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Okay, for quite a while, I've been getting parts enquiries from folks who had just bought a tractor... not running, or in need of repair, and, too late, I had to inform them that parts availability would be an immediate problem, and reliability would be an on-going one. Well, while it may not end up helping a lot of people making an informed decision about a tractor purchase, it may help a few, and that makes setting up this simple page worthwhile.

Not boasting, but stating a fact for your reassurance of the source of the information on this page, I am considered the internet expert on these tractors, and deal with them every day, so you are getting this 'straight from the horse's mouth'... Hopefully you will find this good, bad, and ugly page to be useful in making your tractor purchase. :-)

For now, I will concentrate on the Fiat, and Fiat-design tractors, in an order of, 'To Be Avoided', 'Use Caution', 'Neutral', 'Good', 'Very Good', and 'Excellent'...

To be avoided:

Fiat 411R Diesel, early model
Cockshutt 411R Diesel, early model

Parts for the 116 cubic inch Diesel engine? Forget it! If you need a parts tractor for a later 411R/411RG/1250, these'll work fine, other than the engine.


Fiat 411RG
Fiat 415 Gas(petrol)
Oliver 1250 Gas
Cockshutt 1250 Gas
Cockshutt 411RG

The Oliver/Cockshutt 1250 Gas used a military surplus engine. Contrary to the usual practise of making military equipment exceedingly tough and durable, the 116 cubic inch engines used in the 1250 Gassers were anything but. Engine, ignition, induction, and electrical system problems abound, and the parts aren't available to address them. The Gas models should never have been built. Walk away... fast.


Fiat 513R
Fiat 615
Oliver 1450
Cockshutt 1450

The Oliver/Cockshutt 1450 (most likely to be encountered) was based on the Fiat 615, which itself was based on the earlier Fiat 513R. It was imported and sold from 1967-1969. It's 55 PTO hp came from a 4 cylinder, 268 cu in engine with a bore and stroke of 4.25 x 4.75 inches. Compression ratio was 15.5 to 1, and governed speed was 1900 RPM. The transmission had 7 speeds forward, and two reverse. The odd shifting pattern was '1, 2, 3, 7' in low range, and '4, 5, 6, 7' in high range. An optional--and rare--'Ampli-Couple' two speed power shift brought the speed selections up to 14 forward, 4 reverse, and allowed a 33% reduction in speed, and a corresponding 37% increase in drawbar pull when the going got tough. Apparently this was not a very robust unit, because advertising of the period quoted it as being for "intermittent, emergency use", which certainly didn't appear to illustrate much company confidence in the design. As power shift devices were abandonned for the rest of the Fiat tractors, this unit must have been unreliable at best, and a total engineering failure at worst. The chassis design was exceedingly heavy and sturdy for a utility-type tractor, and well-suited to the adaptation of loaders, of which the Oliver 1410 loader was the intended, and perfect match. Many 1450's were sold new with optional power steering and 1410 loaders.

Here's the catch:

1450 engines have an extremely strong tendency to develop seriously leaky head gaskets, which leads to their much greater problem of having the head studs twist off within the block when changing the head gasket. Sometimes the broken-off stud may be successfully retrieved, but often the drilling out of the extra-hard studs causes the drill bit to drift... into and through the very thin water jacket; this has sent many, many 1450's on a one-way trip to the wrecking yard.

When buying a 1450, always, always check for a leaky head gasket. If the gasket has been leaking for a while, there'll be an obvious staining, and/or removal of paint down to bare metal, on the block underneath the leaky area, which can be anywhere, but especially the left rear corner, or right front corner of the block. Suspect even a tractor with all factory paint intact; if the owner won't allow you to run the engine until it warms up, walk away, because he's trying to cover up the fact that coolant pours out of the head gasket--1450's almost never develop minor head gasket leaks--once the engine warms up. A 1450 that starts well and runs nice is still no indication that it has a good engine under the hood; the only way to know is to run it until full operating temperature is reached. Auction sales are absolutely not the place to purchase a 1450, as it won't be run long enough to expose the problem. Repair parts for the 1450 are especially hard to find--I hardly have any--and tend to be very expensive if you do find them. Your best bet is to avoid these tractors altogether.


Oliver 500/David Brown 850 Gas or Diesel

I'd better include these tractors just in case...

Parts are very hard to come by, and expensive. Best advice? Wait for something else.

Approach with Caution

Fiat 411R
Fiat 415
Oliver 1250 Diesel
These engines have a strong appetite for head gaskets, and, as most rebuild parts haven't been available for a long time, expect that a 1250 Diesel is going to require rod and main bearings, but I keep them in stock, as all other parts needed to rebuild the engine. Be forewarned that the 411R/1250 Diesel still share the same troublesome 24 Volt electrical system as the 411RG/1250 Gas, so it's a problem, as well as the injector pump and injectors.


