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Marcus, you know, I'm really with you on the Kubota thing. I don't think I'll ever own one. I put it on the list because they are very common, and parts should be relatively easy to get--but then, they came out with so many different models, it may be hard to keep them running-- and yes, they never were my favorite in the ergonomics and intelligent design department.

Oliver are one of my favorites-- I find them to be very well-thought out, usually, very reliable, relatively easy to work on, simple, straight forward machines. In fact, I am the operator / moderator for a Facebook page about Oliver tractors.
 

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Texian
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Jim,
I guess my biggest issue with the Kubota is it had some nice features that were just poorly implemented. As with a lot of Japanese designs, they took a decent design and cheapened the hell out of it. I don't know how much money they saved, but I think they'd be better off making it right and charging an extra 10% or 20% for it. Even the steel was the lightest they could get away with. Some of the latches were bungee latches which are fine unless the tractor is exposed to the weather. Then they don't last. Putting the hydraulic lines where they could (and would) be crushed by the arm of the backhoe is in my mind an example of how not to engineer things. The lines could have been run down the interior of the arm by simply drilling two holes at each end and threading the lines through. It's stuff like that that you just shake your about. When you buy a piece of heavy equipment, you sort of expect it to be heavy duty and able to withstand normal dings and bumps without breaking or leaking.
 

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Not a big fan of Kubota personally, but I wonder Marcus, if you are comparing a modern kubota to older tractors of other brands. There has also been a divide in tractors with some manufactures basically having different models for different markets, "acreage"/farming/industrial, with the modern "acreage" types being often IMO, overpriced and underbuilt. It used to be much more so that even the smallest tractors were built to farm, nowadays many are glorified lawnmowers.

Anyways, I agree about Kubotas having some soft wearpoints but unfortunately I have been very disappointed with newer JD, NH, etc as well, particularly with plastic in stupid places and poor access for repairs. Farmers have been swearing about stupid engineering/design decisions for a long time, and I am no exception, unfortunately it is typically getting worse not better.
 

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Yeah, I was on the edge whether to put them on the list, but maybe I will take them off. Never personally been a fan, but I'm also not personally a fan of Ford or Massey Ferguson--just trying to be fair in my comparisons. Having said all that, I've never had overly good experiences with Kubota products, though one that was nearly brand new did ok. I was going based on the collective opinions of people I know.

Yanmar-built tractors, on the other hand, I have a structurally-based good opinion of. These include the black-grill -50 series John Deeres, from the little 650 up through the 1650. However, I would caution a little against the 1250, 1450, and 1650 JD because they were made in relatively small numbers.

Some of these Yanmar-Deere machines may be able to part-swap with red Yanmars too, though that may be a hit-or-miss proposition. Gray-market Yanmars have been sold a good bit in the US, and possibly some under the regular fully-legitimate sales paradigm. Either way, they are a reliable and efficient little tractor. Getting parts could be iffy, but for the smaller JD ones it shouldn't be a problem.
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I feel sorry for people who try to keep a tractor built in the last 2 even3 decades functional without dealer support, maybe even four decades.
Most require hydraulic pressure to do even the most basic functions, the newer the fuel system the more fussy about fuel quality.
Yes the newer Iron is nicer to run and much easier on the operator, but the simplicity has vanished.
 

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Texian
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It's about 10 years old now, so I guess it would be considered modern Kubota, cowboyhermit.
But I believe the age of the tractor has less to do with it than the engineering philosophy of the company since that generally doesn't change or changes very slowly.

Like Jim, I'm not a fan of the little Ford tractors. They seem to break down a little too often to be deemed reliable IMHO.
 

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Some of the Fords are ok, but you have to be careful. Especially I'd stay away from the model 6000, and any Fords from the 50's and 60's that have the Selectospeed powershift transmission. The 8N is good if only for shear abvailability of parts, and it is fairly simplistic to fix. I think they made somewhere around 500,000 of them, more than almost any other tractor model ever, and they are ubiquitous. The earlier 9N and 2N are not nearly as good, the 8N fixed some of the problems these earlier look-alikes had. The Fordson Major series are decent tractors, proven in worldwide frontier conditions, but don't rely on one unless you are sure there is a good parts source about. I've heard a lot of good consensus on the late model (modernish looking, blue) Ford 4000, which was replaced by the updated 4600, and later 4610. Also the 6600 and 6610 are common models, and probably fairly easy to get parts if you're in Ford country.

