Buying Old Farm Tractors

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The Farmall "A" from International Harvester was a reliable and affordable workhorse in its day.
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The distinctive green of a John Deere tractor.
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Henry Ford introduces his new 9N to the press in June 1939. Initial sale price was an astounding $600 and began a new era in price competition.
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Between 1905 and 1916, Rumely topped its steam-engine line with several huge models. Here, an Advance Rumely 25-hp steam-engine tractor was certainly a formidable piece of equipment, but not very practical.
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This 1952 Ford 8-N includes a Funk V-8 conversion consisting of various engine and gearbox adapters, as well as two vertical straight pipes for the exhaust. The sound is very impressive.
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Instrumentation was much improved on the numbered Farmalls that appeared in mid-1954.
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Oil filter and magneto for a 1932 Farmall F-20, powered by a four-cylinder, overhead valve engine.

It’s been almost 30 years now since I gave up trying to
grow tomatoes on a city-apartment balcony and went looking
for a country place. What sold me on my first old farmstead
weren’t so much the overgrown fields begging to produce
again, the sucker-filled but still-bearing fruit trees, or
the antique stone house and barn …but the old farm tractors and
implements that went with it (for an added $2,500). The
tractor was a gorgeous little Farmall “A,” its paint shiny
bright red, original decals intact, the huge lugged tires
barely worn, and the muffler just rusted enough to look
serious. Lined up behind it along the back of the barn were
a stake-bed trailer on an old Ford axle, an antique snow
plow, a single-bottom land plow, a 3-gang disc harrow, a
fertilizing corn drill, and a sickle-bar mower with a
wooden crank arm — all of them in perfect condition.
And in the toolbox in the footwell of the tractor was the
original owner’s manual …dated 1939!

The “A” had a new-looking Exide battery under the seat,
plus a generator and starter motor, but I was all eager to
try the crank. I checked oil and water, turned the valve
under the gas tank on, turned the rotary ignition switch
off, advanced the lever-and-quadrant hand throttle to the
middle notch, pulled up on the choke nob, put the lovely
long shift lever into neutral, and — hands shaking
like a kid with a new tricycle — poked the crank into
the hole under the grille in front.

My farming Great-Uncle Will had taught me how to
crank-start decades earlier by spinning the big flywheel of
“Johnny Popper,” his Kermit-the-Frog-green John Deere. I
grasped the crankhandle palm open so’s not to break a thumb
or worse if she backfired — something that can happen
if you forget to retard spark on an old engine that gets
its ignition charge from a manual timing-adjusted magneto.
This Farmall had a magneto to provide spark, but since it
had no spark-advance/retard lever beside the throttle lever
or at the magneto, I assumed it was equipped with a modern
self-retarding distributor head. Pulling up hard in the
only direction the crank would catch, I pulled the engine
through twice, then switched her on and cranked again. The
stout little 4-banger popped, but that’s all.

Recalling Uncle Will’s directions for starting a cold,
hand-cranked engine on a hot, humid summer day, I drained
the sediment bowl under the fuel tank to get rid of any
water in the gas, opened choke and closed throttle, and
pulled her around several times to clear the cylinders and
plugs. Then, decreasing both choke and throttle from
earlier settings, I cranked again. She fired on the second
crank, and after blowing a little more gray-blue smoke,
began to chug happily. I climbed up into the dished-steel
“hot seat” (an old tractor’s transmission can heat up and
toast your backside while the sun tans your top over a
summer-day’s work). I closed choke, adjusted speed, threw
out the clutch, searched around for first, and eased up on
the go-pedal. The little Farmall lurched and barely inched
forward, so I threw the clutch again, fished around for
second gear, let up easy on the clutch, and rolled out into
the sunshine.

Was I on top of the world, or what? No longer an overpaid
paper-pusher in an overpriced three-button suit, I was
transformed into a plain but honest man of the soil —
sturdy and self-reliant — sitting high up, free and
in the wind on a real, honest-to-God farm tractor. Every
boy-homesteader’s dream, right?

But How Does It Work?

Well, yes. But try as I might, I couldn’t get it to work
right. The tractor had a drawbar at the rear. The plow
tongue attached to it with a pintle hook and trailed fine,
but there was no way to exert significant down-pressure or
keep the toe of the plow down. Even when I hand dug a
starting furrow, I never figured out the knack of guiding
and keeping it biting from my perch on the seat, having not
yet realized that the concrete blocks piled in a corner of
the pasture were needed for weight, so it just skipped over
the weeds. I had a lot of fun flushing pheasants and
chasing cottontails around in the fields, though.

I figured that the plowing might go easier if I mowed the
goldenrod, burdock, and young poplars that were invading
the fields. The sicklebar mounted up and ran with a
satisfying click-click, but I couldn’t get it to cut
through the saplings. (Had I persisted I’d have broken all
the teeth on the reciprocating cutter bar. I needed a
brushhog — a monster-mower that slings a heavy steel
flail through most anything that grows — but I didn’t
even know what that was.)

So, I paid a neighbor to hog off, plow, double-disc, and
harrow-smooth the best field with his big modern tractor,
then had a great time drilling in a fancy hybrid field
corn. Along with the wildly expensive sacks of seed corn,
the co-op gave me a stake and a metal sign with a
lithograph of a half-shucked golden-yellow ear with the
proud name, Dekalb, under it to put out on the road. I
still have that sign somewhere.

What little of the corn I managed to drill deep enough that
the crows couldn’t get it, but not so deep it was lost in
darkness forever, germinated in a week. The rabbits began
nipping off each night’s growth at ground level each
morning. I tried chucking rocks at the fuzzy-tailed little
monsters as I left for the city each morning, but it was
hopeless. Having been plowed up, divided, replanted, and
fertilized, the weeds reestablished with renewed vigor and
choked out what the wildlife had left of my corn while I
ran all over looking (alas, too late) for a cultivator
frame and corn spades to fit a ’39 “A.” I tried
hand-cultivating but after a week of rain couldn’t find the
rabbit-nipped stumps of new-planted corn in the “old
growth” weeds. ln three weeks the pheasants and quail had
moved back in and I sent off for a book on raising wildfowl
for the wing-shooting market.

To save time, I hand-dug the vegetable garden, while the
tractor rested snug in the barn. It always popped on the
first crank and started on the second, and I had great fun
hooking up the trailer and giving visiting city folks a
real, bumpy, country hayride.

