Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Compact Tractor Servicing - part 2

Service guide
After the engine oil and filters are cleaned/changed, as part of a service, you should check the following items:
  1. Check and top up hydraulic oil. I use the Total agri oil NOT Hydraulic oil in my tractors. Its worth noting that some tractors have a spin on Hydraulic filter so change that as part of a service. Many have a strainer or gauze type filter buried deep in the back axle. My advice is only change or check the hydraulic filter if you have poor hydraulic response or a lack of lifting power.
  2. Check and top up antifreeze.
  3. Check fan belt.
  4. Grease all grease points - often on the steering or brakes.
  5. Check steering box for oil level and use gear oil if low.
  6. Check and adjust brakes.
There are many other things you can check over but if you complete all of the listed points at least once every 2 years or every 500 hours you should be able to keep your tractor running ‘spot on’ for many years to come.

Masterco Compact Tractors are experts in their field and are always happy to help so please talk to Sam at Masterco on 01278 686352 if you need advice or get in touch with us via our website if you want us to service your tractor for you. 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Compact Tractor Servicing - part 1

Often when speaking to customers Masterco get asked about servicing “Grey Import” Japanese compacts. It seems many people feel that you can’t get service parts for these tractors.  There are no problems with parts although it’s not always best to run off down to your local Kubota Dealer. I recently meet a chap who was charged £14.50 for an Oil filter by his local dealer! I buy them in for about £4.00.....
This is how we service a tractor............ Grey or Not!
 There are normally 3 filters to deal with here. Oil, Air and Diesel. Many different Japanese tractors use the same filter. Often Shibaura and Iseki use the same unit and some Yanmar filters will also fit Kubota.
Oil and Filter.
If we know the correct filter number it’s easy to swap. If not we remove the original filter and cross reference to MANN filters. If the numbers don’t work you can measure the filter and find a unit.   If you go to a motor parts factor with your original filter they will often find something compatible for you.
Once you filter is sorted you will need between 2 and 4 litres of engine oil. I use Total 15 w 40 Multiagri oil. However any equivalent should be fine. We always use a mineral oil.
Air filter.
Virtually all tractors have a cleanable air filter. You will often find the cleaning instruction on a label on the filter. Various methods can be used to clean the filter. Sometimes just a good tap on the front tyre is enough. Or use an air line to blow the dust out. It’s also possible to wash the filter in warm soapy water and allow to dry.
Diesel filters.
Most tractors have a clear bowl with a filter element inside. These elements come in different sizes and are quite cheap to buy. (Often on eBay for a few pounds they are easy to change and worth doing.) If very blocked, the engine may stall or lack power. As a “keep you going “measure filters can be washed in soapy water and reused, but it’s not the best thing to do long term. Some Kubota’s and Hinomoto use a screw on canister filter - these are available from Mann filters who in their parts book actually list Kubota Fuel Filter - so it is easy enough to get. The only thing to note is that you may get air in the system when changing a filter and therefore you will need to bleed or purge the air. I will deal with this in my next article.

In the meantime, feel free to contact Masterco Compact Tractors if you need any Compact Tractor help or advice.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Japanese Compact Tractors and Hydraulics

Do you want to use a hydraulic Tipping trailer for your compact tractor? Operate a log splitter? Use a post knocker? You may have the tractor but no hydraulic connections. Many of the Japanese compacts, particularly the imported tractors, do not have external hydraulics. However virtually all tractors have internal hydraulics.

So how do you get the oil that’s inside to come outside?

Depending on the compact tractor, it’s often very easy to do. It needs to be done correctly to prevent any damage to the pump and done in such a way as it actually works. Basically all compact tractors have a hydraulic pump that sucks oil from the back axle to the pump which is driven off of the engine. The oil, then under pressure, is returned to the back axle and rear hydraulic system.  As the operator chooses, the rear lift arms can be raised or lowered. If no movement is needed the oil is simply released into the back axle.
As a by the way: OIL.  Most compacts share the oil in the back axle reservoir (maybe 10 or more litres) with the rear diff and axle, gearbox and pto gearbox. You should not use hydraulic oil but a Multi or General Purpose agricultural oil.

