MTZ / Belarus 520. Jeff Bagwell, TN, USA
New member here, from Middle Tennessee, USA! Found this forum while searching for parts for a tractor I just received. Glad to be a part of this community, and hope to share with and learn from others around the world. Now, here's a little (maybe a little long) background on the tractor that is now in my shed. It's quite a story, and we have a long history working together.
In the mid-70's, at the age of about 12, I began helping a neighbor on his farm. We raised corn, soybeans and tobacco, and worked 2 "new" Belarus MTZ-520 tractors, as well as other Farmall, Ford, and International tractors. The 520's were the workhorses of the farm and took the heavy work with ease. Many, many hours were spent on these, and we hardly ever had an issue. They just ran, and pulled whatever we hooked to them. Fast forward to my college years, (1985-1989) and that's when we setup a dairy operation. Milking 60-80 cows on the afternoon shift, every-day, I didn't have much time to get into mischief, and I credit this dairy to keeping me in college. The 520's were still the work horses of the farm, pulling silage choppers, silage wagons, as well as ground prep and planting. They just ran, and ran, and ran. I left the farm work after college, 30 years ago, and the boss man continued to run these tractors until he passed away 10 years ago.
Well a couple of months ago, I asked the Boss man's wife and son-in-law about these tractors, and they told me to come take a look. A couple of weeks ago, I went back to the farm (only ~4 miles from my place now), and we pull started the MTZ-520 Super that I grew up with. Drove it around the farm a bit, and many memories returned to me. We talked about it, and I learned that the Boss Man's widow wanted to give me the tractor, not sell it, just let me take it as a "thank you" for working with her husband/family for so many years. This past Sunday morning, my son and I went to get the Belarus, pull started it, and made the 4 mile drive to our place rather slowly. Truly amazing how this tractor has held up to so many years of use/abuse, and 10+ years of retirement, only to be brought back to life, once again.
There's a few leaks, bumps and bruises, (most of which I either put on her, or remember when they happened) but she made the journey. Now's the time to begin the semi-restoration, and get her back in shape to start and run, and maybe pull some light duty equipment. Nothing to difficult, as she's had a long hard life, and looking forward to enjoying our retirement together!
Jeff Bagwell, Middle Tennessee
MTZ 1220, Belarus 825, Belarus 8345. Cecil Bearden, OK, USA.
I bought my 1996 Belarus model 825 in May of 2010, for $6,500 from an ad on craigslist, It had about 1500 hours on it, had the original invoice with the owners manual, and the hardbound parts manual. I have put about 400 hours on it to date. I have only spent maybe $200 to date on filters, the cable to actuate the hydraulic lift control, and some turnbuckles for hitch stabilizers. At this time my post hole auger stays mounted on this tractor. The down pressure on the lift is great for digging holes for corner posts..
I bought my 2006 Belarus model 8345 in July of 2010 for $12,000, from an ad on craigslist also and bought it from the original owner. It had approximately 1200 hours on it. The radiator top tank would not hold the radiator cap. I used it for 3 years before replacing the radiator top tank. I have put about 1000 hours on it. It is my "go to" utility tractor. It is used nearly every day in winter to feed cattle. It moves hay, rakes hay and pulls my 8ft JD rotary mower. I have spent about $400 on this tractor on parts to rebuild the slip clutch in the front axle drive ( called a carrier bearing), seals in the rt front wheel, lift control cable, bracket on the external hydraulic control lever ( USA mfd valve), filters, and radiator top tank..
Neither tractor has a working air conditioner, but I attribute that to it being a USA made A/C installed in Milwaukee WI.
Lately both tractor have developed leaks in the gas springs that hold the rear window open.