Had I worked at it, I’m sure I could have mastered tractor,
weeds, and varmints. But in those days, the farm was my
escape from work — certainly a more productive use of
leisure time than watching pro football on the tube, but
recreation just the same. And, when I finally quit the
fasttrack and left the high-rent district to go
homesteading for real, everything but a ’52 Ford pickup and
a few practical essentials was converted to cash. Including
the “A.” It broke my heart and I dream about that little
tractor to this day. Gosh it was pretty! But, it was more
important to be mortgage-free than keep a pet tractor.

And that’s what old tractors are for most of us —
pets. Not toys; that’s too frivolous. But, seldom are they
money-making agricultural machinery either. With a few
exceptions, such as growing premium or organic produce,
“pick-your-own” small fruits and such, commercial farming
has become a mechanized industry requiring vast amounts of
land and gigantic articulated-steering turbo-diesel
tractors with air-conditioned cabs equipped with TV sets
…that cost $50,000 and up. Today’s corporate farmer is a
heavy-equipment operator who knows more about hydraulics
and diesel turbochargers than soil. Most “family farmers”
who persist in cultivating small acreage with old equipment
work off-farm “to support the tractor” as they put it. What
they mean, of course, is that it’s worth working two jobs
to keep the land in production and in the family rather
than selling it off for a shopping mall or condos,
permitting at least one more generation to live the good
life on the farm. God bless.

Every Countryman Needs a Tractor
 

The tractor confirms a commitment to a life on the land and
to serious agriculture. (So what if you’re husbanding two
and a half acres of sand, scrub oak, and Johnson grass
rather than 2,500 acres of prime Kansas wheatland?) It is
the modern counterpart of the mythic cowboy’s cayuse,
General Patton’s Sherman tank, or Peter Fonda’s
Captain-America Harley.

I’d put a good used tractor in the same expenditure
category as your daughter’s 15-year-old saddle pony. The
price of a well-experienced horse or tractor is about the
same, their housing requirements are the same, vet and shop
bills the same. A small bale of first-cutting hay and a
gallon of gas even cost the same, a dollar and change. You
spend about the same amount of time riding around on them
too — not as much as you’d like. Neither accomplishes
a lot that can’t be hired out cheaper and quicker, but
they’re as much part of country life as your huge,
endearing fool of a dog or a vegetable garden that produces
three times what you need.

So, be sure the barn roof’s sound, the wood’s split and
stacked, the garden’s weed-free, and the kids have their
braces. Then, you can have yourself some real fun and go
looking at tractors, talking tractors, and test-driving
tractors. Visit all the local farm equipment dealers and
farm-town service stations. Drive the country roads looking
in farmhouse front yards for tractors with FOR SALE signs
hanging off the radiator. Check the classifieds in
country-town papers, in “Weekly Shopper” and “Want Ad”
periodicals, in old-car magazines, and tabloids. Look at
the bulletin boards at supermarkets, the VFW, the Fish
& Gun Club, the Odd Fellows, and the Grange Hall, as
well as at all the local hardware, feed stores, and the
farm co-op.

A Brief History
 

Here are some of the fine old tractors you are likely to
find, arranged on a timeline in the order that major
features were developed.

Steam-Traction Engines

As early as the 1850s, farmer cops of a sort were hoisting
Mr. Watt’s steam engines onto horse-drawn wagons and
hauling them from farm to farm to power threshing machines.
The year 1876 saw the first steam-traction farm engine: A
small railroad locomotive, really, fitted with
self-steering front wheels in place of the cowcatcher and
rail-truck, and tall, wide cleated-steal ground wheels in
back in place of the big, half-flanged drivers. A steamer
could haul a barn clear across Kansas (and did so as a
publicity stunt), or pull a gang of a dozen moldboard plows
through 6-foot-deep prairie sod. But it cost a small
fortune to purchase them, required a crew to run them, and
they were too low and unwieldy to cultivate standing crops
or even turn around at the head end of farm fields laid out
for draft animals. Plus, they sank to the firebox in soft
soil and stalled on low hills. You can still find their
hulks scattered throughout the grain belt, rusting silently
where they were pulled off into fence rows, or anchoring a
small, tree-grown oasis in the center of the field where
they quit for the last time. You can usually get one for
the hauling or for scrap-iron value. Restore and sell it if
you like for $1.50/pound and up. But don’t plan to drive it
in the July 4th parade. Ten-plus tons of cast iron on
cleated-steel wheels can fracture concrete and leave
trench-like ruts in summer-warmed asphalt.

Mechanical Mule

Initially, the tractor was conceived as a direct mechanical
replacement for a mule or a team of draft animals and a
wagon. Four low wheels were placed at the corners of a
rectangular iron ladder frame, with the pulling power in
front and the driver in back. This was plenty good enough
back when a man could raise a family off “40 acres and a
mule” — even if another farm hand had to walk along
behind to guide a land plow, or sit on the bouncing seat of
a wheeled hay rake to dump it periodically. Like a mule, an
early tractor would go forward and back if it felt like it,
pulling implements fastened to the drawbar with a chain,
pintle hook, or hitch.

But, cute as it may be, any tractor designed in the
midteens or earlier is an example of primitive automotive
technology — with a two-band clutch, sparktube
ignition, once-through lubrication, thermosiphon gravity
cooling, a hit-and-miss governor, and by-guess-and-by-God
gear-selection. It is better suited to the annual Steam
Engine & Old Tractor Festival or Drum & Belt
Threshing Bee than to serious farm use. Put another way,
like all engine-powered machines of the day, really old
farm tractors are prone to break down at the worst possible
moment. Farmers detested them, especially the badly
balanced Fordson built by Henry and Edsel Ford. But they
were still faster and cheaper than a team of horses.

Power Takeoff

To export their power, the old steamers and early
gas/kerosene tractors sported a large drum on one end of
the crank-shaft that extended out of both sides of the
engine (a big flywheel was fastened to the other side). The
drum was fitted with a hideously dangerous wide-leather or
canvas belt that ran around drums on stationary threshing
machines and corn shellers.

The year 1919 saw the first tractor that might fill an
everyday role on a modern homestead. International
Harvester’s Model “A” General-Purpose Tractor offered the
first genuine power takeoff (PTO) with a flexible arm
linking engine and accessory that could transfer engine
power to mobile implements.

Electricals

In 1920, automotive batteries and generators were adapted
to operate tractors’ lights and engine starters. (And was I
glad for the electric starter on my “A” when going out to
plow snow in a 5°F blizzard.)

