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RockyMountainCanadian
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I can't imagine (well I can and I don't like it) going without a tractor or a bunch of them. Even a large garden (not lawn) tractor can be a great labour saver.
probably the best value in a "classic" tractor would be a Farmall H, They are tough, have dry sleeves and best of all they tend to be cheap.

On my list of handy tractors the ford 600 or 800 series kind of tops the list, because they are just modern enough to have a live pto , live hydraulics, live 3 point hitch.

I much prefer vintage John Deeres, (pre 1960 horizontal 2 cylinder wheatland standards) but they aren't quite as handy to use. although the fuel efficiency of some of their middle size (then) gas tractors is almost as good as diesels, better than some of the new ones.
 

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I don't care for The John Deeres ... :D Had one for about a year and she cost me more than she was ever worth. I put the Kubota, hubby traded up for in about the same place.

We have a Farmall and a Ford 4600 they do all we need and more.
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A lot of Deeres built after 1959 fit that description. A 4600 Ford is a nice piece of machinery, We just sold a ford 4500 industrial w/ backhoe.
 

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I have a Duetz 3006 that's a 69 or 70 model. Does everything I need and has been super reliable since we got it in 72. Had to change clut, plate, and throw out bearing a few years ago.
I also have a small kubota. Good little tractor that sips fuel. But it's a little too under powered to do somethings.
 

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Jack of all trades?
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Farmall Cub, A, B and C (and respective "Supers" in each letter) because they are CHEAP, small, easy on fuel, can be started with a hand crank, all have some form of optional "lift" system to raise plows and cultivators and such. The "C" and Super "A" & Super "C" have live hydraulics... which is so convenient to have I wouldn't want a tractor without it.

The H is a great tractor, but pretty big for a "homestead".
I definitely wouldn't go bigger than an H... unless you want to be called a "farmer".
No 3-pt hitch and no "live" hydraulics pretty much make it a "field-only" tractor in a lot of ways.
They can start really easily when it -30*F though. Been there, done that!

I like small diesel tractors because they are so cheap on fuel... and the fuel lasts a LONG time when stored right.
Most can NOT be started by hand, and need a good battery to get going.

Gasoline tractors are VERY easy to convert to alcohol fuel if all the petrol supplies dry up.

It's BEST to have one of each.
You can pull start most diesels (with your gas/alcohol fueled tractor) if you have no more good batteries!
 

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Jack of all trades?
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Can you elaborate?
Older non-diesel tractors nearly always have adjustable main and idle fuel circuit needles. The same carbs were typically used for gas, distillate, and kerosene models. You would need to twist the needles to get the best mixture for the fuel you used. Many of these older machines can run on straight alcohol with little effort as long as it is warm outside. If it's cold, you may need to hold a saucepan full of hot embers under the carb and intake to get enough temp to make the alcohol vaporize so the durn thing will start. Even better is to start on gas and let it warm for 5 mins before switching to alcohol.
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I Like the idea that a generator equipped Gas tractor (point and coil ignition) can be pull or hand started with a poor or flat battery, unless the battery is shorted. Generators are a bit of a pain for every day use due to their low output. For post shtf it would be nice to be able to bolt the gen back on in a crapped battery scenario.


Later after we have some ideas floating around we can start some threads on "alternative" fuels basic maintainance. etc

I think it will be really interesting what tractors (or tractor like machines) people already use. And I seriously hope we don't get into any pi$$ing matches about what is the best.................
 

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I've got a early 80's Yanmar YM 2000(diesel), a Ford Jubilee(gas) and a MF 255 (diesel). Been having to make a bunch of stuff for the Yanmar but it will much more useful when finished. The 255 was bought to help move and load logs for the sawmill. I keep the Jubilee for use with alcohol fuel. It needs a bit of work. I should get on that one day.................
 

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Rest In Peace
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On a gas tractor, magneto ignition works without a battery. Much easier to crank start, too. A lot of 1950's era gas tractors had those.

When choosing a tractor, look first at what it has to do for you and how fast you need to get it done. Many times, smaller is better. I knew a guy who grew up farming 160 acres of tillable land in northern Indiana with an Allis Chalmers C. I would only pull one 14" plow, but this guy, his brother and his Dad worked it 3 shifts, 24/7 until the plowing was finished. The only time they shut it off was to add fuel or change oil. He said he dreamed of having a bigger tractor, but they couldn't afford it for a long time, so they made do.

