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How to check a 885 on first ever contact with a DB-tractor?

Posted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 6:19 pm
by gmg_25

Been a tractor enthusiast for years, tomorrow I will the first time ever get close to a DB, an 885/71 from 1979 as the seller states.

Besides the question if it does make any sense to get close to a DB in metric-land where so many other good brands are available. I'm particulary interested in a sort of special-DB-check-list to go thru the tractor to deside whether to buy it or not.

I was reading the whole day in the 885-threads of this forum and have to say that hydraulics-topics are sticking out by far so a sequence of going thru these functions would be very handy - especially because the seller has no clue, it was his fathers gear.

Via the search I couldn't find a "buyers guide" but saw the video-adverb from that time about the basic function of the Selectamatic - thats all.

Any advise is very welcome. thanks in advance

RE: How to check a 885 on first ever contact with a DB-tract

Posted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:08 am
by erkki
885 is a good small tractor. The engine is bulletproof 2,7 three. Mechanical parts are simple and durable. Topics about hydraulics raise mostly because of neglected oil changes. When dirty oil has caused trouble, many unqualified fitters "repair" it with poor result. After the poor result the next owner starts reparation again without a clue how the system should work and then we can see long threads of discussion. Normal checks will suffice. If the engine starts well and runs well, its ok. When cold, it may be some smoky but a warm engine runs clean. Try clutch,also PTO clutch and gears. Some whine in the gearbox is absolutely normal. If you can try the rear lift, a good hydraulics will pull the front end of the tractor off ground with a heavy implement. With a lighter implement the arms stay up steadily without much hickupping. Brakes are mechanical and simple. If one of them has poor grip, it may be due to oily drum. That is not complicated or expensive to repair. Small oil leaks "dirty" corners are often seen, so its no sign of poor maintenance.

Good luck


RE: How to check a 885 on first ever contact with a DB-tract

Posted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 6:13 pm
by gmg_25
Thank you very much for your reply, Erkki.

So I read that for the engine and such ordinary tractor-sense will do the trick at the check, good to know.

Not quite as relaxed with the hydraulics: the seller has no knowledge at all, I've never seen a DB from near distance, the most knowledgable professional tractor-man around as well.

I agree with the sequence of ruining a DB-hydraulic as you described it and that a well maintained system can work for a long time ...
but ...
I still don't know how this specific system is to be tested to a sufficent extend.

- it has to lift with as much weight as possible at hand
- it has to go up without hickup and/or strange noises
- it has to lower in a reasonable time with the control-lever (right term?) in the foremost position
- in the extrem aft position of the lever the selector-knob must be switchable
... but what next, how to simulate the unique functions of that system?

What is the shift-pattern of the gearbox?

BTW: seller and I couldn't synchronise for a meeting today, so some more days to learn and prepare.

Any additional advice is welcome.


RE: How to check a 885 on first ever contact with a DB-tract

Posted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:07 am
by erkki
The main control lever must be pushed far back before turning the selector. Turn right and you get simple basic funcions. Pushing the control lever far back, the arms will lift. Release the sprinh pressure and the arms will hold, push the lever front to the half way of quadrant, and the arms shall lower. That is handy when using a tipping trailer or a front end loeder. If you push the lever front, the arms will raise with low pressure. The more you push it front, the higher the pressure. If you turn the selector left, the top link bracket sensor activates. When plowing, the plow dives the deeper the more you push the control lever front. The selector in the middle position the hydraulics has position control mode on, so you can control the height of the arms by moving the control lever. The simple test is made by connecting an implement to the rear arms. Empty arms lower slowly when oil is cold. It is normal. The arms may hickup if the ram seal is worn or dump valve has small leak but if the arms correct their position just a few times per minute, it is no serious symptom. Even if the rear arms refuse to lift is not necessary a tricky or serious issue unless somebody has made false adjustments to the valve chest and control mechanism.

Good luck


Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:46 pm
by gmg_25
Your explanations where invaluable, Erkki, many thanks!

But you've been the only one who brought himself to answer this request under >250 readers.

Maybe I should under this circumstances step away from a David Brown tractor, cause the willingness to help - especially in the mother country of this gear - seems to be not that distinctiv.

And the future for parts-transfers seems to be not that bright now that the UK moved out of the community.

Many factors against David Brown and pro Deutz, Fendt, Claas, Eicher, Güldner, Hanomag, IFA, MAN, Schlüter, Warchalowski and the likes ...

Thanks for your help anyways, Erkki!



Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:44 pm
by erkki
I have purchased quite a lot spares to DB:s from England. They are amazing well available even for the old units, say Cropmaster etc. In that sense DB is quite safe purchase at moment.

Maybe the topic of this thread is not very interesting. Purchase of an 45 years old tractor is mainly similar process independent of make.

W.B.R erkki

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:09 pm
by gmg_25
Erkki, I never doubted that there are plenty of David Brown parts of all sorts are available in the UK. What I was saying in that respect was, that before long it will be much more costly and complicated to get them over to the continent, now that UK left the EU.

And about the thrill in my question: I'm so so sorry, but I can't guarantee for all future that my requests will always be interesting. Perhaps they sometimes will bore the readers their pants off. But when I ask a question I'm in need of a response, often quick, no matter how boring the subject is - I'll need an answer.

To overcome any difficulties in the transfer of parts is a comparatively modest task.
To overcome scornful ignorance is a different matter.

I'm coming to the conclusion that - no matter how technical interesting David Brown tractors indeed are - I'm much better served with a continental product, the people in the forums - exept you of course, Erkki - are much more willing to help.

