Aluminum vs. Cast Iron as tractor components in CUTS and SCUTS?

   / Aluminum vs. Cast Iron as tractor components in CUTS and SCUTS? #1  

Threepoint

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In another thread today, the comment was made that some tractor brands are using aluminum instead of cast iron for certain key components on SCUTS and CUTS, including transmission cases. I hadn't thought much about this, but it has me curious.

I'd like to learn more about this, from the collective wisdom of the TBN community. :) Especially advantages and disadvantages of aircraft-grade aluminum vs. well-cast, ductile iron for various parts. One situation that comes to mind is hooking up a PTO-driven implement with a shaft too long for the tractor. A broken transmission case can result when the hitch is suddenly raised too high. Would the aluminum or cast iron be better able to withstand the force? :scratchchin: This is just one example where I'm thinking it might make a difference, depending on the goal of the material choice.
 
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   / Aluminum vs. Cast Iron as tractor components in CUTS and SCUTS? #2  

4570Man

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John Deere is the only one I know of doing it. Someone mentioned Kubota but every Kubota I’ve seen is cast. The most obvious problem is weight or lack there of. I think there’s too many variables to conclude which one is stronger. We know nothing about the material grades, thickness or design specs.
 
   / Aluminum vs. Cast Iron as tractor components in CUTS and SCUTS? #3  

CADplans

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I have both,, the aluminum is strong enough, if you do nothing stupid,,
If you do something stupid enough, you can break iron,,, also.

Personal preference? My choice is, and always will be aluminum,,
The lighter tractor is WAY more maneuverable,, the cast iron tractors are like driving a boat anchor,,

A can add weight, if a tractor needs to be heavy. :thumbsup:
 
   / Aluminum vs. Cast Iron as tractor components in CUTS and SCUTS? #4  

Old Guy in Tenn

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The weight of the component is significant. A transmission case or axle housing is big, and iron weighs a lot more than aluminum. If weight is significant in your application, as in most, the extra weight will be appreciated.
 
   / Aluminum vs. Cast Iron as tractor components in CUTS and SCUTS? #5  

LD1

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In this case, Is NOT about what material is used. Its about design.

You CAN engineer an aluminum case to be just as strong as iron. Webbing, re-enforcing, thicker, etc.

While there are different grades of material, both iron and aluminum.....general rule is pound for pound aluminum is stronger. But size for size, iron is stronger.

IE.....lets say you have a given part of iron, and if you make it identical in dimension out of aluminum.....the aluminum will be weaker. But if you have room to make the aluminum part physically LARGER....you can make it JUST AS STRONG as the iron part....while weighing less.

Engine blocks, cylinder heads, transmission and transfer cases....all been made out of aluminum for decades. IT has its advantages and disadvantages.....but overall I'd say strength isnt one of them
 
   / Aluminum vs. Cast Iron as tractor components in CUTS and SCUTS? #6  

ptsg

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First we should clarify if we're talking about aluminium or aluminum? :laughing:

Then, I don't think they use aircraft grade aluminium on tractors but I might be wrong.

There was a thread not too long ago, that for the life of me I can't find, where a JD 2038 if I recall correctly that broke all the PTO bearing housings inside the case. That case was pretty much junk, exactly because it's cast aluminium. The owner was still going to use the tractor because he didn't need the PTO.

I thought Kubota still used aluminium on their transmission cases, but apparently they don't do it anymore. My previous tractor was a Kubota B7000 that other than the front axle and engine block, everything else was aluminium.

I don't think that the extra weight of the cast iron will make that much of a difference in maneuverability. My tractors squeezes just fine in tights spots and it weights close to 3700 lbs with the rear tires filled with water and heavy winch on the front, not including the loader here.

A tractor with aluminium cases wouldn't last much on a brush clearing environment here in my country. We use brush mowers with high strength chains in place of a regular set of blades. Those things will eat anything as long as the tractor has enough HP, but will also create lots of shock loads through the drive line. Usually we use 2 chains per mower, but higher HP tractors will use 4 chains.
 
   / Aluminum vs. Cast Iron as tractor components in CUTS and SCUTS? #7  

LD1

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Then, I don't think they use aircraft grade aluminium on tractors but I might be wrong.

I HATE the phrase "aircraft grade alumimum".

ITs simply nothing more than a buzz word probably coined by some marketer selling some product somewhere made out of aluminum. And the average person hears its and they thing "oooh, some super amazing and rare aluminum that is better than any other aluminum". There are different alloys of aluminum. There is no one "best for all". Some are stronger, some harder, some more bendable, some more weldable, etc.

A tractor with aluminium cases wouldn't last much on a brush clearing environment here in my country. We use brush mowers with high strength chains in place of a regular set of blades. Those things will eat anything as long as the tractor has enough HP, but will also create lots of shock loads through the drive line. Usually we use 2 chains per mower, but higher HP tractors will use 4 chains.

Same mindset and misconception that many have.

Again, its not about the material, its about the design / engineering.

Cast aluminum can be made just as strong as any of those tractors you use for brush clearing and will handle the shock loads just as well.
 
   / Aluminum vs. Cast Iron as tractor components in CUTS and SCUTS? #8  

ptsg

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Same mindset and misconception that many have.

Again, its not about the material, its about the design / engineering.

Cast aluminum can be made just as strong as any of those tractors you use for brush clearing and will handle the shock loads just as well.

I'm still not sold on aluminium for anything above SCUTS.

Can you put as many miles on a aluminium engine block versus a cast iron one?
 
   / Aluminum vs. Cast Iron as tractor components in CUTS and SCUTS? #9  

mcfarmall

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Die cast aluminum reeks of cheap to me. Why do you think it's such a popular choice? Because it's cheaper to manufacture and assemble. A die cast machine can outproduce an iron foundry any day of the week. Aluminum die castings can utilize self tapping zip screws for assembly while cast iron typically requires drilling and tapping. Many sealing surfaces and assembly bosses, etc. don't need machining with die castings.
 
   / Aluminum vs. Cast Iron as tractor components in CUTS and SCUTS? #10  

Ortimber

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I HATE the phrase "aircraft grade alumimum".

ITs simply nothing more than a buzz word probably coined by some marketer selling some product somewhere made out of aluminum. And the average person hears its and they thing "oooh, some super amazing and rare aluminum that is better than any other aluminum". There are different alloys of aluminum. There is no one "best for all". Some are stronger, some harder, some more bendable, some more weldable, etc.



Same mindset and misconception that many have.

Again, its not about the material, its about the design / engineering.

Cast aluminum can be made just as strong as any of those tractors you use for brush clearing and will handle the shock loads just as well.

This is absolutely correct....

Military, aircraft, and worse yet tactical grade verbiage is just a marketing scheme and it’s highly annoying for those that understand that the typical aluminum alloy used in almost any application is not any different than what we use when making aircraft parts.

I’m looking at new pickups, and every salesman says that “their” brand uses military grade aluminum for body panels. Ok, what makes it military grade??? There’s never a good answer.
 
 
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