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  1. #1
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    Shovel and Hector

    Default School me on used tractors

    Looking for a used front loader with back hoe.

    In the auto side of things, you look at the Miles per year. Example, a 3 yr car, with less then 40,000 is good. Where a 3 yr car with 80,000 miles is bad. And people tend to avoid cars with greater then 100,000 miles. (most banks won't even lend on cars over 120,000)

    Tractors seem to have usage measured in hours. So what is the standard ratio of hours to year for tractor? (example, car is ~12,000 per yr).

    When looking at Hours, what is the equivalent of ~100,000 in the car side? That is, if you are looking at a newer car, and it turns out to have 100,000 miles, this is bad. What is considered high hours? 400hr, 800hr, 10,000hr, 100,000,000hr??

    When looking at a used car, there are select things to look for, that may hint to future issues. What is the equivalent in the tractor world?

    Leaky cylinders? Damaged hoses? Bent metal? Basically, what should one focus on reviewing when looking at a used tractor?

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
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    May 2005
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    Balls Creek, NC
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    New Holland Workmaster 50, Ford 4610 SU

    Default Re: School me on used tractors

    Parts availability, condition, hours.

  3. #3
    Super Member
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    central New York
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    all makes and models

    Default Re: School me on used tractors

    When I was in college for Auto technology most cars were built with a design life span of 10 years and 100,000 miles with high end cars going for ten years and 250,000 miles. Today we have cad programs doing the design work but for everything I know it is still about the same. Interesting enough there is still other factors that enter into it as the warrantee of some things are considered into the cost of the equipment.
    Tractor wise we have seen some makes go with commercial operations we have seen some go past 10,000 hours with minimal repairs! We also see them that can't make it past 4000 hours without needing major work!!! Did you know that for a home owner built tractor they only figure for an average of 100 hours a year!!! That is something to think about because what we are talking about is not the fit and finish of the hood or dash of the tractor but everything below it that you don't look at!! The items you question as far as cylinders and leaky hoses often are just a tell tale of how much the owner takes pride in what he is doing and how much care he has given the machine.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
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    Dec 2012
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    Upstate SC
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    Kubota L4330, Ford 1700, JD 2210, Takeuchi TB135 Excavator

    Default Re: School me on used tractors

    I would consider a tractor with 2,000 hours to be the equivalent of a modern car with 100k miles. A modern car with 100k should have about half it's useful life left, maybe more (maybe less). I would consider this hours / mileage ratio to be linear - i.e. a tractor with 1,000 hrs is equivalent to a 50k mile car, etc. These statements assume a CUT style tractor. Compact Utility Tractors should have a useful life of 4-5000 hours.

    With tractors, as with autos, it is all about how the previous owner took care of the machine. The ideal machine has a full record of all services and repairs. It would have been kept indoors, always. It should appear clean and shiny with no leaks or damage. It should be operated by the owner, only - not as part of a business. This is similar to the items you would look for in a used car. One problem - I've bought quite a few machines and I've NEVER bought one with any type of service history. Also, most have a small leak or imperfection of some sort.

    When I buy anything used, I usually make the decision on purchasing it when I drive up the owner's property. The general appearance of the machine, the condition of the property upon which it sits, and the attitude and knowledge of the owner generally will tell you what you need to know. The inspection and test drive is just a confirmation.

    If you are familiar with inspecting cars and trucks for defects and can check and engine for blowby, check for leaks, and understand the basic operation of a tractor - you certainly can buy a used tractor with confidence.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Super Member
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    all makes and models

    Default Re: School me on used tractors

    To add a little more, we find that after 15 to 20 years there is often parts issue with remarketed tractors. By that I mean built by one company and another's name put on! As far as the tractor life, they vary with the initial build quality with a low of about four to five thousand maximum to high quality at 10,000 with about the same in repair costs to get them there. Mind you the average home owner plus only puts on about 100 hours a year!

  6. #6
    Veteran Member
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    Western PA
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    John Deere 5083E MFWD, Kubota L3400 HST

    Default Re: School me on used tractors

    There is no correlation. Its all about the maintenance. AS far as parts, the bigger manufacture's tend to have better parts availability. I just bought a slew of parts for a straight 550 JD dozer undercarriage with no problems from them.
    '11 John Deere 5083E, 563NSL Loader, MX10 Mower, 78" Bucket, Forks/Bale spear (interchangeable)
    L3400 Kubota HST Loader, finish mower, rake, scraper blade, Gin pole, Kustom Fab front hydraulic snow plow (Inspired by ASGAR)
    JD 550 Dozer 6 way blade and winch
    JD 450B Track Loader
    Case 480C Backhoe W/ Extend-a-hoe

    '01 International 4700 LP, DT530, Allison MD3060, Air Ride, Crew Cab
    '11 Moritz 20+5 14.5K GN with adj. Tail
    ''08 700R Raptor

  7. #7
    Super Member dodge man's Avatar
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    West central Illinois
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    Kubota BX2350

    Default Re: School me on used tractors

    A lot of it depends on the tractor and its usage. For example, construction equipment and larger ag tractors, a 1000 hours might be equivalent to 10,000 miles on a car. A cheaper riding mower, 100 hours might be the same as 20,000 miles on a car. It's really not the same and hard to compare.
    Dave,
    BX2350

  8. #8
    Veteran Member rScotty's Avatar
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    Rural mountains - Colorado
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    Kubota M59, JD530, JD310SG. Restoring Yanmar YM165D

    Default Re: School me on used tractors

    Quote Originally Posted by bspeedy View Post
    I would consider a tractor with 2,000 hours to be the equivalent of a modern car with 100k miles. A modern car with 100k should have about half it's useful life left, maybe more (maybe less). I would consider this hours / mileage ratio to be linear - i.e. a tractor with 1,000 hrs is equivalent to a 50k mile car, etc. These statements assume a CUT style tractor. Compact Utility Tractors should have a useful life of 4-5000 hours.

