10 April 1998

Reborn to run again

Rebuilt Massey Ferguson

tractors are rolling out of a

barn in Cambridgeshire at

nearly half the cost of the

production-line equivalent.

Geoff Ashcroft looked

beyond the shiny new

paintwork

FROM a barn in Covington, near Huntingdon, Cambs, David Lockhart Agricultural Machinery rebuilds old, tired examples of Massey Ferguson tractors. More than just a quick wash and brush up, these machines get the full treatment.

"We dont cut corners when doing a rebuild," explains David Lockhart. "Regardless of the state we buy tractors in, they are all stripped, inspected and thoroughly rebuilt to very high standards."

It means the tractors carry approval from Banner Lane, being based on Agcos own Rehabilitation, Overhaul and Certification (ROC) programme. It is a scheme which breaths new life into old MF tractors at a cost significantly lower than that of a brand new machine.

And the result is impressive. Parked alongside the same model from the Banner Lane production line, most would do well to tell them apart.

About 50 tractors a year are rebuilt by Mr Lockhart with the help of one full-time and one part-time member of staff.

Though not afraid to tackle any MF tractor, the bread and butter comes from rebuilding MF275s and MF290s. Some older MF135/165 models are put through the business, but stocks of these are becoming harder to find, and Mr Lockhart wants to try and work on machines which still have good parts availability.

"About 95% of what we do goes for export, with only a few tractors remaining on the home market," he says. "It means many tractors are stripped of their sophistication to suit the markets they are going to."

This means all cabs, multi-speed transmissions, over-size wheels and tyres for example, are removed and as a result, a considerable spare parts facility is being built up.

Describing himself as something of an MF fanatic, Mr Lockhart is trying to distance himself from those offering "reconditioned" tractors which he reckons are little more than "paint jobs".

"We pour a few thousand £s into each tractor to make them as good as new," he insists.

Two levels of rebuilt specification are offered – silver standard and gold standard. And the biggest difference in spec is found in the use of reconditioned parts or new parts. Either way, all are genuine MF components carrying 12-months warranty.

"It takes about 120 man hours to complete the job and all except crank regrinds, reconditioning fuel injector pumps and re-coring radiators are done on our own premises."

And the cost of the finished rebuild? "About £7000 for a silver standard two-wheel drive MF290; the gold standard adds about £700 to the price." &#42

Heres one I prepared earlier. What started life as a rotting, worn-out MF165 barely fit for scraper duty was transformed to this shiny "as new" example ready to do another 20 years work. It takes about 120 man hours to complete and the finished machine costs about £7000.

Colin Dickinson strips and inspects this transmission. When rebuilt, it will be an eight-speed constant mesh unit with new gears, shafts, seals and gaskets used where theres little serviceable life left in the old parts.

SILVER DATA

Silver standard (example rebuild)

&#8226 Engine: inspected and compression tested. Recon parts used as required.

&#8226 Clutch: new or recon dual clutch fitted, with new thrust bearing and carrier.

&#8226 Front axle and steering: New bushes, seals and bearings, new or recon steering box, track rods and drag links as required.

&#8226 Hydraulic system: stripped, inspected, pessure tested.

&#8226 PTO system: New mechanically engaged live pto fitted.

&#8226 Rear axle and brakes: Brakes inspected and adjusted with new parts used as necessary.

&#8226 Electrical system: Alternator and starter motor inspected, repaired/replaced as necessary. New wiring loom, lights, instruments and battery fitted.

&#8226 Bodywork: All panels replaced with new, then tractor painted to MF original colours and decals are added.

&#8226 Wheels and tyres: Fitted to customers requirements.