Hydraulics

Hydraulics first appeared on wheeled tractors in the 1934
Deere Model “AN.” Fast-wearing mechanical linkages were
replaced by hydraulic pistons actuated by non-compressible
fluid that was pressurized by a tractor-powered pump and
carried through flexible hose. Pistons could be bolted on
anywhere to raise and lower heavy cultivators, plows,
rakes, or lifting booms smoothly and effortlessly. They
could make buckets scoop and remote hydraulic pistons and
motors could extend power well beyond the tractor’s frame
— to saws and log splitters, rotary tillers, and
hay-bale elevators. My “A” lacked hydraulics. But if she’d
had them (and if I’d had any sense), I’d have kept her and
saved the expense of providing individual power and
hydraulics for the big cordwood buzz saw, log splitter,
garden tiller, and more.

Three-Point Hitch

The ’36 Ferguson-Brown introduced the three-point hitch
— another simple but brilliant bit of creative
engineering that combined the strongest form in nature (the
triangle) with the most efficient force-multiplier (leverage) with the most efficient force-transfer principle (hydraulics). (I use it to convince the kids that science and
math really do have uses once you get out of school.) An
implement, such as a plow, is bolted to two shafts attached
at each side of the bottom rear of the transmission and to
a single shaft attached to a hydraulic piston fastened at
the top. The piston raises and lowers the plow, applies
tractor-weight down-pressure and adjusts depth — all
controlled with one lever.

Modern Features

In 1946 a separate implement clutch was developed so a
“live” PTO could be run independent of main transmission
and clutch. In the late-middle-’50s, tractor-makers adopted
“on-the-go” and automatic shifting. Ford made power
steering standard in 1956, and by the late ’60s, tractors
were thoroughly modern machines that looked and functioned
and cost more like the tractor of an 18-wheeler than one of
the true farm tractors built between ’20 and ’55.

But, unless you have the time and mechanical aptitude to
teach yourself to pour Babbit-metal bearings, maintain
Alemite lube fittings, and manual-spark magneto ignition,
your cutoff year is about ’25.

To cut and bale hay quickly and efficiently or power the
silage chopper with your tractor, look for a PTO-equipped
machine, dating from the late ’20s, or, preferably, a
decade later.

A post-’35 model with hydraulics and a three-point hitch
(or a slightly older model that’s been retrofitted) will
let you pull a plow and haul a set of discs, use a
powerbucket or forklift to hoist construction timbers or
hay bales, move gravel and more.

Some early ’50s models (the last of the two-cylinder Deeres
especially) still look like tractors should, but have high
horsepower, modern accessories, and lack the primitive
features that make the real oldies so quirky…and
appealing.

From ’55 on, tractors are pretty much characterless,
interchangeable and capable of fully up-to-date, automated
farming, though at a fraction of the cost of a new tractor.
The companies abandoned the old individualistic model
designations as everything became numbers: Farmall Model
100 through 600, etc.; the higher the number, the more
powerful or specially adapted the tractor. Yawn. Do your
best to avoid the three-cylinder diesel and gas engines
that were a bad idea in the ’60s.

Tractor Prices
 

A turn-of-the-century steam-traction engine costs more than
most farms. Prices for early gas-powered tractors were
lower, and as production increased and the technology
improved over the next forty years, they fell steadily. A
new Huber cost $1,300 in ’36, an IH F-30, $1,280. In ’39
Henry Ford stunned the industry by charging only $600 for
his Ford 9N. When Harvester countered with the Farmall “A,” it
was priced at $640 — half the cost of its
predecessor. The bigger Farmall “H” sold for $750 on steel
wheels and $950 on rubber. Prices were fixed during WW II,
but inflation took off shortly after V-J Day. And today, a
new farm tractor costs one hundred times those ’39 prices.

The common-sense rule of thumb is that an old tractor in
good condition will cost now about what it cost new; the
bigger, the more expensive. But, I find that most tractors
dating from the ‘teens through the ’70s are valued more on
their condition than initial cost, size, or age, though a
rare and notable old-timer or a modern tractor in like-new
condition and “loaded” with hydraulics will sell for more
than average. These days, when most old tractors aren’t
farmed, but used for show and to mow an occasional lawn,
the size/cost relationship can work in reverse. If harking
from the same model year and in equivalent shape, a
midsized Farmall “A” will go for more than a big “H,” while
a little Farmall Cub can sell for more than either of them.

Prices range from around $500 for a basket case or a
clunker in “Poor” condition to $1,000 or $1,500 for a model
in “Fair” shape: rough but running. You’ll find a ’36 Huber HK listed for
$1,800. If it is newly painted and in good running shape, it
will sell for $1,500 — a few hundred more than the
$1,350 it cost new during its long ’27 to ’44 production
run.

A less powerful Rumely 6, though it cost
only $995 in its brief ’31/’32 production life, is priced $1,100 more than the younger Huber. Only 802 of
this model were built, so the “6” is rare and popular among
old-tractor buffs.

You’ll pay about $2,500 for any well-preserved full-sized
’39 or later tractor in “Good” condition (running well,
okay cosmetics). An asking price ranging from $4,500 to
$5,500 is typical for a ’39 Farmall “A” (that cost $640
new) and counterparts with several attachments and
implements, if in “Very Good” condition (fine cosmetics and
running perfectly). A hydraulics/3-pt.-hitch-equipped Ford
“9N” (that cost $600 new) will cost $7,000 and up if in
show condition. Few more modern used tractors go for more.

A real antique — a late 1800s to ’30s tractor in
“Excellent” show condition is a collectors’ item and price
can depend as much on ribbons won as condition. A ’28 Hart-Parr goes for a high-sounding
$5,500. But when it or that ’31 Rumely 6 are fully-restored
and either one wins best-of-show for several years, their
value will approach $10,000.

Determining Your Needs
 

Practicality would have you measure your acreage and
determine how many plows your tractor must pull how fast
and at what fuel-consumption rate to get the crop in during
a minimum number of spring-planting days. But plowing
doesn’t have a whole lot to do with choosing an old tractor
these days. All tractors will pull things (including plows,
if they must). Decide what other features (PTO, threepoint
hitch, hydraulics, front-mount accessories) you really
want. Find out if you can get them on a pre-’19 antique, a
pre-’29 real-oldie, a pre-’39 oldie, or a more youthful
tractor. The older it is, the more it will be a showpiece
and hayride hauler; the younger and more capable, the more
it will be a practical workhand, easy to find replacement
parts for and repair.

