Buying Advice Buying used, how many hours are too many?

   #1  

popsx3

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Looking to buy a used Kubota or whatever comes up in my price range. I see a bunch with up to 900 hours on them. Considering I'll use it clip around 10 acres once a month, maybe disc a garden, and scrape the road . I have a 1974 Ford 3000 that I'm tired of patching, no idea how many hours it has, but past it's prime, looking for something to just climb on and go. What is your cut off?
Thanks,
Pops
 
   #2  

Peter 315

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I have over 700 hundred hours on my L3800 still runs like new.......It depends on how hard the hours were put on it could be junk in a couple hundred hours...I start mine and let it warm up and cool down before shut down always change the oil and air filters......900 hundred hours is not much if taken care of.....
 
   #3  

dodge man

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Like a lot of things, there is no black and white answer. I kind of think of 1000 hours on small tractors being like 100,000 miles on a car. It’s not exact though, for a large ag tractor or construction equipment 1000 hours is very low. With tractors and equipment it’s more about maintenance and care. 900 hours on a small tractor could mean it’s used up or it could be in great shape.
 
   #4  

Steppenwolfe

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Look around. If it was me, under 500 hours for sure, under 250 even better. Lot's of guys out there like me, tractor time is mostly play time. My MX is 7 1/2 years old and I just hit 180 hours.
 
   #5  

Storm56

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Hours are certainly a consideration, but by no means the only criteria. Compact diesels are more than capable of 10,000 hours if maintenance is good and not abused. Sadly most never come close to that. It is not hard to tell if a machine has been abused. Look for a clean unit that demonstates it's owner had pride of ownership.

I look for something that has been kept in a garage and has had regular maintenance. It is pretty easy to look at the unit and make a judgement if the owner used it a lot out of it's design parameters.

I equate 1000 hours to about 40,000 miles on a diesel pickup, really just getting broken in. Would much rather buy a clean well cared for unit with 1500-2000 hours than an abused unit with 300. Two years ago I bought a nice John Deere 790 with 670 hours. Works as new. There were a few things that required attention but after addressing them it has performed flawlessly.

Good luck in your search.
 
   #6  

fried1765

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Hours are certainly a consideration, but by no means the only criteria. Compact diesels are more than capable of 10,000 hours if maintenance is good and not abused. Sadly most never come close to that. It is not hard to tell if a machine has been abused. Look for a clean unit that demonstates it's owner had pride of ownership.

I look for something that has been kept in a garage and has had regular maintenance. It is pretty easy to look at the unit and make a judgement if the owner used it a lot out of it's design parameters.

I equate 1000 hours to about 40,000 miles on a diesel pickup, really just getting broken in. Would much rather buy a clean well cared for unit with 1500-2000 hours than an abused unit with 300. Two years ago I bought a nice John Deere 790 with 670 hours. Works as new. There were a few things that required attention but after addressing them it has performed flawlessly.

Good luck in your search.

^^^^^ I agree with the 40,000 mile comparison.
 
   #7  

4570Man

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^^^^^ I agree with the 40,000 mile comparison.

My gas burner 6.0 suburban had at the point the dash cluster died 292,000 miles and over 9,000 hours. My bucket truck with a DT466 is also over 9,000 hours.
 
   #8  

Tractor Seabee

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My 2011 BX has 1500+ HRs. Runs and operates same as when new. Body panels show the hours but that is all replaceable easily for around $500. If and when I want to sell (probably a couple years), buy the fix up items and increase price a couple thousand. Never been garaged but new sheet metal and plastic parts will make it look like new.

Ron
 
   #9  

redman135

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I would be more concerned with the maintenance than the hours.
Does it have records? (some people are meticulous).
Was it shed stored?
Was the owner a careful operator, or indifferent or a wrecker?
These 3 questions have more relevance to me than the hours.
 
   #10  

Hay Dude

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I would be more concerned with the maintenance than the hours.
Does it have records? (some people are meticulous).
Was it shed stored?
Was the owner a careful operator, or indifferent or a wrecker?
These 3 questions have more relevance to me than the hours.

