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Have you considered a skid steer? I was looking for a small tractor a few year ago and landed on a Bobcat skid steer. Does everything I want. I have a 8N with a loader that I would give away but no one wants it. Anyway, buy bigger that what you want because you will regret getting something that won't work good for you.
NOOOOOO

Skidsteers are great for being in business with in a civilized marketplace.

But they are extremely hard to maintain--notoriously so. I've worked on some myself, and they are a pain. Plus, you are totally dependent on having many gallons of oil around (they are entirely hydrostatic drive) and they are also not fuel efficient for the amount of work they get done. They break down pretty frequently. They also wear out their tires faster than farm type tractors. They are expensive to buy and maintain at the best of times, but with the lights out--forget it.
 

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Rear mounted blades are great for driveways, snow blowers on three points are great for moving snow( much faster than a bucket and you don't have to do so much preplanning where will I put all the snow as with a bucket). If you have trees, watch the size of your tractor and implements. Loader buckets are great wheel barrows, you too will age and wish you had used more common sense when you were younger. On soft ground they can help get a heavy load moving and as pointed out earlier they canhelp get you unstuck. Belly mowers are great for close work , but some are a pain to put on.
John Deere are initially more expensive, however, the tractors I've put hours on seem to need less repairs.
 

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John Deere are initially more expensive, however, the tractors I've put hours on seem to need less repairs.
Depends on the region, and size of tractor. In North Dakota the big 4WD Allis and Massey farmers went broke doing repairs, but IH/Steiger and Versatile (Ford New Holland) made profit, and did the same work as Deere for less money.

In Texas blacklands, it's smaller row crops and such. Deere and IH run about equal, but Deere gets higher prices just because of name only.

Massey & New Holland have a huge following among ranchers that don't "farm", just need good hay/feed/corral tractors. Only a few Deere & Kubota on the ranches, mostly as a toy more than anything. Lots of Mahindras here, too. They seem to do pretty well.

I would never try to "farm" with a skid steer. They are great for cleaning barns, and that's about it. The cost to buy a good one is absolutely ridiculous.
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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Unless someone gave me a skidsteer I wouldn't have one of the little parasites,(even then I would sell it and buy something worth having) for many of the reasons stated above. An older industrial loader is a far more economic answer, they can lift anything a skid steer will, usually the skidsteer too and they can be had for a fraction of the cost of an houred out skidsteer.

The brand battle is the brand battle , in the late 70s to early eighties John deere had a better cab, then IH passed them and stayed ahead. euro trash Deeres should be illegal IMO.

The rest are just the rest, not in the same league but they will work, If I needed a big old articulator it would be a versatile because it is made from mostly truck driveline. (their wiring sucked)
 

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Typical skid-steer as sole tractor IMHO;
Lack of pto = deal breaker #1
Poorly adapted to pulling/towing standard implements and trailers = deal breaker #2
I won't go on.

Now, a guy I'm working with recently purchased a rubber tracked skid-steer and it is an amazing machine. He also purchased a rough cut mower, tree shredder, pallet forks, etc. etc. and is in it for a huge amount of money. While great at what it's designed for it can't run a genset, hammer mill, roller mill, pto mower, baler, etc. etc. That can be found everywhere around here, sure you might find someone making hydraulic versions but they will be $$$
 

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NOOOOOO

Skidsteers are great for being in business with in a civilized marketplace.

But they are extremely hard to maintain--notoriously so. I've worked on some myself, and they are a pain. Plus, you are totally dependent on having many gallons of oil around (they are entirely hydrostatic drive) and they are also not fuel efficient for the amount of work they get done. They break down pretty frequently. They also wear out their tires faster than farm type tractors. They are expensive to buy and maintain at the best of times, but with the lights out--forget it.
I actually worked on one once; it belonged to a famous singer. Someone had driven over a bunch of wire out at his ranch, and the wire got wrapped around the axles and destroyed the seals on some of the wheel bearings. With the proper tools, it was real easy to work on. You had to remove 4 bolts and several electrical plugs to remove the cab. Of course you had to have an easy way to remove the cab which was heavy since it contained the engine. I can see where working on the engine could be a PITA due to the confined space. I suspect the shop manual calls for the removal of the cab then the removal of the engine from the cab before working on the engine.

Like Linc, I wouldn't even try to use one for more than cleaning out a barn, and even then, I'd get a small tractor with a front end loader since it'll carry more and is more versatile.