Unless you are unique in the fraternity of Old-Farm-Iron
admirers, your choice will be influenced as much or more by
a tractor’s character, looks, and personality. I say,
follow your instincts and get the tractor that makes you
grin like a fool, makes you warm all over, or gives you the
shivers–a tractor that just feels like the partner and boon
companion to go down the road with for a lot of years. Most
won’t be able to resist the angular lines, spoke wheels,
and eccentricities of a kerosene-fuel-era antique. A lot of
ex-farm boys look around for the model that Granddad had or
that they drove themselves in their youth. It’s a lot like
picking a pair of jeans or a good dog.

Evaluating an Old Tractor
 

“Horsepower” is an artificial measurement — actually
about a dozen different measurements — rendered in
foot-pounds of torque (whatever that means) and so
confusing that old-time tractors were evaluated by the
number of plows they could pull — one-plow, two-plow,
etc. Today, auto ads bray on about little sewing-machine
engines of 100 horsepower plus, so you may not be impressed
by a farm tractor rated at only 14 hp at the drawbar, that
rating reduced by gearing from its directdrive figure of 22
hp as measured at the crankshaft: PTO/belt/brake hp.

But cars are measured running at 5,000 rpm — which
can move them well over 60 mph (and one heck of a lot
faster) in top gear. Tractors need to go a whole lot
slower, so have engines with large pistons that develop a
great deal of real power (torque) at much lower engine
speeds. They would probably rate at a hundred-hp or more if
wound up to 5,000 rpm but are governed to run at around
1,000 rpm. And they are further “geared down” to leverage
their power.

An old-timer running at top engine speed in top gear going
downhill with a tail wind has to stretch to reach 6 1/2
mph, but it can pull as many plows with it as one, two, or
four draft horses. A tractor rated as 14-22 is a large,
two-plow tractor. A 9-16 is smaller, one-plow model, but
still a genuine tractor. A 20-35 is a monster that can pull
as much as a four-horse team or better.

A tractor isn’t a daily commuter for carrying the family
far from home at high speeds either. So, the standards of
reliability, fuel economy, and safety used in picking a car
don’t apply. You want a tractor to have the power,
accessories, and implements to accomplish the tasks you
need done, to start reliably, run smoothly, and as safely
as such a hazardous device is able, but primarily to be
repairable by you or your mechanic …and worth the money
you pay for it so you won’t have lost your shirt when it
comes time to sell.

Check out the old tractors working the surrounding
countryside. If most are red, its Farmall country. If
they’re mostly grass-green, it’s Deere country. Gray or
dark blue means Ford, Persian orange is Allis Chalmers, and
mustard yellow, JI Case — due most likely to sales of
whichever brand was franchised to the most aggressive
dealer in the county fifty years ago.

If you can, go with the old-time sales leader. More parts
and expertise will be available locally. But you should do
well with any popular model of any familiar make. Just
beware of unfamiliar brands, especially imports and
“orphans” — machines made by a firm that’s an ocean
away and/or no longer in business, so parts may be hard to
locate. Many firms merged into others and you’ll be pleased
to learn that that gorgeous, Roman-nosed ’57 Canadian
Cockshutt-30 you are drooling over is not a complete orphan
after all, but is a third-generation White via a merger
into Oliver.

Most tractor manufacturers bought carburetors, magnetos,
hydraulics, and other components from the same few outside
suppliers. For example, between ’37 and ’65, all of them
purchased diesel engines from the British company, Perkins,
and there are a lot of them around, in good shape. So, that
sturdy little ’40 Leistershire Little-Ox diesel (an orphan
import) that you can get for a bargain because it needs an
engine, may not be that hard to restore after all —
with a used Perkins. But, the Ox’s steering linkages,
wheels, gears, and other nonstandard parts may be nigh
impossible to get aside from a trip to a British junkyard.

Country-living novices tend to pick tractors that are too
small. Perhaps they are intimidated by, say, a huge Farmall
“Super-MD” looming over them. Demand is greatest for the
Farmall/McCormick Cub and JD Model “L” — both
considered “minis” in their time, light-weights that were
made for truck gardening. Don’t get one if you will be
plowing in deep-snow country or expect to do heavy hauling.
The low, svelte (for a tractor), and sports car-scale early
Ford “N”s and the cheerful, friendly, almost cute Farmall
“A” are almost as popular. They too are on a human scale
but are “real” tractors (indeed, the “N” is the greatest
two-bottom plow-tractor ever designed). They are old enough
to be reasonably priced but young enough to be fitted with
an effective hitch, hydraulics, bucket loader, or most any
other modern accessory. A full catalog of replacement parts
is available for both too!

If you have heavy hauling to do, you really should consider
such benevolent monsters as the Farmall “M” series or the
6-foot-tall John Deere Model “G” 33/27. It carries three
tons of weight (and a half-ton more if you fill the tires
with freeze-proofed water). Sturdy and reliable,
four-square, and JD Green, the “G” lacks designer styling
and burns kerosene, but it will plow hip-high snow off the
drive in a single trip out and back, skid a cord of logs
out of the woods in one haul, pull three land plows at
once, and really get the hay in if rain’s threatening. Now,
that’s a tractor, mate.

But, my main piece of advice is to look for someone’s “pet”
tractor. You may have to wait a while for one to come on
the market and you’ll pay more but will enjoy greater
reliability and fewer repairs. Or, buy a “rebuilt” —
an oldie that’s been restored by a mechanic or a farmer as
a winter project. A clunker of any common make, model, or
year bought for $500 will sell for at least $2,500 if
restored to “Very Good” working condition — which
means it has been renewed but not restored to pristine
condition. A perfectly good engine might not have been
rebuilt, and it may have a (better-working) 12-volt
electrical system in place of the original 6-volt. The same
machine in “Excellent” show condition and with every nut
and bolt all-original and all-correct and polished to a
gleam can be worth double or triple, but it can’t plow any
faster. Indeed, it shouldn’t be plowed, as its function is
to remain showroom-fresh for competitions.

If you have more time than money, plus the skills to
restore an old tractor yourself, get a real clunker for
peanuts and invest your own labor, not cash. Or, compromise
and buy a machine in good enough condition it will do what
you need done, and you can gussy it up at leisure.

The Inspection
 

Tractors are the least pretentious machines ever made, the
best of them exemplars of aircraft designer Bill Lear’s
engineering principle: KISS: “Keep It Simple, Stupid!”
There are no government smog controls, seat belts, or
crash-resistant bumpers; no compound curves, little chrome,
and no fins, whitewalls, or stereo-hi-fi’s to obscure their
utilitarian simplicity. With just enough sheet metal to
keep rain off the ignition, and the underpinnings a foot or
more off the ground, everything is accessible. Dress in old
clothes, carry an adjustable wrench and stout screwdriver,
and be ready to lift cowls, open caps, empty filter
canisters and get down on the ground and poke around in
often-greasy and dirt-coated corners and crannies.

