Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Thursday 22 June 2017

Machinery: The manual login

Trendsetters Deere and Case have broken a mould by placing their parts catalogues online

Bruce Lett

As a rule, farmers and contractors alike will carry out as much maintenance or repairs as they feel they are capable of on their own machinery. This serves several purposes: it helps to keep repair costs down, provides some off-peak work and offers a first response to a breakdown at peak times when it is often crucial to make the most of the weather.

Anything that can help in terms of locating the problem, dismantling and identifying damaged or broken components, and carrying out the subsequent repair and reassembly would certainly be useful.

Often overlooked and lost, most new agricultural implements are supplied with a parts book. The information in the book is useful in many ways. The parts diagrams, usually in exploded format, show in pretty good detail how, and in what sequence, a component or series of components are put together.

While a parts manual is certainly not a workshop manual, it is a useful aid to have on the shelf -- or somewhere it can be found. In the 1970s and 1980s it was quite the norm for many German and Austrian machinery manufacturers to supply a parts catalogue with every piece of equipment. These may not have necessarily made it down the line to the customer but it was a good idea in the pre-computer era.

Now, though, there is a large amount of information out there on the internet, but it can often take patience and determination to find. Surprisingly, only two manufacturers have gone down the route of providing information in the form of online parts catalogues -- John Deere and the Case New Holland (CNH) group.

The CNH facility popped up in the USA a few years ago before it became a global resource on the internet, and I can only guess that this was driven by market forces in the US, the sheer vastness of the country and accessibility to machinery dealers.

To access the CNH facility, simply go to the desired internet homepage of New Holland, CaseIH or Steyr (not forgetting their construction counterparts as well). A link is available from the CNH homepage, which is www.cnh.com.

Type

On the desired site, you navigate to the 'Parts and Service' section and then 'Search for Parts'. Another browser will open on your computer and you simply type in the model of the product you want to look up (North American site only; you have to register to use the Irish site). There is a vast library of products to be found. For example, the New Holland website goes back at least as far as the Ford Dexta and Major. It also covers many other products and brands that come under the New Holland umbrella, including combines, silage harvesters, Fiat tractors and much more.

The same applies to the CaseIH facility, where David Brown, Case and even Farmall are covered, plus some products CaseIH bought and rebadged along the way, such as GEM sprayers and Fortchritt harvesting equipment. There is quite a complex history and an extensive range of products covered under the New Holland and CaseIH banners.

The online parts catalogue is easy to use. Type in the model number and the information is presented similar to a computers explorer tree, easy to see and navigate. Often, though, it is easier to see when printed out and you can print the section relevant to what you want.

John Deere

The early John Deere online parts catalogue facility was quite basic, but they have now surpassed the CNH group in respect of the library of models (not all older CNH models are available online) and the search options, and they also have the ability to create a pick-list to order the parts directly from the local dealer.

Access to the site is through www.johndeere.com. Again, navigate to the parts section and the online facility will open up in a new browser. It looks similar to the CNH versions and operates similarly as well but with many more search options.

It is worth mentioning that pretty much anything with a John Deere name can be looked up here -- grass care, forestry, construction and so on. I looked up a John Deere 720 tractor that my grandfather had sometime in the 1950s and that catalogue was there, albeit in PDF format. I registered online and selected TFM in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, as my local dealer.

There is a facility on the site to check if the items are in stock at the selected dealer but, to be sure, I would prefer to check directly with the agent. The price for each item is also available.

On the Deere website you can also cross-reference other manufacturers' parts numbers and John Deere will try to provide a John Deere alternative if there is one available or, in the case of filters, they may provide a Fleetguard alternative as well.



Machinery

On the machinery front, there is an enormous amount of parts information out there. I have come across two very large sources, the Kverneland Group and Agro Parts. You are likely to find a couple of items in any yard from the groups.

The Kverneland Group's parts information can be accessed from their homepage, www.kvernelandgroup.com. The 'Spare Part' icon will lead you to the page where you can select the brand within the group you want to look up. Among those available are Rau, Kverneland, Accord, Tarrup, Vicon, and Deutz Fahr machinery (unfortunately tractors and combine harvesters are not included).

Click on whatever brand you would like to search. Once you choose a brand then a parts catalogue page opens up to the user and it is self-explanatory where to go from there. You simply select the desired product and the information pops up in the same way as the CNH and Deere online catalogues.

Agroparts (agroparts.com) is another very good source of parts information, which I discovered while looking up Hardi sprayer parts. Incidentally, Hardi has a lot of additional information and help on their webpage (www.hardi.co.uk), such as instruction books and fault-finding guides for their sprayers.

On the Agroparts homepage you have to register your details but this gives you immediate access to an array of information from a larger number of machinery manufacturers, which include Agria, Grimme, Hardi, Krone, Niemeyer, Lemken, Pottinger, Rabe and Vaderstad. Some of these names may not be familiar, but the information is free. There may be quite a few sections under each brand, such as service information, operator's books and company homepages, that you might be allowed access to. Again, the part information expands similar to the previous examples.

From Scandinavia, the Alo Group (www.alo.se) is one of the biggest tractor front-loader manufacturers in the world market, owning the Quicke (www.quicke.se), Veto (www.veto.se) and Trima (www.trima.se) brands. More recently Alo attempted to acquire French loader manufacturer MX, which, for various reasons, did not go through. Alo has, for quite a while, made their loader and operators manuals available for internet download. Not only is current model information available but all models produced -- past and present -- seem to be there. There are web links to all brands from the Alo home page, or individually.

German loader manufacturer Stoll (www.stollfront.com) is available through the JF dealer network in Ireland, but it is worth mentioning that it is the loader of choice this side of this Atlantic for the CNH brands of New Holland, Case IH and Steyr, so there are parts and parts information available through their web-parts facility as well.

The company's parts catalogues are in German but they are available, and most likely will be available in English in the near future. Stoll are part of the JF-Stoll Group and it does offer instruction books and a downloadable 'quick list' catalogue for parts from their website (www.jf-stoll.com). This covers most fast-moving parts across the JF product range of mowers, rakes, silage harvesters and muck spreaders.

First impressions are that JF-Stoll does offer downloadable parts books but, if you try to register, it indicates that this service is for dealer and JF-Stoll personnel. However, they do offer instruction manuals for download.

Iceberg

The bombardment of information in this feature represents the tip of the iceberg in relation to the extent of the parts information that is available to machinery buyers and users.

There is quite a bit of fodder for the vintage guys as well, which would certainly help enthusiasts along the way with their various vintage projects. With many International, New Holland and John Deere small square balers still working and kicking around the country, it is interesting to note that there are lots of parts still available for these models on the internet.

Armed with all this information and part numbers, it is worth checking out aftermarket parts suppliers such as Sparex (www.sparex.co.uk), Vapor-matic (www.vapormatic.com) and Bepco (www.bepco-trac pieces.com), who all have online cross-reference facilities where you can enter the original manufacturer's part number and see if they manufacture an alternative. Products from these companies and others, such as McHugh and Kramp, Fastparts and Quality Tractor Parts, are sometimes cost-effective alternatives for older or yard-scraper tractors. Many agricultural dealers throughout the country will be agents for at least one of these companies.

I am surprised, though, that there are not more tractor manufacturers following the examples set by John Deere and CNH.

To be fair, though, this is mirrored in the car industry, where certain makes, such as Citroen and Peugeot, provide open access to their parts information, including owners' handbooks and more.

Irish Independent