Farmers Weekly on Mark Hellier

Go with your instincts; something that looks abused probably has been.

Don’t necessarily write off anything that looks like it might need some work. Cost it out properly and use the niggles as a negotiating tool.

Some wear and tear is inevitable. Be realistic, but don’t let blacked-up tyres fool you.

Before doing the deal always check front axle oil levels. A steam-cleaner might make leaks disappear, but bone dry hubs can be common and always mean trouble.

Drive the tractor and listen out for whines and clonk. The former are likely to come from the transmission and driveline while the source of clonks can be anything from engine and axle mounts to cab cladding. Identify the source before worrying whats up.

Obvious – but easily overlooked – things can start to cost you dear. For example worn, sloppy linkage parts are not cheap and need to be priced up.

If the tractor is fitted with tired cantilever-type pick up hitch, consider replacing with a Dromone unit. At £800 a pop it’s expensive, but money well spent.

Tractors with a conventional manual gearbox can eventually begin to lose their synchromesh. Park the tractor on level ground with the engine running. Engage a range and then gently – without the clutch – try to ease the main lever into 1st gear. It won’t actually go in , but if there’s a grinding sound then that indicates the synchroson that gear are on the way out. Repeat for all ratio’s.