But always have spares available no matter what tractor you get. I'm not a huge fan of Fords, Fergusons, Interntionals, or Cases, but there are definitely good models among them, and the Ferguson family I must admit has some good qualities about them.

Sometimes the best ability is "availability."
 

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Post SHTF we'll be tractor free, just as we are now. Yep we could do a lot more with a machine but we don't need to. Produce more than we can handle as it is.
We do have a tractor on the farm, spends most of it's time waiting to be worked on. Might have spend 10 hours working in the 10 years I've been involved with this place.
Has nothing to do with SHTF or TEOTWAWKI it's just how it is. We have what we have and we can do just so much but it's enough to get by. It would be nice to renovate the pastures with a combine but I doubt we'd afford the fertiliser anyways, so we'll let the cows poop and the chickens scratch it around and the pigs can root out the weeds. Things here are slow but steady :).
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Some of the Fords are ok, but you have to be careful. Especially I'd stay away from the model 6000, and any Fords from the 50's and 60's that have the Selectospeed powershift transmission. The 8N is good if only for shear abvailability of parts, and it is fairly simplistic to fix. I think they made somewhere around 500,000 of them, more than almost any other tractor model ever, and they are ubiquitous. The earlier 9N and 2N are not nearly as good, the 8N fixed some of the problems these earlier look-alikes had. The Fordson Major series are decent tractors, proven in worldwide frontier conditions, but don't rely on one unless you are sure there is a good parts source about. I've heard a lot of good consensus on the late model (modernish looking, blue) Ford 4000, which was replaced by the updated 4600, and later 4610. Also the 6600 and 6610 are common models, and probably fairly easy to get parts if you're in Ford country.

But always have spares available no matter what tractor you get. I'm not a huge fan of Fords, Fergusons, Interntionals, or Cases, but there are definitely good models among them, and the Ferguson family I must admit has some good qualities about them.

Sometimes the best ability is "availability."
The ford NAA was the evolution of the simple tractors, Ford had a pretty decent tractor then, the early hundreds series tractors could be pretty simple too, but you need a long season to get much done with a little tractor like them

most euro trash crap presented by the bigger US companies was pretty much junky and got them a bad name with small holders.

the '70s and '80s became about "innovation" and accessories, less about quality and longevity.
 

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Stay away from any tractors built by Iseki, or any made in China or eastern Europe. (unless you live there).
I'm going to disagree with you there Jim...

I've got a 20 hp Chinese tractor that has managed to take everything I've thrown at it for over 20 years. It runs on diesel fuel that would make a newer tractor puke, it has nothing fancy, but can be fixed with a welder (when I really make it try to do things it wasn't designed for) and some shadetree mechanical ingenuity.

I'll try and get a picture of it, but it's got a brush cage and skid plate built around it to protect me and it's vitals, and yeah, it's not the prettiest tractor around, but from someone who grew up on tractors, and has owned several of the ones you mentioned, this has by far been the best investment I've made. $3000 new, with a 16' trailer, box blade and 4' bushhog. A comparable Deere was $12,000 just for the tractor. The only thing not still running today is the trailer.

It's simple to work on, and like the guy I bought it from told me, there isn't a tractor dealership around the corner in China. And back then, if something didn't work right, they might just line you up against the wall and shoot you. So I wouldn't discount the Chinese tractors.
 

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Hey, if it works for you, great. I've been to China and seen their tractors at work. I think you have to be able to think like a Chinese person to get by with one year to year, and if you can do that, you will probably get by well in the post-TEOTWAWKI environment. I know it won't affect the rural Chinese too much, after all.
 

