I am considering buying a Craigslist offered TO-35 with a Standard diesel. The engine is problematic and needs service. While reading the various internet posts I see many negative comments about the Standard diesel, and some enthusiastic owners. Could you give some idea what to look for when evaluating the engine/tractor?
If you’re looking for a working tractor there is no question those models with the Perkins engine are superior. If you’re looking for a collectable tractor, the TO-35 Standard Diesel is much rarer and much more collectable. The biggest complaint about the Standard Motors diesel is that it is a hard starter and parts are a little hard to come by. Later versions have glo-plugs, which are a big improvement and can be retrofitted to the older engines. The engine still starts hard. When the tractor is fixed up it will no doubt be one that people will want to look at because they are not that common. As for parts to repair the engine, you may have to get them from either Canada or the UK where they are much easier to find. It’s entirely possible these parts are becoming more readily available here in the US as a result of European suppliers making an effort to get them to the North American market and, aftermarket parts companies becoming more international. Companies including AGCO/MF have made significant efforts to meet demand for parts for older tractors and equipment overseas as there was a greater demand. As with any diesel tractor, fuel leaks are a problem and every effort should be made to stop them before any paint is placed on the engine area. I’ve seen some beautiful paint jobs ruined by diesel fuel. I’ve heard that a lot of these tractors have relatively few hours on them so you may be able to find one that is not in need of an overhaul though the injectors should be tested and rebuilt as needed and the pump checked out. The electricals can be a challenge as most of the TO-35 diesels had English gauges and components. These are available but may have to come from the UK. Sparex does have a number of the repair parts for the engine and electricals. Many farmers did away with the second battery box on the left rear axle but having the original two battery system will give you more cranking power and you need it for the Standard engine.