Oliver/Cockshutt 1250-A FWA
Oliver/Cockshutt 1255 FWA
Oliver/Cockshutt 1355 FWA

While the rest of these tractors are very solid, reliable units, the non-planetary, offset driveshaft front ends suffered greatly from early and repeated failure, and parts have been very hard to come by for them for a long time now. Treat any 1250-A FWA/1255 FWA/1355 FWA for sale with suspicion.

SPECIAL NOTE on 1250/1250-A Tractors:

Don't confuse the 1250-A with the 1250. If the owner/salesman tells you it's a 1250, before you walk away, first ascertain that it is for sure a 1250, and not a 1250-A. The quickest, easiest way to tell them apart if there is no ID visible is the 1250-A is a THREE CYLINDER tractor, and DIESEL ONLY; if the tractor is a four cylinder (gas or Diesel), it's a 1250. If it's a three cylinder, however, it's a 1250-A (or 1255/1265), and you've got yourself a winner!

Neutral:

Fiat 750
Oliver 1465
Cockshutt 1465
White 1470
Fiat 650

These were an updated 1450, and the engines were much improved, and much more reliable. The horsepower was raised to 70 at the PTO. These are pretty fair tractors, and most parts are available, and reasonably priced. The 650 is a three cylinder version of the other tractors.

Good:

Allis Chalmers 5040

These tractors were built in Romania, and not in Italy by Fiat, therefore have less precision and quality control built into them, but are still good little tractors. If you want to work your chosen tractor hard, you'd be better to wait for a 5045 or 5050, if you have your heart set on an AC. I can supply practically all parts necessary for the 5040 (no grilles!), so, the choice--naturally--is up to you. Most of my customers report being very happy with their 5040's.

Long 260 2WD
Long 310 2WD
Long 350 2WD
Long 360 2WD
Long 445 2WD
Long 460 2WD
Long 510 2WD
Long 550 2WD
Long 560 2WD
Long 610 2WD
Long 2260 2WD
Long 2310 2WD
Long 2360 2WD
Long 2460 2WD
Long 2510 2WD
Long 2610 2WD

Like the AC 5040, these tractors were built in Romania, and not in Italy by Fiat, so all the benefits and concerns of the 5040 apply to them. My opinion? If any Romanian Long showed up in my area at a good price, I'd be all over it. Of course, I may be a lil biased... ;-)

Long's often smoke and/or have blow-by. The original pistons rings just weren't up to snuff. A minor freshening up of a ring job (the new rings are dramatically better) and a cylinder glaze breaking will clean those emissions right up, and add instant value to the tractor.

The 3PTH systems can be finicky, and often are baffling to figure out what's wrong. Many, many times just taking out the 3PTH head valves and cleaning them puts a jumpy or balky rear lift back in shape.

Now, the 4WD or FWA Long's: if they have a 'side drive' front end; that is, a driven front axle with the driveshaft offset to the left of the tractor, you can darn near expect that the front crown & pinion set is stripped out. I can't supply these parts anymore, so consider any side drive Long a 2 wheel drive tractor... Just be forwarned. The rest of the tractor will be no problem for parts, other than sheet metal; I can't supply hoods or cowls for 'square body' or 'new style' (anything other than the 350 & 445) Long tractors. Other than that, no real concerns of any sort. If the tractor under the sheet metal seems servicable, and the price seems right, don't be afraid of it.

Very Good:

Oliver/Cockshutt 1265FWA
Oliver/Cockshutt 1365FWA
White 1270FWA
White 1370FWA
White 2-50FWA
White 2-60FWA
Allis Chalmers 5045FWA
Allis Chalmers 5050FWA
Minneapolis Moline G350FWA
Minneapolis Moline G450FWA

These are really good tractors, but some of the FWA parts are hard to come by. You want an excellent starting 4x4 loader tractor for feeding in the winter? There is none better than these outfits. They're as loyal as a dog and hard working as a draft horse.


Excellent:

Oliver/Cockshutt 1250-A 2WD
Oliver/Cockshutt 1255 2WD
Oliver/Cockshutt 1265 2WD
Oliver/Cockshutt 1355 2WD
Oliver/Cockshutt 1365 2WD
White 1270 2WD
White 1370 2WD
White 2-50 2WD
White 2-60 2WD
Allis Chalmers 5045 2WD
Allis Chalmers 5050 2WD
Minneapolis Moline G350 2WD
Minneapolis Moline G450 2WD
any Hesston utility model

These are solid, tough, exceedingly reliable little tractors, easy starting, nimble, and a general pleasure to own and operate, and I have practically all parts ever required on the shelf for them. These were some of THE best utility tractors ever built, bar none.

Has the information on this page helped you buy a good tractor, or saved you from making a catastrophic D'OH!!! blunder? You can make a PAYPAL donation of gratitude for the service by clicking on the 'Donate' button below, and THANK YOU! :-)