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New Life for Worn Cabs
Joe Hochstatter still owns the first tractor he ever purchased, a John Deere model 4630. As might be expected, it was starting to look a little worse for wear. So, the Mendota, Illinois, producer installed a new cab interior kit in the tractor’s SoundGard cab a few months ago.
According to Hochstatter, he had already installed one cab interior kit on another Deere tractor a couple years earlier. That kit went into a model 4050 that he had purchased and used as a loader tractor. Both kits came from Fehr Cab Interiors Company (fehrcab.com) based in Fairbury, Illinois.
“We strive to replicate the original vinyl, foam thickness, quality custom fit, and overall appearance in all interiors offered,” says Adam Fehr, manager at Fehr Cab Interiors Company. “Now, we’ve introduced yet another option in our Anyone Can Install cab kits.”
Available for John Deere two-wheel-drive 30, 40, 50, 55/60 series SoundGard cabs, the kits include preformed plastic pieces. The foam and vinyl have already been applied to the pieces for much easier installation.
“Headliners for IH 86 and 88 are also available as preformed kits,” Fehr says, noting that the panels can easily save up to four hours in installation time.
Founded in 1988, Fehr Cab Interiors was previously known as Fehr Upholstery. However, the focus changed when the company began getting requests to reupholster the insulation on the walls and ceilings of many local farmers’ cabs exhibiting the effects of aging.
In response, Fehr started a service of on-your-farm cab renewal, which called for replacing the acoustic foam insulation and vinyl upholstery.
As the demand for various models increased, Fehr Cab Interiors Company began to introduce complete precut cab kits with original materials, instructions, and adhesives to ship to farmers to replace the cab insulation themselves.
Ironically, Hochstatter has experience with both types of kits. While his first project utilized the original SoundGard cab kit, the most recent renovation used the new Anyone Can Install kit. There is a notable increase in cost, though, as the updated kit is $70 more per kit. However, most customers believe the price difference is more than worth it, given the time savings and convenience.
“I did the other tractor first because I used it the most,” he says. “Then, when I decided to do the 4630, the company told me it had this new kit with a hard back on all the pieces so everything would just fit into place. The upholstery was getting so bad, I was sick of looking at it. The vinyl was falling down, wires were showing, and it just looked terrible. I had thought once about selling it; but I’m sure I wouldn’t get what it was worth looking the way it did.”
Kits for Other Equipment
In addition to cab kits for virtually every tractor brand and model available with a cab, Fehr offers kits for sprayers, self-propelled windrowers, combines, vegetable harvesters, bale wagons, sprayers, and construction equipment.
“Everything I needed for the 2594 was in the kit, and everything was precut to fit.”
The company also offers kits for several after-market cabs, including Hiniker and Year-A-Round. In most cases, it’s not necessary to buy the entire kit. While a lower cab kit contains all the components needed to replace the foam and vinyl on the fenders, firewall, doors, back wall, and seat platform, depending on the model, most pieces (such as a fender cover or back wall cover) can be ordered separately.
Replacement precut floor mats, precut door and window seals, as well as preformed cab headliners are also sold separately.
Keaton Martin recently installed a Fehr kit into a 1987 Case IH 2594 he had purchased used.
As a full-time employee in the Caterpillar engine test facility, Martin is limited on the amount of time he can spend as a part-time farmer with his father-in-law near Benson, Illinois. Still, Martin likes to keep his equipment in the best possible shape. That’s why he also installed cab kits in an older Case 2290 and a Case 4490 four-wheel-drive tractor.
“I think the company has made a number of improvements in the kits since I reupholstered the Case tractors,” he says. “Everything I needed for the 2594 was in the kit, and everything was precut to fit. There was very little trimming involved. All I really needed to do was pull out the old interior, clean up the panels, and glue in the new pieces.”
Although each kit comes with a complete set of instructions, the basic directions generally call for first removing all necessary hardware, including items such as radio speaker covers, ashtray, air-conditioner vent covers, etc. Quite often, the job is easier, too, if you remove the seat.
Per the instructions, Hochstatter and Martin used a putty knife to scrape off as much of the old foam as possible before using a wire brush to finish the job. If necessary, a screwdriver can be used to scrape out all the tight corners and crevices. The last step is to use a shop vacuum to clean up all the debris and to wipe down all the surfaces with a damp cloth. Hochstatter says he used brake cleaner to remove some of the old glue and residue.
Each kit also includes adhesive so the precut pieces can be secured in place. Just be careful not to get glue in foam crevices that have been beveled to fold, such as those found on corner post pieces.
Hochstatter says he fitted all the plastic-backed pieces into place per the numbered diagram to ensure everything fit well. Then he removed them one at a time, applied the glue, and put them back into place.
Other Kit Sources
Fehr isn’t the only source of replacement cab interiors, although it has the largest offering in the business. Following are other cab replacement sources.
- K&M Manufacturing (tractorseats.com)
- AGKITS (agkits.com)
- Shoup Manufacturing (shoupparts.com)
- Schurter Farm Supply (schurterfarmsupply.com)
- Tractor Interior Upholstery, LLC (tractorinteriors.com)
Fehr and some of the upholstery companies listed also offer bulk materials, including cab foam in various thicknesses and vinyl in a variety of colors for various makes and models of equipment cabs.