Friday, February 20, 2015

More cold weather

February 20, 2015 I guess I am stuck on this cold weather, but go outside and you will see why. I was talking with a long time Surry legend today about the effect of cold on Ford tractors and he brought up another issue which I knew about but overlooked. Condensation and ice in transmission and hydraulics. This applies to all equipment, New Holland, Massey Ferguson, John Deere, whatever. If you think about a transmission for example, it is an enclosed space that is vented to the atmosphere. You have new clean oil in there and you use the tractor and all that warms up with use. Air expands as it warms so out the vent it goes, The tractor cools off and as it cools the air contracts and more air and water vapor comes inside that case. as it keeps cooling off the water will condense on the sides which are cool and run down into the oil. Not much just a tiny amount. You do the same thing tomorrow and the next and so on. It can happen even without starting the tractor as the weather warms up and cools off. It's only a very tiny amount but over time it builds up. Now, if you ran that tractor all day it would probably get the oil hot enough to evaporate the water out but how many of us do. OK like usual water is a bad thing in the wrong place and a couple of results of this are- it actually can accumulate in the bottom and freeze and break something or believe it or not lockup your gears. The long term issue is water will damage the shafts and bearings in that machine and that will be costly. If there is so much water it locks up the only fix is heat and an oil change. If the oil looks milky after you run it- that's water. So- keep the water out of where it doesn't belong and you,me, and your tractor will all be happier. Thanks Charles

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The right way

I want to hit on doing things the right way aka making hay when the sun shines. We had things work exactly as they should yesterday and I want to brag on our guys for making it happen. I would love to take credit but I didn't even know about until they were almost done. We had a customer come in- he had been pushing snow and maybe a steel line had gone to leaking and since the operator asked if pushing snow would hurt it maybe it was operator error. Who knows? Doesn't matter- he needs to move snow NOW. We pulled it into our shop and jumped on it- pulled the rear wheel off, fabricated a line to replace the broken one and had it back at work ASAP. If it was going to take a couple of days waiting for a part it would have cost the owner a chunk of lost business. I tip my hat to Jack, JC, David and whoever else had a hand- good job guys. Thanks to them and thanks to you for reading. Charles

A little chilly

Just a little chilly February 19, 2015 OK maybe more than a little chilly. There are a host of factors affecting tractors and equipment when it gets cold. Let's start with starting. This weather is a real test of equipment, unless of course you are from up north then you can probably teach us all a thing or two about real cold. When it's cold engines are at their hardest to start. The fuel doesn't want to flow as well and atomize as well. (That means break up into tiny droplets) The engine and hydraulic oil is thicker and makes it harder to turn the engine over. Unfortunately to make it worse, the battery is at it's lowest capacity. The colder a battery is the less amperage. This perfect storm of coldness can be fought in a few different ways. First of all- clean fuel means no ice in the fuel. Believe me it won't be water if it's outside. It's also possible to change your engine oil to a lighter weight oil. This means from 15w-40 which most people run to a 10w-30. To me- not hardly worth it. Of course you can cheat and put your tractor in a garage- heated would be better. Not an option for most of us, at least the heated part. Many tractors have some kind of glow plug/manifold heater that will help. Generally you use that to heat the air going into the motor before trying to start it. A big warning here- don't use glow plugs/ manifold heaters with starting fluid/ether. That can result in the big bang. A really good solution is some kind of engine heater. What they do is warm up the engine oil or coolant by a electric heating element that plugs into household current. This means that where you park you gotta have current of course. Different types of heaters- ranking from worst to best would be 1- a dipstick heater 2- a magnetic stick on heater 3-a radiator hose heater 4- a dedicated block heater.. A dipstick heater is simply that- a dipstick that gets hot. Too small to be very effective. A magnetic heater sticks on the bottom of the oil pan usually and heats up the oil. The heater is outside and the oil is inside so less effective. A radiator hose heater in the lower heater hose is pretty good but sometimes hard to find a spot to put it. I really like block heaters- harder to install but will stay with you for a long time. Take out a freeze plug and install the correct heater. Overall- look at the wattage. More is better. OK Time to go to work- Thanks Charles

Friday, February 13, 2015

02/16/2015 Diesel Fuel- Again

Last time we talked about running out of diesel fuel in your New Holland tractor- actually easily detected, easily prevented and hopefully easily solved. Today let's check on the issue of something as simple as water in the fuel. This can start a whole chain of troubles no matter if you are working on a Massey Ferguson, Deere, Kubota, or even any other diesel motor
As always a reminder about safety. These are powerful machines that can hurt you or worse. Safety glasses are always a good idea- nothing like a little diesel in the eye. Read that owners manual for even more safety info. We can get you a New Holland or Ford tractor manual if you need it.

