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Ford Tractors Discussion Forum
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Ford 961 Diesel

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Colin King

05-29-2013 12:54:23




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Hello all;

I'm a regular over on the N board, but first time posting over here, and the non-N Fords are new territory for me.

I have an opportunity to purchase a 961 Diesel row crop for $1900. I've been looking for a diesel tractor for the farm for a while, and this seems like a good place to start.

The engine sounds good, but starts hard when cold. What would cause the hard starting? Engine does not smoke and has about 45lbs oil pressure.

Any other areas I should be looking at on this one?

Tin needs paint but is straight. Tires are average-to-poor. No major oil leaks noticeable. Hydraulics work and the transmission doesn't make any noise.

Thanks,
Colin, MN

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Hal/ Eastern WA

05-30-2013 10:36:28




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to Colin King, 05-29-2013 12:54:23  
How cold is cold? If cold is 40 degrees, it probably would need to have the glow plugs working or have the engine heater plugged in for an hour for it to start right up. On the other hand if cold is 60 degrees, and it doesn"t start up after half a dozen turns of the crankshaft, you might have problems. And hopefully ether has not been used, at least very often.

I do not have experience with the row crop tractors, but really like my 641Diesel. It uses about half as much fuel as a similar gas tractor to do a given job. Even though it has way more than 10k hours on it, it still starts and works well.

As far as parts availability goes, most everything is offered by someone. There is a problem with rebuild kits for the 144 inch diesel--I have not been able to find any, anywhere on the internet. But kits for the 172 diesel are almost everywhere. And possibly there could be problems with getting specific parts to the row crop modifications. But in general, the hundred series tractors are fairly simple, and easy to keep running.

If in fact the tractor is a 961, it should have live PTO, which is a real advantage for certain jobs, like running a baler. The possible downside of having the live PTO is that it uses a double disc, 2 stage clutch, which is expensive to replace if that is necessary. The live PTO 5 speed transmission is possibly not as strong as the regular 5 speed, since the PTO power runs through a hollow transmission input and mainshaft.

Unless the overall tractor is really beat and the tires are poor, I think $1900 sounds like a pretty good price. Where is it? If you don"t decide to get it, maybe someone else would be interested. Good luck!

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Colin King

05-30-2013 18:00:07




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to Hal/ Eastern WA, 05-30-2013 10:36:28  
Great info, Hal. Thank you.

I'm going to go look at it again early in the morning with cash in my pocket.

Colin, MN



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Ultradog MN

05-31-2013 04:56:10




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to Colin King, 05-30-2013 18:00:07  
Good luck Colin. With your tractor/wrenching skills you should have no problem making the transition to a Hundred. It's certainly a lot cheaper than a 4 or 5000 and would do a lot of work till someday...
Hard to believe you couldn't easily get your money back if you decide to sell it again. As long as you don't 'restore' it.
Bring your camera! We like pictures.



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Colin King

05-31-2013 05:06:50




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to Ultradog MN, 05-31-2013 04:56:10  
Thanks, Jerry! I'll definitely take photos. And I totally agree...it's a step in a good direction, though will not likely replace the need for a thousand series sometime later on down the road.

Colin



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Larry Wallace

05-30-2013 09:09:41




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to Colin King, 05-29-2013 12:54:23  
Buy it if you can. I enjoy mine. I"ve had her since 2009 and have put 327 hours on her since March 2010. She had a previously rough life and was in need of a lot of work. However, I"ve yet to touch the injector pump or engine.

I think you"ll like it.

I am just the opposite of you. I recently bought an 8N. I am enjoying it too.

Larry Wallace



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Colin King

05-30-2013 18:01:18




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to Larry Wallace, 05-30-2013 09:09:41  
Thanks Larry! Glad to hear you're enjoying the N. Mine certainly earns her keep.

Colin



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Fordfarmer

05-30-2013 07:47:27




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to Colin King, 05-29-2013 12:54:23  
Seems like a good price, considering the last 960 I saw at auction brought $1525...not running and missing all four tires, rims, and centers. Unlike Ultra, I prefer pre-'65 models with gas engines... because that engine was designed as a gasser and modified to a diesel. But plenty of people have them and like them. They ARE much less thirsty than the gassers. I think you'll find reverse to be a bit fast for a snowblower. But I found that the 971 I had could plow a lot of snow with a back blade. More weight and h.p. than the Jube I'd been using... use a high gear and open the throttle. :)

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Colin King

05-30-2013 18:10:54




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to Fordfarmer, 05-30-2013 07:47:27  
I also narrowly missed an opportunity to purchase a local 961 gas a few months ago for $1600. It needed an engine rebuild. Had this been gas, I would have had a lot less hesitation. My lack of diesel mechanical knowledge caused me to hesitate and consult with the board.

