Rebuilt Versatile 4-WD's "Good As New"
"Most Versatile owners will tell you their tractors are reliable, easy to work on, and usually cheaper to repair than other comparable-size tractors because you can buy many of the replacement parts needed from over-the-road truck parts shops. That's why we decided to get into the business of rebuilding used Versatiles to like-new condition," says Harry Herl, who runs his tractor rebuilding business in Quinter, Kansas, with the help of his sons.
They start with older model Series I or II Versatiles that they buy at auctions. They generally replace the engine with a new, more fuel efficient Cummins engine. Transmissions, differentials and final drives are inspected and repaired or replaced as needed. The tractors are also completely repainted, the cab interiors reinsulated, new seats installed, and the tires are replaced.
"When the tractors leave our shop, we expect them to be ready for another lifetime of fieldwork," says Herl, who provides a warranty with his rebuilt tractors.
For one recent rebuild job, Herl even replaced the original Versatile cab with a cab off a 4840 Massey Ferguson 4-WD tractor to provide more room and visibility. They also replaced the original hood with a sloping, easy-foldup hood for better access to the engine compartment and better driver visibility.
"Our business has spread mostly by neighbors telling neighbors," Herl says. "When you consider the price of rebuilding one of these tractors and the service you can then get out of them, along with the reasonable price of replacement parts, they stack up real well against a new tractor."
The Herls also stock salvage parts for Versatiles so they can supply many replacement parts that might be needed down the road.