I have easily worked 40 acres of ground with one of those tractors, since I was only plowing about 20 acres each year, the balance in pasture and hay. Smaller, cheaper tractors can be the key to making money on the farm, or not. The difference between a $2,500 tractor and a $25,000 tractor can buy a lot of financial security, assuming of course, that you know how to keep the old one running.

If you insist on all the modern conveniences and a climate controlled cab on your farm tractor, you may find like many others that you do all the work and the banker makes all the money.
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Machinist brings up a really good point, for each convenience added to a machine there is also another part to break down. Good point on the magneto ignition, I thought it but didn't type it.
 

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"Homestead" is a rather loose term, even here on this forum.

What first comes to mind for me is something like a W-6 McCormick.

http://www.tractordata.com/farm-tractors/000/2/9/297-mccormick-deering-w-6.html
We still have the first exact one our family bought to transition from horses several generations back, and it runs great. One or possibly two flips of the crank (I don't bother to keep a battery in it often) in -20 or even colder and she is purring (then I can close the weather flaps in front to warm her up too:)). For sentimental and practical reasons they are some of my favorite tractors ever.
On the downside, lack of live pto and hydraulics is a pain.

Now, for the controversial part of my post:peep:

I firmly believe that for some people, in particular circumstances a larger tractor might fit the bill, even for "homesteading" or an acreage tractor. Let me try to explain why I came to the conclusion.

I have seen many people spend huge amounts of money for brand new or slightly used tractors that really can't do much, for the same or even substantially less they could have gotten a tractor that could do exponentially more. This is not a once or twice thing for me, I have time and time again seen people unable to complete something that they thought their brand new little tractor would be able to do and it is not a happy scene.

There are many ways that a larger tractor can save you money. For instance in my area livestock feed and bedding will cost 2X more per lb if buying in less than "standard" big round bales, sometimes there is even more markup (particularly when feed is scarce and must be shipped farther). These cost can really add up over the years for people with livestock. There is also a ton of really good (not worn out) used equipment that can be found reasonably that smaller tractors just can't handle. You generally have much more to choose from with a larger tractor as you can still run the vast majority of smaller implements as well. The closer you run a machine to it's capacity in terms of weight, traction, or power the more likely you are to face repairs so a larger machine gives you a larger margin to work with.

The size I have recommended to some that has worked out very well is anywhere up to the 90-100 hp range. My personal preference leans toward the 3010, 4010, 4020 JD models with a synchro-range transmission.
http://www.tractordata.com/farm-tractors/007/6/2/7624-john-deere-3020.html
http://www.tractordata.com/farm-tractors/000/0/6/64-john-deere-4020.html


These tractors, particularly the 40's can handle the vast majority of modern haying equipment, handle a literal ton of weight, and still run the majority of small equipment many people will use. They have 540/1000 pto, excellent hydraulics, etc. you can literally hook one up to a brand new "as big as they come" round baler and it will work (obviously not as well as a bit bigger tractor).

As for the cons;

Lack of a belt wheel :dunno:

Size, there are some places a bigger tractor won't fit but depending on how well a site is layed out this will often not be an issue at all. Some of these bigger tractors are surprisingly maneuverable the 4020 for instance has a turning radius of less than 10ft!(which is less than a W-6) Of course every bit is going to be a bit heavier as well, might not fit in a garage, etc.

Price, this is an interesting one for me. Some people might say $10 000 is a lot to pay for a tractor for an acreage while others pay much more for a new little toy. All I can say is that a 4020 that is in decent shape today, after many decades of use, is worth as many USD as it was BRAND NEW, that simply is not happening with new tractors. Every one of these types of tractor we have sold has brought us at least as much money as we paid for it, after years of use. Granted, I have seen a few that we wouldn't have come out ahead on, just like any "major" purchase you have to use your head.

So, that's my opinion and one that several people IRL have said has helped them. Little tractors are great, for what they can do (and I just love me some put-put-put) but if someone thinks they might need a bit more capability there are good options out there to consider imo.
 

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Unfortunately my Ford 4000 has been down for 3 years, have to fix it! I believe it's the rear engine veal and the head gasket, went out with in three days of each other.


