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Old tractor use.How long.


exSW

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Can’t say but my buddies wife found receipts from her grandparents for a 15-30 and every second alternating year was a minor refresh and more major work, can’t recall how many quarters they had back then, their house was kind of in the middle of 2 quarters but they had some lake gumbo land also but that might have been acquired later

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My newest tractor is 28 years old and still plenty adequate for my needs. If I'd been offered a 28 year old tractor to farm with back in 1971 when I started, what would it be, say maybe an LA Case, John Deere D, IH W9. They seemed like old tractors to me even in 1971. I think our concept of "old" changes as we age ourselves. 

 

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16 minutes ago, exSW said:

We routinely use 30,40,50 even 60 year old tractors. But those old Titans, Moguls and such from the early part of the 20th century. How long did people hold them in service?

Not very long I gather from reading 100s of articles, stories, and books over the years.  Tractors with exposed components and very poor air filtration like those wore out on a yearly basis if used for field work.  They might have survived a little bit longer if used solely for stationary work.  Tractors like the modern 15-30 were such a huge advanced durability they could still be in service 10 to 20 years down the road and many were.  There is a reason why a lot of the old gas tractors from 1910s to the 1920s were scrapped during WW 2.  That’s all they were good for.

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6 minutes ago, Big Bud guy said:

Not very long I gather from reading 100s of articles, stories, and books over the years.  Tractors with exposed components and very poor air filtration like those wore out on a yearly basis if used for field work.  They might have survived a little bit longer if used solely for stationary work.  Tractors like the modern 15-30 were such a huge advanced durability they could still be in service 10 to 20 years down the road and many were.  There is a reason why a lot of the old gas tractors from 1910s to the 1920s were scrapped during WW 2.  That’s all they were good for because they weren’t in service anymore.  

 

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Interesting topic, around here we see a lot of old machines, 06,66,86 etc, with new implements. I think tractors are a lot like vehicles, we reached a peak of the relationship between features/function/luxury/reliability/usability, and i think it was a while ago. 

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.....1965.......15/30  still doing time.......mind you. a modest area  of ground to be worked up....!!About ten acres of  tobacco ground.  ( A friend of mine, a near neighbour)

...we were young then......and it was fun getting the old tractor going....

Mike

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post-157-1171157710    leslie.jpg

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I think there was a massive jump in tractor quality/comfort/reliability with the letter series in ‘39. Those tractors were still common on farms doing real work 20 years ago. I think that has backed off in the last 20 years as the comfort and convenience of the 656 and larger/newer has left tractors without live pto and good hydraulics behind. Heck, even newer augers require more hp and often hydraulics. Will the day come when everything IH that doesn’t have case ahead of it is relegated to the tractor shows?

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1 hour ago, vtfireman85 said:

Interesting topic, around here we see a lot of old machines, 06,66,86 etc, with new implements. I think tractors are a lot like vehicles, we reached a peak of the relationship between features/function/luxury/reliability/usability, and i think it was a while ago. 

Interesting comment. Just for curiosity, what time frame would you say that is for other vehicles. My opinion it would have to be the early 90s to 2000s for cars and trucks. Look at how many are still on the road today.

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3 minutes ago, brewcrew said:

Will the day come when everything IH that doesn’t have case ahead of it is relegated to the tractor shows?

I don't think so.

Maybe for the farmers but here on the ranch where requirements aren't as high, there will always be a home. 

Loader, dozer, baler, rake, bale processor. 

Stepped up to 1486 from 966 last spring and grin everytime I use it. Pulled baler this summer and on bale processor now. 

Either tractor will do everything I need a tractor for. The new FWA spaceship tractors are nice but, (1486) wrote a check for 5K and it went to work making me money. ?

 

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4 minutes ago, TractormanMike.mb said:

Interesting comment. Just for curiosity, what time frame would you say that is for other vehicles. My opinion it would have to be the early 90s to 2000s for cars and trucks. Look at how many are still on the road today.