My big issue with bobcats is the lack of ground clearance. On anything but a flat, hard surface, they are easy to get stuck. Even soft, wet ground is a no go. I've seen a lot of the rubber tracked ones around lately, but any kind of tracked vehicle is usually double or triple lubrication points and lubrication frequency compared to a wheeled vehicle.

For the price of a new tracked bobcat (the smallest size they make), you can get a new 4WD 35HP Kubota with a front end loader and a backhoe and almost every attachment you'd ever need.
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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Amazing how far off the rails we can get.

I don't know if this has been mentioned, but most areas have specific types and brands of old tractors around, usually because they were what worked in that area. I always laugh when people tell me that they could never use "big" tractors because of their small fields. while I look at the 3 acre triangle shaped field we just baled with a 175 hp tractor, with the duals still on cause we didn't have time to single it.
Often a person can get a good larger tractor for less than a toy, and many times the larger tractor will fit into most of the places that the smaller ones do.
and they have more gears especially slow ones.
 

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Amazing how far off the rails we can get.

I don't know if this has been mentioned, but most areas have specific types and brands of old tractors around, usually because they were what worked in that area. I always laugh when people tell me that they could never use "big" tractors because of their small fields. while I look at the 3 acre triangle shaped field we just baled with a 175 hp tractor, with the duals still on cause we didn't have time to single it.
Often a person can get a good larger tractor for less than a toy, and many times the larger tractor will fit into most of the places that the smaller ones do.
and they have more gears especially slow ones.
I absolutely agree with buying a larger older tractor. In our area, the smaller "homestead" tractors are at a premium and the large ones are generally discounted somewhat.

As for skid steers, I have an older Bobcat 773 that I have put over 500 hours (1700 total) on and hardly a repair. And have done all repairs myself. I do agree, that they are not the best for tilling, but are the cats meow for post hole digging, loader work, clearing, and so many other jobs. They do make a tiller but I don't have one. Tilling is their only disadvantage.

Tractors are tractors mostly, depends largely on what dealers are in the area so you can get repair parts without having to wait or drive all over looking for them. I only suggested a skid steer as an alternative. I use my skid steer way more often than the tractors and I have 3 tractors to use. And as for fuel consumption, there is really no difference and maybe less with the skid steer.
 

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Texian
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I don't know if this has been mentioned, but most areas have specific types and brands of old tractors around, usually because they were what worked in that area...
I've found that to be very true. Sometimes it also comes down to which brand supports an area better or which dealer in an area is better than the rest.

Often a person can get a good larger tractor for less than a toy, and many times the larger tractor will fit into most of the places that the smaller ones do and they have more gears especially slow ones.
That's true too about the pricing. It has to do with the differences in the number of people who might buy a large tractor versus the (generally) larger number of people who might buy a smaller tractor. That's why the under 50 HP tractor market holds value decently well.

When I mentioned smaller tractors getting into more places, I wasn't referencing length or width, but height. In particular, I was thinking of tree branches and heavy bush areas with low overhangs. If that's not common in your area, then disregard.
 

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I wasn't referencing length or width, but height. In particular, I was thinking of tree branches and heavy bush areas with low overhangs.
Correct. And storage... most small farmsteads don't have any place to store any tractor bigger than a Farmall M...
and even then they have to pull the muffler off before they drive it inside.

Same goes for shop space. I liking working on stuff inside when I can. Really big farms often have big shops. Small homesteads? Not so much.

One other factor: Trailering. I move my stuff around a lot. My trailer can *just barely* handle an "M".
Post-SHTF, it will likely not see many road miles, but until then - - - this is a factor for a lot of people.
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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I absolutely agree with buying a larger older tractor. In our area, the smaller "homestead" tractors are at a premium and the large ones are generally discounted somewhat.

As for skid steers, I have an older Bobcat 773 that I have put over 500 hours (1700 total) on and hardly a repair. And have done all repairs myself. I do agree, that they are not the best for tilling, but are the cats meow for post hole digging, loader work, clearing, and so many other jobs. They do make a tiller but I don't have one. Tilling is their only disadvantage.

