Restoring Older Farm Equipment for Use or Sale

Farm equipment is nothing short of necessary for modern operations. Professionals in the agricultural industry rely heavily on machines like tractors, fertilizers and other equipment to make a living.

 

When a piece of equipment breaks down, it can lead to costly downtime with short- and long-term repercussions. Without a tractor, plow, planter or harvester, today’s farmers are at a severe disadvantage. However, with proper maintenance and restoration of older equipment, a farm can maintain output and keep pace with competition. 

 

Restoring equipment saves money, and it’s something farmers can control. Restoration can breathe life into an older machine and prepare it for future seasons. Alternatively, a new machine can be financially inaccessible, and purchasing one may not be the best option if it’s only useful a few months out of the year.

 

Fortunately, many of the older pieces of equipment sitting in barns or in sheds still have value. It can be useful and even profitable to fix these machines so they’re farm-ready.

 

Importance of Restoring Older Equipment

Today’s farm equipment is outfitted with modern computing technology, which some may see as an advantage. At the same time, the repair of that equipment may involve that very same technology — a barrier for farmers who may not have the skills necessary to manage these devices. That’s not the only issue, however.

 

As newer models of machinery enter the market, older parts are no longer stocked, requiring that farmers and ranchers purchase the latest model if their older one breaks down.

 

However, the user can repair those older tractors and heavy machines fairly easily. Manufacturers made older equipment to be more robust. Each part was simple, sturdy and effective to complete the job. Computers weren’t part of the automobile or heavy equipment industry decades ago. Many times, farmers were able to repair the equipment themselves and with the help of a local mechanic.

 

It’s usually time to restore the machine if it suddenly stops while working or if harsh sounds come from the engine. Additionally, if the piece of equipment has been sitting for years, it may not function properly, but with care and attention, it can be repaired before it damages completely.

 

How to Rehabilitate Older Machinery for Use or Sale

Each piece of farm equipment will have different steps to rehabilitate it depending on what it is, the year, the make and the model. However, there are some necessary steps for each heavy machinery piece to restore it to a working condition.

 

Begin With a Working Machine

Starting the restoration process with a piece of equipment that already works will help alleviate common obstacles that occur when working with a completely dead machine. An old machine that still starts may simply need an oil change and a few parts tightened. If there is an older rare tractor that needs extensive work, it might be worth it, especially if sold to make a profit.

 

Locate a Manual

The first step in any restoration is determining the name, serial number, year, make and model of the piece of equipment. This helps when searching for necessary parts or finding a manual, which is a vital investment in restoration projects.

 

Typically, manuals to almost any machine are available online. Manuals come complete with diagrams, instructions and part manuals that make the restoration process easier and less time consuming. In addition to securing a manual, taking photos and recording details about the machine will facilitate putting the machine back together after tear down and cleaning as well.

 

Choose a Reliable Parts Supplier and Set a Budget

A remodeler might already have a parts supplier. However, with older machines, parts are more challenging to locate. Fortunately, the digital age allows restorers to search online for missing parts. The cost of parts will vary depending on the project, but a parts supplier can help set a realistic price and budget for the project.

 

Allow Plenty of Time and Space for the Project

Restoring farming equipment takes up time and space. A barn or large garage is the perfect setting for a restoration project, so long as it isn’t needed to store anything else for a period of time. Once the restorer begins taking apart and removing rust from each moving part of the machine, the parts will need to be labeled and organized to ensure the equipment can be put back together.

 

This takes time. A restorer may run into obstacles along the way, so it’s best to plan for more time on a project than not enough, especially if the goal is to use or sell the machine. Restoration routines vary with each older machine, and depending on the wear, it could take a few weeks or up to a few years.

 

Ensuring the Equipment Is Safe and Effective

Once the equipment is up and running, it needs inspection for safety and effectiveness. Operating or selling faulty farm equipment could put someone in danger. When operating any heavy machinery, safety is imperative.

 

One of the critical safety features most newer farm equipment comes equipped with is rollover protection. In most cases, the equipment includes a sturdy cage to protect the operator in case the machine tips or rolls while in use. Most old equipment does not have rollover protection, which could cause concern to the buyer. Older farm equipment should be sold with a warning to the buyer about this factore.

 

Additionally, an electrician or vehicle technician should check the wiring to ensure it’s insulated and is appropriately wired. If the safety guard is missing, steps are loose or if the tractor hood won’t stay up — they should all be replaced or fixed. Saving a life is more important than a quick sell or getting the equipment to work again.

 

Tips for Selling Equipment

Those planning to sell their older farm equipment should follow these tips for selling:

 

  • Research prices of other equipment similar to the one being sold. The price ultimately depends upon how well the equipment was maintained, but the research gives a good starting point.
  • Sell the equipment when the demand is high, like in early spring and late summer.
  • Take honest photos of the equipment when posting about the machine online. There should be photos from every angle to give the potential buyers a good look at the machine.
  • Sell it without going to an auction or market to get it for the total offering price.
  • Advertise to the right audience and be honest about how the piece of equipment works.

 

Using these tips should help anyone selling restored older farm equipment.

 

Moving Forward

Restoring older farm equipment saves time and money. It allows the farmer to bring back a once-working piece of equipment for a few more seasons. After restoration, the equipment is just like new again and ready to tackle any farming task.

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