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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All,

I'm new here and wondered if there would be any appetite for me to post my experience, so far, of importing a tractor (first a 75hp one, kind of a long story) then a 130hp rated one without an engine, from China to Alberta, Canada through sourcing on Alibaba.com?


Much as I would have liked to buy North American, I just don't have the funds and as I've 120 acres of land to clear as its been neglected pasture for 10-15 years, all my research pointed towards a skidsteer and supplemental tractor


Let me know if there's interest and if I get at least 5 people wanting to have a bit of a giggle at a City Boy trying his hand at being a Country Boy, I'll start writing

Plug
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Robhay - check out my barn, got me a forestry mulcher for the skid, its been pretty handy until it dumped a load of snow :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So probably best starting with a bit of context, I'm 43yr old City Boy, I work in IT, have done for 20+ years, I surf a desk for a living and don’t lead the most active of lifestyles. In 2018, my wife and I bought a rural property of 120 acres in her home town somewhere in Western Alberta, Canada. She's into horses, we wanted a change of lifestyle as well as being closer to her family and here the adventure starts.
120 acres of land, it’s a lot of land, its classed as pasture, hasn’t been touched for at least 10-15 years, is fenced around the boundary, has some cross fencing and will, eventually, be home to an as of yet unconfirmed number of horses, wife is a bit vague on this……………….we do have a herd of 40 destructive elk, unfortunately, aforementioned wife will not let me reduce this number...…………
Turns out, on top of the skidsteer and attachments that I bought first, a tractor would be a wise investment
Now I wish I could afford a North American made tractor, the fact is, I can't. I priced up a new 75hp JD with front loader and cab, it came in at $75k Canadian, even similar HP used tractors with average hours were still way above my budget. Now a friend of mine back in the UK bought a Chinese crate tractor for his acreage, he did get this through a UK dealer but it got me thinking, could I source a 75HP Chinese tractor from here in Canada for a reasonable price?
Well turns out the answer is "kind of".
Alibaba.com - don’t be afraid of using them in my experience, after all, they are one of the biggest companies on the planet for a reason. It does take a bit of effort to figure what you want, contact suppliers for more info, filter through the "fluff" of the suppliers on there. I've done 2 large successful transactions through Alibaba and another one that didn’t work out, I got a full refund easily and quickly
Here are some tips that worked for me - ignore the prices quoted in the listings, ignore suppliers less than 5yrs old, ignore whether they are a gold supplier or not, ask the question "can you supply and EPA certified engine" first, if they cant, then it saves you further conversation, keep a track of who you've contacted separate to the Alibaba message center, don’t give up your contact details - all communication should go through Alibaba so there's an audit trail, make your payments through Alibaba and not direct to the supplier, expect a delay in response as most people are in China so there is a time delay.
After a bit of time and effort, I had a tractor spec'd out the same as the John Deere and the cost was around 24k Canadian that included Carrier Insured Freight (CIF) to the Port of Vancouver, I'd have to get it from Vancouver to Alberta and also find a customs broker to collect the 5% sales tax and do other "stuff" which would have been around another $2k Canadian on top of that, so about $26K all in or about 1/3rd the cost of a JD. BTW Rutherford Global are an awesome shipper / freight forwarder / import broker - oh and check for additional fees you may incur, turns out Vancouver has a port congestion charge and also a peak season charge when importing between September through November - if you're on the west side of Canada, may be worth shipping to Prince Rupert then have it shipped by rail and road to the destination address
My first tractor order through alibaba.com didn’t work out after 5 months of waiting, the supplier didn’t go dark, in fact they were updating me every couple of weeks at the least, however, it turns out, due to the trade war situation between the US and China at the time of the order and the fact that the engine emissions standards here in Canada are piggy backed on the US EPA standard, it was very difficult for any supplier on Alibaba to source an EPA Tier 4 certified engine even though most of them say they can, they can't. The supplier I chose could, it was a Kohler 75HP engine that was built in Italy and shipped to China for installation in my tractor, however 3 months into the order, it arrived at my supplier without the right sized flywheel which would have taken another 2 months so my manufacturer, with my agreement, cancelled the order through Alibaba and I got the refund 3 weeks after the cancellation from Alibaba as the broker. Their Trade Assurance program worked a treat and I didn’t lose a penny.
BTW if you import any new vehicle into Canada that doesn’t have an EPA Certified Engine, CBSA / DoT will quite happily seize the vehicle at the border, crush it and send you the bill for the privilege - I figured it wasn’t worth the risk to import a tractor with a Chinese engine
So my learnings from my failed first order led me to take a slightly different approach, why not try and import a Chinese tractor without an engine, I source an engine from a local distributor and get it installed? This will be another post with a happier ending - anyone recommend a 130HP Tractor Engine?
 

