Part time farmers: gas or diesel tractor?

Discussion in 'Tractors' started by Drifthopper, Apr 24, 2003.

  1. Drifthopper

    Drifthopper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    Virgin poster here - my first one, been a long time lurker.
    Alright, need opions on buying a used farm tractor.
    I'm looking to up grade our tractor that we have, father and I, at your property we own. Currently we have an old Ford 9N, had it a long time, 20+ yrs, but it's getting older and weaker and we ( i ) are out growing it. I think we spend more time on the weekends "working on it" then "working it", he don't seem to mind, but my time is always in short supply, i want something i can just get on and go. We don't use our equipment that much, maybe ........30.....40 hours a year, maybe not even that. General use is: some backblade work on the gravel driveway, some ditch work with just a single bottom, we use it to pull logs/firewood out of our woods, and probably our biggest use is for brush hogging. We have a 60" now, and when the grass/weeds get tall (above the grill) in early July, that 9N just doesn't have the HP to spin it. We cut about 15 to 20 acres, (big field in front of cabin, small one in back, and lots of woods trails).
    Now, for driveway work and pulling logs out the 9N is ok, but it sucks for hogging, only 3 gears and we gotta' keep the thing revving high to get any kind of PTO speed out of it. We basically use it just from now till November, and then it sits thru the winter. So, we've (i) been looking, checking the classifieds and the swap sheet, did a few farm auctions but they are like a whole day thing, and the big stuff always gets auctioned off last.
    But i'm really undecided on what to upgrade to? Whatever we get is going to be a few years old,('70's - 80's ish) but don't know if it should be a gas tractor, like an early 1970's Ford 2000, (or the like, ) or go with a diesel tractor?
    For our use, i'd like to be in the 25 to 30 PTO HP range.
    It's got to be a catorgy 1.
    To give an idea on what i looked at: Massey Ferguson 1030 and a 240, J D 885, Ford 1510 (but if i remember that was a little on the small side) seen a nice Case, i think a 885, a Ford 4230, and Cub Cadet 7274 and some Ford gas models, 2000 and a NAA , but that was a bit on the old side for me. Kubota 's are nice, but haven't seen one in the $3500 to $4500 range, that what we're looking to spend.
    So, I've come out of lurking to hear what you guys have to say on the pro's and con's of either a gas tractor or diesel tractor.
    Will post if any questions come up.
  2. longviewlawncare

    longviewlawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 298

    If it was me i would always get desiel when possible. The power will always be better, fuel econmy better, and it i will last longer. To bad you are in New york, I have a mid 80's Kubota i am trying to seel right in your price range. Moderstaors i am not trying to seel anything i am just making a comment so please don;t delete post. Anyway good luck with your tractor.
  3. Weedburner

    Weedburner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    We had a couple of 8N fords for years. I traded them for a 2040 John Deere about 20 years ago. I have been real happy with the diesel. They start easier, even when it's damp out. Make sure you get a tractor with a live PTO. They work much better on a mower. You don't have to get a catagory one three point hitch. I used bushings on the links to use the old ford attachments on my Cat 2 John Deere. Utility tractors bring good money. If you spend a little extra and buy a John Deere, Kubota or Ford they hold thier value well. I just traded my 2040 for a new 4710. The dealer gave me more than I paid for it new. Most of the gas tractors will be rather old. I just sold an old 1650 Oliver that belonged to my uncle for $3200. I think you would be ahead to spend more in the $8000 range a buy a little later model diesel. remember to the old saying, if you buy something with to much quality you waste part of your money, buy something with poor quality and waste all of your money. If you had a tractor with power steering and live pto you will use it more.
  4. Drifthopper

    Drifthopper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    Weed burner : What's a "live PTO?"
    And how will i know if a tractor has one? What's the "term" for the PTO on a 9N? (but are "live PTO's " common on all fairly newer units?)
    For brush hogging, am i in the right horse power range? for "regular" brush cutting / field/ goldenrod cutting, do i need more then 25-30 HP, to make a 5' cut in one pass?
    I know what you're saying on price, and i do fully realize that tractors hold their value real well, but we're not at our cabin all the time and get kinda worried about the stuff we keep there.
    What about the warm up time on a diesel?
    and then maintenance, we know **** about diesels.......filters, fuel, fuel additives, oil, ............(are they fairly self-explantory?)