The first and most obvious issue is the motor will not burn water. This is not that big a deal because a little water won't make a difference to the running of the engine. The problem is what happens to the water before it gets to the engine. If it is below freezing those little droplets of ice sometimes will move through the system until they find something to freeze to- often another little piece of ice. Those little droplets keep sticking together until they block something at best or freeze and break something expensive at worst. So- how do you fix that problem? Unfortunately the only answer is heat. You have to melt that ice to get it going again. I don't know of anything you can add to the fuel to thaw that ice. Now- Mama used to say “an ounce of prevention” well you know where that's going. There are lots of different chemicals that claim to remove water and they work to varying degrees. We recommend “Diesel 911”, “Stabil Diesel” or “Valvtect Bioguard” These are some of the most popular diesel chemicals and that usually means they work. Of course the best way is never let water get in there. How? Real clean fuel and keep it full. Water can condense in a fuel tank from the atmosphere but the less atmosphere in the tank the less condensation. The other issue with water is growing things in your fuel. Yep, life is possible, even likely, in diesel but generally only where there is water present. Those same chemicals also claim to be a “biocide” which means it kills life. So to sum it up- keep your diesel fuel clean and full and you will minimize your problems. Oh-I almost forgot, your storage tank at home or your suppliers tank can have problems too. The best bet is to buy your fuel from somewhere that sells a lot of it so at least it starts out clean. OK happy snowplowing and here's to real dirt plowing and Spring. Thanks, Charles- Surry Equipment

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February 11, 2015 Diesel Fuel- Help! I ran out of fuel! Diesel is a popular subject, especially this time of year. It's cold, batteries get low, you haven't started your New Holland or Ford tractor for a while, and now you need it to fix those pesky potholes. The most popular issue with diesel is running out so I am going to hit that first. First- you screwed up and ran out of diesel-don't sweat it we all have done it. You have filled it back up and now it won't start. If you have a new New Holland tractor with a Tier4 engine you need to get with your dealer because some of them are dangerously high fuel pressure. Actually any Massey Ferguson tractor, or Deere, Kubota, whatever- Tier4 may be another problem. (Tier4 is an emissions certification recently in effect) OK a few words about safety- diesel is under high pressure it will hurt you or worse. You can also get run over by a tractor so be extra careful. Safety glasses are always a good plan. So is reading your owners manual. If you are not sure- call us or somebody else you can trust. We can come out and fix this. For you to fix this problem you are going to need a strong battery so stand by with a jump box, jumper cables, or a good battery charger. What has happened is air is in the system and the fuel pump won't push it through the injectors and out and it won't start on air. You have to get that air out somehow. Now a lot of people will say start at the fuel tank and work your way downstream bleeding the air out as you go. I say go for it and bleed it at the injectors because you are going to end up there anyway. The injectors are usually at the top of the motor, one for each cylinder sorta like spark plugs on old motors. They will have solid steel tubes going to them with nuts attaching them to the injectors. Now that you have found them, loosen all the nuts maybe one turn. They will be tight because there is a lot of pressure. Now you have to crank the tractor like you are trying to start it - same as you normally do when trying to start. The fuel pump will pump the air out of the system as you crank and you are going to look for diesel fuel flowing out around each injector. It will not be a steady flow but come out in spurts as each cylinder has it's turn. When you have a good flow, tighten those injector lines and then try to start it as you normally do. If you got all the air out it should start. It may stumble a little but don't cut it off until it runs smooth. Now all you have to do is clean up the big mess you made, check for leaks, kick yourself for running out and go to work. OK happy snow plowing and remember- call us if you need us, we will take care of you. Thanks, Charles