Me, too. Would rather buy clean, maintained, shedded 2000 hr tractor than 1000 hr left outside with little maintenance
It would sell for less too.
 
   #11  

edgarrian

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I put on just a bit under 100 hours a year. So in ten years ill have 1000 hours. Thats not a lot really. I feel like equipment that has of upwards of 4000 hours is a used machine.

But you can be looking at a machine with 1000 hrs compared to one with 3000hrs and the latter might be in better condition. I keep up with maintenance and look after my equipment some owners do not do this. For instance my dealer took in a machine where the gentleman forgot to put his air filter back in his tractor. Yes you read that right. It had a mouse nest in there instead of the filter. So his tractor sits outside and clearly isn't taking care of it. Luckily for that guy he didnt cause any major damage but i sure in the **** would not want to buy his tractor if he ever put it up for sale.

My dad has had his kubota since 94. It still runs good. He use to install new grass for homeowners. So that tractor really had some hours on it for about its first 10 years. But today it still runs fine. Clearly its not new but it operates fine. I would not be afraid to buy it.

Buying used comes down to your willingness to look the machine over. Checking hydraulic hoses, looking at filters to see if they have been changed. Running the machine. Don't be afraid to lightly pull on things. Check the level of hydraulic oil. Check grease fittings. When running the hydraulics listen for that noise that indicates grease isn't being used. when running the machine engage the pto.

I really feel like tractors are better equipped to handle time over a car.
 
   #12  

aczlan

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My gas burner 6.0 suburban had at the point the dash cluster died 292,000 miles and over 9,000 hours. My bucket truck with a DT466 is also over 9,000 hours.
We have a 5.3L powered Yukon with around 185k miles and around 5300 hours on it.
For tractors condition matters more to me than hours up to around 2500 hours.

Aaron Z
 
   #13  

tradosaurus

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Just make sure the tractor isn't stolen. Some of the horror stories I've read I'm glad I bought new.
 
   #14  

nards444

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If it were me nothing over 1000. When I was looking I wanted under 500. With that said hours matter but so does age, two things that wear things out time and use. But obviously how it was taken care of, stored etc matter. But I wouldnt be buying anything into the thousands. Ive seen 10,000 hours mentioned, but I think thats a strech for the the livelyhood of an engine, I would think more like 3-5000 is realistic
 
   #15  

fried1765

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My gas burner 6.0 suburban had at the point the dash cluster died 292,000 miles and over 9,000 hours. My bucket truck with a DT466 is also over 9,000 hours.

My "agree with the 40,000 mile comparison" was agreement with the Storm56 comment of "just broken in".
Are you suggesting that 292,000 miles also equates with "just broken in"?
 
   #16  

kthompson

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The 10,000 hours is a number have heard from many in the farming industry. For some tractors that may be less than 10 years. For others as been pointed out never will see 2,000 hours just rust away. I do care how many hours on a tractor but also concerned with too few of hours. If a tractor is run say 52 hours a year, that is an average of 1 hour per week. That tractor may have been cranked up say twice for each hour on it so to me a lot of startups which is when a bit part of wear takes place, especially if cold start ups.
At same time the real low hour, how much OLD fuel is run through it?
 
   #17  

nards444

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The 10,000 hours is a number have heard from many in the farming industry. For some tractors that may be less than 10 years. For others as been pointed out never will see 2,000 hours just rust away. I do care how many hours on a tractor but also concerned with too few of hours. If a tractor is run say 52 hours a year, that is an average of 1 hour per week. That tractor may have been cranked up say twice for each hour on it so to me a lot of startups which is when a bit part of wear takes place, especially if cold start ups.
At same time the real low hour, how much OLD fuel is run through it?

Different between commercial/farming, and home owner use though good and bad.
 
   #18  

mred2

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I had two friends. One had an old dozer, low hours, shed kept. Other person wanted a dozer. The machine had been started about twice a year for the past 7 years. But no use. The seals and hoses in it were all past their life. The man had to take half of what he wanted. The man that got it had to spend over $10,000 on repairs the first 60 days. I start my machines and run them for at least 30 minutes to an hour every month. If I have time, at least 2 hours. And as stated, maintenance.
 
