This Dummies Used Tractor Buying Guide (Part 2 of 2)

  1. oldmanfarmer
    This Idiots Guide to purchasing an older used Tractor
    Part 2 of 2

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    Now you have the basics for looking for a used tractor. You will need to be somewhat familiar with what parts are called. Like a 3Point hitch and its components see picture

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    Once you have decided what you want in a tractor you can start looking. When you found one that interest you make sure, it's inspected well. If you have a neighbor or a mechanic friend take them with tractor shopping. The more eyes the better. Sometimes someone else will see something that you won't. Make sure there is a parts supply house around that carries parts for the tractor you are interested in.

    Ask the seller why they are selling the tractor. If they say they don't have the room for it but the barn is empty, I would wonder. If they say they want a smaller tractor but won't sell the loader that's on it and it's a CAT1, I would wonder. So, listen and ask but look for the facts and make your own opinion, it's your money.

    Examine the overall appearance. If you take a good hard look at a tractor, it should be obvious if the machine has been truly well cared for or if just enough has been done to make it look presentable to sale. If it's been painted recently they may just want it to look nice, and personalize it.

    purp tractor.jpg

    But be wary if they painted over the dirt and grease they may be trying to hide something. Don't put much stock in looks. You want one that operates correctly without dumping too much money in to it.

    Try and get there early when the engine is cold and not been running. Although you need to make sure the tractor will run hot but also need to see how it starts cold, especially a diesel.

    An Article in Tractor forum "6 Things to Inspect When Buying Used "By GPS1504, Mar 29, 2014. Mentions Looking at the maintenance records. "Take a look at the maintenance records. Some people might not put this at the top of their list, but maintenance records speak volumes and should be considered".

    "Granted, maintenance records may be fudged or be nothing more than scratch in a notebook with no real proof of work done, but the simple fact that someone thought enough about their tractor to make some indication of maintenance means they try to make an effort. Maintenance logs are the closest you can get to a Carfax for tractors."

    He's right, any type of work that was done even receipts for parts for the tractor tells you if regular maintenance was done. Check dates and make sure it hasn't been damaged by a flood, been covered by insurance, and being resold and not disclosed as damaged.

    Hopefully the following will help in inspecting a tractor:

    Before starting remove the radiator cap, is the coolant mixed and at the right level? Is there a oily film?

    While cold check the oil, transmission fluid, are they level? Do they smell burnt or have metal flakes in it?

    Does it start easily on a cold engine? Use a battery hydrometer to test the battery's cells, it can tell your battery needs to be charged or if cells are bad.

    Does it run well when hot? Spend a half-hour or so, running it. After running it look for leaks, both oil and antifreeze. Put something under it to catch drips. After it is warm, shut it down and see how it re-starts.

    Do the brakes work well?
    Brake parts are generally inexpensive; it is the tear down that has to be gone thru and labor can be costly. You can test the brakes by locking one wheel and turning to that side. The tractor should spin and the wheel should not rotate.

    Does it smoke?
    Blue smoke indicates the engine burning oil.
    White or black smoke can frequently be corrected with carburetor or ignition changes but still represents work. If there is black oil residue from the exhaust (diesel) it may not have been given enough throttle when under a load(working).

    Listen for clunking noises from inside the engine?
    Simple ticking from the top of the engine may be a simple valve adjustment but a deep thunk from the bottom or middle of the engine would indicate very serious and expensive repairs. The clunk should be more pronounced under load. This may be an indication of problems with the crankshaft, bearings, or piston rods.

    How does the oil look?
    After you have run it for a while, stop the engine and check the oil for foaming or presence of water. This is a showstopper.

    Is there head seepage?
    Look for that fluids are seeping out the head gasket. If the tractor is encrusted with grease and dirt, it may cover up obvious signs of seepage.

    Is the clutch good?
    The clutch is not that expensive but splitting the tractor in half is beyond what most folks want to do.

    Is the charging system working?
    There should be a slight charge shown on the ammeter when the engine is running and a change in the charging level when the lights are turned on. At running speed, no discharge should be shown.

    Do the Hydraulics work?
    Check the full range of the rams by extending them with a load. Let the load sit in the hold position for a period of time to be sure that there is no leak down. Chattering noises from the pump while lifting indicate the pump is getting insufficient flow of hydraulic fluid.

    The pump will have experienced excessive wear when run this way for long periods of time and may be ready to fail

    How are the tires?

    Do they have checking or cracking?

    Are they bulging?
    Tires can last a long time if properly taken care of and new ones cost over $500.00 each. Some tires are ballast, some farmers like it and some hate it but you need to check the tires and make your own opinion. Some of the old tractor had water for ballast and rust ate the rims and left holes. Replacing rims with new ones are expensive.



    I'm sure I have missed a few things but I hope this helps.

    I found another Article in "TRACTOR FORUM" that I wish I would have seen before buying my "Fallen Flag". When you read his article you will see that he and I mention a lot of the same things that should be looked at.

    Have Fun.

    Picture almost looks like a Norman Rockwell painting. I had to share it.



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