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  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    28
    Location
    Midpines CA
    Tractor
    New Holland 545D, Bobcat T870

    Default Unexpected Bargains on Used Tractors

    I recently retired and returned after some years to 232 acres I owned in the Sierra foothills. I had two compact 25hp tractors, a Ford 1700 and a kubota L245DT, both 4wd with FEL. Both had been abused by the caretaker to the point that it was/is questionable if it made economic sense to repair vs. replace so I began following compact tractor offerings on Craigslist. I quickly learned two things.

    First, about 60% of the compact tractors advertised on Craigslist are scams. Unrealistically lowball prices on tractors that are always somewhere else and are an attempt to bait the unsuspecting buyer, who thinks he has found a naive seller, into a wire transfer for a deposit or similar scam. After reading a few of these the pattern became obvious, especially when it was clear from the pics the tractor was not in California. Thanks to Google, when in doubt, you can usually Google a few key words in the ad and find the same tractor advertised all over the country.

    Second, I found that low hour compact tractors not only seemed to go for a high price relative to new, but sold almost immediately if the price was anywhere close to reasonable and in good condition as shown by the pictures.

    Quite by accident, I happened to see an ad for a Ford 545D industrial skiploader for $11,500. This is a 60 hp turbo diesel with a 7' wide loader and and a 4-way hydraulic Gannon box. And most important for my use, 4wd and a PTO. Thinking this too might be a scam, I began checking into the model.

    I found two of the same model and hours at a dealer in Fresno priced at $29,500. I called and told him I was looking at the tractor for sale for a third the price and wondered what I was missing. He said what I was missing was that he was buried in his two tractors. He had given $24,000 for them in trade. He said the market for industrial equipment had collapsed. I subsequently personally verified this when I attended an equipment auction and saw dozens of even bigger skip loaders than mine going for $9500 to $12,000. What is basically happening is that while yuppie landowners are buying compact tractors, all of construction firms and rental yards are liquidating massive quantities of equipment for cents on the dollar.

    Something you may not know if you are new to the equipment market, at least in California-- tractors, ag equipment, earthmovers and the like have no state registration or title. You get a bill of sale no different than if you bought a chainsaw. This means that if you buy a tractor or a $400,000 earth mover direct from the owner there is no use tax! But, if you buy the same equipment from a dealer or through an auctioneer, sales tax is charged. This puts a California dealer at a tremendous disadvantage since he would to sell for 9% less to equal the deal one could get buying direct from an owner.

    So long story short, I bought the Ford New Holland 545D from an owner operator who also delivered it 300 miles away for $500. So how does it compare to my old compacts when they were running? In a word - POWER!! The compacts' FEL could lift about 600 lbs. The Ford lifts 6,000 I think the manual says. All I know is when a scrap metal dealer was trying to load some of my ranch yard art onto a trailer, I picked up the rear end of a heavy 1Ton truck with the tractor's engine idling. No offort at all. For earth moving, brushing, hauling heavy logs and tree stumps or carrying massive amounts of brush and trees with the forklift forks attached to the 84" bucket this thing is a workhorse.

    The main disadvantage I see over the compacts is the weight which at 12,500 lbs is not suitable for mowing your lawn or tilling your garden. But, for the price difference I can easily afford a garden rototiller or even a zero-turn mower. (Actually, I already picked up the rototiller, a Barretto 1320, a fully hydraulic 11hp beast that I got at the equipment auction for $600 -- retail $4,500)

    There is no perfect tractor for all uses just like there is no perfect airplane, but my 545D has given me capabilities that otherwise would have far exceeded my budget. Hopefully this info will prove useful to others in their tractor buying considerations.
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  2. #2
    Elite Member Baby Grand's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    3,975
    Location
    Windsor, CT.
    Tractor
    Kubotas: L3240GST B2320HST B5100D & G5200H

    Default Re: Unexpected Bargains on Used Tractors

    You look like one satisfied customer, at the helm of that beast. Congratulations on finding a great deal!
    That's the problem with trouble.
    It always starts out as such fun."
    - Randall Brown

  3. #3
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    6,272
    Location
    central New York
    Tractor
    all makes and models

    Default Re: Unexpected Bargains on Used Tractors

    You did well on your purchase and the dealer might find that the prices are rebounding well for the past few months on used construction equipment.

  4. #4
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    340
    Location
    Scotch Creek, British Columbia
    Tractor
    2010 Massey GC2610TLB

    Default Re: Unexpected Bargains on Used Tractors

    I was looking for an early 90's Case 580 and couldn't find anything below $35,000. I gave up looking and bought my Massey GC2610 TLB new.

