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Used Tractors...opinions?

3909 Views 31 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Beeman
I've been looking at used tractors. A friend has recommend trying to get a Ford Jubilee rather than something like an 8n. He argues that these are real work horses and good all around tractors which provide a good value proposition if your budget is limited.

Anyone care to comment?


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Your friend is correct as long as what you want it for is limited to perhaps a 4' bushhog and light-duty usage. Locally reconditioned (not rebuilt - which is different) ones of this type go for around $2,500. Aftermarket parts are readily available.

Ken S. in WC TN
The 1953 Jubilee with the hydraulic pump with the round tubes is to be avoided. The 1953 tractor was the first of the overhead valve Ford's and are not in the same standing as the 600 series. Personally I would avoid a Jubilee as a work tractor.
I'd like to use it for a variety of things. A few of them are:

Secondary tractor for cutting hay with a sicklebar mower (or in spots where a larger tractor might tear it up more). I'm not sure that it would have the oomph to pull a loaded hay wagon or run a baler behind it.

We are also thinking we could use the sicklebar for cutting broom corn (we are planting test plots this year and are considering planting maybe a half acre or so).

Maybe a belly mower for cutting grass in the orchard area. I'm still debating whether to plant so that I can do grazing (sheep?) in between the fruit trees (standard and semi dwarf sizes).

Definately would want to use it with a brush hog. 4 foot would be fine.

I'd like to use a 3 point auger/post hole digger on it for replacing fence posts. (I know I would need something beefier to do the perimeter of our property).

A lot of use would simply be hauling a trailer with beehives/honey supers/woodenware/supplies to support the beeyard. There's also hauling wagons of walnuts in the fall. I'd also be using the trailer to haul cut wood, etc.

A front loader attachment would be nice.

Some light box scraper work grooming the drive.

I'm sure I'll think of other things. Basically, a relatively inexpensive utility tractor for someone that has around 50 acres. I'm not doing large scale row crops. We are doing some small plots of specialty corn, sunflowers, etc.

This tractor is to get us by until we can afford something better (unless we find it suits us, who knows) probably 2 maybe 3 years. We are trying to do this cash and not take on any debt (which is why we are taking this route at all).

Thanks again for the replies.

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Mike ,

I just talked to my DH ,
he says the jubilee over the 8N
and it would easily do what you want , even use a 7 foot haybine over a cutterbar...He did caution that if you want to attatch a front end loader , please then make sure you choose a tractor with a wide front end as opposed to tricycle, down side to that, around here those are running around 6500.he says if you found one in fair condition with a wide front at 2500 jump on it!you can afford to rebuild it if need be
a local dealer who corners the market on 8N,9N and jubilees ,by out bidding at all the local farm auctions , takes them back to the yard , cheap coat of paint , and resells them around 4500. trust me he loses no money ...teh yuppies crawl out of the walls to by them from him mow their two acre yards .. and then pays him next season to rebuild them when they need new motors ....

now on another matter .. pesonally i wont auger another fence post hole ,ever Its worth every penny to hire someone to come and pound the posts for you .. sans that if you are going to put in hundreds of posts I would look into purchasaing a pounder( another source of income...we typically charge 2.50 a post if layed out , and 3 a post if we have to lay them out , our pounder payed for itself the first year ) .. DH says for that make sure that tractor you purchace has hydraulics .. not all of them do...

NE Ohio
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Thanks for the detailed reply Paula. I'm not planning on using the tractor to put in lots of fence posts. That would be mainly for when I just need to do 1 or 2 at a time. For example, I want to put in 2 8 inch gate posts to hang a couple of farm gates. Not enough work for someone to come out but not going to be fun to do it by hand. I may rent one of those small 1 man jobbies (but boy do you keep on vibrating after you are done) for this. Use a smaller auger and then open it up a bit.

For larger numbers of posts I'd probably contract out (I'll keep you guys in mind). I have a feeling I'm going to have to do it one pasture at a time based on budget constraints.

I'd only get it with a wide front end tractor. Our property isn't flat row crop type land. Rolling hills would be more like it. I haven't seen any Jubilees as cheap as $2500. I figure that kind of price would be without any attachements. I think I'm going to have to haunt some of the auctions <G> and focus on the tractor sales.

It seems like a lot of farmers in Stark County, Medina County and surrounding areas are selling out.

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That would be an ok tractor. Better than an N series. The N's do not have live hydraulics, which is a big deal for using the 3pt & pto & all. A 100 series tractor might have even more goodies.

Fords were sold with different options starting with the 600 / 800 / 900 series. If the middle number is a '6' - for example an 860 - it would have a 5-speed tranny and live pto. these are the good options. Lower middle numbers have less good options, and higher middle numbers are the complex SoS automatic tranny.

More speeds (5 vs 4 vs 3) & more live pto, hydraulics, power steering, hydraulic ports & valve, etc. make these tractors more valuble to you. Don't just look for a series number, but look for what options it has.

For what you want to do I would suggest looking for a 3000 series Ford,this is a 40H.P. class utility tractor.It had both gas and diesel engines,and has the power to pull a 6ft. mower and a 7ft. scraper blade.We had one for a number of years........"gas engine". I wish I could have keep this one but in order to swing the deal on the new one I traded it in.This tractor was a "74"model and in 20 yrs
other than regular maintenance all that was done was repairing the steering cylinders...........
You might check this link in the classified sectionFarm&Dairy
Hi steve,

I have a subscription to Farm & Dairy. I regularly look at the marketplace and the auction ads marking the interesting ones with a red pen <G>. I was just curious to see what people thought of the Jubilees because my neighbor was gushing about his old one (he sold it a couple years ago and bought a kubota) and I know all the stuff he was able to do with it.

