Got my Ford 1710 back from the dealer yesterday. The main problem was bent and broken 4wd shift and linkage parts courtesy of the previous owner. I also had some tinkering things done as long as it was there. I really REALLY have to build a decent equipment shed and organize my tools so it's reasonable for me to do my own tear-downs.
However, the service manager did say some useful things I'll pass along. First, he said he doesn't do the 600 hour injector service (remove, check and test spray patterns). If it's not smoking, there's little reason to remove the injectors until 2000 hours or so.
Second, he asked if I had changed the anti-freeze (I hadn't). He said they had a log skider that was ruined because the coolant was never changed (he didn't say exactly what was ruined). Anyway, the anti-freeze is an easy maintenance routine to forget about. I believe it's supposed to be changed every 2 years with a diesel rated anti-freeze--proypl based is preferable since it has less of a disposal problem. I didn't know there was such a thing as diesel rated anti-freeze.
Third, he replaced the steering stabilizer (a tube shock absorber in the steering arms) because it was dented. He said dented ones usually end up binding and should be replaced. Binding steering doesn't sound like a good idea. He also went through the steering and tightened up the loose steering column and may have done some other things.
So, repair and trucking for the tractor cost a fair bit, but I also got something more than just the problem I knew about fixed. Paying a dealer for service isn't all bad I guess. Oh yes, I noticed shortly after buying the tractor that the 4wd lever had been broken off its collar and re-welded (a crappy weld that the dealer re-did). I probably would have bought the tractor anyway, but looking for welds is one important thing to do when looking at used tractors.
Re: Dealer Service
TomG: I was interested to hear that your dealer didn't recommend injector service at 600 hours, barring smoking problems, etc. I was told the same thing by my dealer when I was doing the 600 hour maintenance on my Ford 1220. He also said not to bother with the valve lash adjustments unless I was experiencing problems. I was a bit doubtful, since I usually follow the manual's service recommendations to the letter. Has anyone else gotten similar advice?
Re: Dealer Service
Andy, I was preparing for my 800 hr maintenance, and was advised to skip the lash check "unless you are experiencing problems" by someone on this board (don't remember who). I checked mine anyway, since it's a little too late after you have problems, and I'd think valves aren't an inexpensive repair. By the way, mine were too loose. I think what you want to avoid is getting them too tight, as this tends to burn the valves. Does anyone know if it's normal for the tractors' valve lash to get loose with wear? If so, I suppose the first indication of a "problem" would be valve train noise, which is not so bad. When I had a Volkswagen, I had to adjust the valves to keep them from getting too tight. Seems as if the valves would wear in the seats, and the stem would pertrude further from the head, reducing the lash.
Re: Dealer Service
Sorry for the late response. My computer's been down.
My dealer did set the valve lash, and I believe the engine runs quieter, especially when first starting. I think it's probably a good idea to set the valves since it doesn't require a tear down. The valve timing isn't actually accurate unless the valve clearance is right. In extreme cases, valve train parts may break from too much lash. Too little clearance may crash valve heads into piston tops on some engines.
I'm not sure 'valve burning' from too little lash is an issue on diesel engines, but it is an issue on higher rpm gas engines. The idea is that valve heads can't dissipate much heat through their narrow stems. A lot of heat is dissipated when the valve head sits in its seat. Small valve clearances increase the cam duration and reduce the time valves remain in their seats. Of course, if there's no clearance, then a valve is never in its seat, and the engine won't run.
I think it's more common for clearance to become greater over time as head bolts stretch a bit, and wear on most valve train parts serves to increase, rather than decrease, clearance. However, I guess it's possible for clearance to decrease if the head on a new engine wasn't completely bedded when it was torqued or if there was a lubrication problem in one area. Another possibility is that cold spec settings were used for a warm engine (at least I think clearance decreases as an engine warms) or adjustments were made with the engine at different temperatures.