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Checking Out My First Tractor Today (Case 444)


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#1 cmn135 ONLINE  

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Posted May 05, 2014 - 12:22 PM

Hello Everyone,

 

i've never owned a tractor but have played around with a few Kubota's..and never a garden tractor.  I'm not new to tinkering with motors as I do my own maintenance on my cars. I found a Case 444 nearby in CT. The serial number is 9651989 (I think that makes it a 1970/71). It looks in pretty good shape and comes with the 48" snowcaster and mower deck. It runs but needs a new battery, he said he can jump it for me and show me how it all works. He's asking $1,200 and i've got him down to $1k and plan on going to see it today.

 

Based on the pics below and the fact that i'm a tractor noob (go easy on me) is there anything to look out for in my test drive and do you think it's a fair deal? Based on what i've read on this forum so far the price seems a little high but relatively speaking I can't find much in this price range anywhere near me. I'm excited to get into my first tractor and would like to restore it over time.  Thanks!

 

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Edited by cmn135, May 05, 2014 - 12:59 PM.

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#2 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted May 05, 2014 - 12:30 PM

cmn135, Welcome to GTtalk!! :wave:

 

Good looking Case you got yourself there. :thumbs:



#3 Oldford OFFLINE  

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Posted May 05, 2014 - 01:11 PM

Hi wheel has good clearance.  That one has a Kohler cheaper to rebuild better on gas than the bigger Onans.  Check the engine oil, smoke, noises.  Ask what he runs in the hydro tank, should be 15 wt. motor oil.  Make sure the drive is strong, put it in high range see if it takes off or bogs down.  Should be able to get the tires to spin, put it against a tree.  Looks like maybe has snap-fast front mount, can't tell, if so could use newer front implements easier to find.  Looks like no rear hitch or pto, can be expensive if you want to till.  Muffler pointing up looks sketchy unless stored inside. 

 

Good online support for old Case also dealer parts.  1k seems on the high side depends on location.  If it runs strong, charges, hydro strong, well kept might be worth it.  Old Case cost up front that old will need hydraulic work if you keep it for a few years will pay for itself if you need it.



#4 cmn135 ONLINE  

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Posted May 05, 2014 - 01:22 PM

Great info and pointers thank you. What else can you run off the back of these besides a tiller that I would want a PTO for? I wouldn't need a tiller and will more than likely need to rig up a hitch so I can tow a dump cart. Sorry for the noob questions I'm new to tractors.
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#5 Titus OFFLINE  

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Posted May 05, 2014 - 01:30 PM

I've seen that one before, in the north east? With the muffler facing up, check the engines oil for water just to be on the safe side before anything else.

 

I don't see any hydraulics on the rear. 1K seems on the high side.


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#6 cmn135 ONLINE  

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Posted May 05, 2014 - 02:10 PM

I've seen that one before, in the north east? With the muffler facing up, check the engines oil for water just to be on the safe side before anything else.

I don't see any hydraulics on the rear. 1K seems on the high side.


Yes it's located in CT. Thanks for the tip. I was planning on checking for milky oil after the muffler issue was pointed out. If anyone thinks of anything else please let me know. I'll check it out in about 3 hours.

For you guys that think $1k is high...what do you think is a reasonable price?
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#7 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted May 05, 2014 - 03:13 PM

Welcome to GTT. Keep it covered if you get it. We're getting too much rain these days.  Good Luck, Rick



#8 Oldford OFFLINE  

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Posted May 05, 2014 - 03:14 PM

Great info and pointers thank you. What else can you run off the back of these besides a tiller that I would want a PTO for? I wouldn't need a tiller and will more than likely need to rig up a hitch so I can tow a dump cart. Sorry for the noob questions I'm new to tractors.

 It will have a standard ball mount for towing yard trailers.  If you don't need a rear lift/pto the price should reflect that.

 

Everyone wants to buy low/sell hi but NE prices are higher than most, location means a lot.  This tractor would probably go for $1200 in Canada... for example.  NE not so high Midwest cheaper etc.  Hi wheel adds to the demand if you have rough terrain.

 

Quick rundown i'm no expert

Blower $250 if bearings good

Deck $150 if bearings good

That leaves $600 for tractor at $1k price.

