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Tractor maintenance 101: Ten things to always check

Advice from AgSpares - NZ's experts in keeping tractors in action.

Tractors work hard in challenging, dirty conditions and rely on regular maintenance from professionals, whether you’re in Australia, Romania, Canada the Pacific or New Zealand.

When tractor maintenance isn’t done as regularly as specified by the manufacturer, the operator is placed at risk. There may be costs resulting from poor maintenance, be it servicing or consumables costs, new parts needed, or ACC costs if an accident results from poor maintenance of your tractor.

The tractor’s manual is your bible for knowing when to maintain the vehicle. It’s more than just stopping dirt, mud and seeds building up in the cab or engine housing. For example, if caked dirt is under a brake pedal, you’ll lose braking power if your foot can’t depress. If it’s time to catch up on some grease, oil and water maintenance for the tractor, here’s how to go about it.

Firstly, chock the tractor’s wheels, put the park brake on and keep hydraulic equipment low to the ground.

Then it’s often best practice to disconnect the battery so there’s no chance the tractor will accidentally start during maintenance.

Ready to go? Great. There are 10 essential things to always check on a tractor:

  1. Oil - your manual is likely to recommend you replace your oil filter every 100 hours, and do a full oil change every 200 hours.
  2. Tyres – check for damage and wear and make sure wheel nuts are tight.
  3. Rims - heck for rust weep from the wheel nuts. It may be a sign of loose nuts. Also check for cracks in rims.
  4. Seatbelts - check your seatbelt for frays. Replace it if it looks vulnerable to tearing, or if the seatbelt won’t latch properly. You’ll need your seatbelt secure if the tractor ever rolls!
  5. Battery - check levels on your battery, and make sure the terminals are clean and there are no acid leaks
  6. Clutch & Brakes – check fluid for your clutch and brakes: ensure these are sufficient.
  7. Hydraulic filters - the oil only gets changed every few years, but your tractor’s hydraulic oil filter can be changed every year.
  8. Fire prevention - check for birds’ nests, which when left unchecked are a notorious cause of fires in the engine.
  9. Hydraulic – check the fluid level (while you’re at it, make sure your radiator isn’t too thirsty)

Grease points - always clean lubrication points before adding grease to avoid forcing dirt and debris into the seal. Some of the typical areas in need of grease are:
  • Master Brake Linkage Shaft and King Pins
  • Steering Cylinder Ball Joints (left and right)
  • Steering Components
  • Ball Joints
  • Bearings
  • Clutch Linkages
  • Three-Point Hitch Pivot Points
  • Tie Rod Ends (left and right)

AgSpares and APS Equipment are experts at keep tractors in action by supplying even hard-to-find spare parts as well as large machines, implements and consumables. Talk to your ag experts by phoning NZ +64-9-437-9036, and order anything via www.agspares.co.nz.

Best practice for storing tractors and implements during winter

Advice from AgSpares – NZ’s experts in keeping tractors in action.

How you put your hay baler, forks and other parts away determines how ready they are when you get them back out. This rule applies regardless of whether you’re putting a shed, quad bike, telehandler, dozer or tractor away for autumn or winter.

Even if you are storing implements, attachments and tractors for just a few months, maintenance, cleaning and protection will save you a lot of upset for next time you need them. Extend the life of a piece of equipment and you can rely on it for years to come, save money and minimise unexpected costs.

The main points of maintenance when storing tractor implements over winter

Whether you’re putting away a box blade, bucket, baler or bulldozer, treat all metal with respect.

  • A good squirt with a high pressure hose is needed to get all the dirt and seeds, dust and biodegradable matter out of the housing and engine – but don’t put the tarp over the equipment before it has fully dried, as you don’t want to trap evaporating water which may rust the body
  • As you are cleaning, check that all the belts and hoses, electrical connections, hydraulics aren’t loose or leaking. Anything not repaired, replaced or noted today could cause further problems down the track, especially if you need your equipment working in a cinch at the start of spring.
  • Any scratches on the metal body will need paint, wax or grease
  • Fluid levels and filters could be checked before locking that tractor away for winter.
  • Cutting equipment could need sharpening; certainly it will need to be kept clean. Dirt and anything damp could put rust on the metal.
  • Your user manual should specify what pressure of inflation your tyres should be at when stored.
  • All the ground-working components of pushes, tillage tools, blades and ploughs will need a coating of lubricant.
  • Tarpaulins are great, but allow a place for moisture to vent. For example, the radiator and exhaust may still be venting steam, if hot, which is not a good idea to trap.
  • Any implement or attachment which has the potential to tip over is going to need strops, ropes, tie-downs or a footplate
  • Position your implements and attachments facing the right direction so there is no risk of any people being crushed at the end of the storage period when trying to reattach the implement.
  • When reconnecting attachments, never stand between the attachment and the tractor. A quick hitch or adjustable coupling could be the safer method.
  • Some attachments will come with their own discrete specifications for storage, all of which can be found in the user manual. For example, the forming belts on a round baler may need to have their tension removed.

