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Tractor Troubleshooting 101

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Posted by mkirsch on July 10, 2008 at 10:34:48 from (

Maybe semi-OT, but tractor newbies, and some more "seasoned" tractor drivers, could use basic tips on tractor troubleshooting. Here are a few of my own personal rules. Feel free to comment or add:

1. It's not the oil. The first thing many people do when an engine or hydraulic system stops operating is check and/or change the oil. If the oil level has dropped too low, or the oil is contaminated that badly, irreparable damage has been done to the pump and any mechanics that were depending on that pump for lubrication. You've got bigger problems. It pays to keep a watchful eye on oil levels and change it regularly and/or when the oil becomes contaminated.

Checking the oil when something stops working has some merit because that can tell you right away what the problem is (no oil = burned out pump/engine/gears and a major repair bill), but don't bother changing it as a troubleshooting measure. Change the oil as a part of the repair.

2. Trust your sense of touch. Many people don't pay attention to how the control levers on their tractors feel when they are operating normally. This is important information to keep in the back of your mind, because if a lever starts to feel wrong, you can often times make minor repairs before they become major repairs. It can also help you track down problems when a lever stops performing its designed function.


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