    Longview: I wish you were closer, how much weight can your trailer carry. LOL!

    On that note: does this site (Can i type/ask this?) have a classified section? Or any links to sites where people sell equipment over the net?

    I would just like to get an idea of what's out there and to what's it going for, with pictures would be nice also, cause what's happening is when i look thru the local papers ads, some model numbers i'm familar with, but most, i really don't know how the numbers relate to the size of the tractor. I don't want to make a hour/two hr. drive to go look at something and have it be to small or to big for our use. I (myself) am leaning toward a diesel tractor, i think if we get a good used model, we'll have it for a long time.

    Thanks guys!!
  5. longviewlawncare

    longviewlawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 298

    get somehere in the 30-50 hp range and you will be fine. We pull a 15' trideck finishing mower with a 45 hp tractor. To 30-40 should do you fine.
  6. Arnold

    Arnold LawnSite Member
    from Wyoming
    Messages: 194

    Go diesel I have a 2040 JD and it runs a 6 foot mower with plenty of power to spare. When it comes to maintenance get a manual with your tractor or buy one shortly afterwards.
  7. Alan Reagan

    Alan Reagan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I have a Massey 231 diesel. Love it. Sips fuel unless I'm pulling the Woods 6' double harrow. It pulls my Woods 372 finishing mower great, too. I can mow 15 acres on less than 5 gallons of fuel. I bought it new about 8 years ago. The only thing I've had to do is replace the fan belt and hoses.

    Live PTO doesn't use the clutch to engage. Just shift the lever to engage. My brother in law has a Ford with it. I don't like it because it snatches the heck out of the bush hog and finishing mower. My Massey uses the clutch to engage. For normal operation, push the clutch in to the nuetral position. For the PTO, push the clutch all the way down, engage the PTO and release the clutch back to nuetral, then it's ready for gear engage. It's a lot easier on the equipment, especially the auger where you can use it to slowly engage.

    My personal choice is diesel.
  8. hosejockey2002

    hosejockey2002 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,195

    Drifthopper- A 25hp diesel tractor will handle a 5' brush mower just fine. IMO diesel tractors are much more reliable, powerful and fuel efficient than gas ones. I warm mine up for about 5 minutes before I work it hard. For tons of info on tractors, go to
  9. Weedburner

    Weedburner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    The biggest advantage to a "live PTO" is that it doesn't want to push the tractor when your mowing in close areas. The PTO on my 2040 is 2 stage. Push the clutch all the way in and the PTO stops. Half way in and you can change gears with the PTO running. its real handy to change direction and gears without stopping the mower. Most larger tractors have a seperate clutch lever for the PTO. My diesel is much cheaper to maintain that my gas tractors were. The only fuel additive you will ever need is a little conditioner if you plan to use it in real cold weather. With the hours you run a filter would last a long time if you kept the fuel clean. A diesel pump requires much less fussing with that plugs, points and carberators. Your fuel burn will be less than half that of a gas tractor. Warm up time is about the same as a gas tractor. Do you have a building at the cabin to lock your stuff up? I have a 6 foot mower for my 2040. It has around 40 HP, no problem with power.
  10. We have a 69 cockshutt 1550 (aka Oliver in the states) its about 55 hps I blow snow with it and use it for a 6 foot rotary mower its basically a bush hog and it has tons of power for that kinda stuff. that case 885 is a good tractor also look at the david brown (case) 990s there is alot still used around here go here u can do a search of used utlility tractors in ur area.

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