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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are a very small homestead just getting started. Because we work on a cash/no debt basis we are limited as to the equipment we can have at this point. We really need a tractor with some implements like a bush hog and a front loader but I still can't seem to get one yet. I do know things would speed up greatly if we had one. I'm considering buying a used small ford tractor just to get us into one. I have been following these threads for awhile and have heard we need over 50 horse but it seems 30 horse used units look to be more in line with our budget. I see used 8n tractors for sale a good bit in the $1500 range. Don't really know much about farm equipment but I do have a mechanical background so I guess I'll learn them as I go.
Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I sold my soul to the internet
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I have a TO30, you will need a serial number to tell the differents in the n8 & TO30.
If you can get a good running n8 or TO30 for less then $2000.00, you are getting a deal. You can work 40 acres easy with this tractor, a disk harrow, a cultivator, a planter, a larger harrow called a tiller is good,too.
We have a hay mower & rake, but the tractor will not pull the big stuff, being only about 20 horse power.
 

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Just walking at the edge of my grave
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Years ago on farms (like where I grew up) farmers did many things with tractors of 15 to 25 horsepower. We did an amazing amount of work using Case VAC tractors with less than 20 hp. We put a pump on the PTO and installed a front loader on one which we used for many things for several years. I ran a brush hog on one which worked fine but I wished for a lower gear at times so I could could have run a slower ground speed when I was weaving around obstacles.
timmie above gives good advice.
 

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Not new, just older
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I have a 22 year old tractor that was imported from China, 20 hp diesel engine that I paid $3200 for new including a 16 ft trailer, 4 ft bush hog and box blade. It has been far and away the best tractor overall I've ever owned regarding reliability and ease of repair (most of the repairs have been things I've broken through abuse).

I ended up working for the tractor company that imported them, sadly the owner died and the business was sold, but parts are still available online if needed. Jinma seems to be the best of the imported brands, ymmv though with other brands. The electrical system, switches, gauges etc, was crap, but easy to replace with good components.

Something to look into, if on a tight budget. Hope this helps a bit. Here's a pic of a new one:
 

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A very simple man
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We work on a cash/no debt basis so we are limited as to the equipment we can have at this point.
While a cash/no debt is often a good practice it can also hold you back in your situation. There is nothing wrong with having a little debt if that debt is good debt.

What I mean by good debt is that your debt even with interest is generating enough profit or benefit to justify it, and that it can be maintained (payments made) until the debt is paid off.

An example; While I have money (cash on hand) to buy and pay for Alfalfa for my sheep I instead worked out a deal where I could get all the Alfalfa I need during the year on credit. Then when I sell my ram lambs each year I simply give the number of rams to the guy who I get the Alfalfa from. He is then paid in full for any Alfalfa I got during the year and he keeps the ram lambs for a while and fattens them up and sells them for a little profit. We both come out winners and that leaves my cash on had for other stuff. Also the benefit for me is since I know I'll need to sell my ram lambs each year this way I already have my buyer lined up and he has no choice but to take these lambs as payment so its more of just a favor for favor but a locked in guarantee on a buyer. I also save time each year as I don't have to hunt any buyers.

You need to figure out if there are ways around your place to do something similar so either you have more free cash on hand to buy the tractor or crunch the numbers and see if you can make payments on a tractor.

While a tractor is nice and makes jobs easier and faster you have to ask yourself if it is going to produce actual revenue that can be used to make the payments.

I've known several younger guys who've bought tractors and equipment on credit thinking how wonderful they will be and how easy it will be to make the payments only to have them repossessed. On the same token I know many people who've purchased tractors and equipment on credit and in using their equipment in certain ways had a way to generate revenue to make their payments. One guy sells gravel on the side and loads it up with his front loader and then delivers it to the buyer.

I guess what I'm trying to say is don't limit yourself totally on a no cash basis when if you work your brain you'll find there are 100 ways to skin the proverbial cat and come out ahead. Trying to build anything without money and not wanting to use credit will make things much harder. If you have bad credit or no credit there are still ways to barter and make it all work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Von Helman, what you are describing in your post about your sheep is not what I would consider debt. It is barter.
While we are good with barter we are not going to take on debt to a bank. We do not believe debt to a bank is a good thing any longer. We have recently purchased an extra 10 acres adjoining the land we have and it is over grown with blackberry and other weeds and sticker trees.
Without a tractor I can not use much of this new land. I need to be able to cut and spray it. I've heard I'm looking at 2 years to get rid of blackberry.

Right now I have horses that are using it but they also are getting a lot of cuts and scrapes that we do not like.
We are just getting into our goats so hopefully these will eventually eat away a lot of the weeds. I would like to harvest hay to feed my horses from that land. I could potentially sell some of the hay to buy another adjacent 17 acres that we want.

