Inspection Tips: what to inspect when buying a used air drill and air tank.

Tips for buyers Comments

Ag equipment advice from our farming gear expert.

When inspecting to buy an used air drill and air tanks at an onsite auction or online, we have a process which may help you decide on what type, make, and model you would like to purchase. We’ll walk you through the process of inspecting used equipment, which will help give you tips to do the same.

1. Check the serial number

Serial number on an air drill sold by Ritchie Bros.

The first process is verifying the serial number on the unit you are inspecting. Once you have obtained the proper serial number, you will be able to verify year, make, and model. After you know this is the right type of equipment for you, we may be able to provide the number of acres it was used for. These details are very important to know when buying used.

2. Examine air drill’s overall appearance

Take a walk around the air drill and pay close attention to the paint, possible damage, hydraulic hoses damaged or leaking, and main pivot points. Check for frame condition. Is it bent or level, weathered, or missing components? These indicators will allow you to determine if this drill was mistreated in its lifetime.

3. Note air drills’ specifications

Air drills come in different designs and overall widths. Make sure the piece you are inspecting is advertised with the correct size and spacing between openers.

Single shoot openers on an air drill

Check the openers for condition and manufacturer. These are an expensive option on an air drill. As well, check whether the drill is single or double shoot. They may also have blockage sensors, liquid fertilizer kit or NH3 package on the drill.

Steel packers on an air drill

Another option on air drills to inspect is packer wheels. Check to see if they are rubber, pneumatic, or steel and the condition of them. Check air and hydraulic hoses for damages throughout your inspection.

4. Check air tank specs

Air drill air tank

Take a walk around the air tank and pay close attention to the paint, possible damage, hydraulic leaks, and rust.

The first information you need to gather is number of compartments and the bushel size they hold. For most air tanks, you will be able to get the bushel size from the model, the Bourgault 6700ST as seen above, will hold approximately 700 bushels. These tanks can also be equipped with a saddle tank, which will allow you to hold more product.

Air drill saddle tank

Other options you will need to check are number of hydraulic fans, conveyor/auger, and rate control. Be mindful when checking for hydraulic fans, if it is single or double. Also know what tractor you plan on using and the hydraulic output it needs to power this unit.

Air tanks are either equipped with an unloading auger or conveyor, verify size and check for rust and any damages.

5. Locate the controllers

Air drills and air tanks will come with a variety of expensive controllers, displays and scales. At each auction site, these will be kept indoors. When inspecting, ask the main office where they might be located and ask where you can view them. It will be hard to test these devices, but you will be able to see if they have any damage to the screens or if they are missing.

6. View the undercarriage

Air tanks will be equipped with rubber tires or tracks. When inspecting rubber tires check the make, size and quality of tread. Make sure to check the rims for any cracks or deficiencies. Looking at a track, you will need to check for missing rubber/tears, check the depth of tread, the rollers and drive sprockets for excessive wear. Check the make and size of the tires and the overall condition. These can be pricy to replace and if you plan on a long journey home with your new piece, it is always ideal to plan for issues.

Air drill tires

Air drill tires

7. Inspect maintenance log and supporting documentation

We encourage sellers to supply maintenance logs, inspection lists, work orders and other supporting documents. Make sure to ask at the auction site for these documents. They provide valuable insight into how often and what types repairs were performed.

In most cases we will be able to give you the owners information to allow you to contact them and get more details if needed.

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