I will likely make the purchase and bring it to my land in NY, nobody seems to have the registration papers anymore for these things (back from the 50's).  Will a trooper pull me over if I am driving on the side of the road?  I will make sure I conform to all state lighting laws etc, but if I don't have the paperwork... is it even worth buying it?

Might want to look by county. In my county it is 'right to farm' which means you can drive tractors on the roads. I would be really surprised if you had any trouble driving a tractor anywhere in upstate, though.

My wife is Canadian and we have looked at buying at tractor in Canada then crossing the border with it. When we called, they said all we needed was a bill of sale and that the tractor should be clean. There are no extra import taxes because we don't earn income off the land. That is a federal thing. You might want to check to see if it matters that you're Canadian.

Offline Arky217

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #39 on: April 24, 2016, 02:02:53 PM »
For anyone still looking for a tractor, I agree that generally speaking, a lot of used tractors sell for almost as much as a new one, but not always.

My 3 recommendations for buying used are:

1) Do your research; know what you want and the minimum tractor setup that you are willing to settle for
and the going prices.
2) Have your cash readily available.
3) Be diligent in checking all available ads, Craigslist, newspaper, Thrifty Nickel, etc.

Then, when that super bargain comes along, jump on it before it's gone, because it won't last long.
When I bought my tractor, I had been looking for over a year, and was starting to consider buying new
when I saw the ad for this Kubota.
By doing my homework, I knew it was a real bargain and it had everything that I wanted except
hydrostatic drive.
It was a Kubota L4200, 45 Hp, 4wd, loader, R4 tires, 3 sets of rear wheel weights, 2 rear
hydraulic remotes, just 700 hours, all for the grand total of $8000.

Now, you don't find a deal like that every day, but what I'm saying is that
sometimes patience pays off when used tractor shopping.

Arky

Offline MushCreek

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #40 on: April 25, 2016, 02:14:46 AM »
My thought process on this keeps evolving. I originally thought I would get an old tractor and tinker with it, but the old tractors I see aren't much good with a FEL. The loaders themselves are very weak, and the front ends of those old farm tractors weren't designed for a lot of extra weight. My budget has improved, and I think I can get what I want for under $10K. I could probably get by with 20-25 hp and 4WD, but I'd like to find something bigger, more like 30-35 hp. From what I hear about gas versus diesel, diesel is much better for equipment that might sit for months at a time. I'm constantly fixing my gas operated equipment that sits a little too long with gas in the tank and carb. I have a friend who had a Kubota of about 35 hp and 4WD, and I was amazed how much work it could do.
Jay

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Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #41 on: April 28, 2016, 02:15:31 PM »
Here is where I stand at the moment.  The green tractor has no papers so I can't drive it on the street, no point.

Option 1:  1952 Massey Harris Colt
Cons:  It is gas, I'd prefer diesel.  It is quite rusty, but can be painted.  It is the oldest of the bunch, harder to find parts.
Pros: Asking price is only $1700.  It is close enough to drive over the border, which will save a few hundred in transport fees.
Label:  Most affordable model.




Option 2: 1971 International B-275
Cons: Asking $2500 negotiable. It has an issue with the arm, owner says it is hard to raise, needs replacing.  Transport will be pricey. It is also quite banged up.
Pros:  It is diesel.  It is the newest of the bunch, parts are likely more readily available.
Label:  Newest Model




Option 3: 1963 David Brown 880
Data:  It is right in the middle age wise.
Cons:  Asking $2500 firm.  One tire has a slow leak.  Looks like the arm was welded?  Have to see in person.
Pros: It is diesel.  From a dealer.  I can do payments, and they can likely delivery free of charge or I can negotiate that at least.
Label:  Dealer Model




I know most would not go this old or this cheap, but this is where my budget lies.  Out of these 3, which looks like the most potential, least headaches?

Offline NathanS

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #42 on: May 02, 2016, 04:07:44 PM »
Hey Adam have you thought about just hiring out an excavator for a day? Up in your area you could probably get a guy to do work all day for <$700. I think you'll spend less money, have less headaches and end up with a good result.

I think that in that $2k range you can get some good older tractors (Ford 8n, Massey 35 or 135).. but they really aren't meant to have loaders on them. Even if they have one, you are really going to push them past their limit by moving heavy stone. I was talking to a guy about his Ford 1700 (I Think? 27hp from the late 80s), a beefy tractor by all accounts with 4wd, he said the most that tractor could handle was 800lbs in the bucket. Not hard to find stones that weigh more than that...

