Model year: 2007Date Purchased: 2007-04-01Number of Hours: 450
"I bought the Foton FT404 brand new in April 2007 for a cost of just under AU $23,000. At that time the cost was about half of the cost of a Massey.
I bought the Foton because I had a Ford Dexta which needed too much money spent on it. Everything was worn out. At that time the only cheaper tractors that I could physically get to look at in Western Australia were the Jinma, Lenar and Foton. I chose the Foton because the dealer was only 25 miles away and the tractors were in stock. The dealer wasn't super knowledgeable as I recall from when I was asking what one of the levers did and he didn't know. It turned out to be the decompressor lever.
I also liked the improvement in safety and comfort. It had a rollover bar, safety belt and a padded seat, as well as 4 by 4 when needed, a front-end loader, etc. It came with a parts books, engine book, spares, and a socket set. Overall, it was a big step up from the Dexta.
Once it was home, I put it to work and it was an absolute pleasure. However, when it had been running for a while the engine and gearbox system was very rattly. That had me a bit worried. I decided that the tractor probably had the minimum of pre-delivery, so I decided to change the engine and transmission oils with good quality stuff. It made a massive difference.
As part of that process I discovered that the engine oil filter had a 24mm x 2mm pitch thread. I had hoped to purchase replacement filters from an auto store but with the unusual thread on the Foton, that wasn't going to be possible. The answer was to make an adapter down to a Ã‚Â¾ mounting so I then fitted a Ryco Z9 oil filter which was the same physical size as the original oil filter, and at the time, $25 cheaper. The screw-on fuel filter had the standard M16 x 1.5mm thread so a replacement fuel filter of the same physical size was fitted, a Ryco Z75.
Also, the glass bowl fuel pre-filter collected a lot of tank dirt in the first few weeks of use. When using the tractor, one thing I noticed was that the temperature gauge was always on the minimum. I decided that the temp detector was probably faulty, so I pulled it out and put it in a cup of boiling water. The tractor gauge showed almost 100 degrees. Strange. On further investigation I discovered that there was no thermostat in the housing. Instead of doing a 50 mile return journey to try and get one for free, I measured up what should be the thermostat size and bought an 80Ã‚Â° one at my local auto shop. Eureka, it works.
Overall, it has been mostly trouble-free. I do filter and engine oil changes annually and the magnetic sump plug is always metal free. The first couple of oil changes produced quite a bit of metal on the magnet. The more recent clean results could be helped by the bypass oil filter system I have fitted in the belief it will extend the engine life. So far, the engine does not use oil between changes.
Over the 12 years of ownership and 450 hours the things that have gone wrong are:
1. Water pump mechanical seal failed. There is a grease point but mine had a bolt where the grease nipple should be.
2. Water pump belt was poor quality and didn't last long.
3. Tilt and lift hydraulic cylinders on the front bucket leaked after 10 years. All I changed were the end cap wiper, the U seal and the external O ring. Problem solved for $10 a cylinder with parts from the Perth spare parts stockist.
4. The engine to chassis connection cable fell apart but that could have been my fault going over large rocks.
Would I buy another Foton or recommend them to others? Yes I would.
REVIEWER'S ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Pros: Value, simple to maintain, a spare parts dealer in Perth, Western Australia has been going for a number of years and he has most bits I need in stock, the documentation provided, always starts easily, power steeringCons: Not enough hydraulic outlets, the front bucket uses the 2 x rear hydraulic remotes so I have to disconnect a bucket function to use my hydraulic wood splitter, the dealer was gone after a couple of years - a problem common to many I am sure, type of bucket mounts not stated anywhere - so when I wanted to mount a stick rake on the front I had to get mounts made up, someone in TractorByNet land may have the answer, leaving the tractor outside in the Aussie sun makes the paint fade, the rear indicators fade and the seat deteriorate - the answer of course is to put it in the shed, the hand brake design is very basic, it should be better, when travelling on the road in high range it tends to jump out of gear when you slow down, the bucket as standard has a curved bottom edge so you can't drag it to level dirt outType of User: Homeowner 10-50 AcresLocation: AUS OTI also considered buying: Jinma JM-404, Lenar LE254 REVIEWER'S PHOTOS
Model year: 2006Date Purchased: 2013-10-10Number of Hours: 126
" I have the 390BT 4 cylinder engine. Everything is great, lots of power. The only cons are no shop manual available and electrical connections seem to be a problem. I have to periodically pull connectors and clean with electronics cleaner."