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Well sounds like you've found a way to get what you need at a much reduced price. My question would be, how will it be supported if it breaks? Don't get me wrong, I think finding a tractor at that price is spectacular. Is there any dealer support in Canada for the tractor that you got imported?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Support is an interesting one, I'll post a longer thread and some pictures of what I ended up getting from another Alibaba Supplier, short version is a 130hp rated MFWD tractor with front loader, 4 in 1 bucket, 9 tine chisel plow, shipped partially built in a 40ft container, total weight of 5.5 metric tons. Has an enclosed cab and aircon, total price before shipping was around $25k Canadian + $9k for shipping to my door, tax and import fees and a half day rental of a loader to unload it. It looks pretty solid and well built, so far, was delivered in less than 3 months from order, now I just need to source an engine and associated bits plus attach the rear wheels, front axle and wheels, build the crated plow and attach the front loader. Supplier has been super responsive, parts warranty is 1 year from delivery, they won't fly someone out though which is fair enough. When it comes to the engine, depends what I get, new / used and the make, I'm bending towards a Perkins or Cummins, maybe a kohler but I hear kohler have some supply challenges. I'm budgeting another $20k Canadian for engine and installation for an all in cost of around $55k Canadian which is a chunk of change less than a North American 130hp one ? if all goes to my rough plan.........
 

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Huh.... I didn't realize Ikea was selling tractors now. I might have to revisit the one here in town.

In all seriousness, though, I don't think I'm alone in wanting some pictures and regular updates!

FWIW I picked up a used Kubota with about 600 hours on the clock and barely a scratch to be seen, plus kind of a crappy but perfectly usable and leak free backhoe, for a fair bit less than half the cost of new. So far, trouble free, and I don't see any issues in the near future. Had you considered used? Manufacturers seem to be getting more and more proud of their machines, and the prices show it.
 

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I sure hope this all works out ok for you. Myself I’d never even think of taking that sort of risk. But thats just me, I realize everyone has a different tolerance level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'd considered used yeh, prices seemed to be crazy though, 75hp 10yr old with a few thousand hours was still asking around 40-50k and auctions werent much different so thought I'd take the risk of a Chinese one.
As everyone I've spoken to has basically said, doesn't matter what you get, things will break, I figured it was worth a punt, plus it gives me a reason to buy some more tools ? if the wife can have her horses, I can have a garage full of tools ?‍?
 

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It doesn't sound like your livelihood depends on the tractor working (as in, we need the tractor to get the harvest in), so the hassle of sourcing parts from China can be a worthwhile tradeoff vs bundles of extra cash for someone to have parts a little closer...

Now, personally, I would be worried about ordering a tractor with a transmission, then having to find (or fabricate) a way to bolt up an engine to that transmission, as they may or may not have a standardized bolt pattern, both for the bellhousing and the crankshaft (for the clutch)... I don't think 130hp tractors go through belts...
 

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Keep on posting about this. Many of us take the road less traveled and think this kind of stuff is great.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hey All,

thanks for the responses so far
TooMuch - I read that article after I'd bought my skid and my preference was to buy Canadian but my wallet said no :)
Robhay - more than happy to share more of my experiences on Alibaba - its been good so far, I ordered a 6 way dozer blade and forestry mulcher for the skid, the order was processed and delivered within 3 months, and with a little fettling of the attachment plate on the dozer blade, its been awesome clearing the snow from the 250m driveway. Mulcher has also ben terrific once I'd removed the inbuilt radiator as it couldn't cope with the back pressure
dave_r - strangely enough, I have the same concern on the bell housing and you're right, my livelihood wont depend on the tractor and I'm not working to a fixed timescale so I have some flexibility

Pictures of the tractor attached - the supplier actually built it fully with an engine to check everything was working before then removing the engine

Would appreciate any comments on the bell housing that you can see - does it look standard or weird?

Thanks all
 

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Just a word of warning. My dad bought a Chinese tractor. A 55hp Foton 4x4, hard cab with heat, with a FEL and a backhoe. It works for his needs BUT getting parts is nearly impossible here in the states. Everything is metric, (hydrolic line fittings, bolts, and parts that nobody can get)

Three hydro lines have broken and he has had to get metric conversions to go to standard fittings with a metric coupler. very costly. The tractor runs fine but it does have FEL problems. Won't lift or pull the bucket up at times. Dad has bled the system out 10 times and it still has these problems. Heck I used the tractor with the FEL before he did and the control handle broke off, stripped the threads and I had to "tack weld" it back on.

He has $22K in the whole deal but really? He could have spent $10K more and had a JD with more resources to get parts and better service. Just my $.02
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
luckily in the land of the Canuck, metric is more common than in the Land of the Free :) Good feedback though, thanks

I did look at a foton 55HP, as that's about the max engine size that has an EPA certified engine but after talking to a few locals, they reckoned I'd need at a minimum 75HP just because of the state of the land I need to clear up

Each to there own on where you buy stuff from, the tractor is a personal purchase, not for a business and money is tight, like I said in the original post, if I could have afforded a JD or a Ford or a Massey, I would have but I couldn't so I didn't

I also found it somewhat interesting that the Kohler engine in my little JD Lawn Tractor was actually made in Italy after kohler, a true American company named after kohler, WI, purchased Lombardini back in 2007, oh they also have a joint Chinese venture with another engine company too
 
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