Versatile 160, 256, 276 & ford 9030 bi-directional - The Combine Forum
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Versatile 160, 256, 276 & ford 9030 bi-directional

Hey there.
Anyone own/operate these bi-directional tractors?
What did you think of them?
Is it hard to get parts for them?
What was the biggest like and dislike of these machines?
Do they make a good 100 hp farm tractor, or are they more for light construction?
Are they a good loader tractor with that Hydrostatic drive system?

Anyone has any information, I'm willing to listen.
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Old 01-31-2010, 09:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Versatile 160, 256, 276 & ford 9030 bi-directi

They are great loader tractors. Not much of a pulling tractor with the hydrostat trans. Pto work is fine as well. Beware of center pins and bushings as well as the engine end oscillation. Often they arent cared for properly and the machining bill can be steep. The 9030 has cast axle housings that are much stronger than the 256/276. The 150/160 are a bit light and engine parts for the Waukesha are getting rare, some have been repowered with the Cummins.
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Versatile 160, 256, 276 & ford 9030 bi-directi

Hey, Thanks for the reply. I've always thought they would be a good loader unit, but like you said that hydrostatic for pulling in the field with soft ground. What about just for hauling in & out of a field? I imagine anything bigger then a 300 bushels wagon would be hard on the hydrostatic. Anyone using bi-directional tractors for tillage field work?
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Versatile 160, 256, 276 & ford 9030 bi-directi

Pulled 70ft diamond harrow bar with a 94 9030 for several years seeding about 3000acres a year double harrowed everything. Used fuel pretty good ran wide open 2nd gear 6to7mph tank went 7 to 8hours ran fairly warm with the hydrostat drive but both 9030's we used for this are still running as loader and auger tractors today no more harrowing went to airseeder. Not the most comfortable tractor to spend 12+ hrs a day in but you use what you got was sure glad to get STX450 though.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Versatile 160, 256, 276 & ford 9030 bi-directi

I have a 160 that I repowered with a Cummins 4bt. It is an excellant yard tractor. I made a frame for the loader that can have a bale spear, or have forklift forks on it. I also bought a 84" 3 point finishing mower that I turned around so I could push instead of pull, like a big front mount mower, and also have a snow blower. Nothing like blowing snow driving forward, with hydraulic swivel, and hydraulic tip on the chute.
It also gets used on the mix mill, and on the 10" swing away auger. It is small for some jobs, but as a yard tractor it is very 'versatile'....... in my opinion the concept was way ahead of their time.

dislikes are, it is a bit awkward to get into, and the pto driveline is a pita to grease.
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Old 02-02-2010, 01:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Versatile 160, 256, 276 & ford 9030 bi-directi

JD4830: Yeah, I was wondering if the hydrostatic would get pretty warm pulling a good size piece of equipment. When harrowing did you notice any slowing down of the 9030 after the hydrostatic warmed up? It sounds like everyone is saying these make good loader, utility tractors (auger, snow blower and such) for most farm moving/cleaning/clearing work.

What are anyone's view on putting larger tires on these and mounting a boom/tank system for spraying. I would think with the hydrostatic and thin-larger tires it would do a pretty good job, but you guys that have run them tell me what you think of the idea.

farmnerd: There is a 160 for sale at tractorhouse. I think the guy doesn't really want to sale it because it is listed for over $21,000.00. From what I've found out at another website that is the price of the 160 when it was new in 1980-something.
Was it hard to re-power it with a cummins 4bt? The 160 looks like a great little tractor to have around for small-ish jobs. Looks like it can get in & out of places where a regular tractor/loader would be hard to use. I would think if a guy mounted the newer quick-tach skid steer units on the loader that would open a whole new set of possibilities for using the 160.
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Versatile 160, 256, 276 & ford 9030 bi-directi

Any slowdown I can remember would be more related to loading then heating and then would shift down to 1st and seemed to pull ok then. I agree more of a loader/utilty tractor. We used one machine for spraying for about 10yrs up to 2008 for all spraying with a 500 gal three pt mount 90ft sprayer also had high clearance tires for fall in crop burn down now have jd 4830 for spraying but the 9030 was lighter and would go through more mud then the 4830 will. Still have the tires, think the boss is trying to sell them.
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Old 02-02-2010, 07:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Versatile 160, 256, 276 & ford 9030 bi-directi

we had good luck with the 9030. i didnt run it much but it promted us to buy two tv140's.they said visibility was low compared to the newer ones. our second tv140 was great, the first one was plagued with electrical problems and sensor problems. we removed the cab 3 times on the first one and once on the second. great farm tractor. we pushed a 14ft head and pulled a 14 ft hydroswing-it would mow some hay fast. we mainly mowed hay, baled when we were short on tractors(looked funny with loader sticking up in the air above the baler) and used it as a loader tractor. we had 1500 acres of prairie and 1300 acres of alfalfa. you could load trucks pretty quick. it has roughly 4000 hrs and nothing major done to it.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Versatile 160, 256, 276 & ford 9030 bi-directi

Hey!
Once again thanks for replying to my post jd4830 & bflinc. You've given me some really good info. to think about on the bi-directional tractors. I've always thought they would make a decent spray-rig. Also as a utility tractor I was pretty sure they would have as much if not more uses then a 2wd/mfwd tractor. Any construction/drain tiling jobs, basic farm up-keep, lane repair (mines 1/2 mile), snow removal, haying, etc.,.

As for the tv140 series. I think they're a good tractor. New Holland grew the tractor in size, but not horse power which means its bigger, but not much more workable then the 9030s. Because of that I'm of the view that a tv140 is much more a ranch/small grain tractor. Here in central Illinois I'm not sure I could recover the total cost of a tv140 through work, and still have any resale value. The tv140's are the nicer tractors for cab comfort, but price and work mean more here.
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have spent 9000+ hours in my Versatile 160. Blew up the Wakasha - put a Perkins in - had to do some revamping. use it every day for feeding Big Round Bales. Great loader tractor - utility - not for pulling loads of corn or heavy pulling (they have a bypass valve and if you pull to much it will release and you are dead in the water - better have good brakes to keep you from going backwards on a hill if that happens. - use for mowing excavating - feedlot. Articulated machines can get you into trouble in the barn - like against a wall and can't get away because of the swing - so takes some navigating. Takes a while to learn to use - I can pick up a dime with it - but not the tractor to put the neighbor kid on to mow - etc. Sits high so sway back and forth if on rough ground mowing etc. Many uses for snow etc. BUT - make sure nobody EVER rides on the outside - like if the top window is off it is tempting to stand on the side step ( I know there are big yellow signs saying stay off - but - ) anyway if you have a rider - you can "get them" as you turn and pinch them real quick before you can think. Articulated machines are DANGEROUS - was riding on the side and had my nephew driving - thought it would be fun to direct him to feed bales - had him turn to miss a post and had my foot on the step - not sideways but longways and daygone almost - lost my foot - if it would have pinched it one more inch my foot would have blown up - Miraculously nothing broke but ended up in the Emergency room -
So STAY OFF the side and NEVER let anyone ride on the side EVER EVER EVER!
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