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Antique Farm Tractors Vintage farm tractors on rubber tires with various implements. Ford, John Deere, Oliver, McCormick and more.

Antique Farm Tractors

990 David Brown

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Old 08-20-2006, 06:22:37 PM
Sharon & Jamie Sharon & Jamie is offline
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Default 990 David Brown

The old engines around here are getting bigger and bigger and my poor old John Deere B just can't lift some of them. I've got a chance at a 990 David Brown with power steering and a loader for the right price and am wondering what I should know about his machine? Any weak points? How does the diesel start in the winter? (possible snow blower tractor) Just anything you can tell me. It's the later one (painted white) thanks in advance. Jamie
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Old 08-20-2006, 09:26:30 PM
John Schwiebert John Schwiebert is offline
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Default Re: 990 David Brown

I sent you an e-mail. Please let me know if you do or don't receive it.
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Old 08-21-2006, 07:59:35 AM
jigs-n-rigs jigs-n-rigs is offline
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Default Re: 990 David Brown

The David Brown 990 is an excellent tractor. Power steering and a loader is a real bonus. One problem they have is water in the hydraulic/transmission oil. The problem is worse if the shift lever boots are torn or missing. Flushing the reservoir will reduce the amount of water but won't get it all. I had to split my tractor between the rear axle case and the transmission housing and manually mop out the bays in the castings that trap fluid. The water doesn't seem to cause much of a problem except in winter. Ice crystals clog the hydraulic oil screen and can shut off the oil supply. I use mine for plowing snow in winter but I do plug it in for an hour or so before I start it up. Our tractor is always undercover when not in use. There is a David Brown Tractor Club in Canada that has around 100 members. If you'd like more info e-mail me back.

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Old 08-21-2006, 09:15:06 AM
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MCanady MCanady is offline
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Default Re: 990 David Brown

I would also check with local dealer and make you have a goog supplier of parts if needed. Case/IH dealers are parts suppliers here in the USA.
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Old 10-17-2007, 04:45:16 PM
Marion Long Marion Long is offline
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Default Re: 990 David Brown

Hi Jamie,

Is that 'chocolate' and white, or orange and white? Either way, it's direct injection fuel system (combustion chamber in the piston crown) and if the engine is not excessively worn, it should start easily under almost any conditions. Fuel injection equipment is by CAV, now a part of Roto-Diesel. Electrical equipment is by Lucas.

I'm not sure if all 990's have it, later ones certainly do, but if you look on the underside of the fuel injector pump, there could/should be a small stem with a T-bar. This is your cold start assist. You unscrew it as far as it will turn (about 2~3 turns) to start in cold weather. It works by temporarily retarding the injection timing to get the fuel into the cylinder when the air is compressed to its highest pressure, and therefore at its hottest. Once the engine is started you screw the stem back in. If you don't, the engine will run rough because of the miss-timing.

In severe cold, early models had an 'ether plug' in the inlet manifold, you can unscrew this, squirt on a little ether based starting fluid (Start Pilot, Easy-Start, Aerosett, etc. etc.) screw it back in and start-up.

Later models had the more user friendly CAV 'Thermo-Start' plug in the manifold, with a corresponding 'HEAT' position on the ignition switch. This uses a simple glow-plug system, that allows a small amount of diesel fuel to seep onto the plug, where it vapourises to assist starting. Naturaly, the fuel is only released onto the plug when it's heating-up. These plugs do fail occasionaly so need checking and replacing if faulty. Pre-heat warm-up time is 20 to 40 seconds, so you would turn the key to 'HEAT' and hold it there for the required amount of time, then turn the key to 'START'.

The 990 is rated at about 65bhp, and came with either, a six, or a twelve speed gearbox and a two speed pto. The Selectamatic hydraulic system was way ahead of its time and is a complex piece of kit, but it seldom gives any trouble. You should have a three position (later models only had two positions) lever to select 'Height' - 'Depth' - 'TCU'.

'Height' gives a fixed amount of lift at the link arms, relative to hydraulic lever position, 'Depth' gives a draft sensitive working depth for implements that don't have ground wheels. TCU (Traction Control Unit) gives you the option to use the surplus 'dead-weight' of wheeled implements to improve traction in wet conditions. This latter option was not available on the latest models.

If you do encounter any problems with the hydraulics, it is almost always due to the ingress of water into the gearbox, and is usually a stuck valve in the valve chest.

A popular accessory on this tractor was a block of one or two Cessna double acting spool valves, which further increased the tractor's versatility.

If your tractor is pre-1974, it will have sliding mesh gears (crash box). If post '74, it will have constant mesh gears (sychro-mesh gearbox), with the synchro-mesh working between 2nd and 3rd gears in any selected range. You'll soon know which you've got when you try shifting from 2nd to 3rd. If it grinds, it's not a synchro box!! but don't try to shift too quickly, because it is possible to force the synchro and cause it to grind. As a cautionary note, all David Brown sliding mesh boxes are noisy, it's a characteristic of the box, not a fault!!! Synchro boxes on the other hand, are much quieter.

Rear wheel bearings need regular greasing to avoid premature wear, but are often neglected and thus wear-out faster than they should. Wear is taken up by removing shims from behind the outer bearing retaining flange, and the job of replacing the bearings is simple but fiddly.

Most repair jobs were intended as 'farmyard' do-able, and the tractor's construction takes this into account.

All-in-all the 990 was DB's best selling tractor in the UK, and parts are currently easy get. If you do get hung up for spares, and don't mind the shipping, there are numerous dealers here in the UK who can supply your needs.

If you would like a list of dealers in the UK, drop me a line by 'private message' and I'll post the information for you. There are a good number of dealers here, and I'll need time to colate a list, otherwise I'd do it now!!

There are plenty of repair manuals available, many printed in the USA, and are worth investing in if you intend to keep it for a while and/or do your own repairs.

There is a lot more I could say on the subject of David Browns, but I'd never get to the end of it!!! but, in short, and for my money, the 990 is an excellent and versatile tractor, reliable to the last, economical to run, easy to repair and maintain, and strongly built.

Hope this helps??!!

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Old 10-13-2009, 11:13:34 PM
bertfromnz bertfromnz is offline
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Default Re: 990 David Brown

Originally Posted by jigs-n-rigs View Post
I had to split my tractor between the rear axle case and the transmission housing and manually mop out the bays in the castings that trap fluid. . If you'd like more info e-mail me back.

Hi Glenn - can you give me some help splitting the gearbox as you have done -trying to fix an oil leak by splitting just enough to get sealant in
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