I would have said 95-98

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In a 80s there were still m farmalls planting and  cultivating here. They were running single front tire working beds with front mounted equipment. The single front tire was the order auto steer in bedded ground. Thx-Ace

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I wanna get me one of those new fanangled 5088 styled machines someday. 0F410565-0BC8-436A-B027-E28CE5C4B0BE.thumb.jpeg.21304e54ab42e141c11bb175b66b94db.jpeg0705A1FC-78C7-462D-88E9-D06BCE9CE679.thumb.jpeg.d44dcd5afc909a85b49b99c4f4a3b795.jpeg

I know small square bale machinery is foreign to a lot of you guys, but we run all new style implements.....behind really old tractors. Don’t plan on changing that up anytime soon.  The seat safety switch on our MX115 came unplugged one day when it was fairly new. Luckily we don’t use it for any actual work. Dad shut it off, to stoop  the beeping/alarms that were going off and he walked away.  Never had that problem with a 1066. I called for a steel fuel line online of the Fords today. 1968.....$80 formed line, dealer  has it in stock.  Our  Maxxums have needed very few parts, but what little I’ve replaced......loader joystick cable, steering line, throttle pedal spring... never in stock. 

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Funny how different aged people relate to year model cars, trucks and tractors.

Born in 1943-----I grew up around Farmall Regulars, F-20s, F-30s----and Farmall Ms.  In my mind when we talk about old tractors-----I immediately think of the Regulars, F-20 and 30s.  I can remember my dad telling the farm labor to "get the new M out" for different jobs.

The electric starter probably gave the Ms etc preference over some of the older hand crank models------even though the hand crank model may have still been in operable condition.  I can remember one of the electric start Ms pull starting many of the old hand crank models.

No doubt the Farmall M was far advanced in engineering and design vs the earlier tractors.  Most of the earlier models had poor air filtering, poor cooling and babbit connecting rod bearings, etc......including operators with true lack of knowledge of proper maintenance.  Time brought experience to the engineers and farmers.

Here in the Mississippi Delta the M was the mainstay work horse for years-----with many of them being pulled out of row crop operation to be used as power units on catfish farms up as late as 10+ yrs ago.  

Lack of live hydraulics, live pto, and 8 speed transmission, etc eventually phased them out in favor of the later models with more convenience features.  As far as durability------those "new Ms" were hard to beat.

But time brings on new demand-----and new engineering concepts.................>  (wonder where to from today????)

 

DD

edit:  my dad was the 1st Farmall dealer in the Delta area (starting in 1924).

After seemingly saturating the area with Regulars in couple yrs-----he sold the dealership and went to work with Harvester as a  "Farmall Specialist".

He said in those first years that he never realized that the Regulars would wear out and newer models would be introduced.

End result------from a large scale farm viewpoint;  the hand crank, steel wheels and babbit bearings were pretty much parked in favor of the "new Ms" as the newer models were placed on the market.  (WWII and after)

 

 

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Most farms around here have an H or M around still raking hay or doing chores.  Part time, half ass guys like me have em as regular iron.  Not saying you can make a living with letter series Farmalls still,  but lots of em still soldiering on and earning their keep. One day I dream of owning a new 1066.....

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This is a very interesting question, exSW.  I think that the standard for tractors has shifted signficantly in my lifetime.  I was born in '68.  In my neighborhood back in the '70s and '80s, most everybody used tractors that were brand new to 20 years old.  Rarely, was a tractor older than 20 years.  (As a young child, I saw those 20 year old tractors as antiques.)  I never saw a Fordson, Farmall F-30, McCormick Deering 15-30, or John Deere D used for field work when I was a kid.  Those tractors were no longer practical for the most part.

A few of the later, letter-model Deeres and Farmalls were still used in the neighborhood and those tractors were only used for occassional light work like pulling a tobacco transplanter in the spring, tedding/raking hay, or pulling flat wagons for tobacco harvest in the late-summer.  Heavy tillage and routine farm work was done by tractors that were in the new to 20 year old category.

My theory is that tractor size, quality, features, efficiency, and reliability improved by the early-'70s so that in today's world, many 50-year old tractors are still quite useful...and preferred in a lot of cases.  Many of those newer tractors from my childhood still soldier on.

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Pretty much anything prior to 06 series has been parked in my area or is parade duty other than maybe some putzy work for fun. Probably took until the end of the 90s for that to take effect.  

We only regularly run one H as my uncle uses it to grin his own feed on a belt hammer mill.  

Gas tractors are honestly too much of a pain to run anymore, both too expensive with fuel cost and economy and it's a constant fight with carbuerators and ignition components.  