Anyways that's just my two cents.. those old tractors are meant for farming not heavy duty site work.


Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #43 on: May 08, 2016, 12:58:11 PM »
Found a 1987 Belarus for $3000... might go have a look this week.  Looks big!


I had all but decided to just rent an excavator this spring, so I saved up abound $1000 cash to do so.
The thing is, I am not really sure what I want to do.  I am kind of winging it as I go.  If I blow the whole thing on a long weekend, I might do everything like I might only get 20 feet of road done.  I have never driven one before, no clue what even I want to do. 

Buying a tractor has a couple of purposes. 
1)  Get the work done at my own pace (might take 5 years). 
2)  Have a tractor to maintain the land afterwards (with lawnmower attachment and such). 
3)  Have some fun!  Its like a big Tonka truck, I want to play in the dirt!

Offline hpinson

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #44 on: May 09, 2016, 07:25:36 AM »
Are parts available for the 87 Belarus? The tires look in good shape.

Offline db4570

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #45 on: May 10, 2016, 07:04:30 PM »
My 2 cents worth. I don't own a tractor, but have always been a bit of a tractor enthusiast, and have worked on them a bit.

Old tractors from the 40's and 50's are my favorite, but lately I have gotten a bit spooked about them not having any rollover protection. When I was a kid my farmer neighbor got crushed by a tractor and it was bad stuff.

All of the tractors you are considering would make me nervous for one reason or another. Mostly because they are brands that I never heard of, or only in the context of odd collector interest. Which doesn't mean they're bad, but finding parts could be a real nightmare. Now, maybe in Quebec the brands you are considering are very common.

The exception would be the International, which I am familiar with, of course. But that one seems real iffy. Bad arm? Does he mean the hydraulic part? Or the structural part? Either could be a real pain and $$$. Also, if it's a bit trashed, what's the diesel like? Nothing worse than a problem diesel, IMO. Gas I can usually tinker with and get running, but diesel is a whole different set of challenges, and potentially really expensive to fix. Like more than what you paid for the tractor.

I would probably recommend avoiding any older diesel. Might just be my personal prejudice.

If I were looking for an old farm tractor, I would stick with Deere, Ford, or IH/Farmall, just because of parts. Maybe Case or Allis, too. I think Farmall would be the best bang for your buck. I see them all over the place, and pretty cheap. And I have a soft spot for them. But it seems like Deeres are $$$. And I think a lot of guys like their old Fords, so they can be $$$.

A trashed tractor can be a real nightmare. But a good solid old one can be had pretty cheap and can be very reliable if you know what to look for and have some mechanical skills.

Have fun! I am eager to hear what you end up with.

David

Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #46 on: May 11, 2016, 01:43:25 PM »
Thanks for that advice, really appreciate it.  At the moment I am just looking at the cost standpoint, so the "experience" factor with different brands and what to look out for are helpful.  One really nice one came up on a Tuesday.  I called and there was already someone coming to see it that Friday.  I asked if I could come on Thursday, the seller was a bit reluctant since he already promised the other guy but then said OK.  He called me back the next day, it was sold.  I believe that one was an International...  didn't jump fast enough.  Now I have the cash ready, just waiting for the deal to come up.  Already have a transporter lined up, and I called the border and they recommended I transport to the border and I drive it across the line... otherwise I need all kinds of import paperwork to be done.

I will definitely post what I get when I get it... can't wait. 

Offline Don_P

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #47 on: May 11, 2016, 03:11:11 PM »
I've been able to get a number of parts for my 60 year old MF35 from ASAP (All States Ag Parts), they carry a number of brands and run several scrapyards. I would want at least a 135 if it were to have a loader but when I look at the new stuff I wonder how many will be running in 60 years... and can be field stripped and back running usually in short order.

I've had the bobcat from work here this week... I'll have to go back to work next week so I can heal up  :D but man that thing is handy.

Offline MountainDon

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #48 on: May 11, 2016, 04:56:50 PM »
For me, I'll take a skid steer (bobcat, or other brand) over a tractor any day.  But then I don'thave any fields to tend, butwould like tomove dirt, dig,etc....
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline Adam Roby

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Re: Tractor recommendations
« Reply #49 on: May 11, 2016, 05:24:35 PM »
For sure a skid steer would be fun... but who has $25,000 - $60,000 spare cash for a used one?
They are wayyyyy too pricey for my blood.

 

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