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  1. #1
    Member
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    Sep 2013
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    31
    Location
    Byron Center, MI
    Tractor
    John Deere 2210

    Default Looking to buy my first tractor, need advice on what to look for

    I need some help deciding on an old tractor. I am very new to hobby farming and owning a house. I am looking for an older tractor that will plow my 500 foot driveway, brush hog an acre field once a year, and plow a small garden (under a 1/4 acre).

    I have narrowed it down to needing a utility tractor, but I am looking at spending under $5000 for my first dive into owning a tractor. From what I can tell, this gets me to an older tractor from the 50s - 60s, which is fine. I am just having a hard time understanding what brand, how much power, and what features/options I should be looking for.

    I have seen several Ford 9N tractors for under $3000 in my area, which seem to be a great price, but not sure they will handle what I am looking for. Can anyone suggest what I should be looking for in a utility tractor that would fill my needs?

  2. #2
    Super Member dave1949's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    9,013
    Location
    Industry, Maine
    Tractor
    New Holland TC40

    Default Re: Looking to buy my first tractor, need advice on what to look for

    Welcome!

    Sorry, not that familiar with old tractors but compared to a 9N, I would look for an 8N and use an over-running PTO coupler. Those run around $2500-$3500.
    You do want one that runs when you need it, especially for the snow work.
    "Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end ..."

  3. #3
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    316
    Location
    jackson tn
    Tractor
    Allis Chalmers 416S John Deere LX280, John Deere Z225 zero turn yanmar 1401 , Oliver 550 Special, Oliver 75 Lawn Tractor, New Holland 3930 4WD, Mitsubishi BDF2 Dozer

    Default Re: Looking to buy my first tractor, need advice on what to look for

    I would stay away from the Ford N models because they have no live hydraulics and no live power take off. For $3900-5000 you can get a good utility tractor with live hydraulics, live pto and possibly power steering. I have had experience with the following tractors:1. Oliver 550 -6 speed transmission, independent pto, good parts availability great overall tractor 2. Massey 135 about the same features as the Oliver 3. Ford 641 or 841 probably easier to find.
    red

  4. #4
    Veteran Member GManBart's Avatar
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    Dec 2012
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    2,245
    Location
    Belleville, MI
    Tractor
    Ford 8N, LS R4047H, Massey Ferguson 241, Hustler Sport ZTR

    Default Re: Looking to buy my first tractor, need advice on what to look for

    Quote Originally Posted by professor View Post
    I would stay away from the Ford N models because they have no live hydraulics and no live power take off. For $3900-5000 you can get a good utility tractor with live hydraulics, live pto and possibly power steering. I have had experience with the following tractors:1. Oliver 550 -6 speed transmission, independent pto, good parts availability great overall tractor 2. Massey 135 about the same features as the Oliver 3. Ford 641 or 841 probably easier to find.
    Actually, you could get a Ford NAA (53-54) with live PTO. :-)

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    31
    Location
    Byron Center, MI
    Tractor
    John Deere 2210

    Default Re: Looking to buy my first tractor, need advice on what to look for

    Thanks for the feedback. I will look into these tractors. I actually just found out I have the option to get a free Allis Chalmers WD narrow front. I am not sure I want this as I don't believe they came with a three point hitch and the narrow fronts from what I understand aren't great it wetter areas. Thoughts?

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    1,688
    Location
    Fanning Springs, Gilchirst County, North-Central Florida
    Tractor
    Kubota Tractor Loader L3560 HST 37-hp / 5,400 pounds

    Default Re: Looking to buy my first tractor, need advice on what to look for

    First, where is Byron Center? Location is helpful in terms of weather and soil in guiding you, both important tractor considerations.

    Narrow tractors are less stabile laterally than "regular" tractors. And most new tractor operators feel uncertain at first with a "regular" tractor because they feel tippy. This feeling is reduced with seat time.

    A tractor is just a prime mover. Heavy tractor work is done with implements mounted on the Three Point Hitch, which have been standardized since the 1960's. The Three Point Hitch, invented by Harry Ferguson, was the key innovation to mechanizing ag work, and first appeared in USA on Ford tractors. The Three Point Hitch Lower Links transfer implement weight/drag to the large, rear tires; the Top Link transfers implement weight/drag to the front tires improving traction by multiples. Without a Three Point Hitch you can't accomplish much. I have never encountered a tractor with a Three Point Hitch that does not have Power Take Off (PTO) but I have limited experience with narrow tractors.

    Some (not Fords) pre-1960's tractors do not have standard spec Three Point Hitches. Research carefully and avoid.

    In order to pull and power a small (48") Bush Hog you need a tractor of around 30-hp (effective) 2,000 pounds and four wheel drive. To a certain extent, greater tractor weight will compensate for somewhat less horsepower. (i.e.: Ford 9N/8N) An old tractor may have only 75% - 80% of the horsepower today, that it had new. Weight is eternal.

