Monday, February 22, 2016

Retired...a tale of woe and intrigue

We bought the tractor early in the winter of 92/93 when it looked like we were going to have another record breaking season like 90/91. We had 148" of snowfall that winter (that's over 12 ft or almost 4 meters to the French) and no way to plow it. The JD dealer didn't have any compact/utility tractors in Fairbanks, but they did have a used one, a model 870 in Soldotna, down on the Kenai Peninsula. So sight unseen, we ordered it up. Since then, we have used it for so many things besides plowing snow, it's hard to believe you could survive here without one (Grrrate 6/19/11).
The other day I noticed that a large crack in the sidewall of one front tire was starting to bulge out. Now it's had lots of cracks for sometime, even had a flat that had to be fixed a while back, so I thought no problem, we'll just bring it to a tire shop and they'll patch 'er right up, be just like new. But when I brought it in, they took one look and said nope, can't fix that, needs a new tire. So a couple of hundred bucks later I was the proud owner of a brand new 7X14 R1 tractor tire.
But then I got home and compared it to the other front tire, they're not quite the same, width and height wise. Now that's no big deal with a regular tractor, but this one's special; multi-speed tranny, triple range axle, four wheel drive model, so the tires have to exactly match up. So I call them back and they say that was the only one in stock, but they'll call when they get more in. So a few weeks go by, no call. I finally call them and sure enough, they lost my number but had the tires. When I go out to take off the other old tire, the new ones completely flat. So then I have to jack up and block the front of the tractor to remove both tires. The new one comes right off, but the old one's never been off in 25 years, so it took a breaker bar with a two ft pipe extension to loosen the lugs. By then the tendonitis in my elbows was awesome.
The next morning I took them into the tire shop, expecting the worst. Fortunately, the shop foreman is there, listens to my tale of woe and intrigue, and offers to replace both tires (old and new one) with two new (matching) tires and tubes, while only charging for the one. So now the old JD has two brand new tires. Can't wait to do the rear ones.
The new front tires, good for another 25 years?


  1. That tractor looks pretty nice for twenty five years old. I work in a rental shop and I can tell you we have equipment two years old that looks terrible. People don't give a crap when its not theirs. Good job taking care of yours.

  2. Thanks Scott. I know what you mean, one of the local rental shops went out of business recently, supposedly cause so much of their equipment was ruined by the renters, they couldn't afford to replace it all. The JD's a 1991 model year (actually built in 1990). I almost didn't buy it because it had been a rental, but they gave me a 1 year warranty, which I never needed to use. Also have a Moto Guzzi from 1975 and an old Ford pick-up, a 1985. Regular maintenance and a light hand on the throttle does wonders for old iron.

  3. Having lived in the south all my life, I've never really dealt with heavy winters. The thought is so intimidating to me! That being said, I do know farm equipment and that tractor is in awesome shape for its age. I wish our equipment looked that good after all that time!

  4. Thanks Heidi, I try to take good care of the old iron since I'm not the greatest mechanic in the world.