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  1. #1
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    John Deere 401C

    Default Old Farm Hoes: Gas vs. Diesel

    I've been searching around for an old backhoe to use at the farm in the $3,000 to $8,000 price range (would like closer to three ) and have come across alot of differant TLB's. Obviously I'm looking at older units and probably not in the best of shape but one of my main questions revolves around the power unit. I see alotof gassers along with the diesels. Beyond the diesels probably burning less fuel, are there any MAJOR disadvantages to the gas motors? I knowmy way around a wrench (been an auto mech fo years) but I've never worked on much diesel powered equipment (although the Cummins I drive now has given me lots of wrench time). How much more fuel will a gas unit burn than a diesel? Ideally I'd like to find either a Case 580C or a John deere 310/ 410. Mostly just digging trenches fo running water and electric lines, rock picking, round bale moving and light excavation work (moving lose dirt, filling in holes in the path, lifting up raftes for lean to's, etc.). Any thoughts ideas or opinions are welcome.

    Thanks.

    Big John

  2. #2
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    High Rolls NM
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    MF 50H LBH

    Default Re: Old Farm Hoes: Gas vs. Diesel

    I had an old Case hoe with a gas motor & an Allis Chalmers WD with gas.
    If it won't run you can figure it out in about 2 minutes. A diesel is a mystery that stinks and sounds like it's gonna blow up when everything is right, when it's broken who knows what died.
    Have a MF50 hoe now with a Perkins, wish I had the Case back.
    Joe H

  3. #3
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Farm Hoes: Gas vs. Diesel

    a case will be a nice unit.

    alternately.. a good 3 digit series ford tlb like a 555 would be nice.. just hard to find low priced ones.

    I have been looking on and off for a limited use hoe around my place for a few years. anything ai found int he 3-5K range was clapped out and used up. get arround 8-10K and you can get some useable units.

    i ended up opting for a 3pt backhoe for which i made a semi-mount frame for one of my old tractors.

    fuel consumption will depend on engine speed needed to get adequate pump flow. I'm lucky and my 3pt hoe had a good size pump so that I can use the thing at near idle and get good digging response on my gasser tractor.

    don't be afraind of a 'good' gasser.. but be aware that anything with a hoe was industrial equipment, and likely used in a commercial venture and has likely had lots of operators and owners and hours on her.

    soundguy

  4. #4
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    John Deere 401C

    Default Re: Old Farm Hoes: Gas vs. Diesel

    Thanks for the input guys.

    New question/ thought...

    What is the weight difference between the gassers and diesel? Which models are under 10k pounds? Is it better to have a heavier unit that would require outside help to transport (buddy with trailer, not as high of cost as trucking company) or a lighter unit hat may not be as powerful or stable? 100% of the work I personally need to use it for is on our 250 acres so transport's not an issue for that but if a friend neds a hole dug or some other help I'd like to be able to move it over to help out.

    What kind of weights would I expect on a Case 480 vs 580 vs 680 vs JD 310 vs JD410 etc.? How tall are these? ie. how low of a deck do I need on a trailer to not snag a 13'6" overpass? I have a TT frame that I could convert into a trailer to haul a hoe on but it only has two single wheel axles. I'm not sure whether they are 6,000 or 7,000 lb axles (they are 8 lug) but if I could build the trailer specifically to haul the machine and keep it under 3,000 pounds I could theoretically haul a 9k - 11k machine. What units fall into the under 9k category?

  5. #5
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    ym1700, NH7610S, Ford 8N, 2N, NAA, 660, 850 x2, 541, 950, 951, 2000, 3000, 4000, 4600, 5000, 740, IH 'C' 'H', CUB, John Deere 'B', allis 'G', case VAC

    Default Re: Old Farm Hoes: Gas vs. Diesel

    a gasser and diesel of the same model should essentially weight the same.

    as for individual weights.. try places like tractordatya. their stuff ain't 100% correct always.. but it's a good ballpark figure usually.

    larger units will have longer booms and dippersticks.. so keep that in mind on the trailer height issues. might need pierced fram or lowboy.. etc.

    I like to be able to move anything i own without calling someone else.. but that is up to you.

    soundguy

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Old Farm Hoes: Gas vs. Diesel

    Get the diesel. Start and go. I have several fork lifts with gasoline engines. If you use them every day they are fine. If they sit, you may wrench on them as much as you use them. The older 480s/310s are 10-12,000 lbs. The 580/410s 12-15,000 lbs. I don't know much about Case, but I have 4 John Deeres, they are all diesel and they all run well. My favorite diesel feature, is NO CARBURETOR!!