In tractors that have been seriously farmed, dents and
dings, condition of paint, and seat padding (if any),
amount of rust, number of mouse, paper-wasp, and mud-dauber
nests under the hood will tell you if the machine has been
loved or neglected, stored outside or garaged in the barn,
actively worked or ignored in recent years.
“Beaters”–tractors worked to near death–can be
made to look pretty good with a few cans of spray paint and
$20 worth of decals. Especially beware of a tractor with
aluminum paint on the muffler; tap it hard with your
knuckle and don’t be surprised if you knock a hole through
the camouflaged rust.

A tractor’s age is computed in hours run, rather than miles
traveled. Engine life ranges up to 6,000 hours (since new
or latest overhaul) depending on age and size. But 2,000
hours is typical. Only more recent models–and the
fancier ones at that–have half-accurate
hour-recording instruments and you can’t be sure that
they’ve functioned continually over 40 or 70 years. You’ll
have to judge condition by checking and driving.

Tractors were powered by wood/coal steam, coal
oil/kerosene/paraffin, gasoline/petrol, naphtha, liquefied
natural gas and propane, distillate or tractor fuel, diesel
oil and combinations. Many early internal-combustion
engines used gasoline to start; then when the manifold was
hot enough to vaporize it (a brass carburetor was located
on top of the exhaust manifold), fuel was switched over to
less-expensive and more energy-concentrated oil. If you opt
for a real oldie, you may need an antique-engine expert to
teach you how to start and run it.

Checking the Engine
 

Don’t start the engine yet. First, remove dipstick or
oil-level-check plugs to inspect engine oil. It will
probably be newly changed (perhaps, for the first time in
years) so will look fresh and clear. Remove the oil filler
cap and run a finger as far down the filler pipe as you
can. If pipe or cap are crusted with thick black crud, the
engine oil hasn’t been changed as often as it should. But,
some old mules are so loose and forgiving, they’ll run fine
with old oil — if the filters have been changed
regularly. It may take some arm twisting and surely will
take a wrench or two, but insist on inspecting oil and air
filters. If the filter housings are rusted in place (and,
after a few decades languishing in the open or in a leaky
shed, some will be — even if the engine “runs good”
as they say in the ads), look for another tractor.

If filter housings come off but the filter elements are
caked solid or disintegrated, look elsewhere unless the
tractor has been in dead storage for decades. Shake dry
air-filter elements. If only a few dead bugs fly off the
inlet side of the first stage and very little dust comes
out the inner, that’s good–even if the elements look old.
Old-style oil-bath air filters shouldn’t have too much mud
built up in the base of the canister. To check, you will
have to drain most oil filters by removing the square plug
at the bottom of the canister. If oil is thick and murky
while the dipstick shows bright clean oil, the filter is
clogged so much it is being bypassed, or the owner has
changed the crankcase oil but never ran it through the
engine.

Modern paper-element oil filters will be discolored, but
don’t be too concerned unless there’s mud in the creases
around the outside. If you find an old-style felt oil
filter, get your hands good and greasy squeezing the
element and scraping inside the canister to see how much
mud has accumulated in the felt and how much has settled to
the bottom of the canister. Dark, even murky oil is okay,
especially in diesels, but if your hands come away thick
with grit, the filter hasn’t been renewed for far too long.
I’ve seen tractor oil filters caked so solid that the
element had to be chiseled out. They hadn’t been filtering
the oil at all for years. (If you take a tractor with an
old-style oil filter, replace with new paper-element
filters if you can.)

Don’t try to get at the fuel filter — especially in a
diesel. You can introduce grit unless you take the time to
do it right. If you can’t, drain it through a small
push-valve at bottom, remove the sediment bowl under the
carburetor if it comes off easily to see if it’s full of
water or if crud has been allowed to build up. Don’t try to
remove a badly stuck bowl unless there’s a new gasket
handy.

Look in the radiator. An oil film on top of the coolant may
mean a leaking head gasket or worse, a cracked block.
Cheesy crud caked in the cap and a chalky buildup in the
tubing indicate that a lot of water has boiled away,
depositing minerals. Suspect leaks.

Check fluids in the magneto drive and hydraulic reservoirs
— including automatic transmission, brakes, and power
steering on a younger tractor. Magneto drives will contain
light oil or (in winter) kerosene, which should be clean
and clear. Hydraulic fluids should also be clear and clean;
newer dynamic hydraulic systems (that move a stream of
fluid to operate hydraulic motors) use a thin fluid. But
many older hydrostatic systems operating short-stroke
actuators only use engine oil or thick transmission fluid.
In either, murky fluids may mean neglect or considerable
wear in the pumps.

Unscrew both engine oil and transmission drain plugs just
enough to let a little lube drain out (all over your hand
and down your wrist and into your sleeve unless you are
careful). Collect drippings in a can. If they are gritty,
dirt is getting in or there is excessive wear somewhere. If
you get water, it may be nothing but condensation. Or, it
may mean a water leak in the engine, or a left-off filler
cap letting rain in. If you find water in the transmission,
suspect a split shift-lever boot.

Look on the ground for puddles of oil or hydraulic fluid
and other obvious problems, like flat or deeply gashed
tires. Then, if it holds up so far, go for a ride.

The Road Test
 

Have the owner show you how to start the tractor. If it’s
been sitting for a while, the start-up may take a while;
you may even have to remove and clean spark plugs. When it
does turn over, a shower of rust may erupt from the muffler
and the fumes may be a little smoky at first. But, once
warmed up, there should be no smoke. Gas-engine exhaust
should have the sweet, nostalgic smell of a
non-emissions-controlled gas engine. (And, with some
experience, you’ll be able to tell if the mixture has
gotten too rich or lean by smell and engine sound —
then be able to adjust it yourself by turning a single
screw for mixture and another for idle speed.)

Diesel exhaust stinks, but should be clean. With either
fuel, a little smoke on acceleration or a gear change
probably means a tune-up is needed. A lot of smoke means
rings are worn. A steady, thin blue smoke indicates enough
wear that a rebuild will be needed soon — at about
$1,500. Listen to the engine. Diesels are noisy, especially
on start-up, but quiet down to a regular valve-rattle. A
slap-slap sound or irregular clunk in any engine is cause
for deep suspicion.