When storing the tractor itself:

Reverse-park the tractor into the shed enabling the operator to have full vision when exiting. Lower all the attachments and hydraulics to the ground and apply the handbrake. Also, lock the cab to keep kids out.

AgSpares and APS Equipment are experts at keep tractors in action by supplying even hard-to-find spare parts as well as large machines, implements and consumables. Talk to your ag experts by phoning NZ +64-9-437-9036, and order anything via www.agspares.co.nz. 30 Pipiwai Road, Whangarei NZ.

HARVEST TIME IS APPROACHING – MAKE SURE YOU ARE READY

As you finally start to dry out after a wetter than usual winter, the time for baling silage and hay will be on you soon. The following are available to make sure you are ready to go when the sun shines consistently again:
1. Bale forks/bale frames. These frames feature a Euro-norm quick change frame. The frames come with 2 x M22 1100mm long, heavy duty tines. The tines are spaced at 750mm and have a load capacity of 700g.

2. Euro-hitch brackets weld on. Convert your existing loader to a Euro-hitch configuration to use on a wider range of implements.

3. Hay tines. Replace bent and damaged tines from our range of heavy duty tines. Lengths range from 810mm to 1400mm with either M22 or M28 fixing nuts. These times are heat treated alloy spring steel and are forged powder coated for a precision finish.

4. PTO drive shafts. The critical link between your tractor and your harvesting implements. We have an extensive range of sizes available suitable for the smallest of tractors up to 192hp tractors. These PTO shafts have lever release shaft guards which allows the guards to be pulled back to facilitate safe engagement of the PTO shaft yokes. The lever release also makes regular joint maintenance much easier.
  
 
 

TRACTORS AND STARLING NESTS – NOT A GOOD COMBINATION

Warm weather is arriving up and down the country, and so starling nesting season will be starting soon. This makes it a good time to think about tractor fires.
Starlings build nests in dry spots, and under the hood of a tractor is a perfect place for them. Unfortunately their nesting material is highly flammable, and is the cause of many tractor fires around the country.
Ii is a safety issue that can also be highly costly to farmers, so being vigilant with checking under the hood before starting the engine is important. Popping the hood when you start it up for the day isn’t the only time you should “Stop and Pop”. You should do it before turning your tractor on throughout the day because starling nests can be built very quickly - in eighteen minutes in fact!
To prevent your tractor going up in smoke, always stop to check under the hood and keep a fire extinguisher on board

New Product update

We are continually adding new products to our website and online shop. Here are a few of the products we have added lately that might be of interest to you:

Bareco Wide Angle PTO Driveshafts
These shafts are suitable for tractors from 35 to 100HP. These shafts can operate can operate short term and in a stationary position at an 80* angle to the tractor and continuously at an angle of 25*. The advantage of wide angle shafts is they can be used where tighter turns are required such as an orchard or smaller paddock.

LED Light Bars
Available in 340mm and 864mm lengths these light bars are extremely powerful. Ideal for mounting on tractor cabs for early evening haymaking or on even on your ute. Both lights swivel 360*

Plastic Toolbox
Keep your tools dry this winter. This toolbox suits a wide range of Case International, Ford New Holland and Fiat tractors. No chance of rust and a generous size at 285mm wide x 105mm high x 105mm deep.

She’ll be right – yeah right!

tractors luv ém or hate them

Tractors, luv 'em or hate them, one thing is for sure - life on the farm would be hard without them.

Many of us are probably guilty of jumping on and turning the key, and really only worrying about routine servicing when the solenoid clicks, and she won't go.

Perhaps as we start a New Year we should be making a resolution to give the old gal a little TLC, by way of a routine service.

Whether you're running an old grey Fergie or one of todays' hi- tech honeys, the same rules apply.

Broadly speaking the tractor can be broken down into three key areas; the engine, the transmission and the rear transaxle. To the extremities we bolt a wheel to each corner, and a three point linkage and a drawbar to the rear.

 

Starting at the front of the tractor take the time to check the cooling system. First and foremost check the coolant level, when the engine is cold.

