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gearheadmb Dork
6/20/17 3:11 p.m.

I wanted a loader tractor for, you know, tractor stuff. But prices can be pretty hateful on these things, so i had been searching for quite a while. This one popped up on CL. The ad claimed the clutch went out but everything else worked. No price. When i called them they said make an offer. I figured if i could get it for $1000 id be happy. I offered $850 and they accepted. Then on the way to pick it up the seller calls and says he cant get it started. Great, because if it wont start i cant raise the bucket and it will be a lot of fun to load. I get there and look it over and revise my offer to $650. He tells me to load it up. At this point i cant decide who the sucker is in the deal, but the hell with it, im taking it. After one flat tire on the trailer it makes it to its new home.

The good; it has new rear tires, a loader, and a grader blade.

The bad; it wont crank and has definite clutch issues.

The ugly; the whole thing is pretty ugly.

gearheadmb Dork
6/20/17 3:18 p.m.
gearheadmb Dork
6/20/17 3:35 p.m.

I guess I should tell you what it is. Its an International Harvester 350 built in 1957 (I think) These were rated at 32 drawbar hp, enough for what I'm going to use it for. These utility tractor sit a lot lower than the typical row crop tractors of the time. Thats good because it will fit in my 7' high garage door.

Before I bought it I turned the crank with a pair of channellocks to make sure the engine was free, it was. So the first order of business when i got it home was to figure out the no crank. It didn't take long to figure out the starter was gacked, so I took it to the friendly local rebuilder, he fixed it up for $70. I put it back on and tried it. It cranked good, fired a little, then it would crank but not fire. After a little digging I realized the choke cable wasn't hooked up. I popped the air inlet hose off, opened the fully closed choke, tried it again and it came to life and happily idled. That was a good moment.

Then it was time to try out the loader. It went up, it went down, the bucket would dump and raise. The hydraulics work. They actually work good. I'm feeling pretty good about life at this point.

For those keeping score I have a running but immobile loader tractor for $720.

gearheadmb Dork
6/20/17 3:43 p.m.

Now to the immobile part. When you hit the clutch there isn't any resistance. IH was nice enough to put a big inspection cover right under the clutch. With that removed I can see that with the clutch pedal all the way down the throwout bearing only just barely touches the pressure plate. My first thought was maybe I could simply adjust the free play out of it. No luck as the adjustment is maxed out already. Reaching up in there I can feel that the throwout bearing is toast. So I guess I finally get to learn how to split a tractor. I don't know yet if I will need just a bearing, or a bearing and a disc, or the whole shebang. Wish me luck, I'll keep you posted.

gearheadmb Dork
6/20/17 3:45 p.m.
GhiaMonster Reader
6/20/17 3:45 p.m.

Well done. New rear tires is a big plus on older stuff, makes your purchase price even sweeter. Once you have a tractor with a loader you can makes friends easily. I don't have a trailer currently so if someone wants to borrow the tractor, they have to drive it to their house. That has saved me a bunch of moving the thing around.

EvanB UltimaDork
6/20/17 5:33 p.m.

Wow, that sounds like an awesome deal. I would love a loader but the prices are too much for me.

759NRNG HalfDork
6/20/17 5:45 p.m.

Well.....you might want to invest in an 'A' frame with a hoist when you do the big 'SPLIT' .....watch your fingers

BrokenYugo MegaDork
6/20/17 6:23 p.m.

Aren't new tires for something like that something like $600+ a piece? You bought a pair of lightly used tires that came with a free tractor, with accessories. I don't see how you can lose money on this.

chandlerGTi PowerDork
6/20/17 6:40 p.m.

What a deal! I watch local CL every day for that sort of thing!

monknomo Reader
6/20/17 6:54 p.m.

I'm excited about this! Curious to see how you'll do the split - I didn't even know that's what you did to tractors until this post.

For posting your picture (take http://imgur.com/sEpyKlu for example) click the camera icon, then past the url into the "" marks. Here's the trick for imgur - add .jpg to the end of the url. You end up with <img src="http://imgur.com/sEpyKlu.jpg"/>

In the imgur user interface, you want the "Direct Link" link.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
6/20/17 7:31 p.m.

Neat old tractor! Deboss Garage recently posted a video of splitting a tractor to work on the clutch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivdUJuULKsw Their subject was a newer Massey-Ferguson, but it will be good for inspiration if nothing else. Chances are there's a similar video out there about doing the job on a vintage IH.