 

That seems decent for CT IF the tractor checks out, no smoke, no noises, no major leaks, strong hydraulics.  Try to run an attachment to make sure everything works there.  If the attachment bearings are loose try to get him down another 100 or 2 can be a pain to replace if rusted up.  Try to knock $50 off for a new front tire.  $30 for a GT battery at Napa.  See if he has chains or weights for winter work, those are expensive too.

 

You're asking for some pretty quick advice on a possible impulse buy.  Ask yourself what you could get for it next week if the motor pukes, or the hydraulic motor, or the drive motor, those are the 3 big items.  Or would you be able to rebuild/replace, parts are available under $300 for each item but a lot of dirty work to fix.

 

Hear it run, drive it, see what the machine says to you.  The pics look decent for the year.  It is a 40 year old machine at top market price, do you trust the machine, do you trust the seller. 

 

Personally I wouldn't cut a lot of grass with an old GT that is a lot of hot, full throttle operation all summer long, hard on a 40-year old motor.  I have a newer, cheap riding mower for grass cutting and save my old GTs for the heavy grunt work.

 

You didn't say how big your lawn is.  Do you need a snowblower or will a plow work.  Hydraulic lift is nice if you're disabled but not always necessary if you're not i.e. other brands are cheaper.

 

Also a guy on here is always posting deals on CT craigslist, look around.

 

good luck



#9 cmn135 ONLINE  

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Posted May 05, 2014 - 03:23 PM

Thanks for the advice. Great info OldFord. I have probably close to an acre of grass. I currently run an old exmark 48" walk behind. My hope was to get into the tractor and sell the walk behind and only be out a hundred or so and gain a snow blower and wood cart horse but it sounds like these are a lot of work to mow with. I'm going cash in hand with a trailer but maybe I'll take a look and some pics and test drive it and think on it some more before making an impulse purchase. My driveway is gravel so I was hoping raising a blower would work better than what I currently do which is plowing with a jeep that tears up the gravel everywhere even if I float the blade 2-3" off the ground.

If there were anymore close up pictures that would help you guys assess the value better what would you want to see? Based on my general needs (mowing, wood hauler, snow blower/plow) would you guys recommend something different? Trying to stay under $1,500 for now.
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#10 HANKG ONLINE  

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Posted May 05, 2014 - 05:36 PM

Nice gt good luck with your purchase and tractor



#11 Cat385B ONLINE  

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Posted May 05, 2014 - 07:33 PM

For the chores you list, that Case would be excellent. I think the price is average, it would sell for that or higher here in Mn.
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#12 cmn135 ONLINE  

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Posted May 05, 2014 - 07:52 PM

Thanks guys. I ended up pulling the trigger. Got it for $940 so I had enough left over to get a new battery and drive pulley for the mower deck. It drove great, a tiny puff of smoke on startup and then smooth from there on out. Lots of low end power. He hooked it up to a trailer full of wood (probably close to 1,500 lbs) and pulled it no problem. I'll probably need to get chains and some wheel weights before winter though. Thanks for all the advice I'm sure I'll be back for more.


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#13 superaben OFFLINE  

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Posted May 05, 2014 - 08:24 PM

:thumbs:

 

Sounds like a good decision to me!

 

Ben W.



#14 A.C.T. OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2014 - 02:03 AM

Nice Case at a fair price. You found a real GT there!  I have a leaf collector on my 448 that runs off rear hydraulics.


Edited by A.C.T., May 06, 2014 - 02:05 AM.


#15 tom tractor OFFLINE  

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Posted May 06, 2014 - 06:20 AM

If that is the Colchester Case 444, I have looked at it before.  IF IT IS THE SAME ONE. He stored it inside. The muffler was originally pointed down.  He switched it.  The motor ran ruff.  I believe the carb.  is in need of tuning or rebuilding.  The tractor was painted.  The PTO was loose.  It needed to be adjusted. The mower deck worked ok (needed a possible bearing on main pully) .  The guy was going to sell it to me for 1k as well.  He seamed to be a very nice honest guy.  I tested the hydraulic drive and it seamed very strong.  The pump and everything checked out to be very strong.  Overall I thought the cost was fair and the tractor was in good shape.  It needed modest adjustments to work good. I ended up not purchasing because I got cold feet. Ended up purchasing one that was cheeper.  Although - not better.  Good luck!






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