I agree on the 3000 or even better the 4000 either one in diesel is a great tractor and the yard mowers don't want them. I have 2 4000 fords one gas and one diesel the diesel does twices as the work on half the fuel. My father in law has an 8 n and they used to farm a lot with it but he says it took a lot longer. If you can try to go with the diesel.
You might also consider a MF35. Great little tractors with live power and hydraulics. Mine has a 3 cylinder Perkins diesel, and is a wonderful little work horse.
We just bought a Ford 601 Workmaster completely restored with a new Howse 5 foot cutter for $4200. We also looked at MF135, MF165, Ford 2000, 3000, 4000, Kubota L260 and IH 340. We chose the 601 because it had everything we need for our place, plus I told my husband that tractor looked like it was made for him (and me.) Yes, I'm a girl who loves tractors.
Before anyone can help with a tractor selection we would need to know what your going to be doing with the tractor. The 8n or Jubilee are nice tractors but if one of your requirements is a front end loader then neither will work.
What do you need the tractor to do, List in order of importance. You also need to know who can support the tractor your buying. Older tractor brands tend to have regional trends. I see lots of older JD, ford, but few internationals in my area. Having someone locally to help with repairs is a great plus. Having a dealer for help is even better.

Good point. Perhaps I wasn't as clear as I might have been as to the priorities. Before listing them I just want to point out that I do have some flexibility as to needs as several neighbors have offered the use of their tractors for specific projects. So while a front loader would be nice to have I can always borrow a tractor with one for a specific project (just not as convenient). I'm looking for a machine that will get me by without taking on more debt but enables me to improve cash flow by getting certain things done.

1) Making Hay! After last summers experience with rain and no one having a chance to cut their own hay I want to be able to help get a jump on this. Included in this need would be cutting, pulling a haybine and/or fluffer. I'm not expecting to be able to pull a baler and wagon (although it's nice to think about it).

2) Cutting broom corn for making wreaths, etc. This would be sickle bar mowing again. These aren't large stands (I can't see us doing more than an acre if that).

3) Pulling wagons with beehives (full or empty) honey supers, etc. Also wagonloads of black walnuts or hickory nuts in the hull. Miscellaneous hauling (wood, etc).

4) maintaining the drive and access paths on the property. These are pretty much your standard 10 foot wide gravel. So back blade type work. Nothing particularly heavy.

5) mowing grass or brush hogging (belly mower or brush hog on the 3 pt).

6) digging miscellaneous post holes (1 or 2 at a time kind of thing)

7) Front loader is a nice to have but not needed at this point.

Bottom line is that I am looking for something that will get me through the next few years until cash flow from the farm improves as we increase production on various fronts. I'm probably not in a position to spend more than $4,000 at this point. It will also allow me to have "time in the seat" before going out and purchasing something more expensive.

I'm sure there are things I'm leaving out.

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I have a 1956 Ford 850

I bought a 5' bushog for it and it's a bit much. After it runs a while it tends to get a little hot and the hydraulics start sagging a little (might be the 48 year old seals? ) I don't think it would handle a loader too well but I would defer to someone who's tried it.

I've not used a sickle bar mower with it but I assume it would be capable

I think if I was shopping I'd look for a little more HP for the things you're doing.

I mostly do brushog work, Driveway scraping and some light stump pulling with mine. I wouldn't go out of my way to get another one if something were to go wrong with this one but it's not bad for me. As someone mentioned all parts are available.

For your use I think I'd want something a little bigger
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I'd love to have something with more horsepower. I have a particular budget to work with and can only buy what is in that range.

I'm not willing to take on any more debt at this point. We just bought an additional 5 acres with 3 barns (adjacent to our current land). We hadn't planned on it and we aren't what I would call financial strapped (we had money set aside to build a barn anyways).

If it weren't for this purchase I'd be buying something bigger and beefier. I'm trying to "make do" for now.

Mike, Dont remember what part of ohio your in, but the consignment auctions are starting up and deals abound. There is one this weekend in Mount vernon, Morrow county had there a couple of weeks back. I think marion has there first part of next month.

The only issue with auctions is getting things home, but the prices are usually pretty good for the class of machine your looking at. On top of that attachments can be found pretty cheap.

Even if you have to rent a Uhaul trailer for transport it would be worth it. Check your local papers for farm auctions. Most have previews the day before so you can look around and decide what you want.
I would avoid a Massey Ferguson. We've had three--an MF35, MF85 and MF165. All three had weak hydraulics (also slow). Parts can be hard to find around here --spent over $350 on a new carburetor because they didn't make rebuild kits for our old one. Looked all over the country for a rebuild kit--no go. We use our tractors to cut hay (27 acres), maintain a 1/2 mile long driveway, haul round bales, bale etc. Not heavy use, but would definitely like a tractor easier to maintain and with faster, stonger hydraulics. Others may have had different experiences, but MF are well known for weak hydraulics. Give me my old Super M or a JD 4020 any day! Hobby farmer in WI

Our farm is just outside of Carrollton (Carroll County). I am keeping my eyes open as far as the auction notices go. I need to check when Garner is having another consignment auction. They are literally down the road from me.

I have a 16 foot tandem axle trailer I can use so hauling isn't that big of an issue.

What do people think of a Ford 1210 compact tractor? It has 865 hours. I haven't looked at it in person so I don't know what condition it is in (Seller says it is in good shape).

Mike in Ohio said:

Our farm is just outside of Carrollton (Carroll County). I am keeping my eyes open as far as the auction notices go. I need to check when Garner is having another consignment auction. They are literally down the road from me.

Mike , dont forget Kidron consignment auction... went to the one last saturday .. some tractors there .. though wasnt really looking at them .. I think the next one is April 3rd ...

Remember .. farm and dairy is your friend .........but you knew that !!!!
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