The TS110 New Holland was purchased in February of 2010 by trading in a JX85 Case IH that would not pull my 9ft New Holland 617 Disc mower without overheating. The 2003 model New Holland TS110 was showing 1200 hours and the dealer assured me that was the original hours. At 1240 hours the injection pump came apart and required a complete new pump. At that time the injectors were also cleaned, for a total cost of $3,600. At 1260 hours the fuel lift pump failed at a cost of $350. At 1300 hours the polyethylene fuel tank developed a leak at the fuel gauge mounting boss and required removal and re-welding the mounting boss onto the tank. This was just 2 days labor intensive work. At 1325 hours the Grammer Air Ride seat developed a leak in the air compressor. I replaced it with a complete new seat for $700. About that time the original top link broke while an employee was standing next to an 8ft rotary tiller attached to the 3pt. lift. Luckily his foot was missed by 2 inches. At 2000 hours, while tilling with the rotary tiller, the tractor developed a severe knock. I sounded as it was in the transmission drive plate. I sent it to New Holland dealer in Chickasha OK. It was there for 6 weeks. The service department split the tractor and installed a new drive plate ($250 my aftermarket cost ) and after a labor bill of $3,600 determined that the tractor had broken a valve. I stopped their work and brought the tractor home. I purchased a used cylinder head and then installed new guides and seats and resurfaced the head. ($400). I installed new valves, pistons, rings, rod and main bearings without pulling the engine. A new oil pump was also installed. ( $800 ). While the tractor was at the dealership, the sediment glass was broken ( $45) and I replaced it by adding a primary filter, but the fuel pump sucks fuel from the fuel tank and will not hold the prime for longer than an hour. I have replaced the suction fuel line with fuel hose as the assembly from New Holland is over $400, but it still loses prime and must be bled every time the tractor is started. The dealership broke the windshield while installing the hood on the tractor and when the windshield was replaced, they installed the wiper arms crossed and burned out the wiper motor ($200). The dealership also left many bolts out and lost a hood bracket ($125). The dealership also left out the cotter keys holding the fuel tank pins and I nearly lost the fuel tank. At 2015 hours the left front wheel fell off while pulling a grain drill. I replaced both wheel hubs aftermarket and ordered special built heavy wheels ( $780 ) The fuel tank is again leaking and the transmission is now making a noise when reversing with the shuttle shifter. I am careful with this tractor, I started with $38,000 in this tractor considering the trade in I had. I have spent $10,725 not including filters and the special oil required in the transmission ( $85/5gal) for 850 hours over a 6 year period of use., and this tractor is only a 2wd.
I would also add that my 825 has been one of the best buys I have made. It starts fine in cold weather, pulls through any type of mud we have, It handles a mower or rototiller on the rear better than any 70hp red, blue, or green tractor. It has the old Memo loader on it. I had to replace the loader hoses last month, they were only 26 years old!!! The 825 tractor is what convinced me to buy the 8345 and later my 1220.
My `1220 has been a workhorse. I can handle any load I put on it. It will pull my 15'bat wing mower through 6ft tall Johnson Grass at a fast walk. I have had it on the 12ft Hesston Mower conditioner in the same tall Johnson grass and it performed perfectly. The 1220 definitely has more than the advertised power on the PTO. The Loader is heavier than any I have seen on a 125hp tractor. I have a post puller/grapple that I use and it will pull out 4 to 5 inch trees with no problem. The 1220 is my tractor to feed hay with now. The heater works great!! I can feed hay without my coat on in the cab... MTZ has the best heater in the cab, and my feet can stay warm in the MTZ.
One of the best things about the 1220 is it does not require the expensive Hydraulic/transmission oil that my New Holland does. Changing the hyd oil and filters on my TS110 costs over $300. It requires a $80 New Holland brand filter or the shuttle will not shift correctly. The oil is $90 for a 5gallon bucket and it requires 2. The other hydraulic filters are another $60 and the hydraulic/transmission oil needs to be changed annually.
This is why my Belarus tractors are my favorite.
I will be happy to send you pictures of my tractors, it will take me a day or so to get them loaded up. They will be in their " work clothes", both are equipped with loaders. The 825 has a Memo loader and the 8345 has a Koyker.
You can definitely add my testimony to your web site. Back when Belarus tractors were first imported into Oklahoma, all the old farmers were telling tales that the bearings were not round, and the castings would break, and all kinds or lies. If my Dad & I had known then what I know about these tractors, we could have had a newer cab tractor and enjoyed more power and comfort. At the prices of domestic tractors, we had to make do with used tractors and no cabs, and big repair bills. Just call me a disciple of Belarus and MTZ. You can use my name, I don't mind.
