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  1. #1
    Veteran Member lhfarm's Avatar
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    May 2002
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    1,212
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    Central Indiana
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    NH TC40DA

    Default Recommended frequent starting of autos in sub-zero weather - how about tractors?

    Central Indiana is headed to sub-zero highs Monday and Tuesday. Local news and newspapers putting out lists of actions to take and they recommend "starting your vehicle and letting it idle for short periods occasionally during sub-zero temperatures." Do you follow that recommendation for your tractors? If so, how often do you start them and how long do you let them idle?

    Tractors are in unheated barn. NH has a block heater that I can turn on/off remotely and I have the charger hooked up to the Cub so I can switch it on to make sure the 6V battery is fully charged. Started both yesterday when temperatures in the teens with no issues. I did work both of them.

    I guess my question has more to do with the idea of idling any vehicle for a short period of time. Always thought that was a bad idea.
    Barry
    Lawson Hill Farm
    NH TC40DA
    '64 IH Cub Lo-Boy
    '47 Willys Jeep CJ2a w/ PTO
    '49 Willys Jeep CJ3a w/ PTO & 3pt lift
    http://www.farmjeep.com/

  2. #2
    Super Member bp fick's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
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    5,455
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    Beaver Creek, Northern Michigan
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    Kubota BX2360

    Default Re: Recommended frequent starting of autos in sub-zero weather - how about tractors?

    Those of us who live in the true north are quite accustomed to subzero temps. In fact, −30F is almost a common, every winter happening. Without sounding jaded, those areas that don't see a lot of −5 temps seem to go into panic mode when it happens once in a blue moon.

    Sort of similar to snow and/ice, just a trace, will send folks in the deep south into complete shut down mode, while we have 160 inches every year and pay little to no attention to such things.

    Goodness. The advice to idle a car every few hours is completely irrational, but it likely based on the fact the folks aren't used to weather like this, their cars/tractor/trucks are not properly prepared for real winter, and so the panic.

    Silliness, of course and potentially more harmful than whatever benefit could be realized. Idling produces so much water and with no movement, the water vapor created is damaging. Why not suggest to those who are in "survive the death storm" mentality to shield their car out of the wind, maybe put a 100 watt light bulb safely under the hood, and next year? Have the car properly tuned, fresh anti-freeze, top notch battery, fresh fuel, etc and the car will be just fine.
    BP


    "Some chickens, some gardens and a Kubota."

  3. #3
    Gold Member Monster5601's Avatar
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    May 2010
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    Oakland, MI
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    Kubota B3030 R4 Tires

    Default Re: Recommended frequent starting of autos in sub-zero weather - how about tractors?

    Quote Originally Posted by lhfarm View Post
    I guess my question has more to do with the idea of idling any vehicle for a short period of time. Always thought that was a bad idea.
    I believe that running an engine for short periods (which isn't defined) builds moisture in the crankcase, because of the short run period, the engine does not get hot enough to vapor off the moisture.

    I don't run anything, tractor or vehicles just because of cold weather. I do start and run for about ten minutes before driving off in the truck, more because I want warmth. The tractor or RTV, start and run at high idle for several minutes. As soon as I see the temperature gauge start to move I start using.

    I'm interested see what others do.
    Bob, n8zcc

    Kubota B3030 with R4s
    LA403, 60" bucket with hooks, bolt-on tooth bar, ratchet rake
    BH76 with 16" bucket and thumb
    Kubota Pallet Folks
    Bush Hog 35-06 72" Rear Blade
    Bush Hog SBX60 Box Blade
    Bush Hog Razorback RZ160
    Kubota ZD323-60
    Kubota RTV900 with Curtis hydraulic angle plow

  4. #4
    Veteran Member lhfarm's Avatar
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    May 2002
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    Central Indiana
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    NH TC40DA

    Default Re: Recommended frequent starting of autos in sub-zero weather - how about tractors?

    Quote Originally Posted by bp fick View Post
    Those of us who live in the true north are quite accustomed to subzero temps. In fact, −30F is almost a common, every winter happening. Without sounding jaded, those areas that don't see a lot of −5 temps seem to go into panic mode when it happens once in a blue moon.

    ...
    Goodness. The advice to idle a car every few hours is completely irrational, but it likely based on the fact the folks aren't used to weather like this, their cars/tractor/trucks are not properly prepared for real winter, and so the panic.

    Silliness, of course and potentially more harmful than whatever benefit could be realized. Idling produces so much water and with no movement, the water vapor created is damaging. Why not suggest to those who are in "survive the death storm" mentality to shield their car out of the wind, maybe put a 100 watt light bulb safely under the hood, and next year? Have the car properly tuned, fresh anti-freeze, top notch battery, fresh fuel, etc and the car will be just fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Monster5601 View Post
    I believe that running an engine for short periods (which isn't defined) builds moisture in the crankcase, because of the short run period, the engine does not get hot enough to vapor off the moisture.