   #19  

Hay Dude

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The 10,000 hours is a number have heard from many in the farming industry. For some tractors that may be less than 10 years. For others as been pointed out never will see 2,000 hours just rust away. I do care how many hours on a tractor but also concerned with too few of hours. If a tractor is run say 52 hours a year, that is an average of 1 hour per week. That tractor may have been cranked up say twice for each hour on it so to me a lot of startups which is when a bit part of wear takes place, especially if cold start ups.
At same time the real low hour, how much OLD fuel is run through it?

Could indicate a replaced dash cluster or hours have been turned back, too.
I was talking to a tech a few months ago for an AGCO dealer and on bigger equipment, they routinely see MANN and SISU Diesel engines found in Fendt and Massey tractors run 15000 hours without ever being opened up for repairs.
I have a SISU Diesel in my Massey that has about 6000 hours on it and I wouldnt be afraid of buying it.
 
   #20  

4570Man

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My "agree with the 40,000 mile comparison" was agreement with the Storm56 comment of "just broken in".
Are you suggesting that 292,000 miles also equates with "just broken in"?

No for light duty vehicles 300,000 miles is pretty much junked.
 
   #21  

mikester

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3000 hours on a well maintained Kubota diesel CUT isn't a lot of hours, you would probably get up to 5000+hrs on that machine before running into any issues.

5000+ hours on used construction equipment diesels isn't unusual, at 10,000+ hours things start getting worn.

It all depends on the maintenance and degree of abuse the machine gets during it's life.

This guy's SCUT will likely NOT last 3000 hours
https://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/owning-operating/426034-play-ssqa-frame-loader-normal.html
 

bdog

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My tractor has over 8,000 hours. I bought it in 2014 and have had to do nothing to it but oil and filter changes, grease, and replace the battery this year.
 

crashz

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My father has a Cat 912 Loader with just over 24,000 hours. Looks like all original drive-train. Runs decent. Looks OK. Was used in a saw mill. Equipment can last a long time if taken care of.
 

3 Horse Ranch

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Forty years ago I operated a Hyster 225 wirh a GMC V6 propane engine. It was about 6 years old when I started operating it. I put close to 1000 hours a year on it as had the operators before me. When the mill shut down a few years later it had over 10,000 hours and ran great. A metal fabrication shop bought it and later sold it to another shop. In 2010 it was still running just fine.

Worked for a gravel company and got talking to one of the mechanics. He said the average dump truck operated at the rate of approximately 22 miles per hour of engine service. Most of those trucks, Macks and Kenworths went over a half million miles without any major problems. That works out to over 22,500 hours. Heavy duty industrial engines are built for the long haul, ag engines have to be close behind. I can't imagine any tractor manufacturer staying in business if their tractors were all worn out junk at 1000 hours. As others have said, it's more about maintenance than it is meter hours.
 

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Another consideration: I think heat is the most common killer of all moving parts. I try to find equipment with bigger displacement engines whenever possible. Mechanics constantly tell me to buy the bigger motor.
My M126 and M135 Kubotas have the bigger 6.1L engines. The smaller M105, 110, etc have enough size for what I do, but they have a smaller 3.8L diesel. That engine will have to work harder, hotter and wear out faster.

Look at what tractors you are buying, and if they are pretty much dead even, see if one has a larger engine. Even if they are the same HP, given equal maintenance, I would bet the larger displacement will last longer because the block and pistons dissipate heat better and heat kills. Also, usually larger displacement engines can accomplish same work output with lower RPM and lower RPMs (not lugging) will also cause less wear & heat.
 

finn1

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Medium truck Diesels are typically designed for a b10 life of 500000 miles at a 25 mph average road speed, and a 25% - 30% duty factor. Ag engine’s used for commercial tilling are more like 50% duty factor, and I suspect these small cut and scut tractors are more like 10%.

