In addition to regular shop tools, tractor mechanics need a few large pieces of equipment. I benefit from a huge, well-equipped shop (thanks, Dad!), but you don’t need to have all the bells and whistles to begin working on tractors. Here are what I consider to be the 5 can’t-live-without essentials to a well equipped shop.
- Cherry picker. This is especially important if you’re working alone – but even with friends to help, a cherry picker will make a big difference in your ability to safely move heavy tractor components around the shop.
- Floor jack. Good floor jacks are really important – we have 3! This isn’t something to economize on, either. Get the highest quality you can find, with a weight limit that far exceeds the sort of work you’re planning to do.
- Welder. Every shop should have one! While welders used to be huge and expensive, these days small, affordable buzz boxes are easy to come by.
- Torch. A basic torch makes so many shop jobs possible. My dad and I even have 2 tanks of oxygen (one in use, one full and ready for when we run out). If you’re just getting started and have to choose between a torch and a welder, get a torch and learn how to gas weld. While gas welding isn’t as strong as a real weld, you can do fairly well.
- Manuals for your tractor. I’ve written about the importance of a good shop manual before, but it’s worth repeating: every mechanic needs to have a manual!
How about you – what would you add to this list?