So you want to tip a trailer: Well most compact tractors have a screw in plug or cover that, if removed and replaced with a feed pipe will, once the arms are fully raised, pump the oil along this pipe. If you attach the pipe to a tipping trailer then the ram will extend and the trailer will tip. Different makes of tractor have different locations for this plug and some require new parts to make the system work.  For example Kubota B7100 and the various derivatives are easy to do. Masterco stocks the feed pipe and return for these tractors. We can supply fitting details and it’s pretty straight forward. Yanmar are usually straight forward, however Hinomoto are a bit more tricky!

Please contact Sam at Masterco if you require further details or any advice on 01278 686352 or 07590 443499.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Turf and Agricultural Tyres for Compact Tractors; swopping over isn’t as simple as you might think

Despite having a yard full of compact tractors I never seem to have the correct tractor and tyre combinations. I regularly meet a customer who really likes a certain tractor: all the right features; the right power; ideal for their needs and perfect in every way - EXCEPT “We need turf tyres” or if it already has turf tyres “We need agricultural tyres.”
This seems so easy to amend. But unfortunately - NO. Let me explain......

UK spec and Japanese grey imports have a normal tyre size but some sizes such as 22” rears and 14” fronts are not readily available in the UK. Also there is something called rolling radius that comes into play and is vital in 4WD tractors.
The outside measurement all the way around the tyre needs to be the same as the original tyres on front and back if 4WD. Turf tyres rarely match up ! If the tractor is 2WD it’s a lot easier.

Masterco is, if nothing else, very resourceful. Faced with this problem on a regular basis we now have a number of switched on suppliers who offer us great trade prices. We often have used or part worn tyres in stock. If we need to be creative we have a well equipped workshop and we regularly cut out rim centres and weld in new centres to suit customer’s tractors.

Please remember turf tyres, particularly new, are very expensive. They don’t usually go on the same rims, so it’s often easier to simply remove the agri tyres and fit some less aggressive alternatives. If you need advice on turfs for compacts please ring us on 01278 686352.

Monday, 13 August 2012

You need a compact tractor for your horses

Equestrian sport is part of our heritage, but looking after horses and ponies can be really hard work – out in all weathers, every day of the year! Although you love it, there are times when a helping hand would be really appreciated … and that’s where Masterco Compact Tractors in Somerset comes in.

Masterco has a range of compact tractors and machinery. For work in the yard or the field we can supply a compact tractor and machinery to give that helping hand that you need; small tractors that are easy to handle and manoeuvre, toppers to keep the fields thistle and nettle free, chains harrows to break up the weeds and encourage good even grass growth, levelers for the ménage and our latest designed link boxes to carry and tip. We can supply a narrow version that can be reversed through the stable door for mucking out.

Whatever you need to make your life that little bit easier !

We are happy to give advice as to what might suit you on your land or in your yard. Sam has been an agricultural engineering  working with small tractors and machinery for many years. He will happily offer friendly, helpful advice if you are not sure what is available or what you need. You don’t need to know all the ‘agricultural jargon’ as he talks in ‘normal everyday’ language that we can all understand.
Give us a call and speak to Sam on 01278 686352 or 07590 443499 or email

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Buying a Compact Tractors made in Japan or China?

We all know the big names within the Compact Tractors market : John Deere,  Case International , Ford and Massey Ferguson.  They have all, in the past, made ranges of compact tractors. However, you may not have come across Shibaura or Hinomoto,  Mitsubishi or Yanmar.

So what’s the connection?
Yanmar built tractors for John Deere...........
Shibaura built tractors for Ford..............
Hinomoto built tractors for Massey Ferguson ........
Mitsubishi built tractors for Case.......

So there you are - all that meets the eye is not as it seems.
Japanese v Chinese

Japanese Compact tractors are well built and very reliable. Regardless of the name on the bonnet they are (in Masterco's opinion), far superior to any of the Chinese made tractors. In many ways the Chinese tractors are simply “small” tractors not true compacts.

Recently Masterco Compact Tractors sold a 1972 Yanmar to a chap in Cornwall.  Thats 40 years old!! It started and ran faultlessly, all the lights worked and it was in great order. I doubt you will find a running tractor made in China in 40 years time.
Chinese tractors are somewhat crude in design and construction. There are too many ancillary failures such as starter motors, alternators etc. They also do not hold their value too well.

