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TO-30 Pre-purchase inspection


 
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Chrisrog
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:11 am    Post subject: TO-30 Pre-purchase inspection Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I'm to the forum and haven't driven a tractor in years, but have found a TO-30 I am considering and need some advice on what to look for prior to purchasing.

Owner has stated: the rear tires need replacing, it has a new camshaft, the rear main seal needs to be replaced, the loader hydraulic hoses are getting old, exhaust downpipe is missing.

It comes with a front loader with hydraulic bucket, a brush hog, and wheel weights.

I need help knowing what to look for when doing a pre-purchase inspection. What are the common trouble points? What issues should kill the deal? I've read about cracked blocks...is there a way to check for this?

Cost vs value: The owner is willing to sell the tractor with front loader and bush hog for $1200. Even if I have to replace both rear tires, the exhaust downpipes, the rear main seal, and a couple of loader hydraulic hoses, it appears to still be a good deal?

Thank you for the input!

Chris Rogers
Birmingham, Alabama
 
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pomester
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:31 am    Post subject: Re: TO-30 Pre-purchase inspection Reply to specific post Reply with quote

If you don't mind a lot of work and the danger/expense of the 'bag of worms' -

rear main seal requires a split, which will require the removal of the loader -

I'd like to hear the camshaft story, it is the last thing out of the block on disassembly. I suppose it's theoretically possible to replace it without without engine removal and disassembly, but why it would be necessary and what else was done - dunno -

Does the loader run off a front mounted hydraulic pump?

My take is that you won't be able to recoup the money you put into it should you refurbish it and wish to sell. TO30's are good little tractors and if the loader is of good design with your effort and money you can have a nice tool.

If you have to hire all the work done and/or won't enjoy the refurbishment process, you better pass.
 
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Chrisrog
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:40 am    Post subject: Re: TO-30 Pre-purchase inspection Reply to specific post Reply with quote

The loader is front pump driven.

The story is the camshaft was replaced because the distributor gear was worn and the engine wouldn't maintain a set throttle speed. When reassembled and started back up, oil poured out of the rear main seal. When asked why he didn't;'t replace that seal while tractor was split, the mechanic said "You didn't tell me to do that." The owner was disgusted at that point and just parked it since he has 2 other tractors that are similar size he could use.

My intention is to do the work myself (other than machine work, if required). I've restored an old E type Jag a few years ago, including re-assembling the engine, so this seems like a simple thing to work on.

pomester wrote:
(quoted from post at 12:31:08 06/25/20) If you don't mind a lot of work and the danger/expense of the 'bag of worms' -

rear main seal requires a split, which will require the removal of the loader -

I'd like to hear the camshaft story, it is the last thing out of the block on disassembly. I suppose it's theoretically possible to replace it without without engine removal and disassembly, but why it would be necessary and what else was done - dunno -

Does the loader run off a front mounted hydraulic pump?

My take is that you won't be able to recoup the money you put into it should you refurbish it and wish to sell. TO30's are good little tractors and if the loader is of good design with your effort and money you can have a nice tool.

If you have to hire all the work done and/or won't enjoy the refurbishment process, you better pass.

 
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pomester
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:04 am    Post subject: Re: TO-30 Pre-purchase inspection Reply to specific post Reply with quote

mechanic has a point - altho I'd like to hear who/how the problem was diagnosed. Not maintaining a set throttle speed is more associate with governor/governor linkage adjustment issues.

It is a simple machine to work on.

If you take it on, I hope you'll post some pictures -

here's a TO30 I did a couple/three years ago - https://forums.yesterdaystractors.com/viewtopic.php?t=1343049&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
 
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Steve@Advance
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:06 am    Post subject: Re: TO-30 Pre-purchase inspection Reply to specific post Reply with quote

For that price, and the age, before it's fully usable expect to do a lot of work. You can expect to put a lot more into it than you can ever get for it selling it, you'll have to look at it as a cheap alternative to buying a later model tractor. One big plus, you will never ever have computer problems! LOL

The leaking rear main seal, that is more often a symptom of deeper problems. Either the bearings are getting loose, or someone did a poor job installing the seal, or both. A good indicator of bearing condition is hot idle oil pressure. If it drops to near zero, the bearings are likely worn. Of course it could be over full of oil or gas in the oil, be sure to check that first.

Another common problem is water in the trans/differential cases, and hydraulic lift problems. Good news, they are tough, usually the water can be drained and everything be OK. If the lift is slow and jerky, the pump will need attention.

If there is coolant in the oil, could be a head gasket, could be the orings on the cylinder liners. There are some block cracking issues, typically caused from freezing, but that's certainly not the tractors fault.

