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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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?