    With tractors, as with autos, it is all about how the previous owner took care of the machine. The ideal machine has a full record of all services and repairs. It would have been kept indoors, always. It should appear clean and shiny with no leaks or damage. It should be operated by the owner, only - not as part of a business. This is similar to the items you would look for in a used car. One problem - I've bought quite a few machines and I've NEVER bought one with any type of service history. Also, most have a small leak or imperfection of some sort.

    When I buy anything used, I usually make the decision on purchasing it when I drive up the owner's property. The general appearance of the machine, the condition of the property upon which it sits, and the attitude and knowledge of the owner generally will tell you what you need to know. The inspection and test drive is just a confirmation.

    If you are familiar with inspecting cars and trucks for defects and can check and engine for blowby, check for leaks, and understand the basic operation of a tractor - you certainly can buy a used tractor with confidence.
    Good luck.
    I think I agree with everything bSpeedy has said, and would like emphasize where he said: those figures are for "Compact Utility Tractors with a useful life of 4000 to 5000 hours."

    Just like there are higher end cars i.e. Lexus, Mercedes - which are built to last longer, the same longer life does exist in tractors. But that higher quality of build is rare to non-existant in the compact tractor world. You see it everyday in the commercial agriculture tractors and the industrial tractors and TLBs. All of those are built for a life of about twice the compacts. Expectations are for those to have a service life of 8000 to 10000 hours - with some service just a part of the game. Most industrial machines have a "sweet spot" at 3000 hours and that's where rental yards and big industry likes to pass their machines on to smaller businesses.

    The only reason I mention this at all is because a very few manufacturers - JD and kubota are good examples - make a complete line of machines deliberately targeting all kinds of owners from the most basic homeowner type with a 2000 hr life all the way up to ruggedized industrial machines expected to go a full 10K hrs with only routine maintenance. Routine maintenance in the industrial meaning includes rather more than most owners would expect - including not only lubs & filters, but plus hoses, tracks, tires, and maybe some controls & control valves. Maybe even an axle bearing. But no major engine or transmission work.

    And just as bspeedy says, I also usually make the decision when I first drive up to the owner's property to look at a machine. Condition tells all.
    rScotty

  9. #9
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    Kubota L4610 & BX2230, Farmall Super M, Super A

    Default Re: School me on used tractors

    Quote Originally Posted by rScotty View Post
    The only reason I mention this at all is because a very few manufacturers - JD and kubota are good examples - make a complete line of machines deliberately targeting all kinds of owners from the most basic homeowner type with a 2000 hr life all the way up to ruggedized industrial machines expected to go a full 10K hrs with only routine maintenance. Routine maintenance in the industrial meaning includes rather more than most owners would expect - including not only lubs & filters, but plus hoses, tracks, tires, and maybe some controls & control valves. Maybe even an axle bearing. But no major engine or transmission work.
    rScotty
    It should be noted that, at least with the Kubota "industrial" TLB's, those models share engines, transmissions and other drivetrain components with the equivalent "homeowner" compact tractors, so at least those components go to customers with basically the same potential service life, regardless of whether it's an "industrial" or "homeowner" machine. The heavier chassis and stronger hydraulics give an advantage to an "industrial" unit in both performance and durability.

    Totally agree with this definition of routine maintenance. Apart from structural failures, most of the components on a tractor are repairable or replaceable.

  10. #10
    Platinum Member Monster5601's Avatar
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    Oakland, MI
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    Kubota B3030 R4 Tires

    Default Re: School me on used tractors

    Quote Originally Posted by DaKing View Post
    Tractors seem to have usage measured in hours. So what is the standard ratio of hours to year for tractor? (example, car is ~12,000 per yr).


    When looking at a used car, there are select things to look for, that may hint to future issues. What is the equivalent in the tractor world?

    Leaky cylinders? Damaged hoses? Bent metal? Basically, what should one focus on reviewing when looking at a used tractor?
    My tractor dealer, for the area we live and the usage (non-commercial) most all utility tractors see, he uses the 100 hours per year rule.

    In addition, look for sun-soaked hoses, all pins properly greased, under carriage fluid leaks, cracks in the housings, and scheduled maintenance records. Also, have the owner prove he is the legal owner and there is no lien on the tractor.
    Bob, n8zcc

    Kubota B3030 with R4s
    LA403, 60" bucket with hooks, bolt-on tooth bar, ratchet rake
    BH76 with 16" bucket and thumb
    Kubota Pallet Folks
    Bush Hog 35-06 72" Rear Blade
    Bush Hog SBX60 Box Blade
    Bush Hog Razorback RZ160
    Bush Hog RG72 Road Grader
    Kubota ZD323-60
    Kubota RTV900 with Curtis hydraulic angle plow

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