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Author Topic: what to look for in a used tractor  (Read 5795 times)

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Offline brdmkr

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what to look for in a used tractor
« on: October 10, 2005, 08:17:37 PM »
A few months ago I started asking about saw mills.  Now I have one 8)  I was coached along by members of this forum. 

Now I am in the market for a tractor.  Earlier I asked about the gray market tractors and was warned against it.  Now I am looking at Fords,Massey-Ferguson, Deere, etc.  I will definately be buying used.  I know that I want a 45 - 60 hp tractor, but other than that, what should I look for when determining whether or not I have a winner or a money pit.

I looked at a Ford 4600 today that seemed to be in really good shape, but I really didn't know what to look for.  The 3-pt hitched worked well as did the PTO.  Power steering worked, tires were about 70%, 2300 hours showing and meter works (but owner says that he can't say if it has always worked as he has only had the tractor about a year).  High and low gear range works.  Very little smoke at startup and none as soon as it gets going.  I am thinking that this tractor will meet my needs, but I want to make sure all bases are covered.  Are there other things I should consider?  Any opinions on the Ford 4600?  What should this tractor be worth?

As always, thanks for your help.
Lucas 618  Mahindra 4110, FEL and pallet forks, some cant hooks, and a dose of want-to

Offline wiam

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2005, 08:36:20 PM »
What are you going to use it for?  I think four wheel drive is a must for loader work.

Will

Offline brdmkr

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2005, 08:43:02 PM »
I will likely use it most for bush hogging, maintaining a garden, pulling logs, and minor dirt work.  I might someday want a loader, but that may have to come later.
Lucas 618  Mahindra 4110, FEL and pallet forks, some cant hooks, and a dose of want-to

Offline Larry

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2005, 08:43:24 PM »
All kind of things to look at.  The first and most important is to warm up the tractor, get an oil sample, and send it off to a good lab for analysis.
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

Offline twoodward15

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2005, 08:47:03 PM »
Is it a diesel?  The 4600 (600 series) isn't really that old in terms of tractors.  Its a good strong tractor.  You really shouldn't have any problems getting it stuc unless you get in over the axles.  How does the paint look?  If it's really rusting bad that would tell me that someone used it hard and didn't wash it or keep it under cover.  Make sure the brakes are good.  Is there calcium in the tires?  Look at the rear wheels for signs of rust.  They will rust through in no time if the tube springs a leak and calcium gets on them.  See how well it starts out in 7th gear  (3rd High range) to check for clutch slippage.  It should do it without slipping the clutch and without too much throttle.  If it's a diesel ask if the fule pump has been turned up, it'll make a huge difference.  Everything should move free and smooth.  If it's stiff it's a good sign that the tractor hasn't seen much use or it hasn't seen much upkeep.  If the throttle is hard to pull down it's a good sign of lack of use rather than lack of upkeep.  Remember, when you get in that mudhole you don't want to have to yank on that thing.  it should be one fluid smooth motion to pull that full throttle as you are stepping back on the differential lock.
   I always look at the front tires on a tractor.  They will tell you how well someone takes care of their equipment.  If they have tractor tires on the front then they care about their equipment and how it looks.  It reall makes me feel like they are professional.  If they have car tires on the front they either can't afford the proper tires or really don't care about their equipment.  When it comes to pulling logs with a tractor you need the proper front tires.  They'll turn much better and you'll use the brakes much less, thus making them last longer.
    All in all if it looks good and runs good you should be in business.  Ask him what he uses it for.  It should be capable of pulling a lot of weight.  If he says it's not big enough and it looks like he is pulling light weight stuff then move on.  I used to farm grapes and it was no problem for our 3000's /3600/3910 tractors to pull a trailer loaded with over 3 tons of grapes through 8 inches of heavy thick mud uphill in the rain.  You'd be in 3rd low turning it 2200 rpm with your foot on the locker but it'd pull without missing a beat.  I keep thinking that we pulled a lime spreader once that held about 12 tons.  It pulled it well (3910 tractor) until we got in deep mud over about 6 inches then it just wouldn't go anymore.  They're good pulling tractors.  I have to think you'll get more ford for your money than deere because it seems like you are paying for the name anymore.  Stay away from the case IH's (orange newer I guess late 80's) they were a bit underpowered.
108 ARW   NKAWTG...N      Jersey Thunder

