First let me appologise for the words below (there's lots of them). I've got more time to think about tractors than I do to actually work on or use them. So when shopping for tractors I have a tendacy to examine every facet.
The repairs themselves don't bother me, it's a culmination of them all that makes me wonder about this tractor's work history.
The only thing that I can see that has been repaired is the main drawbar bracket where it bolts on to the left side of the tractor. Both sets of holes (upper and lower) have been welded back together (first set of pictures this is visible). It is a good looking repair, no fault to whomever performed it. The front tie rods both look bent back ever so slightly (could be factory but it would make toe adjustments very difficult). The hood is slightly warped (no dents) but the handle is bound up and it cannot be opened.
Combine that with the 3660 hrs on it and all of these things indicate to me that it is/was a well maintained tractor. But that it has also been well used by the previous owner. So my concern is 'how wore out is it?'.
The grapple.. I can take it or leave it. My current tractor (1970 IH 856 Diesel) has one and it's more of a pain then it is useful. When removing snow it poses a problem in that I cannot get too close to things when I 'back scrape' away from garage doors or buildings; I've hit the eaves of my house with my current grapple, I was watching the ground and not paying attention to the top of the grapple and dinged up my gutters. The only time I use it is when I move round bales, and I don't even need to use it, I just clamp onto the bales "because I can". I use a bale spear to actually hold the bales. As of right now, there are no aftermarket hydraulic control valves on this tractor. The long hoses on for the grapple on this tractor are designed to run all the way to the rear and hook up to the only external hydraulic port, that port is controlled by the lever on the left side of the seat (just above the high/low range lever left side of the seat). That poses a slight problem in that I need that hydraulic port for the spout on the snowblower, I'd also need it if I were using a sickle mower. On the bright side there is another spot that I could add a second controlled hydraulic connection, the slot is already in the sheet metal and it looks like a bolt on ordeal from below.
The bucket on this tractor is not a quick-attach style, it's permanent (not a big issue right now).
In another thread I was asking about converting my old tractor to quick-attach bucket and I ran across manufactured parts that I could use to convert this one if I want to (and I think that I would eventually)
Has anybody ever made their own Loader Quick Hitch?
Loader conversion bracket
Weld on plate for existing loader
While typing this up the salesman called me back and we have tentatively arranged for me to take it home this weekend for a 'test drive'. I'll hook it up to all the implements that I have and give them all a whirl to see if it will do everything that I want/need.
Single hydraulic outlet.. I can add another..
I don't like the grapple hoses running all the way to the rear. I can find a way to "T" into the lines that feed the 4-way loader control and add an aftermarket 2-way control up on the loader. This might add a bit of a ******* look to it, but then I should be able to keep all loader hydraulic controls in one place and require only the primary hookup to the tractor (if I keep the grapple).
I will need to remove the extra 'teeth' from the bucket and see if I can add a cutting edge on it. I use my tractor the most in the winter and I use it mostly for 2 activities.. moving snow and moving hay. Those teeth present problems for the snow removal most certainly and since I use a bale spear I don't really need them for that either.
Wheel spacing.. interesting but I'll probably leave it alone.
Like I told the saleman last night. With tractors you really have 3 options
1. Buy new and get everything you want (this is not in my budget)
2. Buy used and learn to live with what you bought (this is my current plan)
3. Buy something that you like and make it do everything you need (time consuming)
I really do like the size and the features on this tractor. As long as the tractor is mechanically sound (no engine/drivetrain issues) the other "problems" that I saw are fairly easy to rectify. (FWD/interlocker/size/name brand). I don't want to be buying a tractor just to say that I 'have a kubota' though. I want to make sure it's going to function as desired and I won't have to find anything else in the next 5-10yrs..(not that I won't.. but that I won't have to)
thanks for reading