Tractor maintenance 101

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Information about Tractor maintenance 101

Published on March 7, 2014

Author: MichaelKilpatrick1



A talk I gave on Tractor Maintenance for the Missouri Organic Association

Tractors 101

Outline • Basic information about tractors • Purchasing your first tractor • Tractor safety • Basic troubleshooting • outside to look at a real tractor

Diesel VS Gas • • • • • • Engines last longer Special care in winter Better torque harder to repair engine yourself fuel safer to handle heavier built • Easier to work on yourself • ethanol in fuel can be a nightmare • • • start in winter easier Cheaper prices best for small jobs like cultivation

Drawbar HP vs PTO HP • 1 HP = 550 Ft lb/s • Drawbar horsepower (DHP) is pulling hp, or how much HP available to pull an implement through the ground (like a plow) • Power Take Off (or PTOHP) is energy that is available to drive an implement that is hooked to the PTO shaft. • PTOHP is always less than DHP because there is always a certain amount of energy that is used to move the tractor forward.

Basic Systems on a tractor • Mechanical or power system • Cooling system • Fuel • Air system • Lubrication system • Electrical system

transmissions Manual shift most common Synchro shift easier to shift on go Reverser Hydrostatic

Checking out a tractor.. is a fabulous place to research different tractors,, and are additional places to research them.

Places to buy a tractor • Dealer • Tractorhouse, machinefinder, fastline • Craigslist, ebay, newspapers • side of the road

What kind of tractor do you want?

General purpose tractors

General purpose tractors This is the first new tractor we bought its always nice to have one small “working” tractor use for rototilling, loading compost, mowing, etc Live vs independent PTO quick connect bucket allows for easy changing of implements

Vegetable tractors Tillage work on the farm important it doesn't break down responsible for spraying, bed forming, pulling harvesters, transplanters, etc loader responsible for loading compost, fertilizer, moving equipment, light excavation. most dealers are clueless about vegetable tractors

important features telescoping draft links telescoping hydraulic top link creeper gear open operator platform reverser transmission narrow tires to fit between beds

Cultivation Tractors

Cultivation tractors Narrow tires clearance for cultivation setup Clear line of sight to crop tight turning radius

Common mistakes • Not starting it cold • assuming the dealer/owner/crooks word for it • not checking all fluid systems • worrying about cosmetics • buying with price solely in mind • buying too small or too big a tractor • being rushed into a sale...

helpful books • Equipping Your Horse Farm: Tractors, Trailers & Other Implements • How to Keep Your Tractor Running (Motorbooks Workshop) • How to Restore Your Farm Tractor (Motorbooks Workshop) • Steel in the Field: A Farmer's Guide to Weed-Management Tools (Sustainable Agriculture Network Handbook Series, 2) (available as a free download from SARE)

Trouble shooting Gas Tractors • Will it turn over? (battery, starter) • Is it getting Spark? (wiring harness worn, points need cleaned) • Is it getting Gas? (is fuel turned off? Is filter clogged) • Is it sputtering? (adjust or clean carburetor, check fuel, Mixture screws adjusted) • Overheating? (check radiator fluid and

Troubleshooting Diesel tractors • Will not crank (battery, interlock, wiring problem) • Will not start (fuel, filters blocked,weak battery) • Runs poorly ( filters clogged, tractor needs rebuilt)

Lets go look at a tractor!!

What are you looking for in a tractor? • What is your budget (most new tractor financing is 0% for 48 or 60 months) • what tasks do you want to do with your tractor • what do you feel comfortable with • 2 wheel vs 4 wheel

Buying a tractor checklist • Ask to see any owners manuals • check serial plates • stored inside or outside • new coat of paint? • inspect frame, any welding or cracks

Buying a tractor checklist • check joints for grease • throw cardboard under to check for oil leaks • inspeak ROPS, verify not homemade • check filters (fuel, oil, air, hydraulic) • Check fluid reservoirs • Check battery- turn lights on for a few minutes and then start tractor

Buying a tractor checklist • check all belts and hoses • check tires (repairs, gouges, weatherchecking) • bearings and wheel bearings • lights, controls, etc....

Buying a tractor checklist Start the tractor cold • • check for smoke (startup smoke is okay, running at full rpm’s shouldn’t have any smoke at all) • noises • oil pressure and leaks • is transmission smooth, does PTO engage easily

Buying a tractor checklist • does hydraulics work well, without jerking or stopping • is ride relatively smooth? • IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, TAKE A FRIEND OR MECHANIC WITH YOU

Connect with us! @kilpatrickfarm Michael Kilpatrick

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