Comparison New versus Old

   / New versus Old #1  


New member
Jun 25, 2012
Lyman, ME
Deere 955, 72"MMM, 59" Snowblower, 7 Backhoe
This topic has probably come up alot: I have been a used 955 user for 6 years. I have put a fair amount into the tractor in repairs(over $3000*) but it is a tank and responds well to TLC. What I have figured out is that I probably need another tractor rather than trading in this one: I am haying, finish mowing, snowblowing, composting, gardening and building with this 955 and apart from the attachment changing tornado, the tractor has a lot of use and work. My problem in looking at another tractor is choosing between new versus old: what is the concensus on older tractors versus new ones? I keep thinking that a new tractor has way too much plastic and electronics...stuff that breaks alot and cannot be easily fixed..just replaced at great expense. Obviously the older tractor will need more and more maintenance as well. Any thoughts on this?

*output shaft nut reattached in transmission, replaced hydraulic pump, rebuilt Rockshaft control, batteries, recored radiator, replaced front grille, replaced front tires, replaced broken fuel line, replaced fuel filter mounting bracket as well as routine fluids+filter maintenance.
   / New versus Old #2  
I've never had a new tractor in my life. I've always been fortunate that I have found good used ones that actually were good. After reading some of the posts from people who have bought new ones it seems that you can get a good (or bad) one new or used. The prices at times on used late model tractors can be close to new prices, but on 10-15 year old stuff there can be a pretty good savings. Any used tractor I've ever looked at I've been leary of the ones with fresh paint all over, or the ones that seemed too clean. It just made me think that maybe the seller might be hiding something. The biggest thing I look at is the sheetmetal (or plastic). I've always felt if they didn't care enough to not run into everything they saw they probably didn't care enough to maintain the mechanicals either. Good luck in your search, and I hope you find a good one.

   / New versus Old
  • Thread Starter
I have no frame of reference as to whether my tractor has been a good used find or one that needed(needs) alot of work. I know I have gotten a lot of use out the tractor. Certainly the dealers offer huge incentives to sell another new tractor and the folks selling used are all trying to get ALL their money back(haha) so you are often looking at the same old price as new or vice-versa. I guess I am wondering if folks feel that the steel has slowly disappeared with the newer tractors.
   / New versus Old #4  
From what I see it depends on what make you buy. We do have a few brands around our area as we've been selling compacts for over thirty years and some are the same as the old tractors.

As much as some brands have had few if any electronic problems others seem to come by it just by washing them or giving them care. There are others that I'll call more basic like your 955 and they are still being built today so your fear of electronics should not enter in on these tractors although lesser quality tractors even on a basic tractor will give you issues.
   / New versus Old #5  
I'm not scared of new tractors, but will not buy one with plastic hood and fenders.

I've bought all mine used, newest one only had 14 hours on it and so far it's my favorite rig.
   / New versus Old #6  
My tractor represents a hobby more than a need. Budget reasons prevent me from buying the JD5085E that I would love to have but cannot justify.

So I have an old Ford 3400 with loader. When I wanted a tractor my budget limited me. I wanted a loader and decided I would not live without ROPS. Some of what you guys are calling old I call new :) and finding a tractor with ROPS in that era was not exactly easy. I live without some of the things that would make it easier but these old tractors still have a lot of life in them.

That being said if you are going to be concerned about minor oil leaks or hydraulics that sink over time while sitting these old tractors are not for you. I see some in the parades and what not that are perfect but that is because the people restoring them really enjoy restoring them. I live with a lot of things that would be unacceptable on a new tractor but still allow me to use it for what I want.
   / New versus Old #7  
Not sure why people are against plastic. What I've found it the type of plastic manufactures are using is not the garden variety that breaks easily or fades. I've got a 2008 JD with a plastic hood and metal fenders and I've many more problems with the fenders with scratches, paint peeling and dents. I've got a FEL and have dropped rocks (about grapefruit to soccer ball size) and not a crack, chip or anything else. My tractor lives out side and shows no signs of fading, scratching or anything else. Anyway good luck on your purchase regardless of new or used.
   / New versus Old #8  
I've had two new tractors - A FarmTrac and the Kioti I presently own. The FarmTrac sort of met your discription of an old school tractor - No electronics, built like a tank, 8X2 manual gear, and basically built in India following the old Ford design. I traded it with 110 hours of some of the most miserable experience I've ever had with anything with wheels - My old Corvair was more reliable.

The Kioti has been just the opposite - it does more, lifts more, and doesn't leave you feeling beat up after hours of working on it, than I expected. I would guess this would be a similiar response for most of the folks with one of the new major brand products. The other thing I like for me, is I got a 4 year warranty regardless of the number of hours I put on it. The FarmTrac was in constant need of something.

I actually will buy an old tractor at some point, but it will be more like the 65 El Camino I'm working on with my son. Neat to look at, fun to drive occasionally, but not to drive hard and put away wet.
   / New versus Old #9  
I like the older tractors and have had several of them my favorites were the old Case SC, 1370, International 806, Deere 3020,4020 and current 820. When you look at the smaller utility tractors such as the 820 they still perform well on open land for field mowing and similar tasks and thats what I use mine for. If you have to work in tight quarters and need to manuever around alot of obstacles the newer hydro tractors simply beat the pants off the older stuff. Most of the older models had a higher weight to hp than the new ones which was good for tractive jobs but less desireable if you need to move quickly such as commercial worksites.
   / New versus Old #10  
I've bought both new and used tractors. I've had similar results as others have stated.

I have a small mowing business on the side. With the used tractors my repair list was as long or longer than yours Mr. Rabtfarm, it seemed that I could never get ahead.

I have a couple of tracts that are mowed weekly so when the machine would break down I lost money. Add in the fact that I'm not the most mechanically inclined person. Even the new tractors have problems too, just last month I blew a hydraulic hose, of course they had to order a specialized part at the hose shop so the three days I was down cost me several hundred dollars of lost revenue that I can't get back. For me when it comes to mowing time is money.

If I only utilized the tractor at my farm I would have an older tractor. Although the a/c and stereo in the cab is nice. Good luck with your decision.