Try to top up with a proper coolant/anti-freeze mix, normally at a 30-50% ratio. This ensures the system stays clean and free of any deposits and has a chance of operating at maximum efficiency.

With the radiator itself, make sure that it is clean and none of the fins are bent or broken. Finally make sure that the drive belt that runs the radiator fan, and most likely the water pump is correctly tensioned, and free from cracks. If it isn't, then replace it.

Moving rearwards to the engine itself consider an oil change. Oil is the lifeblood of the engine and does a number of jobs. As one who's been in the industry for more years than I care to remember, I can remember the pneumonic I was taught at uni - London County Council Cleansing Dept. Oil lubricates, cools, cleans, is corrosion preventative and dispersant.

Whilst the farmyard hack may not clock up the high hours it's important to ensure that it gets a fresh charge of oil on an annual basis.

It's real easy. Get the engine up to operating temperature, find a suitable receptacle and remove the drain plug from the engine sump. Let the old oil drain out fully, then remove the filter cartridge being mindful that its contents may be hot. 

Once everything has drained away, the most important point is to replace the drain plug in the sump. If you don't you may be surprised how much fresh oil it takes to come up to the mark on the dipstick. read the full article at Rural News

What to look for when buying a tractorBuying a tractor

A tractor is a huge investment. It’s also a large and potentially dangerous piece of equipment. If you’ve never bought one before and don’t know where to start, ask someone who does. Your farming neighbours will probably be happy to give you some advice, as will local dealers. Do your homework first, though, so you have some idea of what you need.

These are some points to consider;

What is your land like?
What do you want to do with the tractor
Whats your budget?
The second-hand option?
and last of all...Safety!

Niki Morrell from "The Rural" gives some advice

 

Summer is here -Improve the comfort level of your tractor

With summer coming we have plenty of ideas to make your life a bit easier on the farm or at the beach with your tractor. How about…..
1. Putting a canopy on your ROPS tractor to the beating sun off you. Canopies are available in five colours and the standard size is 1145mm x 1524mm. If you are replacing an existing tired looking canopy they will fit no problem or if you are adding a new one fitting kits are also available.

Tractor Canopy White
 
Tractor sun roofs


2. Updating your seating arrangements for better comfort. Universal fitting tractor seats are available with very little outlay but great results. Alternatively, simply add a cushion for an easier days driving. If your tractor is parked by the boat ramp all day in the summer sun a neutral grey colour seat cover will not absorb as much heat as your existing black vinyl or metal seat pan and will keep moisture away as well.

Tractor Seat cushion
Tractor Suspension Seat
Tractor Seat Cover

 3. Adding a 3 point Galvanised Tow Bar to make boat launching easier. These tow bars fit onto all common tractors with three point linkages. Simply drive the tow bar under the trailer and raise into position. They also give allow you to raise the level of the trailer so the boat slides off more easily and lower the level when retrieving the boat. Complete with a tow ball, the tow bar also has a hole for your safety chain shackle. Available In two models depending on whether you require light or heavy duty.

Tractor Tow Bar
Tractor Suspension Seat
Tractor Tow Bar

BARE-Co PTO Shafts

Boat Tractors - Handy Tips 2

The following are some handy tips to help your boat tractor perform reliably and generally make your life easier!

Diesel Fuel Treatment – diesel is prone to a bacterial contaminant commonly called “diesel bug” which is a bacteria that can damage engine components over time. Diesel sitting in tanks for extended periods are susceptible to the bug so if your boat tractor sits around for months without being used it is recommended that new diesel is used or a Diesel Fuel Treatment product such as Fuel Master is added. Not only will it prevent engine damage it can also improve fuel economy and power.

Fuel Filters – replacing diesel fuel filters is not difficult on most boat tractors and doesn’t require a lot of mechanical knowledge. The fuel filters are relatively inexpensive and changing regularly them is effectively cheap insurance against potentially expensive repairs to the injector pump in the future.

Glow Plugs & Glow Indicators for IH Boat Tractors – Glow plugs are effectively small heaters that assist in getting the diesel fuel temperature up to a point where it self-combusts. In colder temperatures and for those early morning starts having properly functioning glow plugs makes starting your tractor that much easier. Ensure that the set of glow plugs are working properly as if one fails it can cause the others to overload and burn out.

Rear tyres - did you know that fitting the rear tyres so the tread points backwards will help if you are negotiating very soft sand as the tyres won’t dig in the same! 

As well as having a huge range of parts our team have a combined experience of over 100 years in the tractor business and will be able to help with advice about how best to look after your boat tractor.