    I don't run anything, tractor or vehicles just because of cold weather. I do start and run for about ten minutes before driving off in the truck, more because I want warmth. The tractor or RTV, start and run at high idle for several minutes. As soon as I see the temperature gauge start to move I start using.

    I'm interested see what others do.
    I don't believe I've ever seen the vehicle starting on a "action list" before. These are the coldest temperatures seen around these parts since 1994 The other items appear unchanged, so wondered if something had changed with new engine technology.

    I've never started a tractor and just let it idle. I've at least driven it around the barnyard, once it was up to operating temperature. I just want to be sure they will start when I need them. And I'm going to need them Monday morning to clear the snow.

    Thanks,
    Barry
    Lawson Hill Farm
    NH TC40DA
    '64 IH Cub Lo-Boy
    '47 Willys Jeep CJ2a w/ PTO
    '49 Willys Jeep CJ3a w/ PTO & 3pt lift
    http://www.farmjeep.com/

  5. #5
    Silver Member
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    Dec 2012
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    151
    Location
    Ontario Canada
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    Kubota M7040

    Default Re: Recommended frequent starting of autos in sub-zero weather - how about tractors?

    The often overlooked concern in colder weather is the vehicle's hydraulic systems. I have a kubota M7040 which will start in very cold weather using the glow plugs. Kubota's owner's manual has a table showing how long the tractor should be left at a high idle at different outdoor temps to allow the hydraulic system to warm up. The idling time can be up to 20 minutes. If you have a block heater and run it for 3 or 4 hours before you start the tractor you will ensure it will start. The block heater does nothing to warm the hydraulics so the idle time is still essential

    Dave M7040

  6. #6
    Super Member
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    Northern Fingerlakes region of NY, USA
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    Kubota L3830GST, B7500HST, BX2660

    Default Re: Recommended frequent starting of autos in sub-zero weather - how about tractors?

    Quote Originally Posted by lhfarm View Post
    I guess my question has more to do with the idea of idling any vehicle for a short period of time. Always thought that was a bad idea.
    I wouldn't start anything unless I needed to use it. Cold starts are hard on the engine, battery, etc so I try to do as few of them as possible.

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
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    Ontario
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    CT235

    Default Re: Recommended frequent starting of autos in sub-zero weather - how about tractors?

    Quote Originally Posted by lhfarm View Post
    Central Indiana is headed to sub-zero highs Monday and Tuesday. Local news and newspapers putting out lists of actions to take and they recommend "starting your vehicle and letting it idle for short periods occasionally during sub-zero temperatures." Do you follow that recommendation for your tractors? If so, how often do you start them and how long do you let them idle?
    This is exactly backwards. Hard on the battery, starter, oil, etc etc.

    Modern cars are more than capable of being reliably started down to -30C without any aids. Warm them up for a few minutes and drive them.
    Tim.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member D7E's Avatar
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    manitoba
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    Default Re: Recommended frequent starting of autos in sub-zero weather - how about tractors?

    We are hauling grain at the moment which has landed in some of the coldest weeks we've ever had and i know a lot of semi's that are left running all night as they plain will not be able to start if they get down to that -40 .

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
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    Nov 2008
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    Covington, GA
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    JD 870

    Default Re: Recommended frequent starting of autos in sub-zero weather - how about tractors?

    With sub zero highs you run a greater chance of killing the battery starting it up and letting it idle for a few minutes. Who in the world is going to go outside when it is really cold to start their car? Sure you have remote starter kits but I am not so sure I would want to do that when I cannot hear the funny darned cold weather noises of a car trying to start. My tractor sits until I need it. It might sit months or it might sit a few days or weeks between being used. Second battery in 16 years which means that one should die sometime soon. I spent hours New Years day moving manure so I may not need the tractor for a few months. Usually no snow where I live.

  10. #10
    Elite Member Zebrafive's Avatar
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    South West MI
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    John Deere 2030, John Deere 6415

    Default Re: Recommended frequent starting of autos in sub-zero weather - how about tractors?

    Quote Originally Posted by aczlan View Post
    I wouldn't start anything unless I needed to use it. Cold starts are hard on the engine, battery, etc so I try to do as few of them as possible.

    Aaron Z
    Same here, my tractors can keep sleeping, possibly all winter.
    John Deere 2030 JD 245SL Loader
    John Deere 6415 mfwd JD 640SL Loader

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