Spring is all about new beginnings, and tractor restoration is a form of ‘rebirth’ for our beloved agricultural vehicles! Tractor restoration is the act of sprucing up an old (often vintage) vehicle so that it is fully functional again. This is typically an expensive and time-consuming job - so many first-timers look for tips on how to get their old tractor up and running. So, without further ado, let's hop aboard and plow through BKT’s 5 tips to restore your tractor!
Older tractors can end up in all sorts of states! So, first things first, you need to get a clear idea of how well (if at all!) your tractor functions, and subsequently, how much work needs to be done. For example, you should check to see if the motor still runs; if not, you will need to install new radiator hoses and gaskets, and check up on the wiring. In some cases, you may need to replace the entire engine!
As part of this initial evaluation, you should also set about cleaning your tractor. Any weathered vehicle is likely to have gathered excess dirt and grime over time - particularly if its natural habitat is a muddy field! In order to clean thoroughly, you must strip your vehicle down, so that you can clean each part individually. It may be necessary to temporarily remove certain parts so that you can freshen them up with a coat of paint, later in the process. Once your tractor is clean, we would then advise that you sandblast all the surfaces. This will expose the vehicle’s metal beneath any unreachable debris, allowing you to see any corroded areas that need your attention.
As previously mentioned, tractor restoration can be a financially-draining process. Therefore, it is crucial that you establish just how much work your tractor needs, and how much this will cost beforehand. You can use a handy shop manual to browse for what you need, and where you can source this. These manuals are particularly helpful, as they also provide diagrams labeling all the different parts of the tractor, and instructions for repair and restoration.
Every project will have a different estimated cost, depending on the current condition of the tractor and the parts required. The important thing is that you are prepared for this!
Next up, it’s all about the supplier. One of the most challenging parts of tractor restoration is sourcing the right parts. However, if you work with the right supplier, you’ll be in good hands! Do your research, and ensure that you explore different options before settling on the supplier for you. Also, trust people’s personal recommendations!
Luckily, we no longer live in the days where farmers had to source everything, including tractor parts, locally (although we are still passionate advocates for a ‘glocal’ approach!). If you don’t have a trusted local supplier, the internet is your friend! There are a range of online resources available to aid you in your restoration quest.
The actual restoration process primarily involves repairing and replacing parts - and, naturally, sprucing your tractor up with a lick of paint! Once you’ve identified any issues and found a top supplier, you can source the parts you need and get cracking! Just remember: this process will vary in duration, depending on the availability of the parts that you need. Unfortunately, some truly vintage or rare vehicles may require replacement parts which simply don’t exist any more! But don’t fret - while your supplier may not have these parts in stock, they can quickly point you in the direction of a compatible part from a similar tractor model.
Many would describe tractor restoration as a labor of love. So, why not share the experience with colleagues, friends and family? Depending on the condition of your vehicle, restoration can be a tough, lengthy process. Sharing the load with fellow tractor enthusiasts can, therefore, be both beneficial and a bonding experience. Just imagine the feeling of achievement when you witness the final tractor transformation!
For more insight into all things agriculture, stay tuned for our next blog! Also, while you’re here, check out our range of fit for purpose tires for your tractor.