15 October 1999

Give second-hand kit close inspection

Second-hand loading

shovels are an economical

source of grunt for clamp

and muck work. Here,

Charlie Oakhill of Holt JCB

guides Geoff Ashcroft

around a four-year-old

412S Farm Master

JCBS Farm Master loading shovel has, it would appear, stood the test of time. Introduced in 1985 as the 412 with 80hp, it has made the transformation into todays 115hp 412S. The current range also includes the more powerful 150hp 414S and 152hp 416S.

While most new Farm Masters find their way into the hands of contractors on silage clamp and muck shifting duties, there comes a time when such machines need to be replaced with a more powerful model. This is when the discerning second-hand buyer gets an opportunity to add loading shovel grunt to the machinery line-up, for much less than new telehandler money.

The 412S remains a simple, straightforward middle-of-the-road loading shovel. Our example – an M-registered 110hp 1995 model -has recorded 4400 clock hours and is still in active service with Staunton, Glos-based contractor FA Priday & Son on silage and muck work.

Specification of our example machine includes six-speed powershift transmission with torque converter, limited slip differentials, pick-up hitch, air-conditioning and 19.5×24 tyres in place of the 17.5 standard types.

And subject to receiving some TLC from a dealer before going back into service, Holt JCBs agricultural sales manager Charlie Oakhill reckons that our example should fetch something in the region of £24,000.

"The 412S Farm Master is a rugged piece of kit which is viewed as one of the slower depreciating machines in the trade," he says. "And theres little to go wrong -providing the machine has been regularly serviced and religiously greased at frequent intervals."

While full service history is difficult to confirm on machines that have been maintained in the farm workshop, those that have been neglected are easy to spot, reckons Mr Oakhill.

Up front, at the business end, greasing is the key to a long and productive life for the 412S boom and attachment carriage.

"Without an attachment, its easy to check wear on the pins by simply rocking the carriage back and forth by hand," says Mr Oakhill. "For the hours covered, this one is in very good order, but any neglect when it comes to greasing will lead to about a £700-800 refurbishment if new pins and bushes are required."

Such is the strength of the loaders arms and frame, says Mr Oakhill, that cracking should not occur. "Its a tough machine which is easily capable of 10,000 hours and more."

Where machines have been equipped with dual wheels on the front axle, Mr Oakhill reckons a wriggle of the steering wheel will reveal any over-stressed front wheel bearings. This is also a suitable method of checking for wear on the machines centre-pivot steering system.

"Theres a lot of excavator technology in this machine, which means it is able to withstand plenty of stick," he says.

Easy access

Easy engine access through panels opened on gas struts allows a close inspection of the 110hp Perkins 1000 series with turbocharger and intercooler.

"No trouble here," says Mr Oakhill. "The usual oil and water checks will reveal its condition."

With grime and a weeping gasket on the engine block, theres little cause for concern with our example, and Mr Oakhill reckons another 6000 hours should be expected without opening up the motor. And its the same in the transmission and hydraulics departments.

"But if theres any doubts, most JCB dealers should be able to provide or carry out an engineers report to verify the condition of the hydraulic system and transmission efficiency," he says. "Its all done through checking working pressures which can confirm that the machine functions exactly as it was designed to."

A visual inspection of most areas of the 412S will reveal any horrors, and also how well the operator has looked after the machine while driving. Serious oil leaks are rare, though Mr Oakhill warns buyers to be wary if the chaff screen is missing from the radiator.

"The screen is a nuisance to clean properly, but if removed from the machine, the radiator can easily block causing overheating problems," he says.

"But even after such a thorough inspection, it is essential to put the machine through its paces. Everything should work smoothly and without nasty clunks or hesitation," he says. "Then hopefully, youll know if youve found a machine that youre happy to spend your money on." &#42

Our 1995 M-plate example of JCBs 412S Farm Master with 4400 hours on the clock. With some TLC from a dealer, it should fetch about £24,000.

Chaff screen should be in place over the radiator to give the best protection from overheating – if its missing, suspect further problems.

Little to fault in the 412S cab. But ripped seat material is indicative of the hours done.