  7. #7
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    ym1700, NH7610S, Ford 8N, 2N, NAA, 660, 850 x2, 541, 950, 951, 2000, 3000, 4000, 4600, 5000, 740, IH 'C' 'H', CUB, John Deere 'B', allis 'G', case VAC

    Default Re: Old Farm Hoes: Gas vs. Diesel

    a well maintained gasser can set near a year and be good to go. at least a season anyway.

    soundguy

  8. #8
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    SSTT (Sideways Snake Tain Tractor) and STB (sideways train box) tractor, dirt harvester

    Default Re: Old Farm Hoes: Gas vs. Diesel

    i was in same boat as you a year or 2 ago.

    i went and searched for a generic small size 3pt backhoe. costs went from 2,000 to 8,000 bucks.

    i looked at tow behind backhoe (backhoe on custom built trailer for it with out riggers on trailer) cost ran 3000 to 6000 bucks.

    i began looking at TLB (tractor loader backhoes) more so construction version of tractors were the backhoe was permentaly fixed. and if you took off there was no 3 pt hitch. 5000 to 24000 bucks.

    i never had a diesel before, so like you was kinda worked up of what do i do?!?!? to be honest, now that i have the ford / new holland 555c TLB. diesel is way to go. granted it means another couple cans for fuel, and different engine oil type vs standard gas engines. and learning that engine oil can quickly turn black in diesel engines and it is ok. and learning that you never want to run a diesel out of gas, or it can take 2 people to use hand pump primer and cranking engine slowly to reprime fuel lines and injectors.

    i also learned that it pays to get a "block heater" more so since i do not have shed big enough to fit the 555c into. and -5 F temps out in wind. having that block heater made that baby start. while my regular s10 blazer regular gas vehicle would not turn over, had to have battery charged, and even then had problems to start. the one thing this coming winter will be a battery warmer as well. batteries hold less charge colder it gets. and for me needing to get out of drive in -5 degrees i need it.

    ========================
    most tractors have a "road gear" that can let you move 20 mph. how many times have you seen local cities have there TLB moving around a city to do things? same thing. also general tractors going to fields with plows and plants. same thing in have a "road gear"

    just note, as soon as you get on a road and driven the tractor down the road. you are technically suppose to pay road tax. if you have off road diesel in the fuel tank. and of course if you get on road, pending on state laws, having blinkers, tail / flashers / slow moving triangle, head lights, etc.. need to be in working order.

    =========================
    to be honest, once i got the shop manual for the 555c, and dealt with the general engine oil change and filter, and the hyd oil and filter change, and air cleaner filters. and all the grease zerks on a TLB. (there are a lot of them) a diesel was easy to figure out and deal with. granted i am no mechanic and have relyed on TBN soundguy and J_J first come to mind in helping me!

    as far as getting a old TLB same boat as you. 80 acres here. i hit various websites....

    Used Tractors For Sale at TractorHouse.com: John Deere Tractors, used farm tractors and farm equipment, tractors for sale, Case IH, New Holland, Agco, Kubota
    machinetrader.com
    craigslist: chicago classifieds for jobs, apartments, personals, for sale, services, community, and events -> use SearchTempest - The EASY way to search Craigslist allows better searching of craigslist
    IRON Search - New & Used Farm Machinery - Tractors - Agricultural Equipment for Sale - By Dealers & Owner
    found the local tradin post websites and used them.
    i know i am forgetting a couple other websites.

    machinetrader.com was the best for me in finding the most tractors.

    i made a list of tractors i wanted to see and test drive, i want to say 13, and took a day trip 4am in morning left, and got back like midnight.

    for me, it was worth searching for TLB that were approx 3 hours away in any direction from me. when ya talking 7000 plus bucks and more. a day or two to go look at tractors is will worth the time. even if ya have to take a vacation day or 2. on these older tractors i would caution never buy sight un-seen. and without a physical test drive by yourself. or you may end up with a junker that costs more in parts than what you bought it for.

    3 cylinder vs 4 cylinder diesel. BOY talk about large difference in power. it was night and day difference.

    since i never been on a TLB before. i didn't have much of a clue of what to look for. and quickly found out. that you need to test all gears both forward and reverse.

    you also need to check for sloppyness in the FEL (front end loader) and backhoe. when i say sloppyness, you go to swing backhoe left or right at full leveler, and then release it, and the backhoe keeps on swinging then, it swings back and forth for some time. other words the pins and holes if they are worn a lot can cause you problems when ya get hang of things and like to work at a higher throttle but can not due to everything shakes and rattles to much.

    also check greese zerts spots and make sure they are all there. it may look very very ugly with old dried up grease all over the place, vs say a tractor that looks like in been cleaned up all nice and neat like new. the old nasty unit may be better, and the all clean up one, may be cleaned up to help hide leaks.

    the over all hydraulics, and tranmission. get in it and test it out while engine and all oil is still cold, then you should let the engine run at a high idle for say 30 minutes (test drive while doing it) to let everything warm up. then at end of 30 minutes, do a another gear check to make sure you can go through them all both forward and reverse and see if tractor is more sluggish or like. as far as hydraulics for FEL and backhoe. operate all of them again. and see if there is any more sloppyness in them. (warmer oil = higher chance of sloppyness) once done. lift the FEL all the way up shut off tractor and give it 20 minutes see if it falls back down. to help give idea if valves and/or seals might be leaking. then alternate to the backhoe and do same thing.

