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What To Look For When Buying A Case Ingersoll Tractor

Here are just a few things that you should look at on Case Ingersoll machines. The common things you should look at on any machine should be looked at as well but we will not go into those too deeply as there is info out there for those.

Basic Common Things To Look At On Any Machine.

Some basic things you should check on any machine. FIRST ALWAYS check if it has the correct amount of oil before starting! If the oil is low be cautious, if there is no oil on the stick, then expect the engine has been damaged and should be valued as so. Fill the oil to "full" before starting any engine. Is the oil clean? If oil is blackish, is it normal consistency? If so more than likely needs to be just changed. If it's thicker and sludgy then it probably has not had great maintenance. If it is milky looking it could have water entering into it at some time and could be a concern. It also could be that it sat for a while or has been started but not run long enough to burn off condensation. If it appears a good amount of water is in the oil CHANGE before starting.

Does it run and if not do you have proof why not. Does it have compression on all cylinders? If you have a compression gauge, by all means, use this cheap and simple device, if not pull the spark plug for each cylinder, crank over with the starter, and see if you can feel pressure coming out of the spark plug holes?  If running,  are both engine cylinders actually working if a 2-cylinder machine? You can check with an infrared heat temp gun, they are cheap and easy to use.  Both cylinders should be running at the same temp within reason. Check the temperature on both cylinders on the same spot like heads (not heat shield), exhaust pipe is another good place where it comes out of the head. If you do not have a gun you can drip a little water on it and see if it seems to sizzle the same on each side. Be careful as you are dealing with hot areas! If you do not have water you can carefully hold your hand ABOVE not on the exhaust pipe or head for each side. It's hot use your head.

Hydraulic Leaks

Ok, so it is common that these machines being 15 to 50 years old will have leaks when looking at them. 90 percent of the time this is not a big deal. Most times it is simple o-rings or hoses that need tightening or replacing. But check the hydrulic cooler/radiator for leaks in the metal itself, check the tank, check the pump case itself, etc. These can be a little bigger repairs to keep in mind when pricing. If it's just lines and hoses leaking they are easy to get a hold of, replace, and not overly costly and not a reason to run from a machine but keep it in mind when negotiating a price on the machine.

Do You Have Hills?

 Do you plan on operating your tractor on big hills? If so does the machine you are looking at have a "Holding Valve"? The early Case Ingersoll's "can" freewheel downhill if not operated correctly and can be scary. A holding valve can be added to any Case Ingersoll and it allows the machine to go up or downhill at the speed you started the hill at and not gain or lose speed. A holding valve was built into the Case Ingersoll travel valves and was standard on all machines around the mid-1980s and was an option prior. The valves are available and are straightforward to install.

Check Hydraulic Tank & Oil

On Case Ingersoll machines, they have a hydraulic tank that holds the oil for the transmission system as well as the lift and attachment power systems. The oil on most models should be 2 to 4 inches from the TOP of the tank neck. Also, the oil should be 15-40, 20-50 or similar ENGINE OIL NOT hydrulic fluid is to be used on the machines. The oil should be very, very clean NO water, Milk, Sludge, Particles, etc. If it is not Motor oil it could have caused some issues or could not. Not being motor oil is not a turn-and-run situation but if there are hydrulic issues it might be the cause. But again, depending on the situation sometimes changing to the correct oil can simply fix some issues. You won't know until you do this so keep this in mind when figuring a price. Also, check the condition of the tank itself for cracks and leaks. Tanks are available and not hard to change and not extremely costly.

Check The Hydraulic Functions

For those who are new to Case Ingersoll, this all may be unfamiliar to them and intimidating. But it is pretty simple and straightforward. Take it for a ride does it go forward and reverse, does it drive at a pretty consistent rate? Does it go uphill with no issues when the rear end is in low range? If it engages in forward and reverses a bit jumpy that is normally not a big deal but a common small issue. Most times it is just new users to the machines not used to the instant power and operating the machine. The other common reason is worn travel linkage is likely the issue which is a fairly easy and inexpensive fix.  It should not be a reason to be alarmed.  The tractor should not lurch, buck, etc when in motion. If there is an attachment available to load or work the machine try it out. Raise and lower the hydraulics preferably with an attachment mounted.  When you move the attachment does it lift and lower smoothly with no struggle to lift, hold, and lower? Is it fairly constant and fairly fast at lifting? If not, many times, provided the issue is just with the lifting, it may be that just the cylinder could use a simple and inexpensive reseal. If the drive and lift are acting up it could be a bigger issue like a pump issue or could also just need the fluid changed and the CORRECT oil used.

Steering Components

With the age of many of these machines, the steering can be worn. The good news is all the parts are available and the better news is we sell heavy-duty upgrade complete kits. The common issue is worn axle pins that allow movement in the front axle. The axle should have no forward or back movement when turning the steering wheel or pushing on the tire/axle.  BUT, almost all machines do have this play in them from being used, and it is not a deal breaker at all. Also, the rod end on the drag link and tie rods can have play in them. Again, easy replacement and we have upgraded parts for these too. The other part of the system is the steering gears themselves, often they can slip or bind. Many times this is from someone monkeying with them not knowing what they were doing. Lots of time it can be corrected by the parts being installed correctly. Other times the steering gears, mounts, shafts, etc can be worn, also if teeth are missing on the gears then replacement is needed. This repair can take some time and parts can add up a little. But again very doable and not deal breakers but should be considered in the value of the machine. 

Final Over All Assessment

These machines are great and no matter the condition you should not run from them. That said the price has to reflect its condition, and its condition has to reflect your skill set to repair and/or budget to get it repaired. Price ranges on machines GREATLY vary depending mostly on LOCATION over its condition. So we can not give you values of machines in certain conditions as the same machine can literally vary in value by thousands depending on location. That said most models are worth a lot in just parts alone.  And these are not your common brand garden tractors or box store lawn tractors and bring much more money.  Do not let things like hoses, tires, paint, slight smoke at startup, mufflers, slight motor/valve noise, brakes, electrical, etc. make you run away from a purchase, these items SHOULD NOT.  Just be mindful of what you are looking at and how that is reflected in the price. If the machine was serviced and tuned up or recent repairs done by a "qualified" person that also has a fair amount of value and some peace of mind. If getting from a dealer then you can more than likely trust that they did what they said. If a private owner told you they had the work done then ask for receipts if they have them. If they did it themselves then take it with a grain of salt and make your best judgment on their honesty and ability.  Remember if work was already done on a machine it could be a benefit for you cost-wise as most shops depending on location charge $75 to $150 per hour and a $100 rate is really common. So any amount of work with parts and labor more than likely cost them $500 to $1,000 or more. That may be reflected in the price they are asking and also should be in one way or another considered in what you are wanting to pay. The bottom line is if everyone is honest and upfront and as long as you are happy with the price you pay and the seller is happy with the price then it is a great transaction. You should not worry about what others buy machines for nor should they be worried about what you paid. If you are happy then enjoy your machine!!! 

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