If you are going to buy a compact tractor, you need to consider carefully - Chinese v Japanese and I know which we would suggest!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Using a Grey Fergie T20 For Grass Cutting

Masterco UK Ltd is a specialist in the Compact Tractor and Machinery market. With many customers in the Equestrian , small holder , large garden with paddock and commercial sectors we are often asked “Can you supply a mower for use with my Grey Fergie?”

Well the answer is Yes, but there are some important safety issues to consider along with the fact that T20 Grey Fergie tractors are usually well over 50 years old!

Which type of mower?
There are a number of different type of mowers around. The most common types are Topper mower, Finishing mower and Flail mower. All will work with the T20, however the type of mower is linked to the grass that’s being cut. Paddocks are usually dealt with using a Topper mower. Lawns, parkland and sports fields are suited to a Finishing mower. Verges, footpath clearance such as around fishing lakes or banks are more suited to a Flail mower.

Preparing the tractor
The variety of T20’s built means that there are a number of variants in use today. The simplest division is diesel power or petrol  (TVO). The diesel provides a bit more power and is usually the more suitable for mowing. Petrol is fine, but is less powerful and sometime not too happy if the engine is working hard.
I have used petrol /TVO tractors with 4ft toppers, 4ft and 5ft finishing mowers but never with a flail mower. The T20 was fine with the mowers and coped quite easily. We cut some quite long grass with very good results. I have used a 4 Cylinder Diesel with a 5ft Topper and it worked very well. The tractor was happy to drive the machine and was capable of lifting it on the rear hydraulics. I feel that a Flail mower is not really suitable for a T20 as these mowers require very high revs to work effectively plus a slow forward speed.
If you are going to run a T20 with a mower,  you need to ensure the tractor is running well.  Check the cooling is OK and that the engine, either Petrol or Diesel, is running well and is happy to rev and a maintain an even  RPM  when under load. The first issue to deal with is the PTO. A Grey Fergie as standard has a 1 1/8 inch shaft. All current equipment has a 1 3/8 inch shaft. This means that some form of an adapter is needed.

PTO adapter & Overrun Clutch.
There are 3 basic adapters available.
1 Sleeve type
2 Male and female adapter
3 Over run clutch with adapter
By far the best and safest is the Overrun clutch adapter. They cost usually less than £100 and are quite easy to fit. The reason they are the best is that the provide protection for the transmission  and allow the operator greater control particularly when using a Topper, as they prevent the tractor being driven forward by the inertia from the spinning blades. Masterco has a stock of overrun clutches for T20’s
Safe use of a topper.

This is where the age of the T20 comes into play and also the way the PTO and Hydraulics operate. The Hydraulic pump is in the back axle and only pumps when the PTO is engaged and spinning. This means very simply that you can only raise or lower the rear arms when the PTO and any connected drive shaft is rotating under power. It’s obviously not safe to raise a spinning blade and drive off down the road! If you raise the machine and disengage the PTO then the arms will lower down.
There are only two methods to deal with this. Either disconnect the PTO drive shaft with the engine stopped. Then restart, engage the PTO and use the Hydraulics as normal. The alternative is to raise the mower with PTO engaged then , using a chain or stay bar to take the weight, lower the mower and disengage the PTO. This means that the mower is supported for transport use and does not require the PTO to be engaged. Never touch the PTO with the engine running. Always stop the engine before touching the PTO.

With care your Grey Fergie will happily run a modern topper. The machines that Masterco supply are CE tested and come with an operators manual.

Masterco are always happy to offer any advice and supply the PTO overrun clutch. Call us on 01278 686352 or 07590 443499.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Back breaking manure mucking out - no more.

Masterco UK Ltd supply compact tractors and machinery for farm, paddock and field. Whether you have an equestrian yard, small holding, nursery, parkland, sports club or simply a large area of land to maintain, our compact tractors and machinery could make your life easier and take the strain out of all those ‘back breaking’ jobs!

To help the Equestrian World, we've come up with this......a MINI TRANSPORT LINK BOX.

This amazing compact link box is ideal for all those small jobs where it is better to have a compact machine. We have designed a strong and sturdy Transport Tipping Box to link on to your compact tractor, but we have thought carefully about how you need to use it in your yard and stable.

Most stable doors are just over a metre wide and so we have fixed the width of our box to 1m so that it fits through your stable door. Use your tractor to reverse the Transport Box through the doorway and ‘muck out’ without the hassle and strain of a wheel barrel to push and pull your muck around. Simply fill the transport box up, hop on your tractor seat and drive off to the manure pile! At the pile reverse up, open the back gate and tip the box to unload.

