Preparing the Agricultural Machinery for Spring

Preparing the Agricultural Machinery for Spring

It is not a secret for anyone that it is necessary to prepare equipment for winter storage especially carefully – the “we’ll figure it out in spring” approach in this matter is completely unacceptable. In most cases, the lack of correct and timely preparation leads to the aggravation of existing problems with the machine, which the farmer may not even be aware of. In order to protect yourself from downtime and costly repairs in the “hot” season, it is important, first of all, to properly take care of your technical park at the most advantageous time in every sense – in the off-season.

Complex of operations to ensure adequate protection of equipment

To prevent wear of parts of agricultural machinery during winter storage, there is a whole range of operations that can ensure proper protection of the equipment. It is quite possible to carry it out on your own, if the competence of your staff in this matter is sufficient.

Preparing tractors for winter storage

When storing the tractor, to avoid damage, first of all, remove the battery from the machine. During the period of inactivity, the batteries, as a rule, are discharged, and in some cases they may even fail completely. An equally important condition for storing the machine is the protection of tractor parts from corrosive wear. It is recommended to coat unpainted metal parts of the housing (for example, cylinder rods or parts specified in the instruction manual) with a layer of grease. Contrary to the beliefs of many operators, the fuel tank must be fully filled to prevent condensation from forming in it. Another important point is that to lubricate the compressor, it is necessary to carry out short-term starts of the air conditioning system, otherwise, during the start of the machine at the beginning of the season, the possibility of a jamming of the compressor or its increased wear is not excluded.

Of course, the ideal place for wintering a tractor is a garage, where the impact of external conditions and temperature fluctuations will be minimal. You should also not forget about the peculiarities of storing tractors on the street. Despite the weak sunlight in winter, the inner lining of the cab is subject to burning out and, as a result, its further replacement – when storing outdoors, it is recommended to cover the equipment with an awning. The tractor engine also needs special care – the owner must protect the inlet and outlet air ducts of the engine from moisture, and loosen the belts on it. Under the influence of low temperatures, rubber loses its elasticity, and during the winter the wheel can be strongly deformed – in such cases, it is necessary to put the car on supports.

One of the most dangerous breakdowns that can result from long and improper storage is the loss of elasticity by rubber seals, which in the future can cause various kinds of leaks. It should be remembered that if the seals in the hydraulic elements of the transmission or simply in the hydraulic system are broken, then the owner of the tractor urgently needs to carry out expensive repairs, including in some cases the replacement of units. For example, if the piston seal of the Power shuttle system element (control system and changing the forward-reverse movement / gear shifting) in the transmission is broken, increased slip in the clutch can lead to its combustion, that is, in this case, the entire module will have to be changed.

In order to prevent the occurrence of sudden failures, it is necessary to carry out preventive measures in a timely manner – to change oils and filters and be sure to run the equipment for short periods of time to lubricate the elements. Also, if you replace and diagnose the slipping of the clutch in time, you can limit yourself only to replacing the piston seals.

Preparation of tillage and trailed equipment

During storage of tillage and trailed equipment, it is necessary to adhere to all the above recommendations, but pay special attention to the following: complete elimination of the load on the wheels, as well as care of paint and varnish surfaces.

Firstly, a prerequisite is the installation of the frame of the implements on special supports to avoid bending tires and increased load on the wheels. Secondly, during winter downtime, many unpainted parts are especially susceptible to corrosion and oxidation. Hydraulic cylinder rods, implement implements: discs, cultivator paws, opener discs – all these elements are in a high-risk area. To level the corrosive processes during post-season maintenance, the listed surfaces must be lubricated with special compounds to protect against oxidation. For example, some of the row-crop planters often have problems with the seed discs, which, when used early in the next season, can start to cling to the seed drill. Needless to say, this leads in most cases to missing seeds and reduced productivity.

Preparation of harvesters and self-propelled mowers

In winter, key harvesters and self-propelled mowers are most susceptible to the negative impact of rubber products, drive chains, electrical components, hydraulic units and mechanisms – their careful storage will significantly increase the service life, reduce the likelihood of sudden failures and thereby significantly increase the efficiency of the machine during the season. Most often, in key-type combines and self-propelled mowers, the actuators for adjusting the gaps of the sieves and concavities fail, and the oil seals of the hydraulic motors for the drive of the bands and the knife on the reapers begin to leak. Of course, all these parts can be replaced at the beginning of the new season, but the time for their repair will be irretrievably wasted, which, again, will negatively affect the harvest.

The result will not be long in coming

Overall, the tips for minimizing wear and preventive maintenance are universal and apply to virtually all types of machinery. If you follow the recommendations, you can easily avoid many problems and potential breakdowns. However, you still cannot do without qualified assistance in this matter, since only serviceable equipment should be stored – service specialists will not only help to cope with the main complex of operations for preparing equipment for winter storage, but also at a professional level will reveal all possible hidden breakdowns.

Selecting Oil for the Tractor

Selecting Oil for the Tractor

Technical oil is one of the foundations of accident-free and non-stop tractor operation. The correct selection of oil for the tractor is a 50% guarantee that the machine will not let you down at subzero temperatures, or will not “get stuck” somewhere in the field due to engine failure. What should be done to prevent this from happening?

Follow the instructions for operation and maintenance of the tractor.