We have an easy to use website with an online shop so you can order your tractor parts direct and have them delivered to your door, orders over $100 are freight free. Make sure you check it out.


Boat Tractor - Servicing And Repairs

Boat Tractors

With the weather warming up and becoming more settled it is time to start preparing for days out on the ocean again.
We all spend time on making sure our boats and fishing gear are well serviced and ready for action but what about our boat tractors. There is nothing more frustrating than preparing for a day out and find the boat tractor won’t start!

Commonly boat tractors are older machines such as David Browns, TEA Fergusons that are simple reliable machines and are easily maintained by their owners if they have a basic mechanical knowledge. At AgSpares we have a huge range of replacement parts for boat tractors of all ages and models including fuel filters, mufflers, oil filters, towbars and tyres.

Is your boat tractor seat getting a bit uncomfortable? We have a range water proof seats available as well!

Original style seat pan
Tractor Suspension Seat
Tractor Seat Pan

As well as having a huge range of parts our team have a combined experience of over 100 years in the tractor business and will be able to help with advice about how best to look after your boat tractor.

We have an easy to use website with an online shop so you can order your tractor parts direct and have them delivered to your door, orders over $100 are freight free. make sure you check it out.

Environmental protection is easier than you think

 Why should you care about the environment?

You might be thinking New Zealand is a clean green country, so really how big is the problem?

Northland Regional Council reports “about 23 million litres of used oil ‘disappears’ into our communities and back yards every year”.

So really we aren’t doing as well as we think.  Just one litre of oil can contaminate 1 million litres of drinking water. The disposal of used oil is one of New Zealand’s major environmental problems.

Small Spills add up to big health risks

While many studies of the environmental impact of oil spills have focused on the problems associated with large-scale leaks from oil rigs, underground fuel tanks and oil tankers to name a few, if you’ve ever pumped your own fuel, you probably find that no matter how careful you are, it’s almost impossible not to drip a drop or two onto the ground in the process. While a couple of drops might seem harmless, researchers from the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Bloomberg School of Public Health have found that those little routine drips can add up to a major health hazard over time.

Why choose pollution prevention?

  • Reduction in accidental spills
  • Minimise contamination of waterways and land.
  • Better safety performance, ultimately reducing compliance costs and risk of prosecution
  • Improved company image
  • Better maintained  work places and reduced clean-up costs

 The Resource Management Act penalises polluters by:

  • Infringement and abatement notices
  • Enforcement orders
  • Prosecution (fines and imprisonment)
  • Cost recovery by enforcement agencies for site time, costs and pollution clean-ups

“There are many benefits from complying with the law: insurers, lenders, buyers and shareholders are increasingly reluctant to get involved with properties or businesses with environmental liabilities ”.

So ultimately, how can you help?

Here is what the regional council have to say:

“Accidents do happen. Even the smallest spill needs to be dealt with promptly so that rain cannot wash it into the storm water system and out to a stream or beach or even into a water supply aquifer.

You can help by stopping the spill getting into a storm water grate and cleaning it up without causing water pollution. Block off access to storm water grates with covers, sandbags or absorbent material. Contain the spill with sand or sawdust, and sweep up solids or powders and put them in a safe container. Dispose of the waste appropriately at a landfill. If you are unsure how to deal with a spill, contact the NRC’s environmental hotline for advice.

Oil can also enter waterways through people cleaning barbecue plates into gutters and from pouring used oil into sinks and gutters”.

Be Prepared:

SPILLTECH 25L GENERAL PURPOSE SPILL KIT

 SPILLTECH 50L GENERAL PURPOSE SPILL KIT

SPILLTECH 120L GENERAL PURPOSE SPILL KIT

 

LED LIGHTING for TRACTORS

Be outstanding in your field… by upgrading your tractor lights to LED tractor lights.LED tractor lights can reach 3 to 4 times higher light output than conventional filament work lights and result in a wider and longer beam.
•    A wider beam gives you better peripheral vision at night which means you can see your stock easier, see drains on the sides of the race better etc.
•    A longer beam gives you more warning of what is coming ahead so you can react sooner.
LED tractor lights have other advantages over standard work lights:
•    A much longer life expectancy
•    Greater vibration resistancy.
• Less pressure on an alternator working close to its limit.
Great for the farm but also for the boat tractor for those early morning launchings. All LED lights are 12/24 volt and are very easy to retro fit

Our full range of LED lights are available through our online shop and they can be delivered to your door, orders over $100 are freight free.