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I'm going to disagree with you there Jim... I've got a 20 hp Chinese tractor that has managed to take everything I've thrown at it for over 20 years..
Are you a member of the CTOA?

http://www.ctoa.net/

Most Chinese tractors I see are offshoots of the Jinma 284 (mostly Farm Pro) and similar, but mine's unique and I have never seen any others like it around here. It is just about the most simple diesel tractor in existence, with a single-cylinder direct injection diesel that starts with a hand crank! 6 fwd & 2 reverse speeds.


Little Yanmars & Kubotas (MAINLY from the late 70's, 80's and 90's) are amazing and will run forever as long as you take care of it. Too many people abuse them and break them. Use them for their intended purpose and they won't be a problem. I had a John Deere 850, and currently have a YM2000.

If I use the tractor ONLY for producing food and nothing else, I can do it on 2 gallons of diesel per year. One 55 gallon drum will last 27 years. I have more than 55 gallons stored.

My Main "Go To" machine is a '51 Farmall Super C. I am currently restoring my 1964 International 404 and it will be my "primary" when finished. Gasoline storage doesn't concern me at all, I have figured out a way to make it last a VERY long time.
http://www.preparedsociety.com/forum/f2/gasoline-stored-5-years-success-22028/

People who think we'll "fall back to horses" are living in a dream world.

Sure, it will happen eventually, but the world's population will be about 2% (or less) of what it is now before that happens. The only ones alive today who might see that happen are the very young. Even if the world collapsed today, at 45 years old - I'll NEVER see the day when the majority of food raised in this country is done by using horses.
Never.

There aren't enough draft horses IN THE WHOLE WORLD to support food production for more than maybe a couple million people at the MOST. "People power" would produce more, but again - 1 man in good health can really only farm about an acre by himself.

Horses are gone for good until the number of people decrease DRAMATICALLY.

This article REALLY explains why:
http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe40s/machines_13.html

During the war, farm hands were drafted or enlisted, the farmers who were left were making money, and equipment manufacturers were told that making tractors was a patriotic duty. As a result, when the war ended, the horses that remained on American farms lost their jobs.

After the war, sales of tractors skyrocketed. In the 1920s, only a few large farmers owned tractors. In the 30s, farmers were strapped for cash by the Depression, just like the rest of the nation. But in the 40s, those restraints were gone. So, when rationing ended, so did the careers of most draft animals.

Agricultural historian Bruce L. Gardner has charted the number of horses and tractors on farms in his book American Agriculture in the Twentieth Century. He conservatively estimates that one tractor would replace about five horses or mules during the early part of the century. The number of horses peaked at just over 25 million animals around 1920. About that same time, the number of tractors began rising and peaked at just under 5 million in the late 60s and 70s. The turning point - when the amount of tractor power overtook the amount of horse power on American farms - was 1945.

There are some, like Charles Wempe, who grew up with horses, and they were sad to see them leave the farm. "Someone once wrote that God must have smiled and opened a generous hand when he gave to man the horse," he says. Wempe went on to become a doctor of veterinary medicine, in part, so he could continue to be around horses.

On the other hand, Harry Hankel "always liked mechanical stuff." He says farmers couldn't argue with the economic impact of tractors. "You could do the work in a couple hours what you did all day with horses."

Mechanization changed almost everything on the farm. There were profound changes in the use of the land. To put it simply, horses run on oats that the farmer had to grow. Tractors run on gasoline that the farmer has to buy. In 1915, an estimated 93 million acres of cropland (27 percent of the total harvested acres) were used to grow feed for horses and mules. By 1960, that acreage had dropped to 4 million, freeing land for cash crops.

In large part because of mechanization, today's farms are much larger than they were before the 1940s, but farmers are much less self-sufficient. They now rely on external providers to supply the inputs they need to grow their crops or livestock. Mechanized farmers are much more efficient. Any given task - like plowing a field or harvesting an acre - is much easier.
 

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Thanks for the heads up on CTOA LincTex. That might be a useful resource at some point. I actually went to work for the people selling them as their tractor mechanic until the owner retired due to his health. So I've got a pretty fair amount of experience with the brands they imported. Mine is a Jinma, and really has been trouble free over the years. The tractors came with a box of replacement parts, and mine is still full. I still have the spare injector and all the major gaskets that I might need. All of my problems come from my abuse, not the tractors quality or functionality.
 

