12 step guide to taking the risk out of buying a used tractor

 

The do's and don'ts of buying a second had tractor
The do's and don'ts of buying a second had tractor
Derek Casey

Derek Casey

If you're on the lookout for a second-hand tractor, you need to protect yourself from getting stung with a bad deal.

The first choice you will face is whether to buy from a dealer or go private. Buying from a reputable dealer is a far safer option and offers a level of quality standard and back-up.

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If going this route, let your local dealer know what you are looking for and they can keep an ear out. Dealers regularly take in second-hand tractors and some even offer a three or six-month warranty, which ensures there is a basic level of after sales back-up available. The other option is to buy privately.

There are lots of deals available through farming classifieds and websites, but keep in mind that buying private is much riskier because you don't have the all-important after-sales service or any warranty. It is still possible to buy a good-quality tractor privately, but you need to do your homework because if the proverbial hits the fan, you are on your own.

Keep the following tips in mind before parting with your cash - these checks can be applied to buying any used tractor.

1. Axle

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Axle

Look at the hub bearing wear. Jacking the front of the tractor up and shaking the wheels — top to bottom — will give an indication to the degree of bearing wear. If these are shot, it can be a labour-intensive job to rectify.

2. Hub

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Hub

Check the axle hub seals. Dirt and grime can work its way in here and rupture the seals. These can be costly to replace and traces of oil around the inner rim are the tell-tale signs.

3. Hitch B

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Hitch B

On machines that have been on a dump trailer, the linkage will not give an accurate reflection of the work a tractor has been subjected to. Have a look at the pick-up hitch in this instance. Significant wear on the hook or lateral play on the pick-up hitch is a better way to judge the workload.

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4. Test drive

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Test drive

As with any machine considered for purchase, it is wise to take it for a road test. It is advisable to try every gear in the machine to highlight if the transmission is functioning correctly. Keep an eye on the dash for error codes and run the pto in both 540 and 1,000rpm mode to ensure it is selecting both ranges with ease. Test the four-wheel drive and diff lock to ensure both are selecting and disengaging on request.

5. Seat

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Seat

Test if the seat is functioning correctly. If the machine is to be used for long days working in the field, it is worth having a comfortable seat. Considering a replacement seat can cost anything from €500 upwards - it is not a trivial matter.

6. Cab

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Cab

A quick look at the rear suspension rams and the bushings will tell a lot about the cab suspension. The bushing - which dictates the upper and lower limits of cab movement - should run around the middle of the stoppers. If the bushing is toward the bottom or the top, it shows a fault is present.

7. Pto

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PTO

The pto can cause trouble if it has suffered abuse such as being engaged at high engine rpm. Some pto shafts are held on by a series of internal bolts; it's not uncommon for one of these to work loose and come off. If the pto is used with one of the bolts missing, it can become bent. Running the pto while keeping an eye on the shaft will show any imbalance in the shaft.

8. Transmission

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Gear box

As with any machine considered for purchase, it is wise to take it for a road test. It is advisable to try every gear in the machine to highlight if the transmission is functioning correctly. Keep an eye on the dash for error codes and run the pto in both 540 and 1,000rpm mode to ensure it is selecting both ranges with ease. Test the four-wheel drive and diff lock to ensure both are selecting and disengaging on request.

9. Turbo

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Turbo

If the tractor is a powered by a turbo-charged engine, look for oil leaks around the engine area, especially on the turbo. Inexperienced drivers can develop a habit of killing the engine without giving it a chance to idle. Seals can occasionally give and are expensive to replace.

10. Track rod

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Track rod

Simple things, like poorly maintained track-rod ends, have a knock-on effect on other items, such as tyre wear. With the engine running, shaking the steering wheel illustrates the wear in track rod ends.

11. Hitch A

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Hitch A

Typically, the linkage is as good an indicator as any to the amount of work the tractor has done. Hoisting the lift arms up illustrates any play in the linkages. A tight linkage has suffered little wear or abuse.

12. Clutch

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Clutch

In tractors fitted with a mechanical gearbox, clutch wear can be determined by holding the brakes on while releasing the clutch with 2nd gear selected at 1000rpm. If this forces the tractor engine to labour or stall, the clutch is in good nick. If not, the clutch is getting worn and will need replacing — a cost you may want to avoid unless you can negotiate good warranty.

It's still possible to buy a good quality tractor privately, but you need to do your homework

Indo Farming


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