There are support frames used to hold up the two halves of the tractor once they are pulled apart, basically they are leg brackets that bolt to each half. If you know any farmers in your area, check around to see if one of them happens to have some you can borrow.

gearheadmb Dork
6/20/17 9:29 p.m.

Thanks for the encouragement. Yeah i definitely feel good about the deal i got. I know im going to have some more money invested but if i can have it all done in good working order for challenge money im gonna be really happy.

gearheadmb Dork
6/21/17 7:57 a.m.

In reply to BrokenYugo:

The seller told me he spent $1400 on the new rear tires and rims a couple months ago. So for anyone who else that is looking at used tractors that is definitely something to consider when shopping. The good new is tires depreciate in value pretty fast so good used tires arent that bad.

The guy seemed to not be too mechanically inclined so i think when the clutch went he realized the cost of paying to have it done plus what he just spent on tires and thought it was too much of a money pit and wanted it gone.

Shopping parts for these is a good news/bad news thing. Everything ive looked for is still available but fairly expensive. The clutch is just like a car clutch and 10.5" diameter so its not very big, but a reman clutch kit is $250.

gearheadmb Dork
6/21/17 8:38 a.m.


STM317 Dork
6/21/17 8:53 a.m.

Nice deal! It would drive me nuts to put brand new, fresh outers on the rears and leave the centers looking like that. Spray paint is cheap and makes a huge difference in appearances.

759NRNG HalfDork
6/21/17 9:02 a.m.

Patina Patina Patina = Rat Tractor

gearheadmb Dork
6/21/17 9:57 a.m.

Yeah im seriously thinking about painting it while i have the loader off. These came from the factory with a pretty sharp looking two tone red and white paint scheme. Ive never painted a vehicle before. TSC has rustoleum in ih colors for $30 a gallon, and its a tractor being used as a tractor so it definitely doesnt need to be perfect.

gearheadmb Dork
6/21/17 10:05 a.m.

Here is what they are supposed to look like. Mine must have been highway dept tractor when it was new, thats the only way i can explain the yellow paint peaking out from under the red.

gearheadmb Dork
6/21/17 8:25 p.m.

I did some work tonight, but didnt get as far as id hoped. My plan was to get the loader off and get the tractor shoved in the garage. I only got as far as getting the loader disconnected and unbolted so the tractor is ready to be rolled out from under it. Im going to have to get dads loader over here tomorrow to lift my loader up high enough to get the tractor out. But no major catastrophes, so i consider that a small victory.

maj75 Reader
6/21/17 8:56 p.m.

I love that tractor! If I lived in the country, I'd definitely have one (or two) of those.

gearheadmb Dork
6/22/17 8:39 a.m.

In reply to maj75:

Yeah, they definitely have a draw to them. I make fun of my dad because he owns 40 acres and has 4 tractors. Two would be more than enough. But his are all John Deeres. Jd and ih guys are just like chevy vs ford guys. Dad said he was going to put a bag over his head when we brought it home so he wouldnt be seen associating with an international. He is also die hard gm guy and i own a mustang. I guess its my rebellious side showing. Its actually my cheapskate side. I would have preferred a john deere but the prices are out of sight.

dculberson PowerDork
6/22/17 9:52 a.m.

Man. I did not need to know that loader equipped tractors could be had in that price range. I know it's a project, but still ... that's amazing. I spent $500 renting a skidsteer loader. Maybe next time I should buy a tractor. ;-)

I'm looking forward to reading about your progress!

D2W Reader
6/22/17 11:49 a.m.
dculberson wrote: Man. I did not need to know that loader equipped tractors could be had in that price range. I know it's a project, but still ... that's amazing. I spent $500 renting a skidsteer loader. Maybe next time I should buy a tractor. ;-) I'm looking forward to reading about your progress!

A small tractor like that with a loader and blade for under a thousand. Unicorn

gearheadmb Dork
6/22/17 10:14 p.m.

Well, bad news tonight. I got the loader off and the tractor inside and started working on the split. All was going fairly well until i decided to jack the front end up and see how the steering feels. It feels like the gearbox is full of rocks. This seems to be a common problem, which means good used ones are hard to find. Rebuilt boxes are in the neighborhood of $1000. Parts for the gear box are hard to find. I just started looking so hopefully ill have more luck tomorrow.

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