Where Does David Brown Rank?

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Where Does David Brown Rank?

Post by PoppyShan885 » Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:00 am

I was curious to know how David Brown tractors rank in the hierarchy of the U.K./European tractor scene? How are they viewed compared to thier counterparts from other makers? Feel free to throw in other markets as well, Lofty, cobadog, 1952cropmaster.

On another forum today from over here in the States, someone asked why JI Case tractors weren't more respected. A reply was that @ least they're more respected than David Brown. US tractor folks seem to have tiers for their tractor rankings, and of course, within those tiers there's still more quarreling over which tractor brand is the best. In the upper tier we have John Deere, International, Massey Ferguson and possibly Ford (because there are so dang many of them) . The second "class" would include Case, Oliver, Allis Chalmers and Massey-Harris. Minneapolis-Moline, Cockshutt and Ferguson are the other makes you mostly hear about. Very seldom is David Brown mentioned. Sure, there's a small following that trumpets the merits of the DB, but, all-in-all, the tractors just doesn't get the credit and respect they deserve.

I've only included what I'd call, vintage/classic, tractor brands. DB would fall behind many of the contemporary/modern tractor marks in the conscience of US tractor owners as well.

Sorry for the long post. Thanks for reading!

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Re: Where Does David Brown Rank?

Post by tomryall » Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:23 pm

A sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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Re: Where Does David Brown Rank?

Post by cobbadog » Thu Nov 22, 2018 4:40 am

Think of it as 'brain washing' by people who don't know what they are talking about. If they have never owned and operated one how can they compare? It is also like in your case Ford V GM which is the best and it usually will come down to the fact that my Dad drove this one and that must be the best.

Our Club President is one such animal who does not like David Brown tractors and in his words they have very noisey gearboxes. While doing a Grand Parade this is thrown at me each year and because the microphone is close by I reply that how many have you seen broken, NONE! He then retreats into his normal brain dead mode.

All brands have their good and not so good sides and some have bad sides but until you have been out on one and worked it as it should for a long time you really cannot comment unless you repairs these treasures and find a similar issue popping up on certain makes and models on regular basis. If this happened too often then no doubt on this and other Forums I read there would be a big noise about the issue. Not having read any lately or ever I guess that they all do the job they were intended to do and they all will break due to operator error.

My $0.02 worth!

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Re: Where Does David Brown Rank?

Post by skyrydr2 » Thu Nov 22, 2018 10:26 am

They were very good tractors, but fell to their demise during tough times, it is and was a great disappointment to those using them for sure.
I really loved my 950 and now my "Big Red" 1594. They were both "bullet proof get the job done easily every time" machines! Can't say that about any of the JDs we had....something always broke....I hated them then. And still do today..
Our Fords did well too! Only had issues with an occasional 3 point hitch hiccup. And that only happened on the 8 and 9ns . All the newer ones were bulletproof. Oh and don't have live ptos, that was fun when mowing... not! The 950 DB came along around 1972 to the farm and was instantly my favorite tractor! No one else liked it but me and deemed it mine. I loved and worked that machine for many years! I left the farm and my old DB was left out by my younger siblings and destroyed by the elements... I never for gave them for this....

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Re: Where Does David Brown Rank?

Post by Scooby » Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:34 am

What we must never forget is that there are lemons in every colour on every type of vehicle. But sticking to tractors, remember Selectospeed ? That wasn't called jerkomatic for nothing. And certainly in the manual box Ford 6X 5000 two gears had the same ratio ! And then there was MF Multipower. Change to High for engine braking ???? Even the lads in the field test dept. said that was stupid and could have easily been re-designed.

But back to DB. What about the 3 lever 12 speed boxes ? You were told, in the book and on the decal, not to use certain gears for heavy draft work.If you did you soon had to have a new box. I had 3 done but all under warranty which, incidentally, DB were very good with. And DB were/are a gearbox company ! And the cranks that cracked in early 1212s. I had one of those as well.

BUT. In their day, there was nothing that even came close to Selectamatic hydraulics. So sensitive they were brilliant. The problems arose when people just didn't look after their kit properly. No cover on the auxilliary hydraulic couplings, no gaiters on the gear levers, not changing oil and filters when you should. You just had to keep that oil clean,because the valve chest was built to very fine tolerances. That's why if anyone wanted to borrow a trailer of mine when I was combining for them they had a tractor as well. I didn't want some old scraper tractor put on my trailers and contaminating the oil when they tipped the loads.

Three is twee, four does snore, but 6 just clicks........Scooby

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Re: Where Does David Brown Rank?

Post by jazo » Thu Nov 22, 2018 5:51 pm

Not to mention the ford porous blocks that seemed to go on for years! Although I would drive/own a Ford over a mf anyday, I think they were overrated
1394 4wd
1294 4wd

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Re: Where Does David Brown Rank?

Post by GeoffDEAL » Thu Nov 22, 2018 8:38 pm

From the begining DB aimed to be ahead of its competition and was at the time and continued to be inovative and at the leading edge of tractor technology throughout their history, overall probably less faults than other makes, good solid tractors often hitting way above their size and many still working every day after three or four decades.

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Re: Where Does David Brown Rank?