We usually rely at random. And from this we have many problems. If you want your tractor to always be in good working order and not a hassle, strictly follow the instructions for its operation and maintenance.

The operating instructions for the tractor clearly define the terms and types of work that you must perform to prevent breakdowns. One of the most common causes of engine failure is the use of contaminated oil. One of these types of preventive work is periodic oil changes.

Each tractor model has its own oil change intervals.

Periodically it is recommended to drain and change the oil in the flywheel housing, side clutches (if any) to prevent oiling of the friction linings, discs. And of course, be sure to change the oil in the gearbox, final drives, chassis and hydraulic system of the tractor.

These simple steps will allow you to save money on repairs and buying spare parts for the tractor.

Remember that changing the oil in a tractor also means changing filters and flushing parts.

Tractor service manuals clearly state that servicing the engine lubrication system includes: changing the oil in the system, flushing the system, flushing the oil centrifuge and flushing the turbocharger filter. The same applies to changing the oil in the crankcase starting engine.

If you do not change the filter or rinse the centrifuge, then all dirt, small particles of debris and dust will get into the oil. And you will have to change the oil faster than necessary.

Buy only manufacturer recommended tractor oils

You know very well that now in shops and wholesalers you can find a huge selection of oils for tractors. What kind of tractor oil should you buy? We answer that to service the tractor, buy oils recommended by the manufacturer. Each tractor maintenance manual contains a lubrication table that details the types of oils that should be used to service a particular tractor system. The table also clearly defines the volumes of the refueling tanks. This is necessary in order not to buy “extra” oil for the tractor. That is, it is very convenient when drawing up an application for the purchase of spare parts, tools and oils for servicing the tractor.

On the Internet on the forums of tractor drivers, you can read questions about whether it is possible to mix different oils with each other and use other oils for the tractor? The answers to these questions can be found in the tractor operating instructions. Since today both domestic and foreign manufacturers of oils for tractors are present on the market, the manufacturers of equipment take this fact into account and indicate in a special table the allowed substitutes for oils for the tractor.

The list of imported oils recommended for use for servicing a tractor usually includes all major manufacturers of lubricants, such as Fuchs, Exxon Mobil and others.

Take into account the climatic operating conditions of the tractor and the “complexity” of the tractor itself

Another important point that should be noted is that the manufacturer recommends certain viscosity-temperature indicators when selecting oil for a tractor. When selecting oil for the tractor, be sure to take into account the climatic conditions of the machine. Viscosity charts are usually indicated on the labels that each tractor oil can has.

Alternatively, the viscosity tables can be found in the tractor operating instructions.

If you have just bought a new tractor, then in this case follow the terms of the guarantee. And buy only the tractor oil recommended by the manufacturer. Otherwise, you will do the warranty repair of the tractor at your own expense.

Buy only new, not used tractor oil

And finally, it is worth drawing your attention to the fact that only use unused tractor oil. Very often, to save money, used oil is poured into the filling systems of the tractor. This leads to the fact that the filters become clogged faster, the turbocharger fails, the gaskets, oil seals and cuffs “leak”, and the engine itself starts to work intermittently. Here you still need to calculate what will be cheaper. Use new oil, or still fill in used oil, and more often spend money on the purchase of filters and other spare parts for the tractor.

Initial Tractor Maintenance

Initial Tractor Maintenance

Types and frequency of tractor maintenance

Shift maintenance

Each working shift of the tractor requires a number of actions:

  • Check engine oil level and coolant level.
  • Drain water and sediment from the fuel filter or water separator.
  • Check hydraulic and transmission oil levels.
  • Lubricate MTFWD Axle (with Auto Trac System).
  • Inspect the tractor tires.
  • Lubricate the linkage components, rear PTO shaft and automatic hitch (if equipped). With frequent use of the rear linkage, these components should be lubricated daily, and with irregular use, the interval can be increased.
  • Check the tightening torque of the wheel bolts and ballast bolts. During the first week of operation, it is recommended to tighten the wheel bolts every 3 hours.
  • Lubricate MFWD pins, tie rod ends and bridge bearings. They should be lubricated daily or every 10 hours when working on extremely wet and silty soils or under heavy load. If not operated under these conditions, maintenance can be performed every 250 hours.
  • Check the dual beam radar sensor.

In addition, the tire inflation pressure of the tractor should be checked weekly.

Maintenance during the first 100 hours of tractor operation

  • Checking the coolant level (deaeration tank).
  • Replacement of filters and oil of transmission and hydraulic system.
  • Checking the air intake hoses (then every 250 hours).
  • Change engine oil and filter (in the future every 250 h).
  • Battery check (then every 250 hours).

Tractor maintenance every 250 hours

  • Cleaning the cab air and recirculating filters (the interval may vary depending on the operating conditions of the tractor).
  • Draining the fuel tank sump.
  • Checking the starting system in neutral.
  • Checking the tractor brakes.
  • Checking the auxiliary brake (if present).
  • Checking the “Parking brake” position of the transmission.
  • Checking the oil level in the MFWD axle housing and wheel hubs.
  • Check the drawbar, drawbar (python / ball type) and trailer hitch for wear and replace as needed.

The following are the types of maintenance that are recommended at intervals of 500, 750, 1000 or 1500 hours.