Most other "old" stuff still in use is diesel, dependable and cheap to maintain so it has staying power.  Even if undersized for some of the main jobs, you dont need a 100k tractor for utility work.  

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If I had to say what the break was between old tractors that got retired and not quite so old that stayed in use, in these parts, I would say it was the F series to letter series with International, and the 2 bangers to New Generation with Deere.  Even when I was young (80s-90s) I never saw an F series in use anywhere, and the JD dut duts were almost as rarely used.  

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those old titans and such with the gear and chain drives were not the best setup and wore out in the dirt. oils were poor, engines were big and clumsy slow turning and vibration even cracked the titan frames. basically replaced the horses. so 100 years ago things did not last to long. when the 10-20's and 15-30's came out they were quite an improvement and did a lot more work, these lasted longer. dont forget this old stuff opened up the country! so if you jumped ahead say 50 years to the 60 series that would be like cadillac's. these tractors did piles of work. pretty common to get 10,000 hrs on  a tractor. then if you jump ahead another 50- 60 years things  totally different ball game. now,- remove all those satellites from earth and your doomed. when will things stop advancing?

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I was born in 67 and when I was a kid the biggest farm, literally a large grown family, farmed between 500 and 1000 acres.  I was young and don't remember exactly. They had a fleet of h and m farmalls for planting and cultivating. A 706 and 6000 ford for tillage. Father and 3 sons, all hard workers. Two of the three sons died in an off farm accident then the father died. The remaining son continued to farm on a smaller scale until he retired.

Other smaller farmers had newer bigger equipment but most of those went out in the 80s. 

Thx-Ace 

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When I was a kid in the late 60's neighbors were running a lot of M's and 560's in this area. One neighbor had 2 730 diesel John Deere's. Did all his plowing with 2 4 bottoms, and he farmed around 400 acres. My dad's big tractor was a 560 gas and we also had an M and a Massey Harris 33. Before I was born I was told he had a 44 Massey Harris and an H. Farming 240 acres with those 2. Then in 1971 he bought an 806 diesel. Still have it. 

Kind of a funny story. In the mid to late 70's our neighbors had a 970 Case that the engine started getting coolant in the oil and they also found shavings in the rear end. That tractor spent the spring in the shop. He did all his plowing and field work with a 70 John Deere and a 300 Utility. One day when gassing up the 70 he noticed the air cleaner oil cup missing on the John Deere. He went and got another one and went back to the field. It never seemed to bother that tractor. 

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14 hours ago, sandhiller said:

I don't think so.

Maybe for the farmers but here on the ranch where requirements aren't as high, there will always be a home. 

Loader, dozer, baler, rake, bale processor. 

Stepped up to 1486 from 966 last spring and grin everytime I use it. Pulled baler this summer and on bale processor now. 

Either tractor will do everything I need a tractor for. The new FWA spaceship tractors are nice but, (1486) wrote a check for 5K and it went to work making me money. ?

 

Amen to that.  There are still plenty of 560s and 656s pulling bar mowers inbetween your area and mine.  And for all the complaints about the 560 it seems that everyone has at least one with a loader still in use.  

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Going back to the tractors of the 1910-20's, I would liken them to computers of the 1990's, early 2000's, or cell phones over the last decade.. Technology, performance, reliability was improving at a rate that a new tractor was obsolete almost as soon as you took possession. As mentioned, old exposed drives and such were horrendous and short lived. If you owned one of these in the day, you might rebuild & repair it a few years, but it quickly became more cost effective to replace with something newer.

The 1930's brought truly reliable tractors to the market, but the real game changer for ag tractors would be WWII. A slug of mechanical & manufacturing engineering was developed for the war and those lessons were incorporated to tractors. I would say tractor development leveled off until the early 60's after that, but the first tractors that really could reliably outlive their owners were built in this era.

I'll let someone else sort out the 1960's on. I would say that your needs dictate what point in the following 60 yrs you consider a tractor large and modern enough to suit you.

When my old man bought his 80 acres in 1975, a JD 50 & 70 were all he had. Now he is using equipment the BTO of that Era had, but I doubt he will ever get something newer. The farm just down the road is the same size, but they have cattle so their tractor runs daily, they bought a new McCormick in the early 2000's because they wanted that daily reliability. 

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