  5. #5
    Super Member flusher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    6,610
    Location
    Sacramento
    Tractor
    Sold the farm, sold the tractors, moved back to the city

    Default Re: Unexpected Bargains on Used Tractors

    Congrats. You did good. Now you have enough tractor to handle your chores.

    No substitute for patience and aggressive shopping around. The deals will show up eventually--usually sooner than you'd expect.

    I pass the Ritchey Bros auction yard on I5 at Dunnigan CA when I'm on my way to Sacramento. A big yard that's loaded mostly with industrial equipment and commercial trucks (but some ag stuff also). I'm tempted to check out one of their auctions to see what that stuff is selling for nowadays.

  6. #6
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    16,591
    Location
    Missouri
    Tractor
    Kubota, John Deere, Case, Massey Ferguson, Ford

    Default Re: Unexpected Bargains on Used Tractors

    Very nice piece of equipment; prices haven't dropped out around here yet.
    Thread on helpful tractor abbreviations: http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/o...-acronyms.html

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    975

    Default Re: Unexpected Bargains on Used Tractors

    The larger Tl's and TLB's offer really good value on the used market. I especially like the Fords!

  8. #8
    Epic Contributor
    R.I.P.
    jinman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    21,014
    Location
    Texas - Wise County - Sunset
    Tractor
    NHTC45D, NH LB75B, Ford Jubilee

    Default Re: Unexpected Bargains on Used Tractors

    You found a great deal on a great tractor that was built to take a lot and keep on going. Industrial tractors are beasts. I think you will love your 545D, but you'll find it has more expensive maintenance and certainly will have higher repair cost if it ever breaks. Since you have a PTO, I don't see any downside to your tractor. You've purchased the right tool for most of your jobs and it will make a good partner for the big jobs. If you want a mowing tractor, you can buy a small SCUT and be happy as a clam.
    Jim


  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    28
    Location
    Midpines CA
    Tractor
    New Holland 545D, Bobcat T870

    Default Re: Unexpected Bargains on Used Tractors

    Quote Originally Posted by flusher View Post
    I pass the Ritchey Bros auction yard on I5 at Dunnigan CA when I'm on my way to Sacramento. A big yard that's loaded mostly with industrial equipment and commercial trucks (but some ag stuff also). I'm tempted to check out one of their auctions to see what that stuff is selling for nowadays.
    Ritchey has another big yard on CA99 around Tulare. There is still lots of big yellow equipment for sale.

    The auction I went to was The Auction Company in Colton. When I attended they were liquidating all kinds of equipment from rental companies. I also bought a brand new water trailer for about half price. I would have bought some smaller tools, but they had over 1,000 lots and it was 103 degrees.

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    28
    Location
    Midpines CA
    Tractor
    New Holland 545D, Bobcat T870

    Default Re: Unexpected Bargains on Used Tractors

    Quote Originally Posted by jinman View Post
    You found a great deal on a great tractor that was built to take a lot and keep on going. Industrial tractors are beasts. I think you will love your 545D, but you'll find it has more expensive maintenance and certainly will have higher repair cost if it ever breaks. Since you have a PTO, I don't see any downside to your tractor. You've purchased the right tool for most of your jobs and it will make a good partner for the big jobs. If you want a mowing tractor, you can buy a small SCUT and be happy as a clam.
    It is the OEM parts that kill you. I can grease it and change fluids. Ford/New Holland seems to be the only parts source I can find. One of the compacts my caretaker trashed was a Ford 1700 (Shibaura). I can get an air cleaner for the little kubota from Napa for $11. The equivalent part from New Holland for the Ford Shibaura is $147.

    Fortunately, the tractor work I do that is heavy for me is light work for the 545D. My main purpose for the post was to make the forum aware of other alternatives than those they would normally consider. Buying as much power as one can afford I think is pretty good advice for most situations. It is just that for most people the limiting part of that equation is the dollars. I would just advise people who have larger acreage (not cultivated) that has hills, rocks and trees that you can easily underestimate your need for strength and power. And there are uses you might never have thought of. For example, an 84" bucket makes an outstanding, stable, mobile scaffold.

    At the other end of the scale, I don't think it makes good economic sense to run a larger diesel to split wood. I have a 22 ton hydraulic splitter that (yes) my caretaker trashed that I was considering converting to run of the tractor remote. Then I saw Harbor Freight's sale on small engines which have great reviews and supposedly are not Chinese. With 6.5 hp for $129 or 13 hp with an electric start for $299 it does seem wise to run the diesel.

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