As for a tractor. I know of an 8n for sale for $1500. I was reading on the history of the 8n and it mentioned that the 3 point hitch and pto came along with the 9n. Does that mean the 8n I'm looking at does not have a 3 point and pto?
I'm guessing that most farm equipment today utilizes the 3 point hitch and pto correct?
Whatever I buy I want it to be able to use the most common equipment that I might run across out there.
 

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Internet Princess
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I totally understand the no debt. We do have some but hopefully it will be paid/gone in the next 3 years, if we can sell the house. We bought a Kubota tractor new and Kubota financed it with no interest. We put 3/4 down and it will be paid off next year. We've done so much with it that we would have had to pay for before.
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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A ford 8n is newer than a 9N , 9Ns are the first of the series built in 1939, then came the 2N in 1942, the 8 N in 1948.

A loader unless it is super light weight will ruin the utility of the 8N making it hard to steer and just miserable in general. a jib on the 3 point would be a much better idea if you go with an 8N.
the 8 N has a three point unless it was ordered specificly without.

the N series fords are pretty high geared, 1 st and reverse are fairly fast

they have a huge aftermarket parts support industry so there are lots of repair parts available.

if you can get one with good rear tires and a 3 point that will hold an implement up for at least 30 minutes for under $1500. you are probably doing ok. Also try to find one with a "side" distributor , this would be later production, up to 1952.

Also look for ford NAA, 601, 641,801 841 these are the out growth of the N series and had better features.

I would take a Ferguson T20 over an 8N if I had the choice.

go to this web site and look your options over, it gives serial number- year and lots of mechanical feature info.

As to the power they are small tractors, but farmers in the late 40s to 60s made a living with them.

there are a few tractor threads in this sub forum , that may answer some of the questions you have, or give you new questions.
 

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A very simple man
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Von Helman, what you are describing in your post about your sheep is not what I would consider debt. It is barter.
While we are good with barter we are not going to take on debt to a bank. We do not believe debt to a bank is a good thing any longer.
I agree on the no bank route and with interest rates at the banks these days along with all the fees and charges I totally agree. I hate the banking cartel and the sooner we all drop them the better!

In regards to your land I'm sure you have a handle on how best to get it under control. Maybe a suspicious fire in the winter when its all dry :ignore: Or maybe just find a local person with goats and let them use it.

In regards to your tractor if you don't have the cash you can barter to get it as well. Just ask a local who's selling a tractor and tell them your situation, work something out and maybe make payments. People in general are good at heart and helpful especially with other farmers and the worse that can happen is they say no.

Maybe offer to pay them in hay over a 2 year period if they hold the note and make payments when you can and pay half cash and half hay. I'm sure you'll figure it out but never be afraid to simply ask for a hand up.

Good luck on the land and let us know what you work out in regards to a tractor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Tired, thanks for the info... very helpful. Apreesh.
Von... I like the fire idea.. my gal won't though. She has had her house burn down before. Neighbors might think the last owner is back. Evidently he has burnt a few neighbors properties trying to burn off brush on the fence lines in the past.
I think we will be able to swing a cash deal pretty soon for a used older tractor. The info from Tired should help in making a choice.

We dumped the cartel a few years ago as well as 401ks and all of our debt. Any money now simply runs through the bank and is converted into assets. We don't like to ask others for help unless we are in a real tough jam. Just the way we are.
Neighbor does have an old tractor with a front bucket on it that's sitting in the field. Says it steers hard due to the big truck front end they put on it. I understand what tired was saying about the loader on the 8n ruining the utility. I'm gonna need a bucket or something though.
I have dirt piles to move and a lot of those damned thorn trees to get rid of. (those bitches are bad). The big ranchers around here seem to hire an excavator and then burn off the piles to get rid of them. Ill touch base at the co-op and see if I can cut them and spray them with something to kill them, but will have to do something bout the stump and roots down the road.
Thanks to all.
 

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We used a Ford 8N for years. I have personally spent hours and hours brush hogging and doing light utility work on one. If you can get one for $1500 that seems like a good deal. Based on your spending goals, I think you will be happy with the 8N because the Ferguson will cost more. I agree with TiredIron about the rear tires and checking to make sure the 3pt hitch will hold the implement up. I also agree that it can't run a loader. I also recommend that you check for oil leaks at the back of the block, where it connects to the transmission. Very expensive to fix this problem, and I would pass if that's the case.

One frustration I had with the 8N: It doesn't have a "live PTO". That means that the PTO must be turning to raise or lower the attachment. This is usually not a big problem. However, if you are brush-hogging and hit something you don't want to mow (like a stump or rock), you will have to turn the blade to raise it. That means the blade keeps hitting the rock or stump until you can raise it.

