‘Neath the Tractor Woes

Weed-covered gate half: where is its fallen mate hiding??

We’ve lost, and bent, quite a few things that reside under our New Holland TC30 tractor. You see, this tractor has a lot of exposed stuff on its underbelly. And that’s not good, because when you have a farm, and an old farm no less, you run over things. To start with, there is 10 foot tall reed canary grass, and then there are even taller blackberry vines, and big things can hide in there.  Things that have been found hiding in our weeds, from past farm denizens and flood deposits: logs and lumber, boulders, whole trees, a truck bed, broken or bent-over fence posts (with barbed wire still attached) a clawfoot bathtub, hundreds of feet of 6″ aluminum pipe and fittings, steel barrels, huge bent gates, culvert pipes, refrigerators, a couch, an RV door, and old broken tractor implements.  Those are just the few that immediately come to mind- there were many more! Our neighbors have an entire collapsed garage, plus all its contents, under there somewhere, just waiting for the next owner of the property to say, “honey, I was thinking I’d mow that patch of blackberries over there in the back pasture today.”

So, considering that probably most larger sized tractors are going to face traveling over rough terrain and unidentified rigid objects, and that the tractor will probably also get hopelessly stuck now and then, you would think they would design the undercarriage of the tractor to be well protected from these challenges. When I was tractor shopping, I vaguely recall a salesman pointing this out to me, but the notion didn’t completely register with me at the time. But it is now!

In addition to bending the power steering shaft, which lies vulnerable to anything over which you may back up, the following things have been ripped off and lost from the lower half of our tractor (and of course they are all ridiculously expensive parts you can only get from the dealer):

Little spring holding the power thrust pedal up, hanging right out there for a wayward stick to snag:


Large clamp holding a protective boot over the drive shaft U-joint (how did this fall off??):


And a big turnbuckle that attaches to the PTO arms (at least I can say the PTO connectors are a standard design, and this was probably lost due more to vibration causing the part to come unthreaded):


And now, we have to send the tractor to the dealership for warranty repair, already: a seal is shot where the drift shaft enters the transfer case (and look at that exposed gear and U-joint all wound up with grass and dirt! I double-checked, and it’s supposed to be that way!):


This is leaving oil spots wherever the tractor is parked, on our brand new and clean-looking driveway gravel, so I’ll be so glad when this is repaired next week.


The tractor just hit its 200 hour mark, we’ve had it a year and a half. I’m disappointed with the number of repairs, and cost of the repairs, that we’ve incurred already. Hopefully this seal repair will be covered by warranty, but the transport of the tractor to the dealership and back, at $89/hour, is not. I’m reasonably good at fixing things, but this looked like a real pain: a lot of bolts hold that transfer case together, and inside are over 8 gallons of transmission fluid. So, I’ll let CNH eat this repair, and hope this is the last for a while.

Our warranty ran out today (thus scheduling the repair); I’m pondering whether the extended warranty is worth buying or not (waiting to hear the price). Most things on the tractor are easy to access, understand and fix; the designs are still very simple and old-fashioned, and not horribly compact knuckle-breakers, as compared to cars. So, I can’t decide how worthwhile the warranty may really be.

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