Offline sawguy21

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2005, 08:49:22 PM »
I suggest checking the engine oil for any signs of antifreeze or water. Check the hydraulic oil for water. If it is streaked or the colour of a vanilla shake, there are problems. The steering should be reasonably tight and the wheel brakes better work. Are there any sloppy welds or mods?  Does the clutch engage smoothly and firmly?
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline brdmkr

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2005, 09:00:02 PM »
The 4600 has been used for the past year or so for landscaping in a new subdivison.  The tires and wheels all looked good.  I didn't check the oil for water, but could do that tomorrow.  I also did not start the tractor in 7th (3rd high range), but the clutch did let off smooth.  Anything else to consider?

Thanks for all the comments.
Lucas 618  Mahindra 4110, FEL and pallet forks, some cant hooks, and a dose of want-to

Offline Bro. Noble

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2005, 09:40:13 PM »
I've decided that in the future ,  the first thing I will look for in a used tractor is "John Deere'  on the hood :D :D

I will admit ,  however that we have a Ford 4610 that we've used hard and it's held up well.  We use it to skid and load logs,  load round bales,  occasionally power our scragg mill,  and do blade and bucket work repairing roads.
milking and logging and sawing and milking

Offline brdmkr

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2005, 10:04:39 PM »
I'd buy a Deere if I could find one in realteively good shape and in the right price range.  Does anyone know of a web site that can offer some guidance regarding what a used tractor is worth (fair market value)?  There are several sites that do this for cars and trucks, but I have yet to find one for tractors.
Lucas 618  Mahindra 4110, FEL and pallet forks, some cant hooks, and a dose of want-to

Offline Minnesota_boy

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2005, 10:06:35 PM »
Look at the amount of wear showing on the ball and sockets on the 3 point hitch.  It takes a fair amount of use to make them sloppy.  Look to see if they have had a new end welded on too.
I eat a high-fiber diet.  Lots of sawdust!

Offline DanG

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2005, 11:09:43 PM »
Mike, that 4600 would be a great tractor for you.  You certainly wouldn't need anything bigger.  Don't worry about calcium chloride in the tires...nobody around here uses it.  It's a northern thing.  The tires probably have water in them.  If not, it's easy to put in. 

Prices on used tractors seems to be a regional thing, so don't get hung up on corn-belt prices or New England prices.  They're different in other parts of the country.  Talk with the guy down where you bought your Echo saw.  He's a dealer, and you're a valued customer, so he'll probably give you some guidance on the value.  You know enough to tell if he's BS'ing you. 

What are they asking for the tractor?  Did you see it actually pick up something with the 3-pt, or was it nekkid?  I'd want to see it picking up the heaviest implement available, preferably to where it lifted the front-end off the ground.  Don't worry too much about the clutch.  It is an expendable item and we could change it out in a day.  I'd LOVE to find someone selling a tractor cheap because of a wore out clutch! ;D

The most important thing is, it's a major brand and you'll always find parts for it. :)
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
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Offline Faron

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2005, 11:30:00 PM »
We have a 76' 7000 Ford that has been one tough tractor.  It has done everything over the years from discing to grinding feed to  dragging logs to loader work.  It has something like 12000 hours on it, and has never had the engine touched.  Before it, we had a 4000.  If the 4600 is anything like those older models, you'll have a great tractor.  (As well as one that pound for pound will eat those Deeres for breakfast! ;) :D)
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.  Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote. - Ben Franklin

Offline woodmills1

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2005, 04:46:44 PM »
Since you are buying used, buy one with loader already on it.  Also get a 4 wheel drive, yo won't regret it but if you don't you will.  Maybe try to get a well maintained low hour private tractor with some other attachments.  If you find a nice used one pay the service department at that brands repair location to check it out for you.
James Mills,Lovely wife,collect old tools,vacuuming fool,36 bdft/hr,oak paper cutter,ebonic yooper rapper nauga seller, Blue Ox? its not fast, 2 cat family, LT70,edger, 375 bd ft/hr, we like Bob,free heat,no oil 12 years,big splitter, baked stuffed lobster, still cuttin the logs dere IAM