We upgraded to the Ford 801 a few years ago. It was 2x more money, but it has a live PTO, more power and a high gear (sometimes called "road gear") that allows us to drive between lots and pull a trailer on the road at about 30 mph, which is a nice time saver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you Galen. Really appreciate the tip on the main seal leak, and Tired Iron's hitch lift tip. These are the kind of things I really need to know when looking at a machine to buy.

Galen.... welcome to the forum. Love your online store.
 

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Depending on how your property lays I would be cautious with a 8N. Around here is pretty hilly and I've known more than one person get in trouble with a 8N. They are geared too high and are too fast, IMO, for this area. I also would only want something with live PTO. Makes life much easier.
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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We recently bought a International 275B , it is a 30 something horse 4 cylinder diesel with an live pto, and a non draft sensing 3 point hitch, it is in the same power class as a ford 800 series, but it is a lot more tractor, it has a 4 speed manual with 2 ranges and can handle a rotocarr 5 ft tiller (this is a serious rototiller, not a toy from harbour freight.
If you can find one they are built more like a farm tractor, ruggedness wise but are every bit as maneuverable as a Ford 840, we sold our 8N s this spring and I do not miss them, they are temperamental little beasts, but they did pay for the IH (it needs a bit of work , but so did the 8N s.

Another thing to look for is larger tractors, people are weird about tractor sizes, around here 80 to 120 hp tractors seem to sell for far more than they are worth. your area probably has an unpopular power size too, bigger does not always mean too big.
 

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The top gear on an 801 gets it up to 12 mph if you've cranked the throttle. It probably just feels faster because of the noise, wind, and bumpy ride :)
I passed cars on the interstate. The State Highway Patrol tried to pull me over but they couldn't catch me. When I crested the hill I went airborne. The bales in the wagon I was pulling flew 30' in the air...I was just lucky they landed back in the wagon.:laugh:

So, maybe it doesn't go 30 in top gear. But you are right...it felt really really fast. And, the transmission whines so loud that you can barely think. The loud noise grinding at my eardrums, the rising terror caused by the shimmy and the concentration required to keep it straight between the white lines all combined to make me certain I must be going at least 30 mph.

But 12 mph is pretty fast too...and I did pass an Amish buggy once.
 

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Proprietor at Lehmans.com
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Thanks!

Thank you Galen. Really appreciate the tip on the main seal leak, and Tired Iron's hitch lift tip. These are the kind of things I really need to know when looking at a machine to buy.

Galen.... welcome to the forum. Love your online store.
Thanks so much! It feels good to be here.
 

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Jack of all trades?
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The deals ARE out there *IF* you are looking.

You say you are stubborn about asking for help?!?
That is going to hurt you in the end.
If you are homesteading, you need a strong "network".

The "network" is typically where you find the BEST deals.
I found (through a friend of a friend) a '49 Farmall C
(with the FULL cultivator setup on it), running - -for $350.
You can too - - but only if you look (& ask) in the right "circles".

The BEST deals will seldom be in the ads, or on craigslist.
Those are usually where you find someone else's junk that has 3 full hours of useful life left in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The deals ARE out there *IF* you are looking.

You say you are stubborn about asking for help?!?
That is going to hurt you in the end.
If you are homesteading, you need a strong "network".

The "network" is typically where you find the BEST deals.
I found (through a friend of a friend) a '49 Farmall C
(with the FULL cultivator setup on it), running - -for $350.
You can too - - but only if you look (& ask) in the right "circles".

The BEST deals will seldom be in the ads, or on craigslist.
Those are usually where you find someone else's junk that has 3 full hours of useful life left in it.
Networking is not the same thing as asking others for help when you can do something yourself. We are networking with our neighbors and asking for help when we must. Recently had a horse injured when she tripped over a hay rack. We called the neighbor for info on what was needed as far as shots and found out she needed a tetanus shot. We had never given a horse a shot so the neighbors came and showed us how to do it properly. We have met some of our neighboring ranch owners and so far all of them have been great people. We have feelers out for good equipment that we can afford.
 

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Networking is not the same thing as asking others for help when you can do something yourself. We are networking with our neighbors and asking for help when we must. Recently had a horse injured when she tripped over a hay rack. We called the neighbor for info on what was needed as far as shots and found out she needed a tetanus shot. We had never given a horse a shot so the neighbors came and showed us how to do it properly. We have met some of our neighboring ranch owners and so far all of them have been great people. We have feelers out for good equipment that we can afford.
i hope you are able to find the right tractor for you place.
we have a 62' farm-all with a 40hp diesel engine. it needs some work but it does start right up. paid $1100 for it, no attachments included.
sometimes you can help the fella down the street & then the next week he can come by your place & return that favor. you ever try to build a building all alone? i have & i spend 1/2 of my time wishing i had an extra pair of hands to hold the other end of the board i am wishing to nail up. 2 people can get it built 3 times as fast. maybe you can befriend a like minded person in your area.

good luck
piglett
 
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