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  1. #1
    Veteran Member Charlie_Iliff's Avatar
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    Jun 2001
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    1,896
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    Arnold, MD
    Tractor
    Power Trac PT1845, John Deere 2240, John Deere 950, John Deere 755, Jacobsen Turf Cat II

    Default E-Mail to Power Trac

    Following is the e-mail I sent to Wendy at Power Trac, in an attempt to pose some questions we forgot and some we asked, but not necessarily the right person. I hope it doesn't make Wendy too unhappy that she gave me her e-mail address. She works primarily in the mining equipment area and the computer systems, but volunteered to parcel out the inquiries. I invited her to join the forum, perhaps with others from the company. Maybe they can answer directly on the board, but I'll post anything sent to me.

    I tried to list at least the substance of questions received before we went to Tazewell, and some of you will recognize things lifted from your posts. If you don't find your question or suggestion, I apologize. Post them again and I'll send them along.

    Dear Wendy:

    Following are various questions and areas of interest which were forwarded to us by TBN Power Trac Forum members. We were supposed to get answers to post on the forum, but we kept getting distracted, and only asked some. I know that trying to answer everything at once would be time consuming, and we do realize that some of the questions or suggested changes and new gadgets may not be feasible or advisable. We have a lot of people on the forum, however, and a lot of things come up for discussion. We've had some difficulty getting a dialog going with knowledgeable people at Power Trac. If we can improve the communication, however, and maybe get these questions answered on TBN directly, I think it would do Power Trac a lot of good as well. We enjoy being cheer leaders for Power Trac machines, but the group is pretty good at generating questions.

    I've tried to organize the inquiries into outline form. I suspect if you've looked around the forum posts, you may have seen some of these inquiries, but not in one list. I'm going to post a copy of this on the forum, so might generate some followups, as well:

    Service, Inspection Issues

    1. Hydraulic oil: There is conflicting information in the printed material, on the stickers, and in phone advice which has been received, regarding recommended viscosity, and no information on the oil API standards from Power Trac. {It appears likely that considerable variation may be acceptable, but we'd appreciate additional recommendations and explanation.}

    Printed and sticker recommendations include 5W-30, 10W-30 and 10W-40. PT 425 owners have reported calls to PT in which one was advised to use 5W-30 only. A lengthier telephone recommendation was 10W-40 or 15W-40 Havoline, with change to 5W-30 for easier winter starting, and magnetic block heater on oil reservoir in severe cold. Further recommendation, if affordable, was Mobil 1 Synthetic 10W-30 year round, and a general statement that higher viscosity oils transmit more power in the hydrostatic system.

    Other sources indicate that we should be using either a 10W-30 or 10W-40 viscosity oil, with a diesel API 'C'rating, not necessarily the API 'S' rating. Whether it is synthetic or not, the API 'C' rating appears to be important. Is it?
    In Case skid steers, their hydraulic oil system is 10 gallons, similar to our PTs. They specify an API 'C' rated 10W-30 oil with one quart of Case HTO (hydrostatic oil transmission) additive per every 5 gallons. The major ingredient in the additive is zinc, which is a great anti-wear agent for the hydraulic pumps/motors. The Case suggested oil change out interval is 1000 hours. Power Trac just says to change when dirty.

    One caller to Power Trac was advised that the machines have an additive put in the hydraulic oil when they leave the factory. Is that one with a zinc component? When we change, should we add some such?


    2. Does the variable volume piston pump that supplies oil to the wheel motors have relief valves. If yes, what are they set at. Does the charge pump which is part of the variable volume pump have a relief valve. If yes, what is it set at. Do the wheel motors have relief valves. If yes, what are they set at and how do we test their function? {Some of this is in the service training manual as to which you indicated revisions were under consideration. Although it's a big job, the more comprehensive the manuals can be, the easier it is for us to maintain or get local shops to work on the machines.}

    3. What are the accurate crossover numbers for the various filters for each model Power Trac? We need NAPA, Fram, and others so we can get proper filters locally. Are there any important prerequisites? For instance on the hydraulic filter, is it 10 micron? Is it particulate and water capable? If we are trying to match by size and fit to the spin-on fitting, what are characteristics we need, and what should be avoided? Does filter can volume matter, for instance? If it has a pressure bypass, as almost all do, is there any spec we should be aware of?

    Problems

    4. 60" deck spindles and belts. Hans Luginbuhl, who has the machine in commercial service, has had repeated spindle bearing and belt failures. Are there commercial-grade spindles and belts available that can be retrofit?

    5. The 72" mower deck belt has broken on John Coxon's deck, at relatively low hours, perhaps secondary to his having tightened it too much. There isn't a book or instructions on belt tightness. The v-side of the belt on Charlie Iliff's has multiple cracks apparently caused by its curving backward around the flat tensioner. It hasn't yet failed completely (80 hours apx mowing). Is there a v- belt available that better withstands the serpentine routing?

