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Re: WD gears grinding when shifting
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For the new owner of a WD, there are operating considerations that shed light on the conventional wisdom of clutching and shifting and allow optimization of the technical advances of this model over the WC.
As with the WC, if using the tractor to pull a plow or haul a hay wagon, use of the foot clutch will never let you down. However, you still must bring the tractor to a dead stop to change gears. The hand clutch on the WD originally allowed the use of the rotobaler, so that forward motion could be interrupted while maintaining PTO drive.
With the passage of time, WD owners decided to use the WD with brush hogs and back blades, which were not considered at the time of conception. In the case of the brush hog, if hogging around trees, or ditches or fencelines, it is desireable to shift from a forward gear to reverse without disengaging the PTO. In the case of pushing snow with a rear mounted blade, it is desireable to maintain hydraulic pump operation while shifting from forward to reverse, so that the blade can be lifted while the transmission is shifted.
In either case, this is how you do it. Push the hand clutch all the way forward while leaving the transmission in gear. Bring the tractor to a dead stop, using the brakes as necessary. This brings the transmission to a complete stop. Nothing is spinning aft of the wet clutch. Shift quickly and smoothly from one gear to another. Pull the hand clutch back. Once the driveline is broken, the transmission does not know if it is broken at the front or back of the engine clutch shaft.
If the shift is made after sitting with the transmission in neutral, the potential concern exists that hydraulic coupling within the wet clutch will cause the input shaft to the transmission to start revolving again. This tendency diminishes at the oil warms up and thins a little with use. It is also important to use oil no thicker than the specified 80EP or 80W90 and change it before it turns to mud. The cumulative clearance between the clutch plates in the clutch pack should be kept near the specified 0.065" when servicing the clutch. Setting it up tighter will result in a firmer short throw clutch handle and a clutch less likely to slip, but will lead to more viscous coupling. This is probably a more critical adjustment in the WD45's with the three plate clutch.
A hand clutch set for maximum clamping action and maximum pulling power will not be set up for easy shifting with the hand clutch.
A harmful tendency that can occur when using the hand clutch to shift is failing to throw the hand clutch all the way forward and to use the brake as necessary to stop the motion of the tractor. This requires reaching forward with the right arm and right foot at the same time. For those of us older than our tractor, this becomes a bit of a stretch and makes hogging and blading a tiring job.
One reason that shifting with the foot clutch is more forgiving is that the engine clutch shaft remains connected to the transmission input shaft and the load from continuously driving the plungers of the hydraulic pump brings all movement to a stop more quickly. Plus, there is just less tendency to try a quick shift while pushing on the heavy clutch with the left foot and reaching for the shifter with the left hand.
Some will observe that the WD Operators Manual only instructs on how to shift gears using the foot clutch. This is true. As with many sections of the WD manual, it is just a copy over of the comparable section of the WC manual. Technical changes were coming more quickly than manual revisions and there are many instances of the manuals lagging the technology. Today, we use these old tractors on equipment that was not even envisioned in 1948.
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