Sent from my iPhone using Survival Forum
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
the machine that gets used the most often on our ranch is our old Michigan 85A wheel loader, It is obsolete for the construction industry and thus cheap, this machine has been repowered with a 350 chev engine, we bought it "running". it would start and move, it dug it's own loading ramp, steered to poorly to power it's self onto the trailer, so it was slowly pulled 40 feet up the deck with 3/8 over center load binders and chain. (I am a determined old cuss) I drove it off of the trailer and over to the shop where the engine died.
the conversion had been done with simple parts, and had probably worked well for years. the flaw in the conversion was lack of thrust surface to keep splined drive rings aligned, it was basicly ready to fail too. (we knew the machine needed work when we bought it) I took the repower a step further and using a chev truck 427 bellhousing ,flywheel, starter and a sae down one size adapter ring and a couple of hours on the lathe fitting the 427 flywheel to the original Waukesha flywheel/drive plate.

for roughly $3000.00 in actual pay out and about $2000.00 in our time. we have a very tough 4 wheel drive lndustrial loader, that does almost all of the lifting work around the place.

The machine(yellow),the bale spear that we bought ( cheaper than building it ) http://hi-hog.com/bucket-mount-bale-spear/
and the light duty pallet forks that I fabbed up,
 

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so it was slowly pulled 40 feet up the deck with 3/8 over center load binders and chain. (I am a determined old cuss)
Lol, been there, done that :brickwall:

We have that exact same bale spear, I haven't been overly happy with it but it works.

On a different scale than your loader we have a little Swinger;


(slightly different model) It is a great little machine with a little John Deere engine and is hydrostatic but with that bale spear on the buck full sized bales are just too much for it, found out the interesting way:eyebulge: Luckily it has the skidsteer quick attach and with a dedicated poke it is much better. It has a big bucket and that couple feet of extra reach really tipped;) the scales.

The lack of the pto, hydraulics, and ability to pull much were a real drag, we rigged up some extra hydraulics and a decent hitch but it still just isn't as versatile as a tractor. Great for what it does but we are often wishing it could do other things, still considering a hydraulic pto :dunno:
 

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Rest In Peace
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Maybe Mid-Size

Too many city folks have bought 5 acres out of town and think they have a homestead. Then, they give up after the first calf gets out and turn it into lawn. This crowd only knows what they have heard, and will pay through the nose for a ragged out Ford 9N, or a Massey 135. That's a good thing for them. They'd probably kill themselves on something bigger.

But, this has driven up the prices of small tractors. Some years ago I found it a lot cheaper to buy something in the 50-70 HP range, although I didn't need that much tractor at the time. When "restored" 9N was going for $2,500 here, (restored meant a coat of paint), for $2,400 I bought a Massey 65, a 6 ft. Bush Hog, a mounted plow, a lift boom, an old Ferguson 6 ft. mounted disc, and a rear grader blade, and he delivered it all.

Today, farmers can't afford new equipment and that has driven up the prices of used stuff. Some pretty tired old 50 HP diesels are going in the $3,000 range that are a step away from some major repair expense. So, your eyes are your only defense here. Be careful what you buy.

For myself on a one acre lot it doesn't take much. I plow up 3 garden areas about 30' x 80' and do whatever it takes to keep the weeds and grass under control, sometimes grade and rake the driveway. This little Case garden tractor does all I need now. They are pretty tough, a far cry from the lawn mowers they call garden tractors now. It has an 18 HP Onan engine and is all hydraulic drive, NOT a hydrostat. It has a hyd. pump/valve body running to a hyd. motor on the rear diff. Tougher'n a boot.


Yeah, the tiller is hydraulic drive, too. This is the only true garden tractor I know of that has hyd. outlets. I spent a winter overhauling the whole works, repainted the tin, all new tires, complete with tri-ribs on the front so I can steer it, and since this video, I made suitcase weights for the front. The bare tractor weighs in about 900 lbs., but with weights front and rear and that tiller it goes around 1,350. Notice in the video, the engine is loafing doing that tilling in HARD red clay and sod.

This isn't for everyone, but for a small lot I can make it earn it's keep.
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
those Case garden tractors are in pretty high demand, they are over built like the ag tractors of the 40s and 50s. John Deere built the 140 garden tractor, it was hydro static and came equipped with front and rear hydraulic remotes, but it was under engined, just not in the same class as the Case in Machinists' video.

A good healthy rototiller can save a lot of labour, a good tractor mounted one is sweet.
 

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The skidsteer is the oOo aAa around our parts ... (and) No I don't have one. ;) But hubby is (as of now) selling the heck out of the hydraulics parts for them.
 
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