Post by broadsword » Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:10 pm

Interesting and as mentioned I often think it come down to `family` brand loyalty and also preference. An MF man will always swear by MF, Ford to Ford, DB to DB. My uncle, a huge Ford fan did a swop in the 1960`s for his Fordson Major for a newer white 990. He hated the 990, nosiy engine (exhaust rasp), nosiy gearbox (just the way they were designed)....loved the fuel consumption though. It didn`t take long before he went back to get a Super Major- to be fair he spent 12 hours a day on one contracting and love or loath them apart from the block issues the old majors whilst being a bit numb were probably one of the most simple, over engineered, unbreakable tractors ever designed. I still prefer a 990 though and my uncle keeps telling me how good his old major was and how bad the 990 is !!

Scooby makes a very good point though. I`m a Citroen fan at heart, particulary the older classic stuff.... remember them, odd up and down suspension, stunning design or even the simplicity and also robustness of a 2CV. Thing is they were reliable, ahead of their time and also over engineered.......if you knew them and also serviced and looked after them, if you didn`t the over engineering didn`t like it and they would then bite back. Browns were to a certain extent the same, mis-use, abuse or fail to service and look after and they did not like it. Unfortunately with tractors, like cars, often many think servicing and fluid changes an daft cost..

I will await the normal Citroen jokes to come back.. :D

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Re: Where Does David Brown Rank?

Post by Scooby » Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:20 am

Mr. Broadsword makes some very good points there but just to clarify. The initial Fordson tractors, Standard, E27N, E1A and Power Majors, were a jump a lump of metal. No diff lock, no draft/height control on the hydraulics, drum brakes, indirect injection, most had no livedrive. But they were better than ploughing with 2 steam engines pulling a plough across the field with a steel cable. But when the Super Major entered this World it was a total revelation. It had all of the things that had been missing before and more. JCB started putting them in their diggers and they wouldn't have done that if they weren't right.

The porous blocks didn't start appearing until the 6Y range appeared. But a note of caution. As I BS & I have said earlier, all marques have their lemons. Least said about the DB 900 the better. I'll get my tin hat on now ! 8)

Three is twee, four does snore, but 6 just clicks........Scooby

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Re: Where Does David Brown Rank?

Post by whesbrook » Fri Nov 23, 2018 7:44 pm

In the 60's the mantra for tractors was sub 100hp buy british, 100hp + buy USA. JI Case bought David brown to beef up their sub 100 range. they could have had any number of european makers but didn't. Selectamatic and hydroshift gave them something extra for the future.

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Re: Where Does David Brown Rank?

Post by Lofty » Fri Nov 23, 2018 10:04 pm

In the neighboring hills where the properties are smaller and wetter there used to be a good DB dealer and it's common to see a DB lurking in a shed. Here on the plains it's broad acre stuff and JD was the most common make. Again there was a good local dealer carrying that brand (recently closed). At the local vintage machinery rally JDs outnumber everything else. You're lucky to find one or two DBs. So partly it's about horses for courses. And dealer support is a big factor. But there's always an element of human prejudice. And there's "nowt as queer as folk".

Present company excepted. :D

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Re: Where Does David Brown Rank?

Post by Scooby » Sat Nov 24, 2018 6:59 am

Good post Lofty. It was the same round here. A poor DB representation but with multiple MF & Ford dealerships they were the main contenders in the 50s & 60s. But when I had been in business for a while and decided I needed a larger tractor than the IH B414 that I had started out with I considered a MF 165 because that's what my horse had been when I had been a tractor driver for a local farm. But the equivalent DB, a 990S was £200 cheaper. Plus the fact that I had a relation who was very successful in his contracting business and he never ran anything other than DBs and so I guess the scene was set.

Three is twee, four does snore, but 6 just clicks........Scooby

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Re: Where Does David Brown Rank?

Post by Gard » Sat Nov 24, 2018 12:47 pm

Interesting discussions, So what would you buy in the under 100 hp class today? It seems around here there is a premium for new and used John Deer and Kubota. Sometimes you see old running tractors from Soviet Union for 20% of similar looking bigger names. The newer compacts made in India or Korea or others do not seem to hold value as well as Kubota and they do seem to be not as well built but I do not know how they will hold up over time.

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Re: Where Does David Brown Rank?

Post by Scooby » Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:18 pm

Within the U.K. I would say that the tractor market lies in 2 camps. There are the people who farm land for a living and those who have acquired smaller pieces of land for equestrian, privacy, or just because they could. Most of the "family farms" have gone now and the land has been "acquired" in one way or another by those who are progressing and are thus much larger units. And for that market, generally speaking, people would not consider sub-150-ish hp tractors.

The "hobbyist" (as I would call them) landowner, if they are going to buy a tractor for topping and other light duties, would probably buy smaller imported machines. Kubota ar generally reckoned to be good bits of kit and you also have offerings from Tafe, Yanmar, Kioto, Shibaura, Iseki etc. of which I know nothing. Small tractors are also available under the MF & JD flag but I'm not sure who makes them.

Three is twee, four does snore, but 6 just clicks........Scooby

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Re: Where Does David Brown Rank?

Post by Wheelie » Sun Nov 25, 2018 1:31 am

Well one thing that seems to happen the db's(90 series anyway) is fluid leaks, some may be small but most fluids that go in tends to appear out somewhere..but they do earn their keep

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