New demand for very old farm tractors specifically because they're low tech

Very old being late 1970s and 1980s.


I think my dad sold his Massey Fergusons with the farm 15 years ago.

My wife bought a used late model BMW. I couldn’t find a dipstick in the engine compartment to check the condition of the oil so I looked in the owner’s manual. There is no dipstick. You have to rely the onboard computer.

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you open the hood on a modern car…what for?


IIRC the procedure when you get a low oil alarm is first put in a quart. If alarm still on, drain and refill with proper amount. If still on, replace the sender.

My Pop had and old Massey Ferguson, and a Ford something or another . His dad had John Deere from the 50’s. The farm now has a Kubota about 15 years old

The computer shows that the oil level is where it should be but what if the last oil change was 3 years ago. I’d like to see the color. I suppose the computer can tell how old it is?


And what if the level isn’t where it should be but the computer thinks it is?

You’re not being very helpful.

I just think it’s a completely stupid idea on BMW’s part, on the same level as having one knob to control ?eighty or so? functions inside the cockpit. What were they thinking?

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Here we go, bashing improvements in technology. Let’s do away with fuel injection and catalytic converters! Maybe even take it back to hand cranking your car to start! Don’t ever ask an old timer about Detriot Diesels, you’ll catch an earful. “Never had to change the oil, just topped her off every week!”

The future is now old man.

Yes. We need to do away with catalytic converters. Amongst other emissions bullshit that kills fuel economy. Not all new things are good. Though most are.

Ah yes. Improvements. Such as obscuring core functions behind secret codes to make user repairs impossible, and replacing physical levers and switches with touchscreens and hierarchical menus.

It is indeed, and my what a brave new world it is. Thank you for getting with the program. One question, though: If the march of progress is so unambiguously positive, how do you explain the disproportionate demand for obsolete farm equipment?


easy to do via a light source and photo cell same as your oily water separator and or check conductivity

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modern engines kill old ones for power and with less fuel and emissions.
Cat cons allow you to see the sun in socal which you couldnt in the 80’s


Thank you @powerabout for the valid points. @Klaveness, there is only demand for outdated technology because the manufacturers are preventing third party maintenance on the equipment. To draw a parallel to the car industry, OBD2 ports can be accessed by any mechanic and any DIY Dan with a reader. The tractors can drive and diagnose themselves, its just a matter of requiring manufacturers to allow people to work on thier own equipment.

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Fortunately there is a healthy and growing group of experimenters and developers working around the issue.

Unfortunately, the OEMs code what are really nothing more than commodity parts so that aftermarket parts like sensors and control units are virtually locked out … at least for now.

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So the question is why do manufacturers design products that end users can’t work on. Is it simply so their dealers profit from monopolizing repairs?

So federal legislation is needed to force their hand?

Lack of reliability is the main problem. Inability to promptly field repair is close behind it.

There is a big “less developed” world market for used, pre-computer trucks and equipment. Most people in the world are too smart to buy computerized, unreliable, unrepairable products.

1994 and earlier trucks in America are straightforward, reliable and repairable, computer free, mechanical injection units. They are in high demand.

I’m shopping for a dump truck. Pre-1994, mechanical injection, no computers, Made in America, preferably a MACK. One of the great things about Mack is how interchangeable (and affordable) the parts are over a very broad range of years.

To top up the windscreen wash container. The dealer does everything else. My farm machinery (two tractors, a bobcat, and a 35hp diesel mower function perfectly well without computers and I maintain them.
I also have a petrol ride on brushcutter 4-w-d with locking diffs which will go where one would never attempt in a tractor. I need assistance with that as my hands are too big to get near things like the sump plug.