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Owner's Report on Best, Worst Farm Tractors
Are you satisfied with your tractor? How could it be improved? Have you modified your tractor in any way? What accessories have you bought for it?
These are some of the questions we asked randomly selected tractor owners in an effort to highlight those tractors that perform with flying colors, and to pinpoint the "lemons" that fail because of poor performance, or failure of the dealer or company to provide service.
Here's how the survey shaped up:

"Our worst buy tractor is a Russian-made Belarus 800," says Jack Elliot, Dundark, Ont. "It's always got an oil leak and something to fix. After the dealer we bought from went out of business it took 2 years to get a heater from the company. We had trouble with valves breaking and pistons cracking from day one. It has good power and fuel economy but poor workmanship and handling. Next time I'll buy Deere or Ford because of better dealer service."
Mark Anderson, Wilton, N. Dak., likes his 1979 Deere 4640 but he has suggestions for improvement. "I'd like to see a more accessible engine compartment with an easy opening hood and it should be fitted with a swivel seat. It could also use shades or tinted glass to protect the operator from the sun."
"This 1980 IH 5088 with front-wheel assist has worked exceptionally well for us. We really like the way the transmission shifts and the FWA has been a real lifesaver during the last three wet years. We made new hydraulic arms for under the cab of the tractor. The factory ones were made on the light side," says Jon Maus, Albany, Minn.
Gary Navrkal, Bellwood, Neb., has had both good and bad luck with his 1975 White 105 diesel. "I liked the low initial purchase price. It has plenty of power and is handy. However, it uses far too much fuel and breaks down too often. The clutch is a weak link. The cab has good visibility but it is not nearly as dustproof as other models. Because of the solid frame construction you have to pull the motor to work on the clutch. The hydraulic pump is external and has too many leaks. We moved the air conditioner condensers from behind the cab to in front of the radiator, and replaced the muffler with straight pipe. Both modifications really helped."
"We're generally satisfied with our 1978 Deere 4440 at 2,400 hrs. except that, like most Deere tractors, it's got a weak air conditioning pump. We replaced the pump on this tractor and have had to replace the clutch on the pump, too. We had the same problem with our Deere 4430," says Blaine Leippi, Odessa, Sask., who's thinking of installing a swivel seat from Apollo Dist. Corp. (Box 725, Bismark, N. Dak. 58502 ph 701 255-4700).
Ronald Wall, Bradford, Ill., is pleased with his 1985 Deere 4450. "It's comfortable and easy to drive. Has given us no problems except that it could use a larger rear view mirror to see around big wagons."
"I'm very satisfied with our 1979 International 3588 2 + 2. Has good traction and has required few repairs. We're running it at 1900 hp. and it seems very economical at this range. It could use a little better seat and they could also shorten the front end. We had problems with the air conditioner for awhile," says Arlynn Schug, Ida Grove, Iowa.
"It needed a heavier clutch so we installed a 12-pad tractor-puller clutch from Hi-Capacity Inc., in Humbolt, Iowa. Works great," says Harley Hassebroek, Buffalo Center, Iowa, about his 1971 Deere 4320.
"We've been pleased with our 1972 IH 1066 equipped with a turbo diesel. We've operated it 3,750 hrs. and had no trouble with the engine or power train. But we've got several complaints that have developed over our years of use. The front-end steering linkage develops play and wears out too fast. The manual should tell owners to routinely watch the big nuts on top of steering knuckle posts and keep them real tight. Another complaint is the positioning of the transmission filter. Oil runs out when you change filters. A third problem is that the throttle linkage gets dry under the hood and is hard to get at even with a can of spray lube. As for modifications, I lengthened the throttle engine speed lever fo

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1987 - Volume #11, Issue #1