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Buyer's guide: 150hp tractors for less than £30,000

To give an idea of what is available, Richard Bradley takes a look at what options are available for £30,000.



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Picking out a diamond: 5 second-hand tractors for your farm under £30,000

As the sophistication of high-spec tractor models continues to soar, so do the machines’ price tags, and many manufacturers are now offering basic-spec options to bring this down to a level suitable for an affordable workhorse.

 

However, the alternative to buying a budget-spec machine is looking at used premium tractors from the manufacturer’s previous generation.

 

For the canny buyer, second-hand machines can offer a number of benefits – they are likely to have lost some of their price tag through depreciation, common manufacturer issues should have been ironed out, and while you cannot order to your exact specification, often you can find a machine to meet your needs.

 

To give an idea of some of the options on the market for about £30,000, we take a look at the popular 150hp range.

 

This power and price tag provides a suitable machine for any mixed, livestock or arable farm.


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John Deere 6930

John Deere 6930

Seen by many as one of firm’s most sought after models of the decade, the 69 headed up Deere’s nine-model 6030 Series.

 

Launched in 2007, the Manheim Manufactured 6030 Series continued with John Deere’s proven full-frame chassis philosophy.

 

Featuring an improved cab over the 6920 with CommandCentre terminal to access tractor settings and display IsoBus implements, the 30 Series holds a premium over the now basic-looking 20 Series. Another standard feature was the firm’s TLS Plus front axle suspension.

 

Originally only available in top-spec Premium guise, the 6930 featured intelligent power management (IMP) to boost its standard 155hp up to 180hp.

 

A base-spec SE model soon followed for those looking for budget power, however, this did not get the benefits of the Premium’s CommandCentre, IMP or TLS – a more basic TLS system was later added to the options list, however.

 

Transmission options ranged from the firm’s rugged 20 by 20 PowrQuad and AutoQuad Plus semi-powershift transmission, to ZF’s AutoPowr continuously variable transmission.

 

Available with 40kph or optional 50kph top speed, the latter benefiting from front-axle braking and trailer air brakes as standard.

 

Despite its popularity, the 6930 was not short of problems.

 

Points to look out for:

  • Due to poor fuel quality, exhaust gas recirculation valves were prone to sticking or blocking, replacement units cost about £430.
  • Head gaskets were a cause for concern, with work potentially carrying some hefty costs. Corrected under warranty in most cases, the service book should be checked for evidence of work carried out.
  • Particular attention should be paid to brake condition, which could be prone to wear with extensive road use.

Typical used prices

2010: 8,030 hours, cab suspension, front links, PowrQuad - £27,000

2011: 6,400 hours, electric spools, AutoPowr, Autosteer ready - £33,500

2012: 6,719 hours, Commandarm, electric spools, AutoPowr 50kph, Autosteer ready - £35,000

Specifications

Engine: 6.8-litre, six-cylinder turbo
Rated power: 155hp
Maximum power with IPM: 180hp
Maximum hydraulic flow: 81 litres/minute, optional 110 litres/minute
Rear linkage lift capacity: 8.4 tonnes

JCB Fastrac 3155

JCB Fastrac 3155

If you are in the market for a cheap transport machine, JCB’s 3155 Fastrac could be an option.

 

Featuring a six-litre turbocharged Perkins engine, the 3155 was first introduced in 1998 along with larger Cummins powered 3185 model to replace first generation 100 Series tractors. While 3185 models were more popular, its Cummins engine was easier to tweak and could lead to some abuse of both engine and transmission, says JCB.

 

Both models featured a new 54 by 18 speed transmission which used three powershifts to reduce jumps between gears over previous 100 Series.

 

In true Fastrac style, truck-style outboard disc brakes and fully suspended axles were featured, with springs used at the front and a hydro-pneumatic setup at the rear.

