Counting The Cost: Things To Know Before You Begin Your First Tractor Restoration

Posted on: 29 January 2015

Restoring a favorite tractor is both exciting and fun. Whether your favorite tractor is a Farmall Model H, John Deere Model B, or some other model, you probably imagine showing off your completed project at the next local tractor show or parade.

However, before you start disassembling the sheet metal, you should consider the amount of time and money involved in tractor restoration. By asking yourself a few questions, you will know whether to proceed on your project:

Is it worth restoring?

What is your purpose for performing the restoration? Is it to restore the tractor to working use or strictly for sentimental value? Do you plan to enter the tractor in competitions or antique tractor shows?

If the tractor belonged to a family member and has been part of your family legacy, the sentimental value will probably make it worth the cost. If you love antique tractors and enjoy competitions, the passion for your hobby will probably override the cost.

You should be realistic about the condition of the tractor. A tractor with a lot of rust and worn parts will be costly to restore. You can still successfully complete the restoration, but it will be very expensive.

How is your mechanical knowledge?

If you have limited mechanical skills, restoring a tractor will be challenging. Taking a tractor apart and getting all the pieces back together requires significant work and a good awareness of how mechanical parts work.

If you have limited mechanical skills, you may still be able to perform the restoration with the use of books and instructional videos. Another good option is to find a mentor. Joining a local tractor or engine club is a good place to find a mentor who may be willing to enlist some help if you run into problems. Professional restorers may offer some assistance, but they often charge a substantial fee for their time.

Can you afford it?

Tractor restoration is not a hobby for those on meager budgets. Replacing tractor parts can be expensive. You can visit a tractor parts store to get a rough idea of some basic parts. Older tractors will require new tires, spark plugs, seals, gaskets, belts, and pulleys. If needed, new transmissions and major engine parts will raise the cost substantially.

A good quality paint is vital, especially if you plan to enter the tractor in antique tractor shows and desire to achieve an authentic look. Paint can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of your restoration project.

Do you have the tools?  

At minimum, you should have access to large wrenches, a hydraulic press, pullers, an acetylene torch, cleaning equipment, body work tools, paint guns, a power washer, and sturdy jacks and jack stands. A fire extinguisher is always good to have on hand when working with flammable items.

Counting the cost, before you start your project, will give you the confidence to move forward with your tractor restoration project. Restoring an old tractor will take some time and effort, but it's a process that will reward you every step of the way as you watch your favorite tractor come to life again.

To learn more, or if you have other questions, contact a company like Unkefer Equipment with your concerns.