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Tip of the Day

Assessing A Used Tractor - Other Important Items to Check
(22 July 2017)

With the engine running, check power steering by rocking the steering wheel left and right. Front wheels should begin to move smoothly without relief valve squeal. Rough front wheel movement might indicate bent hydraulic cylinder rods, worn or seized knuckle joints due to lack of lubrication, or low hydraulic fluid level. With manual steering, hand movement greater than a few inches left or right before front wheels move may indicate worn steering gears (backlash) or worn pivot points in the linkages. Check the gearbox for lubricant leaks around the output shaft seals. Restricted steering wheel movement may indicate bent or twisted linkages or control arms, or poorly lubricated or binding joints.

If the engine can be run, examine the exhaust smoke. At constant engine speed, a black smoke may mean improper fuel, a faulty fuel injection system, incorrect engine timing, or an improperly adjusted carburetor. White smoke at constant engine speed could be due to the wrong fuel type, a low engine temperature because the tractor was not warmed up or has a faulty thermostat, incorrect engine timing, or a coolant leak into the combustion chamber. Even experts are fooled by exhaust smoke systems. Generally, continuous black smoke in diesels is an injection pump/injector-related problem. If white smoke persists, allow the radiator to cool and then remove the radiator cap. Then, while the engine is running again, check for gas bubbles which may indicate a coolant leak.

In dry air filtration systems, remove the filter element from the canister. Look for a dusty spot along the flexible gasket where the element has been bent or improperly seated in the canister. Dust has found a path of least resistance and bypassed the filter to enter the engine and cause unnecessary wear.

Crumpled filter elements seal poorly at the gasket area and may be fractured, which may cause leaking where the pleats are glued to the end caps.

Dust unloader valves collect and store dirt which settles from dry air filter elements. If the rubber is dried, cracked, or torn, as shown on the right, a vacuum created by the engine can pull air and dust into the flawed valve, bypassing the dirty air flow path designed into the filtration system. Excessive dirt accumulates in localized areas of the filter, causing restrictions and plugged elements.

Always check for replacement gas caps on any International Harvester and Case gasoline tractors; check any Ford gasoline tractors produced after 1939. The volatility of gasoline is greater today than several years ago. Because gas tanks on these tractors are located in close proximity to the tractor engine, fuel pressure sometimes builds up beyond the capacity of the original gas cap. If the cap is opened when the fuel is very hot, gas may spray out of the tank and burn the operator. The original gas cap is usually much flatter than a newer replacement cap. Check with dealers about replacement caps if the tractor you are considering has an old-styled cap.

A battery must be firmly anchored and the terminal posts protected to prevent damage. A damaged batter could allow escape of dangerous amounts of hydrogen gas and sulfuric acid. Hydrogen gas is explosive, and sulfuric acid is caustic and will result in chemical burns.

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