We’ve had an email from Dan who is selling his uncle’s vintage Ford combine harvester on eBay.com …
Dan has written a detailed description of the machine and posted lots of photos and a video of the combine running.
It’s been three months since we’ve posted any tractor maintenance articles here on the website. We’ve been very busy over that period with harvest and cultivations on our farm.
All the sowing has now been completed so we now have a bit more time on our hands to share some tractor photos and information.
I wanted to start by saying a big hello to any new subscribers who have just joined us (over 400 new email subscribers since mid June). We’ve now got over 2,600 tractor enthusiasts who receive our articles, ask us some questions, send in photos of their tractors and join in with the conversations. We hope you all enjoy what we do here at Vintage Tractor Engineer and get some good information from the existing articles on the website and the newly published information.
I’ll leave you with a photo of our harvesting and a short video clip of the combine our autumn ploughing with the MF8220 (the vidoes may not load in the email, so hop over to the website if you want to view them). The 1985 Claas 106 has worked over 5,000 hours now and is still going strong. It was bringing in about 4 acres per hour in a 3 tonne per acre wheat crop. The wheat yields were down on our farm this year, as there was high disease pressure from Septoria and Yellow Rust.
Many farms growing winter cereal rotations are getting grassweed problems in the UK, as certain herbicides have been de-listed and resistance to the remaining herbicides is becoming a problem. Good ploughing is therefore an essential tool in the battle against the grassweeds. It is always a compromise between workrate and burrying the weed seeds. In the video of the ploughing I have tried to show the difference in stubble burial between operating at 5km/hour and 4.5km/hour. The tractor would probably have the power to pull the plough at 5.7km/hour in this field, faster in some lighter soils and slower in heavy soils. It is important to match the size of the plough to the size of the tractor, but obvoiusly that isn’t always possible due to different soil conditions. Ploughs with longer bodies than this one can help maintain workrate, yet facilitate good inversion and trash burial.
The 8220 ploughing…
Cutting the wheat…
Bleeding the fuel system on a tractor is a relatively straight forward job. However, it is not uncommon for people to contact us saying they have fuel to the injection pump but cannot get fuel to the injectors.
Recently an owner of a TEF-20 wrote in thinking he must be doing something wrong, but he didn’t know what. To use the gentleman’s own words, he was “completely goosed“!
The Normal Procedure
So lets start by taking a look at a video of how you would usually go about bleeding a diesel fuel system. The video below is of a MF35 with a Standard 23C engine, but the steps are similar for other tractors. We need to get air free fuel from the fuel tank to the fuel filter with assistance of the lift pump, then air free fuel to the injection pump and then to the injectors.
Fuel Not Getting To Injectors
So why is our TEF-20 owner having problems?
The tractor in question has not been started for three years. It is quite common for the components of a stood injection pump to seize. Inside the injection pump there is a rack which engages with pinion teeth on the elements, rotating the elements which adjusts the amount of fuel delivered from zero to full depending on the engine requirement. If the pump has seized in the zero fuel position then fuel will not be able to get through the pump to the injectors when doing the bleed cycle.
It is possible for either the rack to be stuck in the pump, or an element will be stuck which will be preventing the rack from moving.
These coponents can sometimes seize after only a couple of months of non-use.
If you take the vacuum belows off the end of the pump you should be able to move the rod (rack) that the bellows piston is connected to. Don’t force it or you will break it, only apply gentle hand pressure to try and move it. If it is stuck then don’t tap or hit it as it will damage it. You would need to take it to a diesel engineers to have the seized element replaced if you have no luck. With the TEF fuel injection pump you can also remove the cover plate to look inside at the components.
Following the recent tractor security article, we’ve had an email from a remote landowner who has taken the following security steps for his tractor…
- Tractor in a steel building
- Deadbolt on the regular door
- Padlock on the garage door tracks
- Logging chain through the tractor rear wheels and then through the attached implement with padlock
- Security camera system
- Insurance on tractor and implement
That’s all a cost and a hassle, but if it keeps the tractor safe then it will be worthwhile.