Hours are only part of what goes into defining machine life. If you’re concerned, buy new with a warranty. Useful life is a sliding scale, with hours, time, and maintenance, as well as duty factor ( amount of fuel burned over life/ full load fuel) determining the slope of the curve.
 

bdog

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Another consideration: I think heat is the most common killer of all moving parts. I try to find equipment with bigger displacement engines whenever possible. Mechanics constantly tell me to buy the bigger motor.
My M126 and M135 Kubotas have the bigger 6.1L engines. The smaller M105, 110, etc have enough size for what I do, but they have a smaller 3.8L diesel. That engine will have to work harder, hotter and wear out faster.

Look at what tractors you are buying, and if they are pretty much dead even, see if one has a larger engine. Even if they are the same HP, given equal maintenance, I would bet the larger displacement will last longer because the block and pistons dissipate heat better and heat kills. Also, usually larger displacement engines can accomplish same work output with lower RPM and lower RPMs (not lugging) will also cause less wear & heat.

This is really good advice. Running a business and having lots of diesel equipment I can tell you that when you use anything at or near its maximum capacity it doesn't last long. Things that are used lightly with regards to their capability seem to last forever.
 

bdog

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Another consideration: I think heat is the most common killer of all moving parts. I try to find equipment with bigger displacement engines whenever possible. Mechanics constantly tell me to buy the bigger motor.
My M126 and M135 Kubotas have the bigger 6.1L engines. The smaller M105, 110, etc have enough size for what I do, but they have a smaller 3.8L diesel. That engine will have to work harder, hotter and wear out faster.

Look at what tractors you are buying, and if they are pretty much dead even, see if one has a larger engine. Even if they are the same HP, given equal maintenance, I would bet the larger displacement will last longer because the block and pistons dissipate heat better and heat kills. Also, usually larger displacement engines can accomplish same work output with lower RPM and lower RPMs (not lugging) will also cause less wear & heat.

This is really good advice. Running a business and having lots of diesel equipment I can tell you that when you use anything at or near its maximum capacity it doesn't last long. Things that are used lightly with regards to their capability seem to last forever.
 

newbury

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Looking to buy a used Kubota or whatever comes up in my price range. I see a bunch with up to 900 hours on them. Considering I'll use it clip around 10 acres once a month, maybe disc a garden, and scrape the road . I have a 1974 Ford 3000 that I'm tired of patching, no idea how many hours it has, but past it's prime, looking for something to just climb on and go. What is your cut off?
Thanks,
Pops
What's your price range?
And how much do you want to use it? about 100 hours per year? 200 hrs?

If your present tractor is working well I'd recommend just getting another Ford 3000 if you can find one.

Like others have wrote you can have an unrepairable mess at 1,000 hours or a garage queen.

My '95 M4700 bought in 2012 had about ?1300? hours on it, fairly well maintained by Fairfax County, Va but stored outside
8x6SAM_0797.jpg
I put less than 100 hours (often way less) a year on it, but when I need it I need it's capacity and power. So I don't mind the repairs (Just this year I had to replace the valve cores on the rear tires, about $18) generally about $100/year.
 

fruitcakesa

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I bought my 2010 M6040 2 years ago with about 1100 hrs, lightly used and supposedly stored inside. I average 150-200hrs per year.
Other than changing all fluids and filters and keeping up on PM, it has been trouble free and like Newbury, I don't mind the repairs if it needs them someday. knock on wood.:)
The more you know about the machine you want the better.
 
Last edited:

Arthur Douglas

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I have over 700 hundred hours on my L3800 still runs like new.......It depends on how hard the hours were put on it could be junk in a couple hundred hours...I start mine and let it warm up and cool down before shut down always change the oil and air filters......900 hundred hours is not much if taken care of.....

Peter, I understand you want to allow time for the oil to circulate, but for summer start-ups, do you typically warm-up longer than it takes to release the brake, raise the attachment/implement, buckle up, and put in gear?

How long for "cool down," and does this have more to do with the fuel than oil? Thanks.
 

