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IH 5X88 series tractors-what to know?


wendyoakscubs
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Good afternoon,

I have been thinking about buying a larger tractor for my small farming operation here for quite some time now. I've really liked the thought of the 5288 or a 5488 but really have no knowledge about them. From what I've read it's about the same as everything else. People loved them or people hated them. What's a guy need to look for when buying one of these tractors? Main thing I've read is make sure it has a sentry module instead of a test harness. Where is the sentry module located? What are specific points that people recommend looking at (beyond your normal stuff when buying a used tractor-been down that road many times)? Mainly looking at one for winter time work (snow blowing), and spring/fall tillage. Leaning more towards a 5288 with the possibility of getting one with a dual pto unit. I bet it sees 50-75 hours a year tops, unless I absolutely love it and sell the rest of my tractors! Thanks in advance for any guidance. 

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Depends how much you want to spend on repairs those tractors are getting some age on them and can be very costly to repair and find parts for I would spend alittle extra and get something newer 

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as been said make sure sentry is working. electric system needs to be kept in good shape ie no junk batteries or connections. good hyd. oil and a little maintenance go a long way. as far as parts go no differnt than getting some parts and price for boxcar magnums. its stupid how many parts have been dropped for the early magnums

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Sentry is a square silver box installed next to the fuse block

     Yes some parts are hard to find, and everything is expensive these days.  They’re no different than anything else.  For 75 hours a year they’ll work just fine for you

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If you have a small farm i know from experience that a 5488 is a BIG TRACTOR i owned one and that thing was a beast. But it would do a lot of work. I bet you would actually be happier to put more money into a nice 5088 if you wish to go that way. Those were a excellent tractor if they were maintained. 

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Thanks for all the ideas to look for. I knew the sentry was a big one on these tractors. I called on a 5288 today. Guy was nice and seemed honest about it but said it had a test harness in it. I've seen pictures of Mike's 88 series transmission rebuilds. Has the damage already been done if they had been running a test harness in it? 

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If the tractor seems good,  you know the history of the tractor,  and/or have a good feeling about how the current owner treats his machinery in general, I wouldn't consider the lack of Sentry module a deal-breaker.   Triple R has an aftermarket Sentry now, and I would put one in as soon as possible.

 

Three years ago I bought a very nice original paint 50 with just shy of 4700 hours for somewhat more than half of what people were asking for comparable 7-8 series Magnums.  I felt that gave me quite a bit of wiggle room so far as future repairs (which to date  have been minor- water pump, fan bearing, alternator and batteries) and, for my purposes, there are a couple of things I actually prefer about the 50 series.

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i looked at a 5288 last year at a retirement sale. 100 or so hours on over $16,000.00 worth of engine and trans work. Took a look and it had a brand new looking "test harness" installed. That was just enough to scare me away. 

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59 minutes ago, wendyoakscubs said:

I've debated the idea of also going up to a boxcar magnum. Watching the online auction sites the price difference isn't all that much to go up depending on many factors I guess. I've used a few boxcars before helping farmers in the field and they are nice to run. 

The powershift is definitely nice!!

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We have both boxcar Magnums and 5X88 tractors, and we like them both. In tight spots I actually like the 5X88s better, faster to shift from Reverse to Medium than to shift the powershift. The only problem with them is that they are 35 to 40 years old, if they were taken care of, they will be a good tractor, if not, you are going to have to put some money in them, but that is true with about anything. The Sentry controls the high/low shift in the speed transmission, and could sometimes give a fit, but the fact they are that old and still being used says something about their durability, call Mike Links at Triple R Tractors, https://www.triplertractors.com/ he specializes in them and can tell you what to look for, he posted on here how he tests them to make sure the transmission is good and he might even have one ready to sell, and if you do get one, Mike can get you about anything you need for it.

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1 hour ago, Matt Kirsch said:

5088, 5288 and 5488 are all physically the same tractor. The perception that any are "bigger" than any other is purely in the mind. 

The problem with the 5088 is to have tires that it has power to turn, it does not have adequate ground clearance. It is excessively heavy for the power output. It's helpless and gutless in mud without 4x4. I've told the story before I'll tell it here again: We test drove a 5088, put it on the manure spreader in place of the 856. Dad took it out and ended up with it buried to the axles. We tried pulling it out with the 1066, could not move it. Pulled the pin to the spreader, still could not move it. Had to get my brother and the 856 up there and two tractors to get the 5088 out of the hole. Once it was out of the hole, the hole was not that impressive. Dad backed the 1066 into the same holes the 5088 made, dropped the pin into the spreader, and walked right out without spinning a wheel. The 5088 was "beached" on its belly where the 1066 still had inches of ground clearance.

Yes the 5088 only had 18.4x38's but it did not have the power to turn anything bigger.

Then I took out a few fence posts driving the 5088 back home with the 50' long axles it had. It got parked until the dealer came to take it back.

I'd say the moral of your story is don't spread manure when it's wet out. If the 1066 only had "inches" to spare on the belly it sounds like you should have picked a better day to demo a 5088? I guess I'm not following what was so bad. You buried it. 

I'd also say it sounds like you drove to close to the fence, but what do I know. 

At the end of the day, whatever the purpose of that riveting story was, isn't really enough to scare me from buying an 88 series tractor. But, thank you for the input.   

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15 minutes ago, Matt Kirsch said:

The moral of the story is the 5088 has poor ground clearance and is extraordinarily heavy for a tractor of its horsepower output, if those things are important to you.

The 5088 was high-centered where the 1066 still had inches of ground clearance left. The 5088's drawbar was dragging through the mud and the 1066's didn't even get dirty.

The 856 floated across the wet ground pulling the spreader where the 5088 sunk like a stone.