Hopefully I'll come home with a tractor tomorrow.

Colin



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soundguy

05-30-2013 09:34:50




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to Fordfarmer, 05-30-2013 07:47:27  
i agree.. pre65.. i like a gasser. post 65.. i like a diesel...



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soundguy

05-29-2013 18:05:26




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to Colin King, 05-29-2013 12:54:23  
1900$?

jump on it!


i you'se were in fl.. i'd arm wrestle ya for it and get a speeding ticket going to pick it up if i won. :)



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Colin King

05-29-2013 18:12:36




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to soundguy, 05-29-2013 18:05:26  
Chris, I'm glad I don't have to race ya to it :-)

Thanks for the positive encouragement!

Colin



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Ultradog MN

05-29-2013 13:49:02




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to Colin King, 05-29-2013 12:54:23  
Glad to see you moving up Colin.
You will really appreciate the upgrades on that tractor.
As you know diesels do start hard - compared to a well tuned gasser. My buddy Ken has a couple of those 172 diesels and it is not uncommon for them to take 15 to 20 seconds on the starter - or even more - before they grumble to a start when cold. Biggest thing to wonder about is did the PO give it a steady diet of ether to get it started. Too much ether will cause broken rings, ring lands and sometimes worse problems like bent connecting rods, etc.
961 is pretty much bullet proof. One thing to check on those 5 speeds is drive one down a hill and decelerate to check if 3rd gear pops out. 3rd and reverse get used probably more than all the others so detents and shifter forks get worn.
Is yours a NF or WF? Those 9XX machines are a little ungainly for my purposes - I'd rather have a 3 cyl 4000 if I were to drive a tractor that size. But the NF is pretty nimble after all and could work in as confined a space as an N would.
$1900 sounds like a very good price even if the rubber aint so hot. I'd rather have a diesel in that series than a gasser - sooo much better fuel mileage.
Don't tell Soundguy where it is till you've made the deal. He's out to gather ALL the 9XXs. wink

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Colin King

05-29-2013 18:23:27




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to Ultradog MN, 05-29-2013 13:49:02  
Hey Jerry,

Thanks for the tips. The seller stopped by again this evening to talk to me some more. I'll check out that 3rd gear. The shift pattern sure takes a little getting used to!

Yea, this is a narrow front. Unless a deal showed up, I was planning on skipping the hundred series entirely and going to a 4000 or 5000 diesel. I've even ogled your 4000 and there was a very sharp 5000 for sale here this spring. I have to decide if I should make this purchase, or make do with the N for a few more years when I can afford/justify a thousand series.

That 961 gets me 75% of the HP of a 5000 at 25% of the cost (assuming she runs as good as I think she does).

I'll keep ya posted. Hope you're spring has been a pleasant one.

Colin, MN

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Texas!

05-29-2013 13:43:11




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to Colin King, 05-29-2013 12:54:23  
The Ford diesels had 2 manifold heaters (they look like spark plugs from the outside) installed in the intake manifold to heat the air before attempting to start in cold weather. I know you're in MN or WI but I don't know the temperature there right now. Typically when a diesel gets hard to start the owner will start using ether as a starting assist and then the engine gets "addicted" to the ether. I have owned a 861D for over 10 years now. The manifold heaters are not functioning and in the winter I have to use ether to start it. It smokes all of the time it's running. But it has been serving me well for over 10 years now in that condition.
Does the double clutch work properly (PTO and Drive clutches)? A rebuilt clutch assembly for the X6X tractors costs around $400.

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Colin King

05-29-2013 18:27:08




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to Texas!, 05-29-2013 13:43:11  
Texas, Have you had any need for engine work? Any sense on parts availability?

This tractor would mainly see use in weather that was 50 degrees and higher. Occasional winter use if I were to find a snowblower.

Thanks for your help!
Colin



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Texas!

05-29-2013 20:04:24




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to Colin King, 05-29-2013 18:27:08  
Parts are no problem at all.
My 861D jumped out of 3rd gear going uphill, downhill, straight & level- it didn't matter. As soon as I let the clutch out in 3rd it would jump to Neutral. It required a complete trans disassembly to fix it. The worn out part cost me $50. I put in new bearings and seals while I was in it and total parts cost was about $500. So make sure the one you're looking at doesn't jump out of 3rd.

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Colin King

05-30-2013 05:09:03




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 Re: Ford 961 Diesel in reply to Texas!, 05-29-2013 20:04:24  
Good to know! Thank you, sir!

Colin



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