Offline maple flats

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2005, 05:24:35 PM »
For a tractor blue book try:   http://www.pricedigests.com/other/tractorbluebook.htm  This is one, there are others, not sure which is better. If you have found one you like it is best to put a load to it. Condition is everything when it comes to tractors in the mechanicals. Paint and such do little except tell if it was under cover but when you hook it up and try pulling a heavy load you will get a good idea. Also, ask to try it on the road and see how it handles in road gear and full RPM, this will tell you if the steering and front end is tight or wornout. Also, 4 wheel drive helps many things, such as loader work and if using a loader power steering is a must or you will be fighting the wheel all of the time. Good luck!
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline wiam

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2005, 10:16:15 PM »
Woodmills,  I have rethought my other post.  We should not tell him about 4 wheel drive and front end loaders.  Hey we all got by before we knew what they were. :D

Will

Offline Saki

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2005, 11:29:17 PM »
Lots of folks above have some good ideas. One other site you may want to take a peek at would be www.ytmag.com . Stands for yesterdays tractors magazine . They have a classified section, as well as a section that is classified including pictures of the items for sale. Both very searchable by key words or phrases, etc. Hope if you go there the tractor you are considering is not too new for them to help you ( remember they are into yesterdays tractors ) , but good luck in any case.

Offline mike_van

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2005, 05:58:23 AM »
I would recomend the yesterdays tractors site also, lots of knowledge there [like here]  -  Also, if you use ebay, follow tractors everyday for a few weeks, it will give you some ideas on whats out there. May even be one right near you, who knows.    You can limit your search any number of ways to narrow it down some.
I was the smartest 16 year old I ever knew.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2005, 06:15:44 AM »
I'de look for something orange to go with that mill. Kabota, can't beat'm ;D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
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Offline bull

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2005, 06:54:13 AM »
Im w/ swamp donkey, go orange. Im on my forth, haven't killed one yet.  just wanted bigger !!. 
My 2000 - Kubota 4610 is for sale at the dealer in NH for $17000  4x4 w/ loader great machine.

Offline DanG

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2005, 07:38:46 AM »
Ytmag has a forum for modern tractors, too. :)
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
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Offline twoodward15

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2005, 07:57:46 AM »
I agree with maple flats.  Take it out on the road and run it in 8th wide open throttle.  It'll run about 2600 if I recall corectly.  It won't hurt it a bit to do this, Just make sure if you ever get it on a hill that you don't over rev it.  I think 2300 and over is bad on a downhill.  And don't forget to throttle back before you make the 7th 8th shift.  it'll scare ya sometimes.  I always pushed the clutch in and pulled the throttle back at the same time and made the shift, let out the clutch then pulled it back to W.O.T. (wide open throttle).
  The only reason I brought up the paint is because it may have been used to spray some nasty chemicals abd everything will start to corrode really bad.  Just trying to save a trip to the paint shop.
108 ARW   NKAWTG...N      Jersey Thunder

Offline DanG

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #21 on: October 12, 2005, 08:17:26 AM »
Good point about the paint.  I don't mind seeing paint that is faded by the sun, though.  In this climate,  keeping a tractor in the shed all the time can be bad.  Sunshine helps to dry things out, but the dampness in some sheds can cause your sheet metal to rust out.