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Jack of all trades?
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Balls, They aren't too bad. I read the forums from time to time.

If a person is to "assume" that oil will go away and be gone for good, then a tractor is simply a "transition tool" to a different lifestyle.

The length of the "transition" depends entirely on how much fuel, oil, tires, and parts you have to keep a functional machine viable. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link - - and then it becomes a lawn ornament.

It'd also a "force multiplier". Military type will be familiar with the term. One man with an AR-15 or an AK-47 and 30 rounds of ammo could theoretically kill 30 men with 30 well-placed shots. It's the same with raising food - one man hour on a tractor can EASILY replace 30 man hours of labor (likely a lot more). How precious and valuable is your time to you? Would you rather dig a garden for 29 hour or do something else (more productive) with your time around your homestead?

People who are serious about "Prepping" REALLY NEED to think not so much about going back to "olden days"........ they need to think about it in terms of "how can I do this in as little man hours as possible?" Sure, I have an axe, but I won't use it to cut down a tree until I simply can't use a chainsaw anymore.

Be smart about the tools you buy. Simple and reliable is best. There are a million Farmall H's and M's that are still running today. That's no accident.
 

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Texian
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People who are serious about "Prepping" REALLY NEED to think not so much about going back to "olden days"........ they need to think about it in terms of "how can I do this in as little man hours as possible?" Sure, I have an axe, but I won't use it to cut down a tree until I simply can't use a chainsaw anymore.

Be smart about the tools you buy. Simple and reliable is best. There are a million Farmall H's and M's that are still running today. That's no accident.
One of the things to remember too is there were Willys Jeeps made with PTO and 3 pt hitch options. I'm not suggesting one of these would be near as good as a real tractor, but those old Jeeps were pretty versatile. It could substitute for a farm truck and tractor for the cash strapped until better options were available. I know I would look to something like that long before I looked at draft horses, mules, or oxen.
 

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Marcus,
The axles in the Willys MB2 and CJ2 were geared right around 5.38 to 1 (really low gears!) which make great pulling power - - but in reality, couldn't barely handle any torque. I wouldn't try any real farming with one. Their just too darn light to get good traction, and if you add weights to help traction, you blew the ring & pinion gears out. Beside, have you PRICED them lately?!?? I can buy a good RUNNING Farmall H for $600….. you can't even buy a good flathead Jeep engine for $600.

Back in the early 90's (when good running 4WD Chevy trucks were under $500!), I helped a guy build a tractor VERY similar to this one. We started with axles from '76? Chevy K20 (3/4 ton 4WD) with 4.10 gears, and a worn out small block 400 engine with a TH350 auto trans and a chain drive "full time" NP203 transfer case from a ½ ton 4WD truck. I have seen quite a few farmers in the Dakotas build various similar contraptions. With good tires and weights, and the transfer case in "Low" you have a substantial amount of power to work with. You really don't need that much engine, though… a Chevy 230 from the 60's would be great mated to a 4-speed manual trans if you are doing a lot of "grunt" work.


 

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Texian
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Yeah Linc, I know they're underpowered. But compared to a horse or a mule, I'd at least try a Jeep pulling a disc plow. One thing I think we'll see is people without tractors trying to adapt damn near anything to make do.
 

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One thing I think we'll see is people without tractors trying to adapt damn near anything to make do.
Back when Model T's and Model A's were cheap and plentiful, and tractors were NOT - - people "made do" with what they had!

Model T (I love the flat belt pulley drive up front, that is unique)


Model A




 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Doodlebugs were pretty common around the depression and into WW2,
But conversions are not really easy, I would repower an existing tractor before I tried to build a conversion, and I have a pretty well equipped shop and a lot of fabrication and repair experience.

The little things will be what cause the problems, the older the tractor the simpler, up to the point of being too caveman to function with any efficiency.

Post collapse simplicity and robust construction will win over comfort and ease of operation.

A simple cartridge oil filter could be cleaned (as long as the clean side was sealed) in some kind of solvent in a pinch, a spin on would be much harder to clean.
An oil bath air cleaner can have the dirt and grime removed and the oil re used after straining.
 
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