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I am reaching out to say hi and ask for some advice.

Im not a tractor guy, but Ive wanted a tractor with a loader for over a year now for some dirt hauling, gravel spreading, just messing around. The subcompacts are ridiculously expensive so I turned to looking at older more affordable tractors. After missing some good deals on facebook market place I found what I thought was a gem so I jumped on it without too much thought hoping to beat out competition. It was a Massey Ferguson work bull 204 for $1850. It ran and the bucket lifted so I jumped on it. I knew it had a power steering leak, the PTO didnt engage, and the 3 Point hitch didnt lift. Little did I know that it was so old (1959?) and it has a odd reverse-o-matic that uses a torque converter. Ive never owned or drive a old tractor so I didnt know any better. Anyway It needed a battery so I put on in it and I took it out back for a victory lap and play in the dirt. Then the right hydrophilic cylinder started leaking, no big deal I can probably fix that... Then I smell smoke... I look under it and the generator was smoking and a wire melted.

Then I wanted to do a fluid change and I got the owners and shop manual and it uses Auto Transmission fluid type "A" which they dont make anymore... the transfer and hydraulics use 90 weight mineral oil. So im a little overwhelmed. Im somewhat handy, I can work on old cars and I thought this woudl be a fun project. But I think im in over my head. But I dont know anything about tractors. Looking stuff up antique tractor info on forums is overwhelming because I cant get straight answers. Can you guys give me some tips? Is the reverse-o-matic junk? Is my generator shot? Should I replace it with a alternator? Should I just cut my losses and get rid of it?
 

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Hi Mate, After reading your post, I'm sorry about your predicament, most of us have been there. I think you should try and recoup some money out of this machine, perhaps by going to a salvage yard. It's too big an ask to get this tractor back to what it should be, particularly for a novice, as you mentioned.
Salvage yards usually have good gear and reliable so you may even do a trade with cash adjustment.
I think this is your best option under these circumstances.
Good luck.
Keep us posted.
 
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I think that the question is whether you wish to dedicate a lot of time and money to the fascinating hobby of tractor restoring or not. The tractor you have bought does not seem to be beyond repair. You might take it as a challenge and a good measure of you ability to overcome difficulties while learning a lot of mechanics and making many new friends who will be willing to help you. However, if you feel like it is going to be a pointless burden, leave it ASAP.
When I was given my first tractor, it was in a far poorer condition than yours and I was unable to use a wrench properly, my professional duties having nothing to do with tractors or farming.
Now I own three old tractors, I have learnt a lot of engineering and mechanics and every weekend my old and new friens gather around my tractor helping me to rebuild it while drinking some beers and eating what our wives cook putting the dishes right on the wheels of the tractor. I have never had so much fun in all of my life.
 

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It can be overwhelming. Especially if you need it fairly soon. My story is somewhat similar. Got a 33 with a trip bucket loader. Mine had sludge in the oil so the pressure wouldn't get up past about 5 psi, the sediment bowl was leaking gasoline, and the manifold had a big piece missing. All kind of other small things. Looked hard and found a sediment bowl that kinda fit. Cleaned the carburetor. Changed the oil. Looked really hard and could not find a manifold anywhere for months, then someone on the Facebook group Massey Harris/Ferguson collectors replied he had one.

Oh, and one of the loader cylinders leaks a little. There some oil leakage also under the engine, not much though.

However, I have a tractor that moves and a loader that I can push/lift things around.

If you don't plan to go to parades, then just do those things that are enough to get it working reasonably. Are you going to pull a plow over 100 acres? Probably not. Don't get too stuck on the idea that you can't find whatever oil was used when it was built. You'll find an oil that works, if anything lubricants have become more diverse and most likely better than the old stuff.

Like someone said above, there will challenges and you'll learn both skills and patience along the way, as you overcome the hurdles. But it's not for everyone. Ultimately only you will know if it's for you or not. Anything else that works but is that old will need work over time.

Regarding the generator/alternator, I'm sure you can find something that works, or adapt it. But tackle one thing at a time if you do, so it doesn't feel that overwhelming.

Keep us posted. And we like pictures!
 
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