 

For high-speed failsafe, truck-type power-assisted mechanical linkage steering was fitted. Top speed could be either 65kph or 80kph, with the latter running on smaller 24-inch wheels, as these were the only rated high-speed tyres available at the time.

 

All models benefited from air-over-hydraulic braking for added efficiency on the road, and anti-lock braking was introduced on models from 2001.

 

Other updates during its four-year life included the switch from a dry to a wet-type clutch, reducing the chance of wearing out.

 

Suited to transport work, high-houred Fastracs could have clocked up nearly 80,000 miles, so wear and tear can be an issue.

 

Points to look out for:

  • Brakes wear is easy to check thanks to outboard discs, note wear on discs themselves should also be checked
  • Extensive road use can wear suspension; a quick test drive should point out any excessive movement
  • Tyres should be D or E speed rated; without these it could leave you in bother if any accident occurs

Typical used prices

1998: Front linkage, 50 per cent tyres - £18,698

1999: 9,000 hours, 25 per cent tyres - £16,950

2003: 8,293 hours, front linkage 540/65 R30 tyres - £17,057

Specifications

Engine: Six-litre, six-cylinder turbo
Maximum power: 150hp
Transmission: 54 by 18 speed, 65kph or 80kph
Maximum hydraulic flow: 79 litres/minute
Rear linkage lift capacity: Seven tonnes

Class Arion 640

Class Arion 640

Originally launched 10 years ago, Claas’ eight-model Arion range took over from the Ares of the mixed Renault/Claas days. And it was the 640 which was its best-selling model, according to the firm.

 

While sharing a few components with the Ares, the firm says its Arion was largely a new model.

 

Power came from the same 6.8-litre six-cylinder Deere block used in its own six-cylinder 30 Series.

 

Aiming to prevent issues in later life, Claas sourced heavier-duty head gaskets for the Deere engines, which came in from later first-generation models, produced until 2011.

 

For those after simpler power, 150hp 630 models were available in a more basic C-spec with open-centre hydraulics, 16 by 16 speed transmission with four powershifts and top speed of 40kph, and an older 16-valve engine, with 640 models only available in CIS and Cebis spec.

 

The 640 models benefited from power boost taking rated 155hp up to 180hp during pto work and when traveling more than 6kph.

 

Claas says, unlike boost functions from other brands, this affords full power in some tillage applications.

 

Power was transmitted to the ground through a similar Gima transmission used in its latest Hexashift models, which uses six power-shifts to offer 24 by 24 speeds.

 

Both 40 and 50kph speed options were available, but the firm says 50k was often specified. These models gained Carraro’s independently suspended front axle, air brakes and Eco gear as standard.

 

CIS spec machines featured mechanical spools with load-sensing pump offering up to 110 litres-per-minute flow.

 

Higher spec Cebis machines had all controls mounted to the armrest, with electric spools also featured.

 

Points to look out for:

  • While hard to predict, Claas says head gasket failures are more likely on machines which have been tweaked high above standard figures
  • Despite offering great comfort, Carraro’s suspended front-axles are grease hungry with 21 nipples requiring attention.
  • Check for signs of malnourishment, as repairs could prove to be costly

Typical used prices

2009: 3,506 hours, CIS spec, 40kph, front suspension - £26,500

2009: 4,950 hours, CIS, 50kph, front suspension, air brakes - £26,950

2010: 5,600 hours, electric spools, front linkage, front suspension, air brakes - £33,000

Specifications

Engine: 6.8-litre, six-cylinder turbo
Rated power: 155hp
Maximum power with IPM: 180hp
Maximum hydraulic flow: 110 litres/minute
Rear linkage lift capacity: Eight tonnes

Case IH Puma 155

Case IH Puma 155

Bridging the gap between the firm’s Maxxum and Magnum tractor ranges, the Puma range was originally launched at the 2007 Cereals event with four long-wheelbase models.

 

Shorter-wheelbase 140 and 155 models later followed in 2009.