Tractors are tractors mostly, depends largely on what dealers are in the area so you can get repair parts without having to wait or drive all over looking for them. I only suggested a skid steer as an alternative. I use my skid steer way more often than the tractors and I have 3 tractors to use. And as for fuel consumption, there is really no difference and maybe less with the skid steer.
If you can get a skid steer with low hours for a reasonable price and don't have any soft areas to traverse, they may be OK. 2500HRs is about the life of the main pump in a Bobcat, and although they are usually a Cessna, the drawing is almost always mirrored, making them pretty pricey. I seriously doubt that a skidsteer of any make can even compete with a gas tractor for HP/hr fuel consumption, the pump is a constant parasitic load.
I think I came across a bit over the top on the anti skid loader campaign. I usually only see them when they are broken and need repair, and have to remove parts from the most ridicules places. if one is happy with a skid loader and satisfied with it's performance then that is the machine for your application, just cause I don't like them doesn't mean someone else dislikes them too. I don't like loaders added to farm tractors either. they are ok but just a bandaid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Ford 8N Hi-Low

Hey guys! I'm fairly certain I'm going to get a little 8N for now. I can always add to the collection later. I've found two Ford 8N tractors on craigslist.

I'm looking for advice on the Hi-Low Transmission

Tractor #1
$2,000 - 1948 Ford 8N. Very clean looking, 12v. Comes with a backblade.

Tractor #2
$2,200 - Ford 8N with "Hi-Low Range" per the description and a backblade. Just as clean looking as the other one, also 12v. Front grill guard.

Does the "Hi-Low" range mean it's a step-up/step-down transmission? I understand those to be much more worthwhile and you'd basically have 12 gears. Here's a photo from the ad that I think this is the hi-low shifter?
hilow.jpg

And a close up picture:
hilow-3x.jpg

Is this the holy grail Sherman step-up/step-down? The tractors seem to be the same for condition, attachments included....it's just the "Hi-Low" that's different. Worth the extra $200?
 

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Both are a little overpriced...
My F-I-L bought a Ferguson TO-20 for $2200 with a fresh engine & a front end loader on it. 8N's don't cross $2K in Texas unless they are either REALLY nice, or come with lots of goodies.


8N's are usually geared far too FAST for most work.
I wonder why they didn't do their research on that...

The Sherman was "step down" to make the tractor run slower, making it far more versatile. I would say (IMHO) it's worth the extra $200. If I could find a "Hi-LO" for my International 404, I would pay $200 for it in an instant!

Do a good compression check. Look for smoke at any throttle setting. Let it idle for 5 minutes when warm, and whack the throttle open should be NO SMOKE at that high price.
 

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If it's the same as the TO-20, then I am not a big fan of the 3-point on these tractors....

"All the way up & all the way down only" works fine for lots of things (blade, shredder, plow, etc.) , but I need something I can stop "in the middle".

75 tips
http://www.yesterdaystractors.com/articles/artint268.htm

http://www.yesterdaystractors.com/articles/artint265.htm

http://www.yesterdaystractors.com/cgi-bin/viewit.cgi?bd=nboard&th=883585

http://www.yesterdaystractors.com/cgi-bin/viewit.cgi?bd=nboard&th=821000
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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If you decide to go with an 8N the "Sherman" low range trans add on is worth way more than $200.00, or really the stock tractor (without the Sherman is worth way less) 12 volt if it is done right is a bonus.
the three point hitch should hold in any position you put it in,( so should the fergie,) as long as draft control is selected instead of float (the short handled lever kind of under the seat on the right side.
check the condition of the steering box and brakes, the tractor should steer fairly easily and the brakes should work well.
If the tractor is in decent shape overall it would be average priced here (before the dollar difference) Really a couple of thousand dollars is not a lot to pay for something as handy as a small tractor.
 

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Really a couple of thousand dollars is not a lot to pay for something as handy as a small tractor.
Don't be afraid to negotiate. Look for "comps" (comparable machines) in other ads outside your area to print off and bring with you to negotiate.

That tractor will likely hold its value for years. If you take good care of it, it should be worth the same as what you paid many years from now.

Don't forget the compression test! Good numbers is simply what it SHOULD be at.... not "oh wow, great compression!" Don't say that... Low numbers leaves more room to negotiate.
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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It is pretty hard to check the compression on the rear cylinders because of the fuel tank location. you need a special bent adapter or a gauge with a really flexible hose
 

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8N's are usually geared far too FAST for most work.
This is one reason that I'd never buy one. The add on transmission step down would solve that problem, but not the problems of the crappy hydraulic or PTO system.

Most of the 8n/9n tractors found around here have
a. leaking wheel seals
b. no brakes
c. both of the above

$2k is way too much for a 8n with only one implement.
 

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From the picture, I see no high-low lever. It should be right beside the regular gear shift but shorter. And don't buy something because it looks pretty. Pressure washing and paint does not cover up all of the bad things inside.
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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Funk and Sherman were after market kits, the shifter came out the side of the transmission case behind the clutch release lever
 
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