    6. The 1845s overheat in 10 minutes of normal mowing use, requiring removing 4 bolts, two plates and blowing out the oil cooler. The problem is chaff injestion. We have discussed this in some detail and saw some work being done. We're hopeful that the modification(s) will be done soon.

    7. A number of 425 owners have reported overheating and melting the battery top even on brand new machines. On Monday, Hans got the exhaust modification for his - to replace the stock, much heavier duty, air cooled, and designed to reduce heat exposure on battery. Is there a program in the works to advise PT 425 owners of the availability of that muffler?

    Dynamics and Geometry of the 425.

    1. The 425 with 60" mower lifts its uphill front wheel when side hill mowing, which is at least scary, and potentially dangerous, What causes it? Is there a test program aimed at some modification/retrofit? This has been reported repeatedly with only the response a long time ago that it was being addressed, but no followup from PT.
    a. Dual wheels might fix? Can it be reinforced to take increased loads they might pose? Has there been actual analysis and testing of duals, or failure that was attributed to their use in the past?
    b. Does weight distribution matter? Could added weights, filled tires, or other addition help without causing damage or unanticipated handling problems?

    2. Particularly if not exactly straight, the machine lifts its rear when lifting loads with front hydraulics, even where loads aren't at rated maximum. Can suitcase weights or filled rear tires or other rear weight be used to increase capability and reduce tip forward or to side?
    a. Can the articulating joint take it?
    b. If there is a perceived problem in filling tires for loads on bearings, mount points or motors, what is the mechanism by which filled tires might increase load beyond acceptable levels? Have increased loads actually been quantified by testing and measurement?

    Dream Sheet: Suggestions/ Wish list - Attachments

    Are any of the following being contemplated, particularly for 425? Do they make sense?

    1. Hydraulic attachments
    a. hydraulic powered chipper/shredder
    b. hydraulic powered hedge trimmer
    c. lift - work platform
    d. hydraulic powered generator

    2. Mulch pump for dump trailer and large bucket, with nozzle so mulch can be distributed in beds

    3. Light kits ( A lot of interest both as options and for retrofit)
    1. Headlights high under ROPS.
    2. Rear floods - also high
    3. Flashers for road travel

    4. Rear view mirrors inside ROPS so branches don't remove them.

    5. A change from the pin hitch in back to a 2" (or 1 1/4" on the 400 series) receiver so various hitches can be used. Also, a basket or carryall can then be mounted on the insert for miscellaneous gear, chain saw, tools, etc. (See Charlie Iliff's pictures on TBN)

    6. Additional hydraulic circuit(s) and joystick controls.

    Power Trac now offers a 4 n 1 bucket and a mini hoe. Both work very much more easily if the hydraulic control is on the joystick rather than the aux PTO lever in front of the left knee. Posted on TBN are a series of fairly detailed explanations of the button-activated diverter valve which allows control of the 4 n 1 and hoe without removing right hand from joystick. That cost over $400 full retail for everything. PT should be able to offer a retrofit kit and a new machine option for about half that or a little more.
    You have to hurry, though, because otherwise at least two sales will be missed. John and Hans both want them, and haven't yet really gotten used to controlling their hoes with the knee button.

    6. And the ultimate: a multi-function articulating arm, with attachments including:
    a. medium duty grapple to pick up brush, trash, etc.
    b. string trimmer
    c. sickle bar hedge trimmer
    d. backscratcher


    We already know that some may not make sense or may not be economically feasible, of course. Thus the title "Dream Sheet." Some shouldn't be difficult and would be universally useful, however, such as the rear-view mirrors with brackets on the ROPS.
    As you see from the posts on TBN, there is a lot of interest in new attachments in the works, and the new photos on your website. It's hard to gauge actual market, but please try using TBN as a sounding board. If you ask the group whether there is any interest in an attachment under consideration, you may get some worthwhile responses. It's a free focus group.




  2. #2
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    23,806
    Location
    South Bend, Indiana (near)
    Tractor
    Power Trac PT425 2001 Model Year

    Default Re: E-Mail to Power Trac

    Thanks, Charlie.

    David G.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
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    2,207
    Location
    Montana (Near Bozeman)
    Tractor
    PowerTrac 425 (September 2003)

    Default Re: E-Mail to Power Trac

    Charlie,
    Well done, thanks for all your hard work.
    PJ

  4. #4
    Gold Member
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    Mar 2002
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    300
    Tractor
    Toro 266H and PT422

    Default Re: E-Mail to Power Trac

    Charlie,

    Great job, and Hans, great job as well. I looking forward to a PT response. PT has good machinery, it will be interesting to see how they respond to us group of passionate owners.