How much loader work do you intend on doing? That is a light tractor for a loader. The front end doesn't like it, the steering gear doesn't like it, and you will develop a good set of arm muscles! Look everything over about the front end. Look for broken bosses on the front of the engine, expect worn spindle bushings, and the center pivot bushing.

Other things to expect, just from age, bad radiator, bad gas tank, bad wiring.

Not saying they are bad tractors, they are just old and most likely will have problems unless someone has gone before you taking care of the problems. And it is a little light for a loader, but for a hobby farm it will do.

If you get it, a shop manual will be a valuable investment.
 
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Steve@Advance
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:10 am    Post subject: Re: TO-30 Pre-purchase inspection Reply to specific post Reply with quote

One more thing, there is no live PTO. If using the mower, you will need an over running clutch on the PTO. Otherwise there will be no stopping the tractor while the mower is spinning down.
 
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Chrisrog
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:22 am    Post subject: Re: TO-30 Pre-purchase inspection Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Good to know. Thanks!

CVPost-Steve@Advance wrote:
(quoted from post at 14:10:13 06/25/20) One more thing, there is no live PTO. If using the mower, you will need an over running clutch on the PTO. Otherwise there will be no stopping the tractor while the mower is spinning down.

 
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Chrisrog
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:28 am    Post subject: Re: TO-30 Pre-purchase inspection Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I'd be buying it to do light chores around 5 acres, spreading gravel on a driveway, carrying firewood, dragging a tree out of the woods, towing a wagon full of tools, moving dirt from where the truck dumped it to where I need it, etc.


 
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Jeremy in DE
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:48 am    Post subject: Re: TO-30 Pre-purchase inspection Reply to specific post Reply with quote

From the top I'll say I'm biased as I like these tractors. I hope you buy it and fix it up and care for it.

A fair price seems to vary by region, so I'll speak only based on the hypothetical that it was for sale 5 miles from me.

It it runs and works--and if possible I'd want to actually run it a bit--then I'd buy it. (Hypothetically. My barn is full at the moment, and I already have a TO30, but if I was wanting another and had room...)

If it won't run at all, that's a totally different situation to me because it can be much harder to discern what all you might have to do.

But if I bought it I'd buy it expecting to put some cash and time into it-- as you've indicated you already know. So I guess the question is whether you like that kind of work. If you did the work on the Jag you can probably handle whatever you find on the TO30. They are simple machines to work on.

The advice about checking hot oil pressure is probably good. That might tell you some stuff. Check for water in the oil. If you see some you won't know for sure why, but if you don't that's a strong positive.

As noted, the cam shaft story seems odd. Not sure if that means you should be cautious about what the seller says, or if it means the seller was perhaps poorly advised by the mechanic. Or maybe there is a bit more to the story, and if I knew it everything would make sense. Did the seal leak before the repair? Only after?
 
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Chrisrog
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:41 pm    Post subject: Re: TO-30 Pre-purchase inspection Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Here's the seller's description: I had a new camshaft put in this Ferguson, because the gear for the distributor was worn and it would jump out of time. After it was done, it ran fine, but leaked oil out the rear main (I didn't know they disturbed the rear main seal. I should have had them replace it anyway)

When I spoke with the seller, he said it only leaked afterwards. He said he had considered doing the work himself, but is busy wrenching on his race cars and since he has a couple of other utility tractors decided to just sell this one.


 
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:08 am    Post subject: Re: TO-30 Pre-purchase inspection Reply to specific post Reply with quote

An update for those of you who may be interested. I went and looked at the tractor in person this weekend since I couldn't get the seller to send me any photos showing the condition. It is missing the hood, seat springs are collapsed, starter switch is missing and that opening was not blanked off. All 4 tires need replacing. He says the loader is a Ford unit - the bucket was not attached, and it was not obvious how it attaches. The hydraulic rams were rusted and pitted. Throttle linkage is broken somewhere in the dash, and a set of vice grips clamped on lower on the right side for throttle control.

I had a range in my mind of the condition the tractor could be in based on the seller's descriptions. The tractor was in the condition I feared, not the condition I had hoped.

If I had a fully outfitted shop building available (will be built in the next couple of years), I'd probably buy it and take on a full restoration. But I'm going to have to pass for now. The guy says he will probably part it out if no one buys it. He also has 3/4 of a TO-20 that he says he may send to the scrap yard soon.

If anyone want to take a look, it is located just north of Cullman, Alabama.
 
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phil(va)
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:00 pm    Post subject: Re: TO-30 Pre-purchase inspection Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Not worth it, IMHO.
 
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