Idle tractor or turn off?

Gary Fowler

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Joined
Jun 23, 2008
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11,997
Location
Bismarck Arkansas
Tractor
2009 Kubota RTV 900, 2009 Kubota B26 TLB & 2010 model LS P7010
I don't worry about battery or starter life or running up hours on my engine. If I know I will be off the tractor for more than a few minutes AND I don't want to have a warm or cool cab when returning, I will shut it down but if it is dead heat of summer, I will leave it running so that I have a cool environment to return too after getting heated up.

In the long run, I don't see any benefit to longevity or cost to run in either scenario. 10-20 minutes of 1200-1500 RPM idle fuel cost is negligible and cost of starter/battery to start up is also negligible. What it boils down to is, do you need the hear the motor running or is quiet better for you and does leaving it running create any danger. If not, then shut it off or leave it running, not a lot of difference either way. I don't worry about running up the hours because any of my tractors are going to outlive me regardless of how much they run at idle or full throttle.
 

joeu235

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Mar 27, 2014
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723
Location
Little River, TX
Tractor
John Deere 4020 / 6403 / 317 Ford 5600
The manual for my tractor and skid steer says to idle down the engine for 10 minutes after working it hard to cool down the turbo.
 

MHarryE

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Feb 15, 2009
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2,685
Location
Northeastern Minnesota
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Kubota M7-171, Kubota M110GX, IH 4386, IH1486, Case 301.8, Kubota L6060, plus many others
Job site with 4 machines that would sit waiting for the next load. One operator shut down, the other 3 let idle. One day I show up and the dealer's truck is at the machine that had always been shut down. I asked one of the crew members - they had told the person she was asking for trouble by always shutting down and sure enough, starter failure. I have found that operators who run the machines for a living rarely idle unless its going to be a half hour or more down time.
 

RPW

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Aug 12, 2009
Messages
1,103
If I'm off the tractor for more than a couple of minutes but still working on a task I'll set my throttle to about 1000 to 1200rpms. That's enough to keep the engine from cooling down to much and allowing oil contamination from blow by. Then if possible I'll set the FEL and or 3pt down and put the tractor in park.
 

ericm979

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Nov 25, 2016
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3,927
Location
Santa Cruz Mountains, Ca
Tractor
Branson 3725H
Starters are cheaper than DPF filters. LOTS cheaper. Even on my old tractor without DPF I would shut it off if was idling for more than a few minutes. I don't like the noise and diesel stink. CUTs aren't long haul trucks or older large machinery that has complex starting procedures such as donkey engines. Those have a reason to be left idling. Small tractors that start instantly don't.

When I got my 3725 the dealer said to not let it idle for long periods as its not good for the DPF. The Kubota dealer said that too.
 

N80

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Aug 2, 2005
Messages
6,388
Location
SC
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Kubota L4400 4wd w/LA 703 FEL
I guess the issue is idle speed. My tractor has a way for you to lift the seat so that the PTO stays running. In other words, it overrides the seat cutoff safety switch. This is available for running a pump, etc for long periods via the PTO. Therefore, the engine is specifically made to run for long periods at constant RPM. Now, that RPM might not be idle speed but there is no doubt simple, small NA Kubota diesels were made to handle long periods of constant RPMs. Not sure what the ideal RPM is. Don't recall anything about that in my manual but it has been years since I read it in any detail.

Bottom line, regardless of the tractor, the difference between 5 minutes and and hour of idling is probably insignificant.
 

Dadnatron

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Mar 24, 2016
Messages
1,113
Location
Versailles, KY
Tractor
JD 5100e with FEL
One question... In General... what information is the first thing given for almost each and every used tractor?

Hint: It isn't 'battery level'.
 

N80

Super Member
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Aug 2, 2005
Messages
6,388
Location
SC
Tractor
Kubota L4400 4wd w/LA 703 FEL
One question... In General... what information is the first thing given for almost each and every used tractor?

Hint: It isn't 'battery level'.

Hours. Most tractors, as I understand it, count hours only at or around PTO RPM range (around 2100 RPM on my tractor). So running it at idle or even 1100 RPM is not likely to cost you anything on your hour meter.

Again, I think we're worrying about nothing here.
 

motownbrowne

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Dec 30, 2013
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Location
river falls, wi
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Kubota mx4700 HST, New Holland TC-29D
Hours. Most tractors, as I understand it, count hours only at or around PTO RPM range (around 2100 RPM on my tractor). So running it at idle or even 1100 RPM is not likely to cost you anything on your hour meter.

Again, I think we're worrying about nothing here.

That's definitely the way it used to be, but I think most of them are just counting hours with the key on now. So, an hour of run time is an hour on the meter regardless of RPM.
 

PILOON

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Aug 26, 2004
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10,294
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North of Mtl,Que,Can (Ste Adele)
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MT180D
A diesel engine is basically designed to run on and on at constant RPMs vs gazers that are designed for constant variable RPMs ( like a car) honestly do not believe long idles are harmful to a diesel engine, OK for lubrication perhaps a fast idle is better ( your oil pressure gauge will be the guiding light! (enough RPM's to keep pressure in the green zone!)
 
 
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