    Duane

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
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    Mar 2002
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    945
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Tractor
    PT425, Kubota L2050, 3 hydrostatic Exmark mowers. Z21D Kubota ZTR, 2 Kunz acrease wing mowers, 1 rough cut kunz mower, one vintage grasshopper ztr, one vintage gravely ztr, various large garden tracto

    Default Great Job Partner

    Charlie,
    thanks very much for your great amount of work preparing this piece correspondence. your diligence in researching facts, consolidating our wishes, imputes, questions and problems is exemplary.
    i also would like to thank you for contributing to our 1000 miles trip to Tazwell by your pleasant company, carrying part of the cost, but mostly your assistance in driving one entire lap of our journey.

  6. #6
    Gold Member
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    Apr 2002
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    Location
    Dexter, MI
    Tractor
    BX-2200

    Default Re: E-Mail to Power Trac

    I agree, very nice job Charlie & Hans
    As long as were at it and creating a dream list, I'd like to add my $.02, since I plan to be a future PT owner.

    My additions are based on my experience and past discussion threads. There are numerous discussions on bar tread vs. turf tread and from the pictures that I have seen the turf, tread looks really tight. The are also numerous post on the loudness of the machine.

    My dream sheet addition/request
    1. A hybrid type tire option such as the Firestone turf & field G2 tires. These tires come in the standard PT size of 23-10.50-12. See attachment.
    2. A 3000 rpm 23-25hp engine option for the PT 400 series, I believe this would reduce some of the noise level of these machines.

    I would also want to know that the problem with the mower spindle bearings was addressed/resolved or a preventive maintenance procedure in place for this problem prior to my purchase of a pt 400 w/ a 60 deck.

    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Charlie_Iliff's Avatar
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    Jun 2001
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    Arnold, MD
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    Power Trac PT1845, John Deere 2240, John Deere 950, John Deere 755, Jacobsen Turf Cat II

    Default Re: E-Mail to Power Trac

    Tim:
    While we were at Power Trac, John, Hans and I had considerable discussion about tires. Hans is a firm believer in turf tires. He uses them on all of his machines, including for snow removal, and believes they perform better than bar treads. John has the Power Trac option bar treads on his PT1845. I have turfs. Initially, I thought I had made the wrong choice, but after Power Trac advised that I drop the pressure to 10psi, I have been pleased. John is noticing significant wear on the bar treads, and recently had a puncture. The tires in your attachment may be a good choice, but so far I can't complain about the turfs. I have talked several times with Terry Estep at Power Trac who assures me that turf tires have as much traction as the bar treads. John and I have long worked with ag tires, however, and if it doesn't look like the tire on the John Deere B, we are suspicious.
    There is a huge amount of tire discussion and debate on the TBN board, of course, and Mark Chalkley has often recommended a Michelin industrial tire. I don't know what the tread looks like or whether it comes in PT sizes. I also don't know whether putting an industrial type tire, with thick tread and stiff sidewalls would be a good idea on a PT even if it increased puncture resistance. It certanly would make the ride harsher and beat up the machine.
    As to the engine, whenever there has been an inquiry about another option, the PT response has been that they are happy with their current engine selections. A number of people have asked about a little diesel in the 400 series, but I have no indication that Power Trac will look in that direction.
    Hans got the new muffler for his Kohler on Monday. When he gets it installed, we need to remind him to report on the sound suppression.
    I hope someone from PT will see your post and respond. If not, remind me and I'll send a separate e-mail.

  8. #8
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
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    123
    Location
    Patuxent River, MD
    Tractor
    MF 2300

    Default Re: E-Mail to Power Trac

    Charlie,
    Thanks for the report. Do you know if they have a new muffler for the 422 Robin? It's pretty loud too. Also, I asked them for oil filter cross references one time and was flatly told "no". I managed to get a cross ref from the local Robin dealer.

    Scott

  9. #9
    Silver Member Carpenter's Avatar
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    Apr 2001
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    183
    Location
    N.E. Oregon
    Tractor
    PT425

    Default Re: E-Mail to Power Trac

    Charlie, Great email. Thanks to you, Hans and John for all the info gathered on your trip to Tazwell. You guys did such a good job that I might not visit PT while in Va. That'll leave more time for mountainbiking and I won't be tempted to leave with any new toys! [img]/w3tcompact/icons/laugh.gif[/img]

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Charlie_Iliff's Avatar
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    Jun 2001
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    1,896
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    Arnold, MD
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    Power Trac PT1845, John Deere 2240, John Deere 950, John Deere 755, Jacobsen Turf Cat II

    Default Re: E-Mail to Power Trac

    <font color=red>...I might not visit PT while in Va.</font color=red>

    But think of how much fun you'd have marching in and demanding: "You've had the TBN list of questions for three days, already - where are the #@$%#^&amp;% answers."

    And you don't have to buy anything. Just use discipline and self-restraint ... Somebody on this board must have some.

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