Antique Tractors Forum banner

1 - 2 of 2 Posts

7 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Peace, love, and cooperation to you!

Y'all might notice that this is nearly identical to the thread I posted about the other two tractors I've looked at.

I know literally nothing about tractors. Zip, zero, zilch. The sum total of my tractor ownership experience has been one used Craftsman lawn tractor that lasted one year before the mower deck fell apart, and one new Cub Cadet zero-turn lawn mower that I've had for a whopping 3 months.

I was raised in an area where nobody farmed. No one I know all that well has much understanding of farming, if any at all. I've grown vegetables and kept chickens for years but still feel horrifically ignorant about proper farming techniques.

Yesterday I came across an early 1950's Ferguson 30 for sale, and talked to the guy for about a half hour. I have some questions and hope that some of y'all can answer them.

It looks to be in okay shape, it started quickly and seemed to run well, and it has new rims. While the tires aren't new, they look at least okay and they held air. He says that to his knowledge, it does not presently need any other work, but to expect that along the way it will, as would any old tractor.

There is a 3-point hitch on the back with PTO that is not live. I'm reasonably handy with working on cars but still more ignorant than skilled. I don't mind a learning experience, I'm familiar with carburetors and antique cars (I've owned and put a lot of miles on a total of five "antique" carbureted vehicles and three more from the '80s) and I can drive a stick shift masterfully. The tractor has a wide front end.

To top it all off, my toddler son loves tractors, almost to the point of obsession. I have a feeling if I buy the thing, he'll be asking me to take him for rides every day no matter what the weather.

I'm reluctant to spend the money due to our income taking a huge hit from coronavirus, but if the tractor will do the job and be highly unlikely to lose value due to depreciation, I might pull the trigger because the owner seemed trustworthy. My wife and I are both on board with really wanting to increase our self-sufficiency.

The guy said something about a relatively cheap free-wheeling device ("slip clutch") that can go on the back of the PTO shaft, to get rid of the problem of a driven implement continuing to drive the tractor wheels with its own momentum after you pop out the clutch, due to it not having live PTO. He thinks it's a "later early 50's" model because it has the larger diameter PTO shaft that doesn't need an adapter to operate modern implements.

My first few questions would go something like this.

1) Complete the sentence: "You definitely should not buy this tractor if ___."

2) Could this tractor be used to do common farming tasks such as plowing, planting, disking (where I live, that's a verb anyway), etc?

3) Do modern 3-point-hitch farm implements fit a tractor this old easily (given that it has the larger PTO shaft), or would I have to go on the hunt for antique implements due to size differences between antique and modern 3-point hitches?

4) Fill in the blank: "You probably won't be happy trying to farm more than ____ acres with this tractor."

5) Are all parts easy to find, or is this tractor a pain in the butt to fix?

6) I thought that the "start it using the gearshift so that you know it won't be in gear" thing was ingenious. Do these old Fergusons have other ingenious features?

7) He said that I would probably be happier with a Ferguson 35 if I wanted to go for this series, because it has live PTO. If I got that "slip clutch" for the PTO shaft, would there be any advantage to live PTO? It strikes me that live PTO means it could be significantly more difficult to repair, turning live PTO into a huge PITA.

8) What would you say are the pros and cons of this tractor, compared to other same-size antique and modern tractors?

9) It appears to be in passable unrestored condition. He says it's been converted to run on 12 volts. What would you say is the "definitely don't pay more than this for it" price?

Here's to another reduction in my ignorance. It's incredible how, the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know.

8 Posts
Ferguson was bought out by Massey Harris. They combined the names and dropped Harris (Massey Ferguson)

The Ferguson 30 (TO 30) is the grandfather model of the Massey Ferguson 35 (FE 35 or sometimes MF 35 depending if it's an older model or relatively newer for you it'll mean the same thing so don't worry about it). They upgraded it a bit, tweaked it and painted it a different colour. Extra things in the 50's became standard in the 60's.

There are nine different engines made for it around the world, but in the US, you'll either see kicking around gas (four cylinder) or one of two diesel (three cylinder or four). The 3 cylinder diesel is the one that MF collectors get all... Excited! about. So that'll be more expensive. Look at the exhaust, when sitting on the tractor, exhaust on the left is three cylinder, exhaust on the right it's four (gas and diesel). Gas will be the cheapest but hardest to find as real farmers use diesel (says my wife) so there are more diesel. The other ones will be in collections.

The FE/MF 35's are still being made brand new today in India / Pakistan and shipped to Africa. That means all parts for petrol and diesel are still being made so are easy to get and cheap. As the TO 30 is the grandfather, many will be the same or an upgraded version that'll fit.

The MF/FE 35 was one of the mainstay tractors of the mid 20th C and released as an alternative to the Fordson. Same power, smaller body smaller price tag. A lot of market gardens chose Massey's.

My father in law is a Fordson man and my wife refuses to drive my Massey as it smells wrong (go figure!), You'll start an argument if you ask people which is better so watch out.

They're easy to work on. I don't know what the hell I'm doing and it's great!
1 - 2 of 2 Posts