REVIEWER'S ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Pros: fuel economy, power, Cons: manual, electrical connectionsType of User:Location: USA INI also considered buying: REVIEWER'S PHOTOS
Good for the Money
Model year: 2005Date Purchased: 2005-10-01Number of Hours: 166
"Bought this tractor new as a low price option to the big name brands. My property isn't large enough to get full use of a tractor this big, but it does everything I ask of it. I have a 5' Koyker loader on it that helps with moving gravel, firewood, and snow. Has always started, even in below zero weather. I have had no problems with it other than some of the rubber parts(boots, fuel line) crack or deteriorate and the original 2x6 volt battery was short lived."
REVIEWER'S ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Pros: Price, dependability.Cons: No local dealer, rubber parts, cheap original battery.Type of User: Homeowner 1-10 AcresLocation: USA OHI also considered buying: REVIEWER'S PHOTOS
Aussie Foton 404 with 4 in 1 Loader
by Chris D
Model year: 2008Date Purchased: 2008-10-10Number of Hours: 300
"I have had a good run with this little tractor. Was always aware that it had a questionable pedigree but had see thousands of them and similar plugging away in China without any sophisticated support.
I've made a few comments on this forum and restate it here. They needs a little love to make sure they work well but they are a good and rugged tractor for hobby or occasional use. Bit uncomfortable but darn good value and, with a little attention, very reliable.
I recommend the following to new, potential or existing owners. Change all oils to good local oils particularly the transmission and final drive oil. The Chinese oil is not much good and the submerged disk brakes will cease to squeal when they get hot if a correct oil is used.
I read a lot of fuel problems and many head straight for a filter change as a solution. The system as supplied is a bit prone to sucking air from the O ring around the sight glass/fuel bowl. If the tractor will not hold full power for a few minutes under load, consider a smear of grease on the large O ring and also ensure the copper washers are in good shape on the suction side of the pump.
The V belts as supplied are not much good and should be changed for new reputable brands. And if it has twin 6 volt batteries, consider replacement with a single heavy duty 12 volt one with 500 plus cold cranking amps.
Keep grease up to the grease nipples and enjoy!"
REVIEWER'S ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Pros: Good torque under stressed engine, economical, will work forever.Cons: A bit basic.Type of User: Homeowner 10-50 AcresLocation: AUS OTI also considered buying: REVIEWER'S PHOTOS
Aussie Foton 404 with 4 in 1 Loader
by Chris D
Model year: 2008Date Purchased: 2008-10-10Number of Hours: 300
"Bought it new several years ago along with a bunch of accessories including slasher, carry all, ripper, rear grader, and rotary hoe. Generally I have been pleased with it and recommend to anyone who wants a reliable and easy to maintain tractor.
Mine has the 4 in 1 loader and was bought before the shuttle shift came along so it has the bit weird but pretty effective high, low and reverse with 4 speed gearbox. Like most of the Chinese tractors, these are quite rugged, heavy (not a bad thing for most work) but some annoying traits that can be dealt with.
I strongly recommend that the initial fill of oils be dumped in favor of reputable brands. Particularly in the transmission as the submerged brakes need will squark when they get hot if the standard stuff is left in. The V belts are rubbish and should be replaced within a few hours as they may let you down.
And the fuel system is a tried and tested system but there is a tendency for some of the fuel line swagging to be a bit over done with restriction resulting. Make sure it will hold full power for several minutes under load. If not, check for restricted fuel lines or air getting past the o-rings on the suction line. A little grease on them works wonders. Often it feels like a blocked fuel filter.
I like this little tractor. It is reliable and not difficult to service. And it works a treat. These are very under stressed engines and will plug away without too many problems. Blow out the radiator fins with compressed air regularly, keep the air filter maintained and enjoy."
REVIEWER'S ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Pros: Good value. Heavy. Easy for most people to maintain and fix. Cons: Old fashioned. Can be frustrating to work on for simple maintenance.Type of User: Homeowner 10-50 AcresLocation: AUS OTI also considered buying: Mahindra 3215 HST REVIEWER'S PHOTOS
Model year: 2008Date Purchased: 2013-01-08Number of Hours: 0
"Great value but you need to know how to do small repairs. Craftsman ship is not great and manuals are very little help."
