Machinery & Products

A new era of grunt

By John Droppert

SOME MONTHS ago, I wrote a column on these pages musing about the potential merits, or perhaps potential for merits, of Chinese tractors.

Subsequent to that column, I had an unexpected need to do some extra earthmoving work to fill in for the world’s least punctual contractor (still waiting, champ).

In the course of this work, I managed to incur handsome repair bills across a range of marquee Australian, German and French-built equipment.

For a hobby farmer digging a hole in the ground, I felt that this was an impressive achievement.

Particularly in light of my familiarity with grease guns and checking oil levels, and abhorrence of the usual styles of machinery abuse.

The relevance of this is that my feelings on the argument of older machinery from trusted brands, versus new machines from less-established sources have become more circumspect.

How does this relate to Chinese machinery? Simple: go to any web forum or Facebook group (or face to face discussion, if anyone still does that), and look for any example of a person asking any question whatsoever on any piece of Chinese equipment from any non-mainline brand.

I guarantee you that exactly roughly 75% of the responses will be along the lines of ‘go and buy an old machine from an established brand, it will be better and it’ll never break down’.

I can also guarantee you that the great majority of the authors of such comments have never owned or operated the machine in question.

Well I’ve owned the old brand name machines, and they’ve broken down on me. So much so that I’ve decided to change it up a bit and try the other option.

In conjunction with my quest to live the simpler life and embrace two wheel drive tractors, I’m also swapping out my current loaders for a brand new Chinese-made Everun ER20.

Tractors for pulling; a loader for lifting; self-actualisation is within reach!

Anyone that’s investigated Chinese wheel loaders seriously will know two things. The first, is that they are ridiculously (and I mean really, ridiculously) cheap.

The second is that there are countless brands of all stripes to choose from. There are horror stories. There are fly-by-nighters who, with some investigation, you can track from one brand or establishment to the next.

There are importers who regularly buy different machines from different manufacturers and apply the same branding, making the spare parts game a nightmare.

But there are also, it would appear, genuine businessmen out there looking to build reputations as long term, reliable importers and supporters of basic, competitively priced workhorses. I’m hoping I’ve bought one of those.

Detailed specifics of the Everun itself will have to wait for another day.

Due to a broken ankle, my driving experience has so far been both limited and excruciating – and not due to the machine.

First impressions are that it is an extremely simple, yet reasonably well finished machine.

It has basic features such as swing-out fuel tanks and swing-up engine covers that aid maintenance, and it came with tractor-tread tyres to maximise grip in the Gippsland winter mud.

So far, I’ve fueled it up, and gotten it dirty. Even the worst of them can probably manage that.

• John Droppert has no mechanical qualifications whatsoever, but has been passionate about tractors since before he could talk and has operated many different makes and models in a variety of roles for both profit and fun.