New to the forum with a 780.

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Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:10 pm
Location: Shropshire

New to the forum with a 780.

Post by Henry&Saly » Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:49 pm

Hello everyone.

I am new to this forum. We have recently inherited a David Brown 780 Selectomatic from my partners grandfather.
Sadly, it is a little worse for wear and still very much in its working clothes. It has been tied to a scraper for many years, then parked up unused for the last 3-4 years. :shock:

With all of this in mind and all fluids etc checked, a good booster pack and a little bit of persistence she fired straight up and once the smoke had cleared it ticked over nicely. As predicted at least one of the front rims was rotted out, but it did last long enough to get it on the trailer.
Once we had it back home, it was attacked with the steam cleaner, a crow bar (for dry crusted :?: ) and TFR.

The engine:
The block looks clean, along with the radiator, starter and dynamo. The water pump has been done at some point and all the pipework looks good and well maintained. Injector pump looks to be sound, all the pipework and unions look good and not to damaged. No doubt the air cleaner will need a good clean out! It looks like it dosent breath much, but the pipe could be blocked.

Front axle:
Front wheel rims, bearings and ball joints are shot. Unsure of the wear on the pivot pin at the moment but I will investigate when its in the workshop.

Selects all gears freely and the double clutch works as it should (from what I can tell) as does the two speed PTO. The gearbox is loud but nothing that I haven’t heard before. Gear stick gators have long gone, the oil has some water contamination but it isnt full fat mayo! :lol: . Difflock engages.

Rear end:
Very very well worn as to be expected but the hydraulics go up and down so only wearing parts to replace. Rear rims are either odd or one is spaced wider than the other. The brakes work but they are either on or off and the independents have now become one.
The handbrake comes up and down but wont lock when turned.

The plan?
The plan is to have it refurbished and painted for a family wedding in August this year. This will not be a concourse restoration, more replace what needs replacing, fix what needs fixing and give it a lick of paint. I don’t plan on going inside the engine or gear box unless I really have to.
After this it will probably be retired to the fleet and may do some work on a hay bob or topping.
I am no stranger to working on tractors, just not David brown tractors. I have in the past owned a 990, which was only ever a tool and was just “kept going”.

My concerns with the 780 and questions.
When ticking over, the gear box has an intermittent rumble. Im sure the 990 was the same but I just want to check that this is “a David brown thing” rather than a major rebuild needed! It does seem to go away if you rev it.

The breaks seem very sharp and one side is defiantly coming on before the other. I know they are sealed units unlike my other tractors. Are they easy to adjust and are they wet or dry? The handbrake dosent hold itself on, im guessing that something has come adrift inside the mechanism?

I have always been told that the hydraulics can be troublesome. If the arms go up and down and lift weight is it just a case of leave them alone?

The steering has quite a bit of pay but ive put that down to all the ball joints being shot.

Are there any other things to look out for when undertaking a restoration of this nature? Im presuming that most of the parts are available?

I hope you have enjoyed my long winded welcome post.. sorry about the waffle.

Here are some pictures of the tractor once it was pulled out out of the shed. I hope you enjoy and I look forward to hearing your thoughts, advice and banter! :mrgreen:


Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:10 pm
Location: Shropshire

Re: New to the forum with a 780.

Post by Henry&Saly » Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:55 pm

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PHOTO-2019-01-29-19-03-26.jpg (243.04 KiB) Viewed 1111 times

PHOTO-2019-01-29-19-03-25.jpg (37.61 KiB) Viewed 1111 times

Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:47 pm
Location: Louisiana, USA

Re: New to the forum with a 780.

Post by gwatts » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:24 am

Good luck with the project. They can be trying and rewarding all at the same time. I've got a 990 and a 1210 that keep me scratching my head. But they outpull any modern tractor of the same horsepower. They were well ahead of their time. My 1210 was built in 1974 and still plowed 25 acres of ground that was covered in small mesquite this past weekend without missing a beat.

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Posts: 869
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:18 am
Location: beautiful Coopernook NSW. near Taree. NSW. Australia

Re: New to the forum with a 780.

Post by cobbadog » Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:46 am

Welcome to the Forum. Brakes just may need a bit of use after sitting there a long time. Definately change the oil with water in it. and filters as well. Your parts are readily available through davidbrownparts to sort out your steering issues.

Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:10 pm
Location: Shropshire

Re: New to the forum with a 780.

Post by Henry&Saly » Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:11 am

Thanks everyone for the replies. My previous 990 was a work horse and did many years of service, sadly I had to upgrade to a New Holland with a faster road speed, bigger lifting capacity and trailer breaks.

The more vintage side of things I run two MF 135. Both in daily use and are fantastic machines (sorry to swear :lol: )

I’ve got another rim on the 780 so I’ve got 4 fully inflated tyres, a good battery so she’s back on the button. Just got to make some space in the workshop then she can be in for a full service, front wheel bearings and track rod ends.
I will keep you updated.

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