Peter 315

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In the summer 5 minutes warm up when I first start it , and at least 5 minutes or more to the cool down the engine before I shut it off ,a diesel will cool down a lot just idling.......
 

Arthur Douglas

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In the summer 5 minutes warm up when I first start it , and at least 5 minutes or more to the cool down the engine before I shut it off ,a diesel will cool down a lot just idling.......

Peter, I just want you to know: I now warm up and cool down my new tractor. Dealer never said anything about that, never read it anywhere else, knew nothing about diesels before this purchase but it makes sense. Thank you.
 
Last edited:

aczlan

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Any thoughts on a Ford 345c with around 7000 hours?
Looks to be in decent condition with the expected wear and tear.

Aaron Z
 
  
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OP
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popsx3

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Thank you all for the input, I have learned a lot. Ran the 3000 today and the only thing that broke this time was the cutter.
 

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Peter, I understand you want to allow time for the oil to circulate, but for summer start-ups, do you typically warm-up longer than it takes to release the brake, raise the attachment/implement, buckle up, and put in gear?

How long for "cool down," and does this have more to do with the fuel than oil? Thanks.

When hot, You want to cool the oil in a turbocharged Diesel. If you don稚, the oil can coke and ruin the turbochargers bearings. After hard running, throttle down and let it run 5-10 minutes.
I don稚 do much warm up in summer, but in winter I like a 5-10 minute warm up.
 

3gunr

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I have over 1100 hrs on my 2810 and it starts and runs like new . I have already put over 100 hrs brushhogging on my 2538 this yr alone, Things are growing like crazy here this year.
 

d413ai

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That is a lot of hours, there are many others available with far fewer hours. Unless the machine has been well maintained with service records I would look elsewhere.
 

LD48750

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I have no idea how many hours my 75 year old Ford 2N has but it keeps on working every week around here.

Finish mowing, brush hogging, chipping, everything involved with gathering firewood.... and anything else that comes up.
 

sandman2234

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I bought a JD 2555 in 2004, upgraded from a Ford 1100. It was about 6500 hours. It is now in excess of 7500 and still kicking. Has it's issues, but still starts and runs fine.
2015 I purchased a 2013 Kubota with 700 hours on it. It has 1100 on it now. Needed a bigger mower, the forks, grapple, bucket, trailer, 15 batwing, M7040 came with the 8 foot Bushhog mower I wanted.
David from jax
 

FreeWulf

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I'm kind of laughing to myself seeing people worried about 1,000 hours. Not laughing at you mind you, laughing at myself. I'm looking at tractors with 5,000 hours on it thinking it's a spring chicken. I think my budget is just a lot lower than some of you folks :)

There's a LOT of tractors out there that have turned over the hour meter (10,000 hours) and are still going strong.

For comparison, my car gives me the average speed it travels for the life of the car, and it's 41MPH. So 1,000 hours is like 41,000 miles on the odometer. 5,000 hours is 205,000 miles. Which for many diesel trucks is not very high. Especially since a lot of tractors just lope along at the same RPM for hours a day. Much like freeway vs city driving.

But as a lot of said, it's much more about the maintenance than the miles/hours. My mother would be able to destroy a machine in 2 days flat. I usually keep my (gas) cars until about 200,000 miles when I get rid of them, and I know people that get a lot more miles than that out of a car.
 

scaredychicken

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I average about 100 -120 hrs a year / 10 hrs a month, for light hobby farming and snow removal.

Other than overall appearance for confirming repairs and maintenance, even 2500 hrs would not concern me on a used tractor (say averaging 200 - 250 hrs per year). if the price was good.
 

ArlyA

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I asked my bro-in-law about tractor hours some time ago who really is in the farming buz, I can't recall details but seems he runs his about 10,000 before he trades them in. :unsure: A bully I was operated a few years ago had 8,000 some hours on it and broke on a regular bases. It was trashed before it hit 9.
 

ljjhouser

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Did they keep maintenance records? Are they trustworthy? That is more important that actual hours I think.
 
 
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