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Restore Your Vintage Tractor: Update or Original


Restoring vintage tractors and the equipment that accompany them is like opening a page in history. City folk may say "a tractor is a tractor," but to a farmer there is often no comparison. The tractors of today are made much like any other vehicle: lighter weight, mass produced and, for the most part, energy efficient. The older style, or vintage tractors, are the muscle cars of the agricultural industry. They may not be as sleek or refined as the newer models, but they get the job done. Many farmers are restoring older pieces of equipment to the past glory. That often takes some effort considering many of the older parts are not mass produced, according to

Original Parts

How important is it to have original parts? Simply put, the closer to original the parts are the higher the value of the piece of the equipment. If a person plans on using the tractor (or plow, elevator, disc, etc.), having the original parts or close to them will have a definite impact on how the machinery operates. Many people have tried using modified parts for those that were overly difficult to find. While they may have worked in a pinch, original parts work best, according to

PTO Hydraulics

Vintage tractors that came with a standard PTO hydraulic lift system is a good example. Many of the parts for the power take-off assembly have to be found in salvage if they can't be ordered. In the past, it was common to see farmers harvesting parts off of another tractor to fix their main piece of equipment. Now, with the renewed interest in revitalizing these powerful pieces of our past, companies have begun to reproduce copies of the original parts. For some, the o-rings were particularly hard to find, especially in the less common sizes.

Repair or Replace

The PTO hydraulic system has always been in demand and is still produced for several makes and models of vintage tractors. They are quite expensive to replace, even on the older models. If a vintage tractor enthusiast believes the PTO assembly needs repairs, they may want to investigate before deciding to replace the entire piece. The PTO is an enclosed unit that contains gears surrounded by thick gear oil for lubrication. If the part starts malfunctioning, look closely at the seals and o-rings. Often times, they will deteriorate with age and one can rupture creating a huge leak that will drain the oil and cause the gears to lock up and possibly shear.

If the seals are bad, it is basically a matter of disconnecting the PTO assembly from the tractor or piece of equipment, changing the seals and reassembling it. However, if the unit was allowed to operate for several minutes without being lubricated, according to, the gears may have been damaged and might need to be replaced. In cases, where the teeth of the gears have been sheared off, the inside of the unit may have been damaged. In that case, replacement of the entire assembly is warranted.