Idle tractor or turn off?

   #1  

namesray

Platinum Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2011
Messages
726
Location
nc PA.
Tractor
kubota rtv900: kubota mx5200
I can't make up my mind on this one. I have been using my loader forks to lift tree tops up as a saw buck to block firewood at waist height. I really like doing it this way for many reasons. However, I don't like the tractor running the whole time just to sit there and hold the log up. I would be cutting a lot of firewood this way, so the hours will add up. My average time per top is 10 to 15 minutes off the tractor cutting.

If I shut the tractor off each time, it would be getting a lot of start ups. I would be skidding the tops out, lifting on forks, then turn off.So tractor would be getting run 15 to 45 minutes each time to skid tops out of woods, shut off after lifting top to cut up for 10 to 15 minutes, then restarted to repeat process. Could save 70 plus hours a year if I shut it off each time. Like I say, I would be doing this a lot.

So I am asking, which way would be best for the tractor long term over the years? Does all those restarts do much harm, or would idling or high idle do more harm? Tractor is a kubota mx5200dt and has a tier 4 dpf.
 
   #2  

CalG

Elite Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2011
Messages
3,691
Location
vermont
Tractor
Hurlimann 435, Fordson E27n, Bolens HT-23, Kubota B7200
I grappled with this same issue for about ,,,ahh.... ten minutes. TURN THE ENGINE OFF!

Modern engines and lubrication assure that you will be long dead before start stop cycles kill the engine.
They are just that good.

With one less "distraction" of the running tractor engine, your saw work will go more quickly and return to you a greater sense of well being.



I can't make up my mind on this one. I have been using my loader forks to lift tree tops up as a saw buck to block firewood at waist height. I really like doing it this way for many reasons. However, I don't like the tractor running the whole time just to sit there and hold the log up. I would be cutting a lot of firewood this way, so the hours will add up. My average time per top is 10 to 15 minutes off the tractor cutting.

If I shut the tractor off each time, it would be getting a lot of start ups. I would be skidding the tops out, lifting on forks, then turn off.So tractor would be getting run 15 to 45 minutes each time to skid tops out of woods, shut off after lifting top to cut up for 10 to 15 minutes, then restarted to repeat process. Could save 70 plus hours a year if I shut it off each time. Like I say, I would be doing this a lot.

So I am asking, which way would be best for the tractor long term over the years? Does all those restarts do much harm, or would idling or high idle do more harm? Tractor is a kubota mx5200dt and has a tier 4 dpf.
 
   #3  

shui5612

Silver Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2014
Messages
127
Location
Montreal
Tractor
2013 Yanmar SC2450, 2008 Kubota ZD326, 1986 Deutz 7085
The way I see it is that if you turn the tractor on and off it puts more wear on the starter, battery, generator (that needs to recharge battery).

Diesels like being run at idle even if it is for the whole day as it keeps everything lubricated and at operating temperatures.

Not only that, by your description you will be turning it back on and then going straight to work (lifting a log or skidding). This puts some stress on the drivetrain and pump/hydraulics. The way I see it is that leaving it running in between lifting a log and skidding the next one, this 10-15 minute helps the oil and everything cool off slowly and stay lubricated. Therefore I would leave it running personally.

On a side note, 1hour on the tachometer is not actually one hour. Most of them are RPM dependent and when you run at idle, the 1 hour mark takes up more than actual 60minutes. While running at max rpm, the hour is far less than actual 60minutes.

I recall someone timing their tractor and it was something like 1tach hour at idle was something like 1 hour and 20minutes of actual time and 1tach hour at max rpm was something like 35 actual minutes.

I think the point where 1 tag hour equals 1 actual hour is at the speed indicated as being 540rpm for the pto.

Hope this helps.
 
   #4  

bdog

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Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
2,613
Location
Texas
Tractor
Kioti RX 7320
I was doing a lot of work today with my tractor. Using it and my skidsteer we spread out 275 tons of crushed asphalt. The tractor was used probably five hours today but I started it at 8AM and didn't turn it off until 6pm. I hate stopping and starting engines.
 
   #5  

David_Kb7uns

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2005
Messages
2,013
Location
Willamette Valley Oregon
Tractor
Kubota X 4
If over 5 minutes I turn off.

Use grapples to hold up one end of Doug Fir trees to limb, walk up one side down the other with saw, if it was short time with saw I would leave going but on the trees with a lot of limbs I just shut down starters are not that hard to work on and the newer Kubota diesels like to be worked and not just idled.

All of my tractors no longer have tractormeters and just record straight time run time and are not RPM dependent so idle time is the same as full throttle time.

David
 
   #6  

holeycow

Gold Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
474
Location
I am here
Tractor
Minneapolis Moline
High idle. Never 0 throttle while sitting. Especially in the cold.
 
   #8  

cford36

Gold Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2006
Messages
327
Location
Western, NY
Tractor
LS3135HC
The idea that tractors can run all day at idle may be true for older diesels, not tier 4 engines. All your going to do is plug up all the emissions crap. These engines are more efficient meaning more of that energy is used for work that turned into excess heat. You will not maintain a high enough exhaust temp at idle. At minimum high idle, but your probably better off turning it off.
 

Sysop

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Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Messages
3,316
Location
Fairmont, WV
Tractor
Mahindra 4035HST purchased 2013 - Husqvarna TS348-D purchased 2019 - Craftsman 42" HST purchased 2003
I'll stick with leaving it run unless down time is lengthy, like going to lunch where one beer may equal 2-3.

Ron

Agreed. When I work all day with my tractor, it runs most of the time, especially when it is cooler out and will cool down faster. On hot days when I know it won't cool down much after getting it to operating temps, I'm more likely to shut it off between tasks. If I'm walking away or going to be busy at other tasks for about 20-30 minutes or more, it gets shut down.

That being said; I like silence a lot and consider the quietest of internal combustion engines to be very loud, so I do prefer working it on hot days when I can shut it down more often. I don't have to worry about regens and DPF clogs and other tier4 problems, so idle is a common setting for my throttle, and short runtimes aren't always uncommon...
 
 
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