    All tractors in the category will pull a single bottom 12" plow, which will turn soil to depth of 5"-6".

    Being in Florida, I have no direct experience with snow plowing. However, a rear/angle blade, mounted on the Three Point Hitch, is commonly used for snow removal. Rear/Angle blades should be 12" wider than rear tires in order to cover area when used on the angle, which is most of the time.

    The single most useful tractor option is a Front End Loader (FEL).

    One thing about the old Fords....new parts seem to be available.

    Of all tractor brands, kubota has the best reputation for parts avail on older tractors.
    Last edited by jeff9366; 09-05-2013 at 08:56 AM.
    The word tractor was taken from Medieval Latin, being the agent noun of trahere "to pull, draw".

  7. #7
    Super Member Gary Fowler's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
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    6,519
    Location
    Bismarck Arkansas
    Tractor
    2009 Kubota RTV 900, 2009 Kubota B26 TLB & 2010 model LS P7010

    Default Re: Looking to buy my first tractor, need advice on what to look for

    Quote Originally Posted by nfernandez View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. I will look into these tractors. I actually just found out I have the option to get a free Allis Chalmers WD narrow front. I am not sure I want this as I don't believe they came with a three point hitch and the narrow fronts from what I understand aren't great it wetter areas. Thoughts?
    The tricycle fronts did ball up in the mud a bit, but you really don't need to be out driving when it is that wet. If you used the hand clutch on them, you had a live PTO but the foot clutch would make the bush hog shove you forward till it stopped. There was also a conversion kit to hook up to the proprietary AC system to make it compatible with the Ferguson system (todays 3 PH style)
    You might also look for one of the smaller Farmalls (Cub, C, Super C. They make good garden tractors if you get one with the front mounted cultivators. Overall, I don't think you can beat an old Ford like the 861 or even early model 2000 or 3000 might be had within your budget
    2010 LS P-7010C 20F/20R gear tractor & FEL, 2009 Kubota B 26 TLB, RTV 900 Kubota,17 foot Lund boat with 70HP motor, 2012-20 ft 12k GVW trailer, 2011- 52" Craftsman ZTR mower, 3 weed whackers, pressure washer, leaf blowers, 7 foot bush hog, 8 foot landscape rake , 8 foot 3 PH disc, 2 row cultivator, 350 amp CC AC/DC welding machine and all the tools needed to keep them all repaired and running.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    31
    Location
    Byron Center, MI
    Tractor
    John Deere 2210

    Default Re: Looking to buy my first tractor, need advice on what to look for

    Quote Originally Posted by jeff9366 View Post
    First, where is Byron Center? Location is helpful in terms of weather and soil in guiding you, both important tractor considerations.
    Byron Center is located in west Michigan. The Allis Chalmers is a 1947, and I know they have 3 point hitch conversions available. Attached is an image of the back end, can you tell if it has the conversion?Looking to buy my first tractor, need advice on what to look for-20130831_144514.jpg

    To give more detail on the Allis Chalmers, the oil leaked out of the engine over the last two years while it hasn't been ran. Prior to that, it worked great. So it will take some work to get it going again, I am just trying to figure out if its worth my time. Am I better off just spending $3500 on a tractor that has a wide front, 3 point hitch, and live PTO? Or getting this free tractor and putting $1000 into it to get it running and converted to use 3 point hitch attachments?

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Location
    Byron Center, MI
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    John Deere 2210

    Default Re: Looking to buy my first tractor, need advice on what to look for

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Fowler View Post
    The tricycle fronts did ball up in the mud a bit, but you really don't need to be out driving when it is that wet. If you used the hand clutch on them, you had a live PTO but the foot clutch would make the bush hog shove you forward till it stopped. There was also a conversion kit to hook up to the proprietary AC system to make it compatible with the Ferguson system (todays 3 PH style)
    You might also look for one of the smaller Farmalls (Cub, C, Super C. They make good garden tractors if you get one with the front mounted cultivators. Overall, I don't think you can beat an old Ford like the 861 or even early model 2000 or 3000 might be had within your budget
    A portion of the land I have is near a wetlands area, so it tends to be a bit wet at times. No standing water but with a good rain, it can get a bit soft. Attached is a pic of the 1 acre plot after having it brush hogged. You will also see my driveway, which will need to be plowed by the tractor. Looking to buy my first tractor, need advice on what to look for-img_20130825_110735.jpg

  10. #10
    Veteran Member
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    Jan 2010
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    Piedmont, NC
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    Kubota L4610 & BX2230, Farmall Super M, Super A

    Default Re: Looking to buy my first tractor, need advice on what to look for

    The WD is a nice antique, but it's not likely to be a reliable partner for your routine work... you'll spend more time keeping it running than using it. As others say, a number series Ford, or maybe a Massey Ferguson 35 or 50, or something else with a good 3 point setup and live pto would be a better choice. Finding one in good condition is more important than what make it is.

    Nice property, by the way.

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