If you don't turn a wheel in less than ideal conditions, then it won't be a problem. Back when we did "real" farming and you had to go every day come **** or high water, it was not a good fit. When you're just "hobby" farming it and can afford to park the machines until it stops raining and dries out, maybe it's not so important. For us, the cows did not stop pooping because the ground was wet.

I can't say any of what you're saying about a 5088 is important to me, because I never said I was interested in a 5088, and also, I don't plan on driving in less than ideal conditions. I guess that makes me a "hobby" farmer because I choose to use my head and use common sense about whether to go spread cow poop after a 3 inch rain or wait. 

We also did the "real" farming as you describe. The cows still pooped and the manure got spread. Crops all got put in and taken out. We just waited for the ideal conditions. I guess we were fortunate? Hit it on the right days? And to think it was even our source of income and it still worked out like that...

With all do respect your story makes no sense. You used a heavier tractor and it sank in the mud and your good old 1066, that potentially weighs 2 tons less than the 5088, saved the day. Thats great Matt. Sounds like you had a bad day and want to blame it on the tractor. "Inches" of ground clearance don't mean squat when you sink in the mud 2 feet with a tractor that could easily weigh 2 tons more than the tractor you pulled the spreader out with. It was obviously too wet for what you were trying to accomplish. Ain't the 5088s fault. 

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Matt was making a point about a drawback of this tractor. sounds like with your defensiveness your mind is made up. I had a deere 4255 and a massey 3545, both 2 wheel drive. The 4255 was helpless in the mud compared to the massey, just a fact. and you make disparaging comments because he's just stating an issue with the 5088

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couple things to look for when buying one of these ( i asked the same questions regarding mike at 3R when I was looking ) BTW, i own a 5088 and while I havent gotten it stuck yet, its been in the mud and I did drag the drawbar so made myself very aware of that - I would never take a 10 over n 88 mainly for the cab. since I have added a class 3 drawbar to the 3 point to lift things up better - I made my own anti rotation device for it. Mine has Michelin Radials that are 20s on it and has no trouble turning them and spinning on the disk w or w/o duals on. 

I know matt likes things with lotsa power and extra RPMs added - I know my 6.7 superduty wouldnt cut the mustard for him and his 6.7 would likely run circles around mine.  im a hobby farmer my 5088 gets used around 150 hours/yr its mainly used for batwing mowing, disking, loader work and blading snow in winter. They are heavy for sure. 

Of course there is the sentry thing - you are well aware and mike sells the aftermarkets for 1500 bucks IIRC

Mike said 90% if not more of the 88 series with rearend issues will have already shown up and or totally failed by 5K hours or they were updated prior to that. 

hopefully you can find out the history on your tractor if not you can use that for the first basis 

the second thing - put the txmission in high gear range in position 6 - open it up all the way to full throttle -  dump the clutch and it should kill the tractor - next do the same in 5th - should kill tractor - if the clutch or transmission is having the issue that fails it will not kill the engine and slip. 

obviously do this preferably when the owner is not in sight 

outside of the rearend and engine these are the big $$ items if needing repaired - that is how i ended up with the 5088 I have, it passed these tests. OH - i have had to have my alternator rebuilt 2x since I have had it, I guess they are hard on alternators. You can see that easily good/bad by the gauge. 

 

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49 minutes ago, gafarm49 said:

Matt was making a point about a drawback of this tractor. sounds like with your defensiveness your mind is made up. I had a deere 4255 and a massey 3545, both 2 wheel drive. The 4255 was helpless in the mud compared to the massey, just a fact. and you make disparaging comments because he's just stating an issue with the 5088

Yes, an issue that happens to many people with many different tractors. As was stated, I didn't ask which tractor was good in the mud. I'd prefer to stay on topic. Thanks. 

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32 minutes ago, searcyfarms said:

couple things to look for when buying one of these ( i asked the same questions regarding mike at 3R when I was looking ) BTW, i own a 5088 and while I havent gotten it stuck yet, its been in the mud and I did drag the drawbar so made myself very aware of that - I would never take a 10 over n 88 mainly for the cab. since I have added a class 3 drawbar to the 3 point to lift things up better - I made my own anti rotation device for it. Mine has Michelin Radials that are 20s on it and has no trouble turning them and spinning on the disk w or w/o duals on. 

I know matt likes things with lotsa power and extra RPMs added - I know my 6.7 superduty wouldnt cut the mustard for him and his 6.7 would likely run circles around mine.  im a hobby farmer my 5088 gets used around 150 hours/yr its mainly used for batwing mowing, disking, loader work and blading snow in winter. They are heavy for sure. 

Of course there is the sentry thing - you are well aware and mike sells the aftermarkets for 1500 bucks IIRC

Mike said 90% if not more of the 88 series with rearend issues will have already shown up and or totally failed by 5K hours or they were updated prior to that. 

hopefully you can find out the history on your tractor if not you can use that for the first basis 

the second thing - put the txmission in high gear range in position 6 - open it up all the way to full throttle -  dump the clutch and it should kill the tractor - next do the same in 5th - should kill tractor - if the clutch or transmission is having the issue that fails it will not kill the engine and slip. 

obviously do this preferably when the owner is not in sight 

outside of the rearend and engine these are the big $$ items if needing repaired - that is how i ended up with the 5088 I have, it passed these tests. OH - i have had to have my alternator rebuilt 2x since I have had it, I guess they are hard on alternators. You can see that easily good/bad by the gauge. 

 

Thank you, that was good information and good experience from use. I do plan on talking to Mike in the future and asking questions. Sounds like your tractor has worked out for you well. I agree that most of the 98s should have already had issues this late in the game and if well cared for have been fixed. Just gotta watch out for the test harnesses. 

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