REVIEWER'S ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Pros: Price and features.Cons: It's all about who assembles them.Type of User: Homeowner 1-10 AcresLocation: USA IAI also considered buying: Mahindra 450 REVIEWER'S PHOTOS
by Tony Washnock
Model year: 2002Date Purchased: 2012-05-15Number of Hours: 160
"I own and have owned dozens of tractors. It is my hobby as is farming. The Foton 404 is nothing short of spectacular. In fact, I intended to use a Bobcat to clear some pasture I had dozed 4 years ago and burned this year. I made a trial run (for fun) on the Foton with 6 foot bush hog. It cut through it without a strain.
Even the farmer of more than 50 years could not believe its performance. Of course this is an isolated incident but I have plenty of experience so as to opine and the Foton is an incredible tractor."
REVIEWER'S ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Pros: Beefy looks, quiet engine, strong, and comfortable.Cons: Paint and primer seems of low quality, unpopular with locals because of lack of knowledge.Type of User: Homeowner 100+ AcresLocation: USA FLI also considered buying: Farm Pro 2420, Ford 3930, Rhino 324 REVIEWER'S PHOTOS
Worth the Money
Model year: 2008Date Purchased: 2009-01-15Number of Hours: 200
"We looked long and hard for a compact w/loader that would have the power & features to match our needs (Timber Mill & Horse facility) & this machine does the job well at a fraction of the price all made in USA tractors. Few complaints/concerns but many compliments & positives!
REVIEWER'S ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Pros: Power, looks, and price.Cons: Availability and price of parts/accesories.Type of User: Homeowner 1-10 AcresLocation: USA IAI also considered buying: REVIEWER'S PHOTOS
Farming and Logging
by Mark Hineman
Model year: 2005Date Purchased: 2008-02-28Number of Hours: 1200
"The Foton 404 tractor is a very reliable, feature rich machine. No, I do not sell them!
I always tell people that if a wrench does not fit your hand, you don't want to get one of these tractors. It's not that they break down often, but there is not the type of dealer network John Deere has, but you pay a fraction of the price too.
My dad had a JD 50 hp utility tractor. I like the features on mine better. The tractor has 4WD, Locking rear differential, 2 sets of remote hydraulics on the back, a loader, 540 and 1000 rpm PTO. The engine is a 3 cyl diesel with preheat (not glow plugs).
I use it for haying, garden prep, a small amount or row crop, and LOGGING. I pull a 7 ft haybine, rake, square baler with wagon, and 4x5 ft round baler (Gehl 1400). I have a 2-14 3 pt plow (it pulls it easily), 6 ft tiller (runs it even easier), several other 3 pt equipment. I have a 3 pt spear mounted on the bucket and have no problem with my 4x5 round bales, but I can just pick up 5x6 bales and have to have rear weight to counterbalance.
I have forks I set that mount on the front of the bucket. 3 open hooks welded to the top. An old axle from scrap yard through the hooks. The used forks came with round holes in the top and slide on the rod. The fork extends down about 1 inch below the lip of the bucket. I move logs up to about 2500 pounds with these forks.
I have a Wallenstein skidding winch and mounts on the 3 point hitch. It has 9000 pounds pulling force. The winch is powered by the PTO.
I log in Central Indiana with this equipment."
REVIEWER'S ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Pros: Compact, comfortable, reliable, good controls.Cons: Limited local support.Type of User: Commercial FarmerLocation: USA INI also considered buying: REVIEWER'S PHOTOS
New To Tractors
Model year: 2005Date Purchased: 2007-05-31Number of Hours: 187
This is the first tractor I have ever owned. I Don't have any past tractors to compare it with. So far I have been very happy with the tractor. It has done whatever I have thrown at it. I don't do any massive farming. I only have a small farm.
I use a finish mower, bush hog, hay spear (1600Lb bales), scraper blade. I have done normal maintenance with tractor. Oil change, fluids. Would I buy another Foton? Yes.
REVIEWER'S ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Pros: Love it.Cons: The only down side is there is some rust on hood near battery and I keep it in the barn, go figure.Type of User: Homeowner 10-50 AcresLocation: USA KYI also considered buying: REVIEWER'S PHOTOS