    also do a good break test. (all i saw had "split breaks") a left and right brake pedal for rear tires. make sure FEL is low to ground. get a little bit of speed and slam on left and then redo on right peddle and see if they will stop you and spin you. (and they will spin you if they are in good working order) note you can risk possible roll over. so do not try and turn with steering wheel. and keep things in low speed low gear. there were a couple i tested that had weak brakes. do not know if they just needed links adjusted or not.

    if you are buying this from a single person vs some dealer. ask to check out there tool shed, and check to see if they have the tools, oils, etc... that would needed to do regular maintenance on stuff. if they do not then more likely filters and new oil etc.. will need to be done and unit has been abused pretty good. if from dealer ask for a copy of there maintenance log.

    tred on tires and overall tires. my one beef is 50% or less tred = a lot more slipping and sliding and getting stuck. vs 100% brane new tires. been there recently and having good tred makes night and day difference. and tractor tires are not cheap by no means. 1000 plus a piece.

    to be honest, i would say forget helping a friend or less they live a couple miles down the road. and go with a bigger unit that can get things done that you need to get done. if a friend or family member needs something. and in short distance and tractor is road ready ok. but else i say let them deal with renting something that might work for them better. i realize this is mean. but, ya not buying it for them. ya buying it for what you need to get done. granted i doubt i would mind running tractor for an hour down road to help out on things, but that is pushing it. i am not setting myself up to be a professional and moving equipment all around to do various jobs.

    also to note i think most of the TLBs i looked like had majority of the lights, backup alarms, wipes, and other general electronics that did not revolve around the actual unit running, was in dis-may, (broken, cut out, disconnected, etc...) so if ya want to drive on road there some extra cost.

    as far as trailerling the unit home. i would say ya better off contacting some local haulers or local tractor repair shops. they will have the the truck and the trailer and have everything legal to be able to pull things home.

    as far old TLB, cab vs non cab version. there seems to be only a 2,000 or so difference. vs brane spanking new tractors with cab costs almost as much as a bare bone tractor version times 2!. for me the cold weather did it in. the fan for the heater core inside cab does not work. and i had some plexi glass laying around to put in some windows (by no mean looks any were near pretty) but keeping that wind off you while you work. and able to open a window during summer and have some shade makes a large difference for me. that and unit stays outside due to not large enough shed. so the cab makes it nicer, of not having to clean off controls and seat come winter time of snow and ice.

    SHUTTLE SHIFT!! a must, at least for me. granted i do some stupid stuff. and reach back and forth between backhoe and steering wheel. but if i had to push in a foot clutch each and every time. many of the projects could take almost twice as long. ((my foot and leg)) would just not hold up to the abuse of constantly shifting.

    while 4wd or MFWD would be awesome. it is not necessary. and if it is that muddy to need 4wd drive or MFWD then i am better off staying home, vs making ruts and having to regrade the ruts back out later on. about only thing 4wd or MFWD would be allowing easier loader work.

    ====================
    i am on 80 acres. jobs for me are / was. culverts, trenches, tree stumps, skidding some logs out of pasture, moving dirt from one corner to other corner of property ((approx 1/2 to 3/4 mile each way)) for me it was worth paying for a 4 cylinder diesel. granted it was i think 12,000 to 15,000 bucks. vs a smaller 3 cylinder unit. but those couple thousand dollars gave me bigger tractor with more power. and if ya having to do 100 trips back and forth all day. that extra room in FEL and larger backhoe bucket plus power / speed come up quick and very nice.

    a full day to me is approx 8 to 9 am to a 8 to 9 pm. so about 10 to 12 hour day. and i can go through about 10 gallons of diesel. but that is a non stop use, and just a 30 minute break for lunch, a couple snacks, and rest is running it, and few times on /off to deal with trees and like and hooking up a chains to stuff.

    ====================
    to note it. renting a TLB or just an excavotor for jobs around here on the 80 acres vs buying a TLB. buying a TLB came out way cheaper more so once all the jobs get done. and then the "convince factor" comes into play. of just being able to hop in turn key and away you go. vs hassle of waiting for things arrive or hauling to and from a rental place. and like you i think inital budget was like 1500 bucks, then 3000 bucks, then 7,000 bucks.. then once the boss lady went with me and checked out the tractors with me. price went up further. granted it was more than wanted to spend. but so far it has paid for itself vs hiring things out and/or rental fees and hauling fees for a rental.

    granted if i had a large size truck with beeffed up suspension a good tow package in it. along with a good heavy duty trailer with breaking system on it. it might be a different story. but since i do not. the hauling fees, gas, hassle of renting etc.. added up quickly and as a result tractor is paid for when looking at things that way.
    Ryan

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Old Farm Hoes: Gas vs. Diesel

    Soundguy, I have a question. Do you use inline fuel shutoffs on any of your gas tractors? I use them on small engines, maybe using them on bigger engines would be worthwhile.

  10. #10
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Farm Hoes: Gas vs. Diesel

    every ford tractor I have has a fuel shutoff under the tank as provided by the factory, when built 40-60 ys ago.

    soundguy

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