Cecil Bearden, Piedmont, OKlahoma
MTZ / Belarus 920. Adam Wilkinson, Queensland
It all started 6 years ago I found an old Belarus 920 4X4 in a barn. She was used on a sugar cane farm pulling ground engaging implement's and was bought new back in the 1980s. She has 2600 hrs when I first bought her and had been sitting for many years. When I arrived to pick her up. I installed new batteries... primed the diesel pump and she fired up straight away. With 4 flat tyres we drove her in a truck and took her home, She now spends her days semi retired doing light duty work on our 50 acre horse ranch, she's not the comfiest tractor to operate but for an old girl she has plenty of power and starts every time, Since we purchased her we have replaced all the tyres, new oils and coolant and new brake disks, She will go in for a new paint job mid this year, Thanks for the opportunity to tell her story
Adam Wilkinson, Queensland
Few tractors MTZ / Belarus. Stephan Gingerich, Harriston, Ontario, Canada
We have had a few Belarus tractors over the year. Currently we have an 805 loader and 405. We use them for our beef cattle and cropping etc. We have owned them over 5 years. Some of the gauges don’t work anymore and neither does the Hour meter. However parts are pretty cheap and simple to fix. We converted the electrical system from 24 v to 12 v.
When I told my grandfather I bought a Belarus he told me I must have the name wrong because there’s no way I bought a crappy Belarus (he’s a John Deere guy). They are relatively cheap to buy. I will never love the Belarus tractor , but Nobody asks to borrow them, nobody tries to steal them, they wouldn’t know how to steal it if they tried (different gear pattern on manual transmission), they are cheap on fuel, and always get the job done! The tractors may be red but they turn your bank account black!
Stephan Gingerich, Harriston, Ontario, Canada
MTZ / Belarus 520. Pat Casorso, Alberta, Canada
Last August we were bidding online on an older John Deere loader tractor. The bidding shot up way too high but the listing below it, for a similar size tractor, was still reasonable. We didn’t know what a “Belarus” was, it wasn’t in the nearby auction yard but out on a farm 90 minutes away.
The owner had died suddenly after listing it in the sale. We took a chance, bid on it, and bought it. The “old gear jammer” is a Belarus 520 MFWD loader tractor with a Leon 690 loader. It’s an 80 hp. Getting it loaded on the flat deck to haul home took a lot of pull-starts and belching smoke.
It’s still a “work in progress”. Changed out the batteries, got a new muffler, topped up fluids. It will need rings and hope to replace some broken levers. The hour meter quit but the tractor’s been reliable so far. The nearest MTZ dealer, Clarence McDonnell, went over and above to find parts and get info from other old Belarus owners.
Right now, tractor is stacking and feeding 1600 lb. hay bales and moving straw bales. We have very cold and snowy winters here and the tractor lives outside. It’s good so far, if you know how to get it started. It’s John Deere country here, so neighbors were horrified at the “foreign” tractor. We’ve had Case, Massey-Ferguson, John Deere, International equipment. Hydraulics on the Belarus are way stronger. It lifts those 1600 lb. bales, even if it has to work at it. It’s a heavy tractor; pound for pound, it’s better than other tractors for it’s year.
As an older farmer, wouldn’t mind buying a 2016 or 2017 MTZ tractor with an easier cab to get into and a little more horsepower. But this old Belarus is earning its’ keep.
Pat Casorso, Alberta, Canada
MTZ / Belarus 1220 in OK.
Cecil R. Bearden, P.E. , Piedmont, Oklahoma, USA
We are experiencing the coldest weather on record here in Oklahoma. We spent the last 3 days getting ready for this 12 inches of snow today and another 12 inches in 2 days, with 30-40 mph winds. Along with 5deg below zero. I wish we could refuse delivery on this Siberian cold front.
My MTZ 1220 and my 825 Belarus are the only tractors that will start in this cold. Feeding with the 1220 as the heater works on it. No heater on the 825.. The 1220 starts fine. I plugged it in for the first time since I got it..
It fires off every time. Thanks to 24 volt starting. Just thought I would let you know. I wish I had a coat like they wear in the Ukraine. Sure do need it down here...
Cecil R. Bearden, P.E., Piedmont, Oklahoma, USA