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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
guys that work on tractors are next level....everything is bigger, heavier, dirtier, more expensive, and just generally worse than working on my old dodges. Forums are no where near as helpful or easy to find too.

I'm having to do a head gasket repair on a John Deere 4230 with a 6-404D engine...Local tractor mechanic is old and retired, and there's no "independent" mechanics in my region of the TX Gulf Coast outside of John Deere service centers which are big time $$.

Engine only has about 600 hours since an in-frame overhaul 10 years or so ago. I think I'm going to get lucky with having the head serviced at the machine shop and re-installing w/o finding any other damage.

Just getting the tractor from the pasture to the barn took half a day...
 

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My mom had 6 brothers, all raised on the farm/ranch. Two became truck drivers, one a farmer, one a diesel mechanic, one a petroleum engineer & one a bulldozer owner/operator.

So yes I have seen 2 5/8" sockets, pistons the size of paint buckets, transmissions with 27 clutch discs & $700 bearings. It's on a whole nuther level.

Bucky
 

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Even in Texas you can't find any mechanics. Crazy. I love Texas - the OLD Texas.
 

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Not sure about farm stuff, but JDs construction stuff is like CAT, everything has special parts. I do not think either company knows what a standard hydraulic cylinder is. They all have custom ends, valves, pistons, enough that you cannot make a standard cylinder work. I know CAT used to have two facilities that did nothing but make replacement parts that were ordered. Parts are so specific, that they cannot stock most stuff, just make it when someone needs it. Of course at a $$$$
 

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Even in Texas you can't find any mechanics. Crazy. I love Texas - the OLD Texas.
Many mechanics are mechanics by trade, they just learn how to fix the machinery that they use in their occupation. I'm a painter, not a paint sprayer repairman but I can fix the hell out of one. My uncles learned to fix those big rigs, tractors & bulldozers out of necessity.

Plus today there is youtube

Bucky
 

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Not sure about farm stuff, but JDs construction stuff is like CAT, everything has special parts. I do not think either company knows what a standard hydraulic cylinder is. They all have custom ends, valves, pistons, enough that you cannot make a standard cylinder work. I know CAT used to have two facilities that did nothing but make replacement parts that were ordered. Parts are so specific, that they cannot stock most stuff, just make it when someone needs it. Of course at a $$$$
CAT & JD both have a reputation for being bitches to repair for what reasons you said. I think that's why my uncle used IH TD 20 dozers instead of the pricier CATs with their prima donna dealers.

Bucky
 

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My tractors are old, I can work on them out of necessity but I wish there were more people that knew how to fix them also lol
Eric
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Even in Texas you can't find any mechanics. Crazy. I love Texas - the OLD Texas.

there's plenty...the gulf coast is one of the largest farming area's in the state, but there's been a shift with John Deere dealerships and the older independent mechanics have aged out/retired and the rest work in the dealer service department. Paying dealer repair rates is just not in our budget.

We raise beef, and when the average person is buying groceries they see & pay crazy prices for beef, but if you do a little digging and look at the actual sale prices and see what producers are getting for their beef vs. what it cost the consumer, you'll see that there's a problem, and it's a big one. The 7 biggest ag corporations are currently pushing down market prices trying to force independent ranchers out of business the same way that the corporate pork producers did to independent pig farmers 20 years ago.
 
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Yep, damn them politicians and corporations all to hell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I started tearing into the 6-404D engine yesterday and asking my uncle who uses the tractor more often then anyone some questions about its history. What I found out was that starting about two years ago, he noticed that every few uses, it'd require the coolant topped off, but there was no leaks and no coolant in the oil. What I'm speculating is that there is a micro fissure in the head gasket and combustion pressure was pushing coolant into the oil, but just using the tractor for small tasks with minimal engine loads, there was enough heat to evaporate the water out of the oil. But last week when he hooked the shredder up and the tractor was having to work hard, the increase in cylinder pressure pushed that micro fissure into a blow out. (I've had this happen on an engine I've owned in the past myself)

My uncle also talked to the mechanic that did the in-frame overhaul 10 years ago and he remembered during that time he re-used the head bolts due to the supply coming from Deere & Reliance both were either pulling threads in the block, or stretching too much. The only thing I don't know is whether Deere gaskets (supplied from FelPro) or Reliance Gaskets (asian sourced and junk from what research I've done) was used.

Another issue that I'm trying to figure out how to overcome is figuring out which torque sequence to use on re-assembly. John Deere has release multiple revisions over time and currently have an 11 page tech document on torquing head bolts, but I can't find the engine serial number where it says it should be to figure out which process to use.
 

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Farmers and ranchers in this country should be treated better than royalty. Instead they are over regulated, the equipment costs are out of this world, the feed is too damned expensive, and the prices for their product is oppressed. Now the govt and large corporations are building cities and distribution centers on prime farmland. So future farmers are going to be farming on the rocks where the buildings should have been. It's shameful.
 
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Farmers and ranchers in this country should be treated better than royalty. Instead they are over regulated, the equipment costs are out of this world, the feed is too damned expensive, and the prices for their product is oppressed. Now the govt and large corporations are building cities and distribution centers on prime farmland. So future farmers are going to be farming on the rocks where the buildings should have been. It's shameful.
In international. Not by mistake. This is why we need to get out of the cities and grow our own food and livestock. Cities are chicken cages.
 
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This is why we need to get out of the cities and grow our own food and livestock.
I agree. I think everyone should experience working a farm. Although most people today would consider it to be far too much work for them. It takes a special breed.
 

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I agree. I think everyone should experience working a farm. Although most people today would consider it to be far too much work for them. It takes a special breed.
Hats off to and God Bless the people who work on farms.
 

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As long as you have the workshop manual, these old tractors are not that hard to work on.
We’ve had several Deere’s on my dads farm, and the pre 90’s stuff is still all mechanical which makes repairs much easier.
We had a 2030, 3130, 3050 and a 6430.
Love the old stuff 😎 I like my dodge because its almost built like a tractor 😉
 

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Not just tractor mechanics, but who can repair a sewing machine, wristwatch, or electronic device like TV or radio.
When was the last time you set valve lash or points? Or adjusted drum brakes.
Bucky
 

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I can do some of those, but not good enough to hang up a shingle, and start a business.

The biggest problem is no one wants to pay $100 an hour shop rate for someone to do the work. Even the $15 an hour for the worker is too much for many. Then you have the issue of locating parts. So many things are made in batches, and one batch may not interchange parts with the next.
 

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Don't forget that many things today are made to be used, tossed, and replaced.
Like high paid employees. My company just announced they are shitcanning the finance and accounting employees and transferring all of the finance and accounting to India where the highest paid accountants make a whopping $2.50 an hour. So next month they are starting with 150 employees getting WARN notices. (Not me thankfully)
 
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