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From the Forums
Preventing Tractor Theft

Introduction: This interesting subject came up on the Tractor Talk discussion forum here at Yesterday's Tractors. We thought we should place it up front so it could be read by anyone concerned with their tractor being stolen. [Editor]


The discussion started with the following message:

I have a JD A without key start or any locking device. Is there a best way to secure it so the chances of it being stolen are reduced?


Following are some of the answers that were received:

Take the rotor out of the distributor and hide after each use. The would-be thieves at least couldn't just get on and drive away.


One of the problems is something that will work without modifying or damaging the original appearance of a collector tractor. Chain threaded thru the rear wheels and locked back on itself works but it has to be heavy enough to resist common bolt cutters. I would suggest fabricating a locking device for your specific tractor that would hold trans engaged/brakes locked/steering turned fully to one side or combination such as for John Deere B, perhaps a capped pipe to go over hand clutch with a chain back and down around axle up to gearshift??? The common thief as said before is not willing to work too hard and visible deterrants may move him on to easier game. Locally problems seem to be more the theft of hard to find parts, ie:carbs/magnetos etc. These should be marked someway as to be traceable. With a "unique" number/letter id, law enforcement can locate and identify and enter into a national stolen property database. Be friends with your neighbors - look out for each other! "Busybody" programs like Crime Watch and Crimestopper DO work and provide signage/decals for your property, "Crime Watch, If I don't call the Sheriff,my neighbors Will", etc. Sorry for the rant, but having been a victim and having worked in law enforcement for many years, I felt my 2 cents worth might help someone...
There are removable steering wheels made for anti-theft purposes for automobiles. I'm guessing that with a little machine work one could be adapted to most tractors. And no, a thief would not be able to just substitute another steering wheel, you have to have both the locking mechanism on the column and the matched wheel to get them to engage. Might just be a business opportunity for some enterprising person!
Where there is a will there will be a way to steal it. I'll suggest a strong log chain through one rear tire then ahead around the tranny\clutch and through the other rear tire with a strong lock. keep the rear tires from turning. They would be forced to lift it? Always take it back home? I had to often leave machines sit near roads while working in Montanna but they are fairly honest people out there.
In addition to chaining it to something not easily moved, or tying up the wheels with chain that has to be removed to get the tractor loaded, try investing in a simple, cheap, and LOUD alarm. It's not hard to rig an alarm so it goes off with a deafening screech when the tractor is moved. Better yet, put the alarm up on top of the barn or shed where it's hard to reach so it can't be easily silenced, and where it can be heard for miles. I suppose one could invest in the kind of alarm that's often put on the some vehicles that warns you to "Step Back! You are Too Close!"
You can always take off one of the front wheels and leave the tractor on blocks.
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