Now, go. Shifting will take practice and the gearbox may be
stiff till transmission grease warms up. But it should go
into all gears without too much wrestling. The clutch
should operate without shuddering, and if not worn, will
engage before the pedal or hand-clutch gets too far out (in
an old tractor, you may have to fish around for the correct
gear and double-clutch to avoid grinding). Try the
hydraulics and other accessories. Try the lights, brakes,
and other luxuries, if any. Don’t expect to find a horn,
heater, or air conditioning in an old tractor, though some
top-of-the-line, late ’40s and newer models with full cabs
have them — radios too.

Tractor steering is far from precise at its best. If the
wheel has more than a quarter-turn of play, if turning is
very hard, or if steering seems to catch, then free up
suddenly, suspect worn steering-gearboxes or worn linkages,
tie-rod ends, or steering knuckles. If the tractor drives
as though it is limping, if front wheels wobble visibly or
slop from side to side, suspect worn kingpins, bad hubs,
bearings, or spindles. If rear wheels wobble, it could be a
bad hub, internal gear, bearing, or bent stub axle inside
the iron axle housing. More likely, it is a bent or rusted
wheel rim or a tire that hasn’t moved for so long it has a
flat spot that will run out in time. If brakes don’t seem
to work, stand on the pedal (or pedals, one for each side).
If they pull to one side, brakes need adjusting (or if
hydraulic, need bleeding). If they squeal or grind, the
band or pads are probably worn to bare metal, which can
make a fingernails-on-blackboard sound that sets your teeth
on edge but is not critical. Tractors have a predictably
hard time going fast enough to need brakes very often.
Really old models don’t even have brakes; all will brake
automatically when you decelerate in gear, and some old
worm-gear drives come to a halt when you take them out of
gear.

Don’t spend too much time groping around for the parking
brake. On most old tractors it is reverse gear and a couple
of wood blocks.

Turn hard both ways. Speed up and slow down. Go out on the
road, put her into high and “speed.” The transmission will
yowl and whine. But any bad bearings will reveal themselves
with a grinding sound. Try all the controls and switches,
especially hydraulics. If you don’t see the hydraulics
work, don’t pay extra for them. Hydraulic pumps and pistons
are easily ruined through simple neglect and are expensive
to replace or repair.

After the ride, check all around again and note any leaks
in water hoses or around fuel tank, water or fuel pump, and
any fresh oil seeps. If you are reasonably sure the tractor
has small problems you can’t repair yourself, or if you
even remotely suspect major problems, find a qualified
tractor mechanic and pay him $50 to come out and check it
over. Indeed, if you are a novice and the money is more
than you can spare, have the tractor checked no matter how
good it looks, sounds, and drives.

Not being roadable, tractors aren’t licensed or titled.
Insist on seeing the owner’s bill of sale. Be sure chassis
and engine serial numbers jibe with numbers on the
document. Do your dickering, make up a valid bill of sale
(you can find 50-state-legal forms at a stationers), give
over your cash, load your tractor on a car hauler, and take
her home. On the way, get as much service and maintenance
done as you can. Whatever you do, don’t have an old tractor
steam-cleaned or you can strip paint, melt rubber, and ruin
electrical parts. But, a warm-water
pressure-cleaning/degreasing of the outside and a complete
fluids change at a tractor shop or big-truck dealer will
save you more than a little time and plenty of disposal
problems. Indeed, if mechanical or body work is in order,
you may as well drop the tractor at the shop, discuss the
details, and then drive right home and start making tractor
space in the barn — if you are lucky enough to have
one.

Tractor-Drawn Implements
 

Like a horse or mule, to accomplish much, a tractor needs
to be harnessed to working implements. Chances are that the
original hay baler, manure spreader, discs, and plow made
to fit that ’29 JI Case “L” (with PTO) you are admiring are
rusting silently in a long-forgotten tree line bordering an
abandoned field miles away. Finding antique land plows in
working condition is harder than finding old tractors. Most
Deere Walking beam plows still alive anchor a circle of
geraniums decorating country front yards.

Advertise for implements and you may be luckier than I was
trying to locate cultivators for my Farmall “A.” Implements
are advertised in the same classifieds where you looked for
your tractor. Universal PTO-powered implements will fit
most tractors. Wheel-driven implements from the horse &
wagon days can be pulled by any tractor. I have been known
to risk a floating kidney or truncated extremities sitting
on the God-awful-hard cast-iron seat of a clanking old
mowing machine. The sickle-bar cutter was powered by a
“bull wheel” — a big ground-driven cleated wheel that
transferred its rotary motion to the back-and-forth cutter
bar with a hideously dangerous exposed-gear transmission
that required constant oiling. It was one miserable ride. I
was constantly splattered with oil, and chaff stuck to the
oil — but it was still better than mowing by hand
with a scythe. I’ve also taken my shift on a rear-dump,
riding hay rake — also a rough ride, but less
perilous and a lot easier than hand-windrowing.

I’ve never ever seen an old woodbed manure spreader that
wasn’t rusted and rotted to compost. But you can find used
and still-working steel-bed spreaders in some farm yards,
and new small-farm spreaders in homesteading equipment
catalogs. A rotovator or independently powered garden
tiller made for lawn tractors can replace plow, disc, and
harrow on small spreads if repeated passes don’t take too
much time for you. Or, you can have your land plowed by a
neighbor with a more modern rig. Then so long as you don’t
let weeds reestablish, you can pull discs and bedspring
harrows to stir and smooth the soil before planting year
after year. However, if you plan to let fields lie fallow
every third year as you should to maintain fertility, don’t
let weeds mature or you’ll have to plow sod again. Crop
with annual wheat or rye in spring and fall, let weeds
germinate and grow briefly in between and disc the “green
manure” in before any plants get a sod-deep foothold.

If you fancy natural, organic gardening methods, think
twice before planning to farm with an old tractor by
adopting the “no-till” methods being touted by the U.S.D.A.
and promoted by the agricultural chemical companies. It
sounds good at first; you don’t deep-plow and risk soil
erosion, but lightly disc in plant residue — which
adds plant matter to the soil — then plant into the
rubble. But, controlling weeds and insects is all done with
a variety of chemicals. Better to disc weedy residues
lightly in fall, then plan on tilling or harrowing soil
several times before planting in spring. Each time you
disc, you kill a new crop of newly germinated weeds and
bring a new batch of seeds and pests to the surface to be
eaten by birds or killed by exposure.

Earth-moving
 

Some used farm tractors will come with accessory
telescoping booms or front-end bucket loaders or plows
operated by a pneumatic cylinder, hand cranks, or
hydraulics. But farm buckets are wide for scooping
lightweight feed grain, bedding, or manure, and booms are
long for lifting hay bales or feed sacks into the loft.
They aren’t designed for moving earth in quantity. Plus,
removing and reattaching this weighty gear requires stout
lifting equipment — big jacks or a barn with heavy
overhead beams and a pair of heavy-duty ratchet-equipped
block-&-tackles… or another tractor.

