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  1. #11
    Platinum Member
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    Default Re: Life of a tractor

    #1 cause of engine damage is dirt getting past the filter. Change them often (or clean the old ones with oil bath)

    #2 is contaminated fluids. Typically people "forget" to change the transmission, differential and hydraulic fluids. Water builds up and rust never sleeps. Extreme cases of water freezing and breaking the casting.


    Other than that, just keep the grease fittings in use.



    I rebuilt a 1960's ford that the previous (idiot) owner started with ether and blew the ring lands off and scored a cylinder. It had well over 10,000 hours and would have been "no bore" except for the scoring.

    The old ones typically had heavier blocks, larger bores, longer strokes, operated at lower rpms and less hp / cu in. All those things lead to dramatically long lives when maintained. New ones are lighter, smaller, make more hp / cu in but operate at 2x the rpms. You do the math, a new one running 5000 hours at 3000 rpm is equal to an old one running 10,000 hours at 1500 rpm. That's the biggest thing on why the old stuff lasts longer.

  2. #12
    Veteran Member MHarryE's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
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    1,560
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    Northeastern Minnesota
    Tractor
    JD 7720; Kubota M135GX, NH TS115A; JD 6230; Kubota L5740

    Default

    ASAE used to have a design guideline for manufacturers, but that was 40 years ago. For example, an ag tractor design life then was 5,000 hours with 60% of the original purchase price to be spent on repairs during that lifetime. This was a guideline for average use, but of course you hear of the person getting 10,000 hours plus. But I have talked to a lot of users who say their tractor has lived super long and is also incredibly easy on fuel. One person told me he used only 3 gallons per hour. I checked the Nebraska test for his tractor - full power, for which the tractor was designed, used 8 gallons per hour. He was averaging less than 50% load. There is an industry standard for gear life calculation. For a gearbox capable of handling full engine torque, Time at 50% of max torque are insignificant in drive life. For example, I have a planetary drive that will live 100,000 hours at 500 ft.-lb. torque but only 3,000 hours at 1,000 ft.-lb. torque. The ASAE standard went by the wayside many years ago. Improved materals and manufacturing methods, let alone improved designs, blew those standards out of the water.
    JD7720; KubotaM135GX; NH TS115A; JD6230; KubotaL5740

  3. #13
    Platinum Member
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    Jan 2012
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    933
    Tractor
    2012 John Deere 3520 Deluxe Cab

    Default Re: Life of a tractor

    this question cannot be answered at all for anyone. to many factors its rediculous to even accept an attempt of an answer. could mean the matter of 5 years or 20 years.

  4. #14
    Gold Member the6shooter's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
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    455
    Location
    oklahoma
    Tractor
    MF 1643

    Default Re: Life of a tractor

    I have a frend that has a Case, It's 4 yrs old, it runs a tiller, chisel plow, and a mower. In 4 yrs it only had occasional oil filter and new oil. one day he was shopping for a new tractor, (that he couldn't afford) and I asked him what was wrong with the Case, he said the hydrolics was shot, couldn't get it to move or lift anything on the 3 pt.
    I asked him when was the last time you had it serviced, and he said it was never serviced. (how stupid can you be). I got him to buy 30 gals of hydro fluid and 2 new filters. I helped him with the 1st fluid change and the Case took off like a rabbit. hydro fluid that came out was like mud, and nothing came out of the filter. one week later we did it again, and still dirty hydro fluid
    and changed it again. Finally the fluid was clear. now after this he does a hydro change every 6 months. He said that was the cheapest new tractor he ever bought. That poor Case spends all of it's life in the dirt, you got to get down and dirty with them from time to time. I spend alot of time under mine and try and keep it as new as possible. hydro fluid, oil, grease and filters are sure cheaper than new tractors. oh and yes oem parts are better than the after markets. They do tend to last and fit better than the parts warehouse supplyers sell.
    And last but not the least, don't let them set out in the weather. I myself had a smaller massey that never was brought inside for storage and it was aging faster than one thats stored inside. I shinned that on for yrs. myself. but never again.
    david

  5. #15
    Gold Member 8404's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
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    North Mississippi
    Tractor
    Cub Cadet 8404 or DK 40 Kioti

    Default Re: Life of a tractor

    you can keep it going untill they quilt building replacement parts for it.

