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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys. I'm going to look at a John Deere FB-A grain/fertilizer drill on Monday after work. The guy wants $200 for it, so.. I have a few questions:
1: anything to watch out for, other than rust and frozen parts/worn openers?
2: Would it be possible to plant hay with it? I'm not sure what type of grass, as of yet. I'm guessing that little gray box on the front is the grass seeder, but I know that might also be the fertelizer box. (although, I think that is kind of small for a fertilizer box.)
3: any general info on the drill? If I do get it, I'll try to get manuals, of course.

Here is a picture from the add.


Thanks in advance for the help!!
 

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Chuck, I'll have the brochures with this drill in them, but I'd have to dig them up to find out just how these drills were set up. I know some of these had single disc openers as opposed to double. I believe they are also 7 inch spacings. There are non of that model in these parts, I have only saw wider models of the Van Brunt series that were also double disc and 6 inch spacings. In fact there is one over at a neighbors place I was supposed to pick up a long time ago, I never even looked at it, a couple of years ago somehow it ended up on its back with the hitch pointing upwards, think someone got tired of cutting grass around the hitch:eek:

This one looks like it may be a later model, which would then have what was called "Impeller Feed" fertilizer boxes, which were a huge upgrade from the old style horizontal star wheels. The small box on the front is indeed for grass seed. It also appears to be rigged for hydraulic lift. Many had power lift. It doesn't look very wide, but it does appear it may have been kept inside at least some of its life.

The three biggest factors in whether it is a boat anchor or not..... make sure the boxes are not rusted out, even though they are galvanized, they will rust out in time, make sure the feed shafts all turn, take a cresent wrench and small pipe wrench with you to check them, and last but not least, check that you can adjust the feed rates on all three boxes. If you can't set the rate, they you are pretty much screwed. Often things will still turn, but you can't adjust the feeds, or the slides for the fertilizer because there are rusted, then you're kind of buggered. Also not sure what that drill would have for feeds on the grain box, whether they would be fluted rollers or the other style which the name escapes me at the moment. With fluted rollers for sure, there will also be an adjustment on each feed cup to set the seed gate in one of three positions. Make sure the feedcups aren't all rotten either. Often there will be a build up of mouse piss and $hit in the boxes and feeds, and that can make otherwise good boxes difficult to move the feed adjustments.

And depending on what it has for openers, seldom discs seize up unless its sat in water, but they may be wore out too.

In these parts, a little drill like that, to get $200 bucks would have to be in darn nice shape, but I have no idea of what is a fair value in your part of the country. Good luck;)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! I'll have to wait until I'm home to give a proper reply, but I really appreciate the response. You've given me (once again) information that, to me, is worth its weight in gold. If it makes any difference, several other drills, of different brands and of nearly the same vintage had prices from $500-$700.
 

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It's years since I used a Van Brunt, so I could be forgetting a lot. If it's got the fluted rolls and the adjustable feed gates, there's a little tab riveted to the outside of the gate. It goes into a notch on the feed cup, and you adjust the gates by moving the tab out of the notch, moving the gate and setting the tab into a different notch. If the tabs are rusted solid, pass. The disks had a hex headed plug on the hub. To remove a disk take out the plug and use a 3/8"(?) socket extension to reach in and turn off the disk. As I remember there's right and left hand threads. The disks were supposed to be oiled with 90 weight gear oil, not greased. If one stopped turning, the procedure for freeing them up was to fire up the wood stove and use the disk for a stove lid. Mother was not pleased. Then you tapped it to knock out the dust.

The International drills of that era outlasted the John Deeres by 10-20 years and there's still one IHC that is used for seeding plots around here. It beats a 40 or 60 foot air seeder when you're just seeding an acre or two.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you very much. :) Without this information, I would be pretty much flying blind tomorrow, and flying blind is something I don't find "fun".. Some people like the adrenaline rush, but that kind of stuff just isn't for me. :p
 

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IH outlasts it huh? That totally depends on storage, maintenance and care! I'll have to come back from the dead to see how long my Van Brunt series goes before it quits kicking!

True, our feed gates are stuck beyond adjustment. . .that'll happen when you plant the same crop for 60 years. The metering lever still works though, so we do fine planting wheat and oats at various rates.

As said the front box is the grass seeder, the middle boxes are grain seed, the back box is fert. We NEVER use the fertilizer boxes, just rent a spreader and go, then plant. You'd be filling up ever round trying to fertilize, then get stuff clean enough to not rust and freeze up. . .of course, you fill up dang often on the grain seed too. Do I want a newer bigger better one? Sure, but hasn't come to the top of the priority list yet.

Those metering levers are tight and move with some difficulty even when they're working. Don't be afraid to tap it with a hammer back and forth a little, doesn't take beating on it, just a little persuasion.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks!!! I ended up getting it. Just done pulling it home, actually. I'll get some nice pictures of it and get them up tomorrow. I gave him the full $200. It's not the best drill ever, but its in darn nice shape. The grain box and grass box look like new, to me. (even if the paint is faded a little.) the fertilizer box.. Well, its got some gunk and junk in it, but it isn't rusted, as far as I can tell. Now the kicker- I haven't (as of yet) got the grain or grass seed meters to move, but the fertilizer ones move just fine. (must be the protective properties of mud.. -shrugs-) I have some Aerokroil to spray on the stuff that doesn't move, and if worse comes to worse, I'll have my uncle help me carefully heat stuff with a torch, pull it all apart, and clean it. I would love to take the boxes off and have the paint and graphics professionally redone anyway.. (all in due time.) The openers look almost new, as far as size goes. If my research is right, they were 12 inch openers, and these can't be much below that.

I'm kind of heartbroken- I looked where the serial number tag is supposed to be, and nothing. Is it riveted on? If so, then I need to keep looking, because there weren't any rivet holes. So, until I find that tag (If I find it) I'm going on the PO's story that it is an FB-A. Does anyone know what the difference is between the FB, FB-A, FB-B, FB-c, and so on?

My trip back was about 68 miles.. That was a fun ride, going from 20 to 30 mph. Anything over 20 on hills and it would start to fishtail.. My Jeep Cherokee didn't like that. >.<

All in all- a good day! I got my drill, and when I got home, I no more than sat down and got a call from Menards- They want an interview!!
 

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Fb a

I need the seed chart, is yours any good. The drill works great, use mine to plant wheat, rye, etc.
 
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