Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Love/Hate Relationship...

That is the kind of relationship that I have with my Farmall 450 tractor. When everything is working great I absolutely love the thing. I love the sounds it makes, I love the power that it has (enough for us now), and I love the time that it helps me save. As you can see from the picture above the new bale spear on the back helps get the bales up to the Dexters quite well. Before I had this bad boy I was dragging them up with a chain. It got the job done, but most of the time it would take a couple tries (and a couple times of flipping the bale over) to get it where I wanted it. The downsides were that I couldn't set them end to end like I have now (for a windbreak) and that the twine would get torn up and I would spend a while picking up the hay that was left behind.

But, there I times when I hate that old Farmall. So far I think I have replaced about half the hydraulic hoses and the same amount of hydraulic connectors and fittings. The lights don't work, from time to time the float sticks on the carb, I think my starter is beginning to be suspect, there is a like in one of the loader cylinders, the battery box (which the seat is attached to) is rusting out, a couple of the gauges don't work, and the power steering still isn't up to snuff yet.

Although, I can live without the lights, a tap on the carb and the starter usually fixes that problem, so far the leak isn't too bad on the cylinder, the battery box hasn't fallen apart ... yet, the oil pressure gauge and the battery gauge does work, and I can muscle the steering around. Those are just things that I have on my spring/summer repair list (remember that I said one of my goals was to become more mechanical).

Really though, it is just part of the life when you are working with 50 plus year old equipment. A newish tractor would be nice, but there is only so much you can afford at one time and I'm thankful (most of the time) for the tractor I have. In fact I think I'll go to bed tonight and dream of spring garden work with the tractor... At least that will be a warm dream!


Jena said...

I know what you mean. We are farming with a 4010 JD as our main tractor. We were saving to buy a newer one and then had to sink $5000+ in to rebuilding it when it died in the middle of hay season. The good news is (knock on wood) there isn't a lot left to break now. My hubsand dreams of something newer, and it would be nice, but I just can't justify the cost. Our next tractor purchase will be something with a loader.

Rich said...

After trying unsuccessfully to weld patches on a Farmall H battery box, I would suggest to anyone that they just buy a new battery box instead of trying to fix their old one.

Even though you might be able to find a used salvaged box at a what seems like a cheaper price, the majority of the time they are just as bad as the one you are trying to replace (a frustrating lesson I once learned).

Newly manufactured boxes are readily available from a number of sources and are ready to bolt on after a little priming and painting.

One of the good things about older tractors that you forget to mention was that they usually have theft prevention devices built right in. Almost all of our tractors (and chainsaws, etc) can only be started by people that know "exactly how" to start them. You have to throttle it just so, tap this, then turn that, crank it for a little and then a lot, hold your mouth just right, threaten to haul it to the junkyard, and then it will hopefully start up. You can leave the keys in it and nobody can steal it because they will never get it started without following the correct sequence.

Anonymous said...

I hear you about using old tractors,I have a farmall 300 that I have to get running. Time hasn't been on my side. The problems you mention are simple fixes that you can do without a very large expense. Do some research on the net for tractor parts and forums, bet you will find a lot of info. There is nothing wrong with old iron and it's cheaper to use. It's not what you have but how you take care of it that counts. A heathouser and chains will help a lot in the winter. Keep at it.

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