Better, if you plan to do more earth-moving or construction
than farming, would be an industrial tractor that is
designed more for lifting and pushing than pulling and
hauling. Most carry a compact bucket loader stout enough to
excavate a cellar hole, and a rear-mounted backhoe that
will dig a 9′-deep trench for a water pipe or septic-tank
leach line. They have hydraulic support-feet that swing out
at the sides and set them in place, level and firmly, so
they don’t roll when you dig and don’t tip when the bucket
is full.

Construction tractors date from the ’50s to the present, so
are decades younger than many commonly available farm
tractors. In good shape, and with half its 2,000 hours of
operating life left before an engine, transmission, and
hydraulic rebuild become necessities, a loader/backhoe will
cost the better part of $10,000 (and often more) no matter
the age. Even a clunker in fair to poor condition goes for
$2,500 minimum.

Ending Note
 

Finally, tractors aren’t cheap to buy or keep running.
Lacking that barn, you’ll need to buy a long shed to keep
tractor and implements out of the weather. Equipment sheds
aren’t cheap either. Plus: You’ll need permits from the
fire department to install a farm-fuel tank and from the
environment protection officials to store and dispose of
lubricants.

Repairing a flat tire requires a big jack, huge tire irons,
and a strong back. Imagine having to remove a stone-flat
1/4-ton mud-caked cleated wheel in the middle of a field
full of 8-foot-tall corn. In a driving rain. A half mile
from any road.

And barn calls by a mechanic or field tire-truck cost
$50/hour — including travel time.

Do you really need a tractor that bad?

Sure you do!

Well, so do I…and if you’re free for another half-hour
(and promise not to grab it before I can get the cash
together) I’ll show you this …gorgeous little Farmall
“A,” its paint shiny bright red, original decals intact,
the huge lugged tires barely worn and …oops, I already
said that didn’t I?

Well, I’ve been waiting a long time for another one. It only
costs $2,500 (a figure with a familiar ring, come to think
of it), but I still have that Dekalb hybrid corn sign
somewhere …

Information Sources 

You must have the service manual for your tractor.
Fortunately, most are available …somewhere. Here’s where
to look.

Manuals.us bills itself as “the best place on the web to locate manuals.”

Motorbooks International
sells thousands of books and publishes scores of their own.

Antique Power, “The Tractor Collector’s Magazine.” Articles and ads for old tractors, parts, literature,
meets.

Farm Implements 

Country Mfg. Inc. Makes and sells new homestead-scale implements at
approximately the cost of used full-size including 25-bu.
and 75-bu. manure/compost speaders, small-sized farm
(dump-bed) wagons, harrows, spreaders, and horse barn
accessories. Free catalog. 


Where Have All The Tractors Gone?

Only a handful of the hundreds of old-time tractor-makers
are in business today. Some folded, some merged with others
into major corporations, and still others were absorbed by
stronger and more competitive firms. But old tractors are
more serviceable than old cars and are slow to go to the
junkyard. Many antiques with long-forgotten names languish
in backs of barns, waiting a call to work again. So you’ll
know where to look for the service manual and parts for
your old tractor, the following selected list attempts (for
the first time ever in print that we know of) to
rationalize the brand-name confusion caused by the many
interlocking ownerships, mergers, and acquisitions that
characterized a tumultuous industry over the first 50 of
the past 70 years. There is no attempt to impose order on
what was in fact a wild chaos, and arrange it in
alphabetical order. Information is current up to about
1970.

Advance-Rumley; makers of the Oil-Pull tractors and Monarch
Tractor were two of many firms merged into Allis-Chalmers
over the years. After trying an arrangement , with Fiat of
Italy, that ill-starred firm tried to quit tractor
production in 1985 and sold out to the German firm:
Klockner-Humbolt-Deutz. Contact owner-groups and collectors
for more information.

Waterloo Gasoline Engine Co (Waterloo, Iowa) was purchased
for 9.1 million dollars and change in 1918 by Deere and
Co., which used Waterloo’s bullet-proof 2-cylinder engine
in the good, green John Deere farm tractors till 1960.

Hart-Parr, Nichols & Shepherd, and Cockshutt (Canada)
merged in 1929/30 with the Oliver Chilled Plow Co. to form
the Oliver Corp., which made Hart-Parr, Oliver-Hart-Parr,
and Oliver tractors. Oliver became a subsidiary of White
Motor Corp in 1960.

David Brown, a fine tractor from Great Britain, has been
imported off and on for decades. Parts and literature are
still available in the United States and Canada, or in
England at last resort.

J. I. Case Threshing Machine Co., the major employer in
Racine, Wisconsin, since 1842, manufactured threshing
machines, steam engines, a luxury automobile, and since
1913, JI Case farm tractors. In 1960 they became a
wholly-owned subsidiary of Tenneco.

Minneapolis-Moline resulted from the merger in 1929 of
three Minnesota farm equipment companies. They made the
Twin City, Minneapolis, KT, KT-A and M-M Twin City tractors
through the mid-thirties. The first all-purpose (row crop)
tractor designed was the Moline Universal of 1917. M-M Made
Jeeps in WW II, tractors till ’69, when it merged into
White.

In the mid-thirties, a few Ferguson-Browns (Ford “9N”
prototypes) were made in England by Harry Ferguson in
partnership with David Brown. From ’46 the Ferguson TE-20
was made in England and from ’48 to ’51 the Ferguson TO-20
and a few TO-30s were manufactured in Detroit by Harry, in
a challenge to former handshake-partner Henry Ford. These
were minor variations on the Ford-Ferguson “9N,” but they
were good tractors. Three of them on tracks went to the
South Pole with Sir Edmund Hillory, and many chug on today.

When he won a patent-infringement award from Henry Ford,
Harry Ferguson went to Canada and merged with Massey-Harris
to form Massey-Ferguson of Toronto that bought the JI Case
Plow Works, but sold the Case name back to the Case
Threshing Machine Co. (that put it on Case tractors). They
made tractors under the names Massey-Harris, Wallis (Cub),
Ferguson, and Massey-Ferguson. In ’58 they bought the UK
makers of the Perkins diesel engine.

