Ploughs will naturally suffer from wear and tear. However, a decent used buy can still be found if you know what to look for. Geoff Ashcroft checks out Kverneland’s popular LB85.
LB85 models are available with two headstocks, which are indicative of maximum tractor horsepower.
The popularity of Kverneland’s LB plough means there is plenty of choice on the used market to find a decent example of this fully mounted shear-bolt plough.
With three to six furrows and flanked by its auto-reset stablemate, the EG85, it accounts for the lion’s share of plough sales for the Norwegian maker.
The LB comes with manual front-furrow width adjustment as standard, but many were brought into the UK with hydraulic front furrows, simplifying set-up and adjustment.
Two headstocks are available and are indicative of maximum tractor horsepower. The LB85/200 suits tractors up to 200hp, and the LB85/300 is for tractors up to 300hp.
Pre-year 2000 LBs can be identified with 85/160 or 85/240 model numbers.
An ID number on the machine’s plate should be able to confirm its age through a Kverneland dealer, via the warranty registration scheme.
Most UK-spec ploughs were LB85/300-28HD. This brought a 120mm by 200mm (5in by 8in) heat-treated heavy duty main frame and number 28 bodies; non-HD means a 100mm by 200mm (4in by 8in) frame.
All four- and five-furrow LB ploughs can be extended by one furrow, using a bolt-on rear body assembly. Point-to-point clearance is 850mm (33in) and the underbeam clearance on all versions is 700mm (28in).
Our featured example, seen at Ellis Machinery, is a 2006 model in a five-plus-one format and is equipped with an optional hydraulically operated Packomat press arm and double-depth wheel. It is being sold at £9,950.
This model’s 300-Series headstock gets a welded plate on the back of the headstock brackets, designed to add strength and rigidity to cater for more powerful tractors and higher ploughing speeds.
It also uses a later-designed square bar cross-shaft with clevis-type ends, offering cat three and cat four capability. Earlier models fitted with a round cross shaft had to be specified as cat three or four.
Careful inspection of the headstock reveals no obvious cracking or fatigue, and the top-link pin holes are showing little signs of wear, suggesting a sympathetic and careful operator.
Hydraulic front-furrow width eases set-up for tractors using wider tyres, helped by the long-throw number 28 bodies; this model is specifically for in-furrow use only.
If the front-furrow measurement creeps in work, it is likely to be a spool valve issue and can be stopped using a check valve in the hydraulic line.
A feature of the LB is on-the-move Vari-width furrow adjustment.
This affords a 300mm to 500mm (12in to 20in) furrow width range, and the position can be seen from the cab thanks to pointers on the middle furrow referencing against a mechanical scale bolted to the plough beam.
All bodies are linked mechanically, with a series of pivots simplifying any adjustment. These pivots use wear rings and collars for each body assembly, and are easily replaced, to keep the mechanism tight and smooth.
Up front, a three-port hydraulic cylinder provides a furrow width memory function. As the plough closes to its minimum 300mm (12in) furrow setting during the turnover process to prevent an excessively high lift position, the three-port ram automatically resets back to the chosen furrow width, opening the plough back up once turnover is complete.
These generally are not a cause for concern and seal kits are available.
This model’s 28HD reference on the serial plate references its use of the number 28 mould board.
While these do not suit all soils, they have become a popular option and are preferred for their extra length, which is said to improve furrow roll and create additional firming of furrows.
Double stays are fitted, adding rigidity to the longer mouldboards. Bolt-on reversible points are also fitted, but these can be upgraded to Knock-On plough points, retrofitable to any age of LB85 plough.
Only the front furrow’s mouldboards have not been replaced; this is evident from wear which is visible on their bottom edges.
Our featured example is equipped with quick-adjust skimmers, which allows both the top and bottom skimmers to be set using one bolt. There is a cam-type sleeve which rests against the back of the skimmer leg and this offers fine-tuning and the ability to hold the skimmer tight against the leg to prevent rattling.
Maize skimmers are increasingly found in place of manure skimmers, as their tighter curve is said to improve trash burial at higher forward speeds. Some skimmer points have been swapped for new ones, and this might affect trash burial performance.
Four-furrow LBs use a single depth wheel with a damper, where five- and six-furrow models get the combi depth wheel assembly which comprises two wheels.
This assembly is also the transport wheel unit, and helps carry the plough’s 1,965kg weight on the road when put into its butterfly position. Doing so requires the securing pins by the axles to be withdrawn, allowing both wheels to be swung through 90-degrees before pins are replaced.
This particular model has undergone considerable strengthening to its depth wheel brackets, with fillets and bracing being applied by its previous owner. Pay close attention to these types of areas for further signs of cracking.
An obvious puncture has also required the replacement of one tyre, with a tread pattern which looks as though it would be better suited to a skid steer loader. Tyre sizes should be as close as possible, but can be compensated for by depth screw adjustment.
As a five-plus-one build, this plough can easily be reduced by one furrow to suit smaller tractors.
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