A word of caution, Mike.  If you take that tractor for a high speed road test, don't forget to lock the brake pedals together.  Also, check that both brakes are adjusted the same.  Some people will ride one brake to make up for a maladjusted plow, or make all their turns in one direction, causing more wear on one side.
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
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Offline maple flats

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2005, 12:06:59 PM »
Real good points DanG.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed,  Peterson ATS upgraded to WPF mill, maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline woodmills1

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2005, 08:27:05 PM »
and take it out of 4 wheel drive
James Mills,Lovely wife,collect old tools,vacuuming fool,36 bdft/hr,oak paper cutter,ebonic yooper rapper nauga seller, Blue Ox? its not fast, 2 cat family, LT70,edger, 375 bd ft/hr, we like Bob,free heat,no oil 12 years,big splitter, baked stuffed lobster, still cuttin the logs dere IAM

Offline Tom

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2005, 08:30:54 PM »
.........and don't go over 70 mph.  :D :D
extinct

Offline DanG

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #25 on: October 12, 2005, 09:18:16 PM »
Mike, don't worry about it if that tractor don't have 4 wheel drive.  You ain't gonna need it.  It is real important for them folks thats tryin' ta use a 25 or 30 horse lawn mower for a tractor.  That 4600 will do everything you need with 2wd.  It will have enough pull to tear up a loader without the 4wd.  ;D
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
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Offline brdmkr

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2005, 10:42:19 PM »
I'm not worried about 2wd.  I bought the 4600.  It is in really good shape, and I had it checked out by a farmer friend of mine.  I also got the word that the fellow that owned the tractor has a good reputation and would not risk that by misrepresenting a tractor.   Now, I got to get the goodies to go with it.  A bush hog comes first.
Lucas 618  Mahindra 4110, FEL and pallet forks, some cant hooks, and a dose of want-to

Offline DanG

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #27 on: October 12, 2005, 10:49:26 PM »
AllllRighty!  Good stroke, Mike.  Tractors is the only thing thats more fun than sawmills! 8) 8)
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Offline wiam

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #28 on: October 13, 2005, 09:19:04 PM »
 Mike good for you.  Where are the pics? ???

Will

Offline brdmkr

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #29 on: October 14, 2005, 12:10:42 AM »
Pics will be coming ASAP.  I have been a bit (much) too busy lately.  I've been on the road 2 of the past 3 weeks and am just now getting caught up.  I would say that I am planning on sawing Saturday, but I'm scared a guy named Murphy would hear about it and start trying to enforce his law.  Regardless, November is looking GOOD and I may be able to make the Ag Expo in Moultrie, if Murphy doesn't hear about it.  Talk about rambling :o :o.  That was a heap to tell you I'd post pictures when I get a chance.  Man, I got to slowwww downnnnn!
Lucas 618  Mahindra 4110, FEL and pallet forks, some cant hooks, and a dose of want-to

Offline hydeoutman

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #30 on: October 18, 2005, 08:45:48 PM »
If you are a good mechanic I would think a used tractor would be fine, however, you can not beat the Kubota L4330 that I have. this Diesel is fantastic. I would recommend it to anyone. Actually the cost of new is not much different than purchasing an automobile. Our cost was around 33,000 and I would not trade it for anything. But if your budget is tight then I would look at a used one, If you can find one. That should tell you something. SwampDonkey has the correct advice.

Offline DanG

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #31 on: October 18, 2005, 10:07:09 PM »
Dagnabbit!  I passed within a mile of Brdmkrs house this morning.  I shoulda snuck up there and took a pitcher of it. ;D :D :D
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
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Offline tnlogger

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #32 on: October 18, 2005, 10:39:01 PM »
yeh Dang but I bet you had a load a logs gebing ya  ;D
gene

Offline brdmkr

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #33 on: October 18, 2005, 10:39:41 PM »
Would have been sitting in the back yard.  Looks kind of goofy setting on a half acre lot in the middle of a neighborhood.  I need to get me a bush hog and clear out a more fitting site.  Maybe build me another pole shed for it.

DanG, I figure you went to Moultrie??

It is not looking like I will make it.  If I do, it will be on Thursday.
Lucas 618  Mahindra 4110, FEL and pallet forks, some cant hooks, and a dose of want-to

Offline DanG

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Re: what to look for in a used tractor
« Reply #34 on: October 18, 2005, 10:47:12 PM »
No logs today, Gene, so I took the mini-van.  Gotta take more logs tomorrow, though.  Them boys is whacking them up fast!

Mike, I know where your back yard is. ;D  Ya better post a pic soon, if'n ya wanta be first. :D :D  Hope ya can make it Thursday.  It's a major hoot! 8)
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."


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