Thursday, February 19, 2015

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

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