Best regards



Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:11 pm
by case-ih1594
I was just about to say what erkki has just said - we are talking about a 40 year old tractor that most spare parts are no longer available for.

Interest in the DB tractors in the UK is probably still high but I think people are reluctant to offer advice for the fear of being proved wrong, and the DBTC forum is probably not as active as it once was.

I think erkki has made a good job of answering 'difficult' questions - some of which may be addressed by looking at an original sales brochure, or actually driving the tractor. It is worth remembering that, as already said, the tractors are well past their expected service life and will all have issues, including tractors made by other companies.

DB spares will actually become lower cost if being exported as the £ has fallen in value.

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:18 pm
by case-ih1594
We have posted at the same time here, but on the issue of spares, DB exported all over the world, well before the UK joined the EEC/EC/EU.

A simple customs form will not be difficult to complete, and the parts being over a certain age are generally except from most customs charges. The UK does have some experience of exporting and trade.

On a further note, many of the people on this forum, myself included, were not even born when the 885 was in production. The tractors are of a considerable age and there simply is NOT an abundance of people experienced in DB tractors on hand.

Most people on this forum are probably owners/users of DB tractors, and not mechanics. I think we are all grateful for accurate knowledge as it is becoming scarce, even in the UK.

To be totally honest finding a mechanic competent to answer all the questions you have asked about the 885 in the UK would be challenging, people have asked for this on the forum with probably no success. I have rarely seen any specific question or problem ignored on the forum with many topics going on for weeks until they get all issues addressed.

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:39 pm
by gmg_25
Thank you case-ih1594, but - maybe because of a language-problem on my side - thats beside the point: I introduced myself as someone who is familiar with old heavy stinky technic that I love, thats the reason for my interest in DB tractors.

Normal procedure with a new topic to oneself is to ask someone knowledgeable about the dissenting aspects of that gear in question. So I did.
I didn't ask for an explanation of a tractor as such.

And if a certain part will cost 0.15% more or less is not my concern at all, I'm interested in just getting a part I'm in need of.

btw: I was not asking for pure guess, just educated guess. Are you saying that the people in this forum are that scared of saying something not exactly acurate that they prefer to say nothing? I didn't know that the level of knowledge is estimated that low.

Sorry, it's all my fault.

Best regards



Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:56 pm
by case-ih1594
Hi, if you check the forum there is not many contributors. Your language is fine, it is just the questions that are difficult to answer. There is no buyers guide as the DB tractors such as the 885 will have whines, noises, oil leaks and the engines will be worn - its just the nature of them.

I have noticed over the past few weeks that there is often conversations about DB tractors being asked, and answered from people not based in the UK, which is great, but I stand by my opinion that there is simply not as many experienced people available as we would like.

Also as I say any specific question will get answered on the forum. I think the advice from errki is spot on and I do not think anyone could add much more to it.

At the risk of labouring the point, I think it goes without saying that people on here would encourage the purchase of a DB, but it honestly is difficult to give advice on buying a tractors without seeing or driving it.

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:05 pm
by ollek
Carsten I think that your attitude is somewhat degrading as you expect people on this forum should supply you with all the answers you think you have the right to get, and do it over night. Saying "To overcome scornful ignorance is a different matter" will not help you at all. Answers to most of your questions can be found in a leaflet and/or in a Operators Manual. The best way to find out if the tractor has any critical faults, is to visit it together with somebody that have used DB Selectamatic tractors.

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:57 pm
by gmg_25
Ollek, the articles wrtitten by you and Erkki where the reason for me to join this forum, because I was under the impression, that very skillful members will be at hand to answer dodgy questions.

I didn't know that I just found the cream of the forum and errounously extrapolated your contributions on the whole of the forum.

Yes, your quotation of that phrase of me showed bad behavior - my bad, sorry ... but
1. case-ih1594 just proved what I said with the view he expressed about the average knowledge of the forum users (hope he is wrong)
2. I was on the way out, discribing my disappointment with the short experience here

If I think that I have a right to get the answers I need? No, certainly not ... but ... err, what is the purpose of a forum about tractors no longer been made if not to share knowledge and parts?

My inexcusable fault was to expect here what I'm used to with all the forums for all my gear such as Unimog, Multicar, Mercedes Fintail, Moto Guzzi, Holder, Husqvarna and the lot: answers are to be expected within minutes. Not to mention the hamradio-forums where response often comes within seconds.

I was in need of an pre-buy-advice, I was in a hurry, so I posted my question prior following the forum over a certain period of time - that led to my inadequate expetations.

It's entirely my fault, I'm so sorry.

Good bye



Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:21 pm
by case-ih1594
Hi, I certainly wasn't suggesting the average DBTC forum user has little knowledge, just that there are probably far fewer experienced DB mechanics willing to post advice on here as people may think. The DB tractor was only really made in small numbers, with the newest tractor being 28 years old and based on a design from 40 years ago. The fact is DB tractors are, and have always been a bit of a rare machine, built in fairly small numbers, and although popular there is not a huge following. A buyers guide is a 'grey' area compared to a more straightforward mechanical problem. Explaining the pros and cons of what to look for in a DB could be discussed for hours by two people sat together at a table, and they may both be wrong. There is no need to apologise.

Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 4:58 am
by tomryall
Hi I live in Canada and have got parts from England several times and from different suppliers and for different makes of tractor DB included,I never had any problems,shortest delivery was 3 days.yes 3 days longest was 2 weeks, usually about 11 days.and I will be ordering more for a 1964 990 shortly