International Harvester was created by the 1902 merger of
the giant McComick and Deering harvester companies along
with their iron, twine, sawmill, and coal interests, plus
the Illinois Northern Railway into International Harvester
Co. Their product was named the Farmall, though the
McCormick and occasionally the Deering name were attached
to one or another model. Through existing dealer networks,
they made the Titan and Mogul lines of tractors in styles
ranging from the huge locomotive-like Mogul 1020 with an
engine sporting a single cylinder that was over 8″ across.

In the teens they made the Motor Cultivator, a rear-engine
design that did not sell well. To counter the Fordson, in
’24, IH brought out the Farmall, a high-bellied, row crop
tractor that reigned supreme till Ford introduced the 9N in
’39. Harvester then introduced the Raymond Lowey-designed
“A” and was back in the fray.

Nichols & Shepherd of Battle Creek, Michigan was a
major threshing machine and steam and gasoline tractor
manufacturing in the teens and ’20s. Their single-cylinder
steam engines sold for $2,500 to $3,500 as late as ’27.
They sold the N&S 25-50 and others under their name as
well as tractors made by John Lauson Co. In ’29 they merged
with Oliver, which in turn merged into White Motor.

White Farm Equipment Co., Oak Brook, Illinois, a subsidiary
of White Motor Corp., Cleveland, Ohio was formed in ’69 in
a merger between Minneapolis-Moline, Oliver, and Cockshutt.
That year, White began building the Oliver Model 1855,
which was identical to the M-M G 940. At last report they
were making the Field Boss.


Used Tractors Far Sale

Following is a sampling of actual classified ads published
in New York/New England periodicals during the winter of
1993-94 for farm tractors of all sizes dating from the
‘teens. GC is good condition, EC excellent, F Fair (runs,
but looks rough).

Pre-1960 Farm Tractors

’09 Geo. White 60 hp. steam-traction engine. museum
quality. runs ex. $13,000
‘1? Early Ford “T” converted to lug-wheel tractor. rough
but complete: $1,800
’23 Farmall F-12. steel wheels rear, single rubber in
front. Needs mag.: $900
‘2? Farmall F-12. steel wheels. rebuilt mag, fuel pump.
starts, runs good: $1,200
’23 Fordson. Stored over 60 years. no rust, complete. turns
over and fires: $2,500
’28 Hart-Parr 18-36 runs OK, needs minor work: $5,500
’31 Rumley 6. (one of 802 made) Runs. steel wheels:
$2,950
’36 Huber HK. Steel tires, runs good, new paint.
$1.800
Three prewar Mnpls.-Molines: a Z: $850, a U: $1,250, an R:
$750, a UTS: $850
’41 J Deere L with cult, el. st. “A-I” cond: $3,000
’44 Farmall Cub plow, discs, 5′ mower, scoop, corn planter.
EC $5,000
?? Massey-Harris 44. Rebuilt motor. $1,000.
?? J Deere G. New rear tires. p/s . new water pump. 3 pt
hitch. VGC $2,500
40 Case. new tires, with plow. Runs good. $1,600
49 Allis Chalmers G. rear-engine truck gardener with middle
buster, plow, listor, new rubber, show qualtity:
$2950
?? J Deere B. New rear tires, p/s and water pump. 3 pt
hitch. VGC: $2500
’47 Ford 9N. PTO. mower, hay rake, JD baler. all works.
stored inside: $4,950
?? Ford 8N. all original, incl tires/oaint. 950 firs EC.
$3,750.
?? Ford 8N. hyd front-mount snow plow $2,350. Less plow
& mount, $2,100
?? Oliver 77. w/ loader. $2,250
?? Farmall M. new rear tires. back plow. $2,000
?? Farmall Super M. Good rubber. narrow front. 12V elect.
$1,450
‘5? Oliver 6 cyl diesel w/ front-end loader. down pressure.
hi/lo range $3,500
’50 J Deere B. runs, looks good. $1,500
‘5? Farmall Super A. hydraulics, land plow, middle buster
re/b motor: $2500
‘4? Farmall Cub. Garage kept. full hydraulics. bucket. land
and snow plows, corn planter, old haying eqpt. orchard
sprayer. Gently used. $7,700
’57 Ford 800. rebuilt engine. EC. some eqpt. $3,400

Modern Tractors

Riding Mowers
’92 Craftsman 12.5 hp. 42″ mower deck. 20 hours.
$1,200
’86 Craftsman 12 hp, 2-cyl. B&S engine. 36″ mower:
$1,000

Mini Tractors
’93 Gilson GTHE 18 hp, 42″ mower & snowblower, wheel
wts. $3,850
’88 JD 140. 14 hp., 2 cyl. Kohler. Loader lifts 400 Ibs.
48″ mower: $3,500
’88 Kubota.14 hp., 2 cyl. diesel. 3-pt hitch. front/back
PTO. 42″ snowblower: $3700

“Compact” Tractors
Cub Cadet 2072. 20 hp. 413 firs. hydraulics. 50″ mower. 45″
snowblower. $5,430
Bolens 17 hp diesel. 4- way hyd snow plow. 4′ snowblower,
mower 53 firs. $7,200
Ford 1520 4WD. auto. loader, backhoe, rototiller, mower,
brush-hog. more. $8’500

Full-Sized Farm and Industrial Tractors

’65 Massey-Ferguson diesel with $4,000+ in new parts:
$6,500
’70s Case with Lord high-loader. Good farm tires:
$4,000.
’80 JI Case 580C w/ 3 yd snow bucket, extendor backhoe and
new tires: $16,500
’80s Massey Ferguson 85 hp diesel. low hrs. 3pt hitch. full
options. $15,500
’86 JD 750. Diesel 22 hp. 4WD. 3pt hitch. Front loader.
Good farm tires: $7,000
’91 Kubota backhoe/loader. 355 firs. snowblower, brush hog.
$20,500

Tractor Pulled/Powered Equipment

And here is an idea of what you can expect to pay for used
farm implements: antiques, old, newer, unpowered and
PTO-powered, a few with their own engine.
Brush Hog. 5′ wide: $850
Corn Planter. Plateless. JD M 1240, 4-row. GC: $500
Corn Planter. Ford . Fair Condition: $350
Corn chopper. New Holland Super 17: $1,500
Hay Rake. MH side delivery on steel wheels: $100
Hay Rake. JD wheel type: $500
Hay Rake. New Idea rollbar: $1,650
Hay Baler. Roanoke 21hp: $900
Hay Baler. JD 410 round baler: $3,750
Hay Elevator. 40′ 2 hp elec mtr. $425
Manure Spreader. JD. 3 Yd. EC: $700
Howard Rotovator. for 3pt hitch. GC 80″ wide: $800