 

Featuring a six-cylinder, 6.8-litre FPT engine, the 155 featured a power boost function lifting rated 158hp up to 178hp during pto and transport work, which kicks in from 16th gear and above.

 

Benefiting from a relatively short wheelbase, Case IH says the 155 offered decent power figures in a compact and lightweight package.

 

Transmission came in the form of a semi-powershift CNH unit, with three ranges comprising six power-shifts to offer 18 forward and six reverse speeds in 40kph guise.

 

An additional forward speed was used in 50kph transmissions offering 19 by 6 speeds.

 

Cab options came in base and Multicontroller spec, with the latter benefiting from a very Steyr-like armrest-mounted multifunction controller and electric spools.

 

For ease of use, larger buttons featured in a controller updated around 2010, with new armrest and controller introduced in 2014, which is still used on the firm’s latest models.

 

At the rear, 113 litres per minute of oil flow was available, and rear linkage could lift up to 8.3 tonnnes.

 

Points to look out for:

  • Models clocking up 6,000-plus hours could begin to show signs of syncro wear, a quick test drive will show clunkiness between gears 6/7 and 12/13.
  • Proof of regular servicing is advisable, as with any second-hand buy

Typical used prices

2008: 5,840 hours, Multicontroller, front suspension, front linkage and pto - £27,950

2009: 2,279 hours, Multicontroller, front suspension - £35,250

Specifications

Engine: 6.8-litre, six-cylinder turbo
Rated power: 158hp
Maximum power with IPM: 178hp
Maximum hydraulic flow: 113 litres/minute
Rear linkage lift capacity: 8.3 tonnes

Massey Ferguson 6480

Massey Ferguson 6480

Initally introduced in 2003, Massey Ferguson’s 6400 Series comprised 12 models with power ratings from 90-240hp.

 

Of this range the firm says three models made up the bulk of sales, with the 6470 as the highest powered four-cylinder, 6480 being the largest in the mid-sized frame, and top of the range 6499.

 

Originally featuring a Stage 2-compliant six-litre Perkins engine with maximum 155hp, the 6480’s life spanned nine years with a number of major updates in its time. Earlier models were fitted with a Dynashift transmission with 32 speeds thanks to four powershift steps and a splitter.

 

Gima’s Dyna-6 transmission was introduced in 2005, which featured four ranges and six powershifts to offer 24 by 24 speeds, with range changes robotised for easier shifting.

 

Hydraulics came as standard with a 57 litres per minute open-centre system, with the option of a closed-centre 110 litres per minute load sensing pump – this became standard in 2009.

 

In 2007, 50kph transmissions were introduced, along with the shift to 6.6-litre common rail Stage 3 Perkins engines and new slicker styling.

 

While rated power remained similar to the Stage 2 motors, power boost in pto and transport work took maximum power up to 172hp.

 

Increasing rear linkage lift capacity by 800kg, an additional back-end support frame became standard fitment in 2009, and a heavier-duty rear axle was added to the options list.

 

All Perkins engines were ousted for Sisu units (now Agco Power) in 2010. The 6400 Series ended in 2012 with a shift to Stage 3b and introduction of the firm’s 7600 Series.

 

Points to look out for:

  • Issues with a batch of transmissions were recalled and repaired during early life
  • Be aware of spec and power changes over range life
  • Latter models offered improved performance, according to MF

Typical used prices

2006: 4,594 hours, Dyna-6, front linkage, cab suspension - £19,500

2007: 6,500 hours, Dyna-6, cab suspension, four spools - £26,975

2008: 5,460 hours, Dyna-6, 50kph, front suspension, air brakes - £28,450

Specifications

Engine: 6/6.6-litre six-cylinder turbo
Rated power: 145hp
Maximum power with IPM: 172hp (Stage 3)
Maximum hydraulic flow: 110 litres/minute
Rear linkage lift capacity: 7.1 tonnes (8t from 2009)

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