14 April 2000

Top tips to make your money well spent

Buying a second-hand

tractor can either result in

money well spent or a costly

nightmare. Here, New

Hollands 7840 comes under

the spotlight with Edward

Reeves of Malpas Tractors

providing the buying tips.

Andy Moore reports

NEW Holland could be considered to have a winning formula for its 7840 tractors, which were replaced by the TS range in 1998.

With no less than five main model improvements over its eight-year production, the firm claims to have sold 6551 of this type into the UK market.

That has led to a buoyant second-hand market for the model, says Edward Reeves of New Holland dealer Malpas Tractors, based near Wrexham.

"The high number of new 7840 sales has led to an abundant supply of used tractors to meet demand," he says. "In its time, and even now, the 7840 is a popular all-round tractor for the stockman and smaller grower."

Powered by a 100hp PowerStar engine, the 7840 series was originally available in two versions – the standard SL model and the higher specification SLE version. The main difference between them being in the transmission and hydraulic lift control.

SL models were equipped with a basic Shuttle Command 12×12 transmission at their introduction in 1991, which was upgraded to a 24 x 24 Dual Power gearbox from Apr 1993. A year later a clutchless shuttle was fitted as standard.

As with SLE tractors, the machines feature ElectroLink draft control, a 16×16 ElectroShift transmission, with four powershifts in four ranges, which was added with a clutchless shuttle in October 1993. For operators seeking an SLE, but with mechanical instead of Electro-Link draft control, New Holland introduced its SLE Special.

To mark the integration of Ford and New Holland brand names in 1995, both models were given a complete facelift. Main changes included changing white roofs for blue, while plastic fenders replaced metal versions.

With these changes in mind, which 7840 model should be considered when buying second-hand?

"Depending on the users preference of transmission and age of tractor, it is advisable to choose a tractor which was made after 1995," says Mr Reeves. "At least then you know it is equipped with the main improvements. The SLE Special is the most sought-after second-hand model because it offers higher spec, but without the ElectroLink draft control. For many second-hand buyers, electronic draft control is considered an extra thing to go wrong, but in practice the system is reliable."

Mr Reeves says SLE Special models represent about 50% of the UK second-hand 7840 market, the rest about 20% SLE and 30% SL Dual Power models.

"Because early 1990 models proved to be under specification and unreliable, many of them were exported to France and Belgium and so are hard to find in the UK."

On such basis, for this second-hand guide, we concentrate on a popular R-plate SLE Special in good condition, with 3000 hours on the clock and tyre wear at 60%.

He suggests a typical retail price for such a tractor would be about £17,500 after a touch-up in the workshop and £500 spent on it.

When looking over a 7840 SLE Special at a farm sale or auction, all the common sense checks apply. Look round the tractor for obvious bodywork damage, cracks and leaks and, if possible, try and test drive the tractor.

Other points to look for are shown in the pictures and captions.

Worthy of special attention is finding out if the tractor has ever been fitted with a turbocharger in its lifetime.

"To check whether a turbo-charger has been fitted in the past, inspect the left-hand side of the engine and see if the turbobchargers oil inlet has a shiny blanking plug," says Mr Reeves. &#42

What to pay


Year Hours Guide price (£)

SLE Special

1999 1,500 22,000

1998 2,000 19,000

1997 2,500 17,000

1996 3,000 15,500

1995 3,500 14,000

1994 4,000 13,000

These guide prices relate to clean, genuine models having tyres that are 60% (or less) worn.

NH 7840 SPECIAL

&#8226 Model New Holland 7840 SLE Special.

&#8226 Engine 100hp 6-cyl Powerstar.

&#8226 Transmission 16×16 Electroshift.

&#8226 Rear lift capacity (with two assist rams) 6660kg.

&#8226 Fuel tank 95 litres.

&#8226 Weight (4WD) 4640kg.

This clean example of an R-plate New Holland 7840 SLE Special has 2750 hours on the clock and tyres which are 60% worn. After £500 spent on servicing and valeting in the workshop, the tractor will be priced at about £19,500.

Early Dual Power transmissions tended to have jolty clutch operation. This problem was cured in 1993, when Dual Power became standard on all SL models. Check whether the tractor has been fitted with the improved transmission by testing the clutch for smooth operation. Cost for upgrading an unmodified transmission is about £1500.

7840 tractors are equipped with two types of pickup hitch: A basic version or an optional scissors type to increase rear visibility of the hook. With more pivot points, the scissors type will be prone to extra wear, so check hitch for side play.

A fan belt which is out of line will wear on one side and within days will snap leading to electrical and (where fitted) air conditioning failure. To eliminate the risk, the belt should be replaced every 1200 hours. Cost of a new one is £18.

About 75% of all 7840s have been fitted with turbochargers at some point to boost power from 100 to 125hp. A turbocharged tractor which has been operated with care should give no problems, but try to choose one which has never had one fitted. To check for this, see if a new blanking plate has been fitted on the turbocharger oil pipes. After-sales fitment costs about £1000.

With the engine running, check for excessive crankcase compression from the breather pipe on the right-hand side of the engine. Slight wafts of air discharged from the breather pipe is quite normal, but large oil sprays are not.