This is the perfect ‘stable aid’ to help you in your yard. It makes those back breaking jobs of mucking out that much easier and quicker. It’s a job you have to do every day so why not purchase something that will really help make your equestrian life easier.

Not only will the link box help with mucking out, but it can do a number of other lifting, carrying and moving jobs for you.
Carrying heavy feed bags or leaves of hay from feedstore to stable or field
Moving weeds, nettles, thistles or stones from the field
Fencing – load up with posts, clips, wire & nails to build or repair fencing
Setting up jumps, schooling ring or gymkhana games using your Transport Box to cart everything around.
Digging or scraping to clear the manure heap, hay or yard scrapings – your Transport Box can be used like a small digger to dig, lift and remove a heap.
And of course, amongst all the other jobs it can transport your faithful friends back home from the field after a hard days’ work … Our Jack Russells love a ride !

Masterco UK Ltd supply these newly designed Transport Link Boxes at an
amazing introductory price of only £300 (incl VAT)

See them on our website, email us or phone us to find out how you can get one of these brilliant Mini Link Boxes  01278 868352 or 07590 443499.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Compact Tractors

tractor yanmartractor kubotatractor isekitractor grey fergietractor & flail backviewTractor & Flail
tractor & boxtractor - hinomotoloader tractorcab tractor

Compact Tractors, a set on Flickr.

Some of Masterco's beautiful Compact Tractors we have for sale.

Via Flickr:
A selection of Masterco Compact Tractors.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Bath & West

Masterco Compact Tractors have just acquired an OLD GREY FERGIE T20 which will be on the Stand at the Bath & West Show 30th May - 2nd June.

Everyone welcome to come and see it, have a chat, meet us. 

Wide range of compact tractors and machinery also available.
Find us near the Model Railway and opposite the Safety Zone on Tenth Avenue.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Different Mowers for Different jobs : Topper

If you need a mower to run behind your compact tractor the options are quite confusing. We are often asked at Masterco Compact Tractors “What is the difference between a flail mower, topper or finishing mower”.
The answer is they all do a different job and if you tell us what you are planning to cut we can tell you what is right!
The Topper Mower
To start with. : The topper mower is the classic Farmers mower. They have been used for many years to do as the name suggests - take the “Top” grass off only. They are ideal for cutting pasture after grazing as they will remove quickly the ungrazed grass and weeds. Toppers can cut long grass, brambles, nettles, docks  etc. They are robust and can be used in the higher gear ranges on a tractor.  Good topping will control weeds by cutting off the growing tips of weeds and the seed heads.  Topping grass will also stimulate good re-growth and will ensure more fleshy leaves and increased grazing.

Topper mowers usually have a single large rotary blade. Some use a chain but they are not as common now. Blades are replaceable but usually give many years use. Cut height is controlled by skids which can be raised or lowered as needed. Some Toppers are fitted with wheels. Its worth noting that the single rear-wheel type are not great to use as the cut height varies on uneven ground. The only real advantage of these toppers is that if you need to turn tightly on wet ground the wheel avoids marking the ground, but for most paddocks this is not a problem.

Toppers are supplied with a PTO shaft with shear bolt protection. They require a 540 PTO drive and most 4 or 5ft machines are category 1 linkage.

In short : Toppers are robust, can be used in higher gears and do not require high Horsepower to run them.

The next article will focus on the Flail mower, but feel free to contact Masterco Compact Tractors if you need any help or advice

Friday, 4 May 2012

Masterco have moved

Having outgrown our small workshop facilities in Chilton Polden, Masterco now have a large workshop and storage area about 3 miles from our previous site.

The new workshop allows us to alter, assemble and produce many different implements and machines that add to our growing range to go with your compact tractor. We also now have workshop space for servicing tractors and we are able to undertake any repairs or maintenance that is needed.
Sam and his team work at the new premises during working hours and our new telephone line 01278 686352 goes straight into the workshop and you can get in touch with Sam for advice and help or to enquire about stocks of tractors and machines.

Our new address is Unit A, Coombe Lane Business Units, Woolavington, Bridgwater TA7 8BF.
Our office phone number is still in use 01278 723171.