Vehicle thefts (cars) have been declining over the past decade, mainly due to better security features fitted by manufacturers and more sophisticated vehicle documentation by the authorities.
Unfortunately this has shifted the focus of criminals away from cars to other vehicles such as tractors, which are in many cases more valuable and have little or no security features.
But it isn’t just modern tractors that are being targeted. Vintage tractors may not be road registered, and so are easier for the criminals to sell on, as they don’t require any documentation and they are not easily traceable by the police. There is a ready demand for parts and so it’s also possible for criminals to cash in the tractos by this method.
With many older tractos weighing little over a tonne, it is easier for these machines to be loaded onto a trailer and towed away. And of course, we all know that one ignition key fits many differnent tractors.
Vintage and classic tractors are constantly increasing in price and some models are very valuable indeed.
This is a very sad situation, as some of these tractors have been owned by their keepers since they were new and so also have sentimental value. Vintage Tractor Engineer has hundreds of conversations each year with tractor enthusiasts and we can honestly say that they are some of the most genuine, honest, enthusiastic, positive and most fantastic people you could wish to meet.
A news article by the BBC last year reported how some rare tractor parts were stolen from a property in North Yorkshire, UK, so they’re targeting parts as well now.
What Can You Do?
This is really a reminder to everyone that security is becoming a necessity for the vintage tractor owner. Please take a minute to assess where you keep your tractors and parts. Are they out of sight of the public? are they locked up? is there a gate on your property? do you have security cameras or alarms? is there a back way into your property across the fields? do you have security lighting?
Anything to deter thieves will be worthwhile.
A laser beam virtual security ‘fence’ system (link to a simple system) is a useful tool. When the laser beam is broken, simple systems sound an alarm, and more sophisticated systems will notify you via mobile phone.
Make Your Tractor A Difficult Target
There are various security products available, although most of them are more suited to modern tractors and are not so useful or easy to fit to a vintage tractor. Security measures which do not damage the look and authenticity of a vintage tractor are more difficult to implement.
The CESAR system uses Datatag technology to add sophisticated tagging to the machine. It does, however, rely on the machine to be found before the Datatag can be read to confirm that it is your machine!! Tractors fitted with Datatag technology are four times less likely to be stolen, but you will have identification plates fitted to your tractor (something that doesn’t look good on your perfect restoration work).
Electric or electronic immobilisers puts a break into an electrical circuit or fuel line. Vintage tractors ony have simple electrical systems, so this could easily be bypassed.
GPS tracking devices could be more useful for vintage tractors as long as you can find a safe hiding place for the device. They can be wired into the tractors electrics or rely on their own internal battery which may be more suitable. A geofence can be set on the tracker, so if the vehicle goes outside of a defined area then the owner is instantly notified. One thing to be aware of is that GPS signals don’t travel well through steel (not good if your tractor has been stuffed inside a shipping container), but there are trackers which also use GSM/GPRS mobile phone signals to get around this problem.
Physical Security (maybe more suitable for vintage tractors)
Tractors physically secured to the wall with heavy duty chains and locks, or secure chain through the rear wheel and around the transmission housing.
All your tractors parked in the back of the shed? Then park your car in the door way to block entry (your car will have all the modern security features ans so make it difficult to move).
Does your shed have concrete walls and steel doors.
Turn the steering wheel into full lock before fitting a steering wheel locking device.
Can you remove the rotor from the distributor?
Note serial numbers, engine numbers, casting numbers etc. Put up a notice in your tractor shed that you have all this information.
Fit and secure a strong metal bar underneath the tractor and through both rear wheels. Lifting equipment would then be needed to move the tractor.
Please remember that it is not mandatory to have insurance for tractors that are not registered for road use. It may be sensible to re-assess the insurance cover for these tractors (and any parts you have), as it can be easily overlooked.
Got any other security suggestions? Leave us a comment, we’d be interested to hear.