Monday, April 21, 2008

The New Tractor

In my last post I wrote just a little bit about the tractor that we just purchased. As I mentioned it is a Farmall 450 with a wide front end. According to Tractor Data they were produced between 1956 and 1958 and there were over 25,000 made between gas, lp, and diesel (with gas/lp leading the way by far). The 450 is around a 40 to 50 hp tractor (it varies between the drawbar and pto of course) and should be perfect for our farm. One interesting thing about the information listed on the Tractor Data website is that they give the original list price. For the Farmall 450 the original price was $4,100. Now, a fully restore (similar to new) could cost at least that much and maybe more! I guess that is one good thing about older tractors, if you keep them running well and taken care of they shouldn't drop in value.

Anyways, on Friday afternoon my dad drove up to meet me at our house and then we took off about 60 miles north to the home of the Farmall 450 we were interested in ... and about 50 other tractors this guy has! Needless to say, this guy loves old tractors and the color doesn't seem to matter. There were old tractors, there were loaders, there were implements, and then there were more old tractors! Some were fully restored, some were a work in progress, and some were just waiting for their turn in the shop. Anybody with an interest in old iron would have loved a walk around this place ... of course it would have helped if it wasn't cold and rainy.

Because of the wet and chilly weather he had pulled the 450 into his shop so we could take a good look at it. The tractor was painted a couple of years ago so it had a decent coat of paint and the tin is in pretty good shape. After first glance it looks like ... a red tractor! This particular Farmall 450 has a Paulson loader with one way hydraulics (hydraulics takes it up, gravity takes it down) on the loader and two way on the bucket. This isn't the best case, but it works fine for our farm. Another add on is the three point hitch. The original 450's either had a straight drawbar or 2 point IH fast hitch. But, there are plenty of different three point after market kits out there and this tractor has one. Having the loader and a three point hitch will be a great help around the farm.

After talking about the tractor and giving it a once over in the shed we took it out for the test drive and tried to put it through some paces as best we could on a rainy, muddy, and cold day. Things seemed to work well except for one little part ... the BRAKES! They weren't completely gone, but they were gone enough to cause concern in hilly Southern Iowa. The brakes weren't a deal breaker though because it is a relatively easy fix and we have a pretty good idea of what the problem is. In fact the tractor is already on the way to getting fixed.

Speaking of getting the tractor fixed... Things actually worked out pretty well, because my cousin just happened to be taking three tractors up to my Uncle and was in the area to pick up our new tractor and take it to his place for the repairs. Now the tractor is in the area (within 25 miles of the farm) and waiting to get a brake job done. Once the brakes are fixed we will have plenty of work for it to do ... mowing, pulling fence, putting in fence, spreading gravel, and on and on and on!

Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I will be able to share so tractor work pictures, but for now I'll just enjoy the picture of the tractor on the trailer ... close to the farm.


Rich said...

Now you just have to find yourself a big pile of dirt and practice (play?) with your loader by moving the pile back and forth. After moving the pile a few dozen times, using your loader will become second nature.

The only thing I don't like about our IH 300 (which has almost the same sheet metal as your 450) is that stupid grill and the way it is designed with those vertical slots. It seems like if you happen to look at it wrong it gets bent out of shape. I spent many frustrating days trying to straighten ours before we painted it.

Linda at Clover Bell Farm said...

Have you read Michael Pollan, author of The Omivore's Dilemma, article for Earth Day? You might really like it. Margaret Wilson posted it on her Dexters Only website.

Tim said...

Sweet ride!

Ethan Book said...

Linda - Thanks for passing on the article, I did catch that from the Dexter list and it was an interesting read...

Tim - Hopefully the tractor will be on the farm soon, and then we can get some fencing done!

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