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C/I Owners and the Story of Stuff

1430 Views 14 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  RichardP
..... Consider the number of these tractors that are 30 some years old and still running strong, many without fastidious maintenance. Those of us on this and other tractor sites understand the durability of the Case/Ingersoll and that is why we are delighted to acquire a 30-40 year old tractor and bring it back to top condition. Sadly this world has been consumed with the throwaway mentality and many manufacturers have fed this mindset by producing products that are guaranteed to die within a few short years and cannot be repaired. As a result most people looking for a tractor will walk right by a dingy looking Case and buy a shiny new big box store tractor. That's fabulous news for most of us because we can buy a good running Case for as little as $500 and know that with a little TLC it will be virtually as good as a $5000 new Ingersoll.

I stole this from another thread as it was a perfect lead in to a website that someone shared with me a few weeks back

Story of Stuff

Most of you may think that this should go off to the round table - off topic section; however, I placed it here as I find that the mind set of the people I have met (virtually of course) here is very much anti-stuff. In a way you all seem to have been living the anti-stuff lifestyle at least in some way for a while now - and better yet, the C/I product seems to be built against the "stuff" ethos as well.

Hope you enjoy. Comments, thoughts are welcome.
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I like stuff but I like good stuff. Over the years I have learned that my $$ go a lot further buying really well made stuff that needs repair and fixing it rather than paying more for something that isn't well made. I like to buy it once, fix it once and enjoy it for life. Before I got the tractor disease I had (still have) a boat disease and have had experiences quite similar to what we have all experienced with tractors. I have have purchased boats for next to nothing because they are "old" while many of my friends go out and drop $40 grand or more for something off the dealer lot. I just finished putting together a boat I purchased for -$500 (paid $500 and sold the trailer for $1000) put in a good new (used) engine for $300 and spent $1,500 on new upholstery so I have a rock solid boat for $1300 that would sell for over $40,000 new and is far better built than most boats on the market today. A neighbor of mine purchased a brand new boat 3 years ago for around $50,000 and already has over $1,000 in non warranty repairs--and only about 10 hrs on the meter. I have a 1987 F250 diesel that a friend gave me because it was hard to start and looked old. I spent about $50 replacing a few glow plugs and $150 for a new exhaust system and now it starts instantly and runs like a top--only 130,000 miles.

In today's economic climate and with constantly increasing taxes in our future this approach makes more sense than ever since they haven't figured out how to tax your sweat equity--yet.
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Well, I clicked on the link but it didn't mesmerize me enough to try to view it on my dial up connection. I'm not really into the "save the planet by living in a hut" crowd but my Scottish ancestry compels me live well AND save well.:sidelaugh

For a bunch of guys who live in Igloos you Canadians seem to be pretty perceptive about life south of the border.

I think another part of the problem is that there aren't that many people who know how to fix anything anymore. Most of the older guys on this group whether they are farmers, mechanics, engineers or construction workers all have learned over the years how things work and how to fix them. Our education system is too focused on producing social workers and lawyers instead of people who can actually produce something productive. Most young people are pushed into going to college and come away with a degree in sociology or art history and then wonder why they have trouble finding a job. Meanwhile auto dealers in Chicago will pay $100,000 a year for a good auto mechanic. I know a young fellow who became a mechanic after high school, saved up some money and then went back to college, graduated and couldn't find a job making as much as a mechanic so now, surprise, he's back working as a mechanic. Companies won't sell a high end product if they can't ensure their customers will get competent service so they just produce things at a low enough price that people won't mind throwing it away when it stops working. Hopefully there will always be a few companies that buck the trend as Ingersoll does but I'm afraid they will always be a small niche player.
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you learned how to figure things out, from who?

Actually my father was not really a mechanical type and passed away when I was 15 but he got me started in the right direction by buying me a boat when I was 12-- it needed a lot of work (wood boat) and he helped me rebuild it. Most of my friends got boats from their parents that didn't need any work so they didn't have to learn anything about fixing them.

growing up I used to tear stuff down to see how they worked - almost always got it back together again

Like you, I was always curious about how things worked and loved to be able to make something I wanted but couldn't afford--first major project was a go kart that was grossly underpowered with just a 1 1/2 hp engine but I learned how to gear it down and ended up with my first "tractor". Perhaps the best lesson I learned was how to seek out help and learn from people who knew what I wanted to know--local welders, mechanics, shop teachers, etc. I rarely asked anyone to do something for me--just explain to me how to do it. Sometimes it took more than one explanation but over the years I have accumulated a pretty good body of knowledge. I now realize the fulfillment that my mentors gained from helping me as I try to share my knowledge with others.

I can also do plumbing, wiring, and have done much of the work on renovating a 112 year old home.

I too have spent a good part of the last 30+ years renovating my 100 yr old house by myself using the knowledge I gained as a youth watching contractors working on my parent's home. There really isn't anything along these lines I can't do but once in awhile I'll hire out some of the really heavy unsatisfying work like demolition.

I agree with the first half of the statement; however, I disagree with the rationale, companies won't sell high end products because once you buy it, you don't need another - you stop contributing to the consumer cycle.

I hear it frequently that companies want things to self destruct so that they can sell more and I'm sure there are some who think that way but on a macro level I don't believe it enhances the standard of living or growth of the economy. If your car lasted longer then you could spend the money you would have spent on a car to purchase a boat or motorcycle or airplane or tractor. It doesn't enhance the productivity of society to keep making new copies of a product that breaks down. One of the big contributors to improved manufacturing productivity has been improved quality control. Years ago it was considered "normal" to have a certain percentage of parts that needed to be discarded or reworked but companies have finally figured out that the cumulative costs of this approach are quite high and now there is far less waste and, consequently, higher productivity. This shift in thinking would have happened far more quickly were it not for the union work rules that prevented companies from implementing many more advanced manufacturing techniques and, as we are now so painfully aware, have pushed the auto industry to the brink of collapse.

For some products, such as computers, the technology is advancing so quickly and the manufacturing costs are dropping so there is little value in "maintaining" the older designs.
I think there will always be a place for an Ingersoll but until consumers get a little brighter they will not be mainstream. I continue to wonder at the things people will spend money on that have virtually no value.
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