  6. #16
    Super Member mjncad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Life of a tractor

    Quote Originally Posted by Verticaltrx View Post
    You can basically keep a tractor going as long as you have parts for it.
    And money.

    Quote Originally Posted by varmint View Post
    I have no idea if constant speed running is better or worse than variable for service life.
    As I understand it, constant speed is better for engine life than running it up and down the RPM band. Anyone with a definitive answer to Varmint's question and my assertion, please chime in.
    Paraphrasing Douglas Adams - So long and thanks for all the bacon.

  7. #17
    Platinum Member
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    Default Re: Life of a tractor

    Quote Originally Posted by mjncad View Post


    As I understand it, constant speed is better for engine life than running it up and down the RPM band. Anyone with a definitive answer to Varmint's question and my assertion, please chime in.
    Short explanation of wear;
    Wear is caused by friction from rubbing things together. Minimize friction and you minimize wear.

    Those that are "saving" the engine by running at low rpm, but wind up lugging the engine -- may be putting a far greater load on it for a far longer time and accelerating wear! The load on the crank when lugging may be so high is collapses the oil film cushioning the piston wrist pin and the crank bearings. No oil cushion = faster wear!

    We've all heard initial start up causes most of the wear. That's because the oil has drained off the moving parts and they no longer ride on a cushion of oil. Just like when the engine is lugging....


    Confused ? Me too. It's a vast area of study !


    Best thing to do is to be nice to the machine until it warms up. Don't lug the engine. Keep the air filter clean. Grit that gets past the filter WILL be larger than the thickness of the oil cushion. Then it is grinding with each revolution.

  8. #18
    Gold Member
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    Nov 2005
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    271
    Location
    Texas
    Tractor
    NH TN70D, NH L190

    Default Re: Life of a tractor

    Thanks guys, I appreciate all your thoughts and ideas. The tractor I will be using for this mowing business is a NH TN70D that I bought new in 2000. It has about 1600hrs on it. It is in very good shape having had only a few minor repairs on it and normal maintenance. I suspect that if the mowing business takes off, it will get more frequent use in the future. I will be using the life expectancy numbers gleaned from this thread to do a life cycle cost analysis of the tractor. I will then use those numbers to develop a per acre sliding rate scale for mowing.

    I did a search on this forum about mowing issues, there was a lot of good info and discussion.

    Thank you for your insights,

    Tim

  9. #19
    Elite Member jonyyuma's Avatar
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    35 miles North of Memphis,TN
    Tractor
    kubota L3000dt, ford 8n1952

    Default Re: Life of a tractor

    When I worked at IH plant it had a warranty sign for 1500 hrs on the equipment..Then you were on your own for the next 15,000 hrs? Or longer? Who know how long Ford 2N, 8N, 9N tractors have run..
    Okay, Legal disclaimer: Old but not senile, definitely do not have the answer to everything!

  10. #20
    Super Member mjncad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Life of a tractor

    Quote Originally Posted by tmc_31 View Post
    I will then use those numbers to develop a per acre sliding rate scale for mowing.

    Thank you for your insights,

    Tim
    My suggestion is forget the sliding scale as it just makes your bookkeeping life more complicated. Figure out an hourly rate or per acre rate that is fair and allows you to make a profit.

    You might tack on a refundable fee for customers to cover unseen debris if the field is overgrown and has limited visibility. That way if you nail a block of concrete or something you have at least something to pay for repairs. If the field mows cleanly, refund the fee to customers and thank them for having a debris free field.

    Or you might add a fee for difficult terrain.

    Just a thought since the fee seems to work for the rental equipment companies, airlines and Gummint as a way to screw people out of their money.
    Paraphrasing Douglas Adams - So long and thanks for all the bacon.

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