Bluebonnet Antique Tractor
Club Pearland, Texas
So How Do You Deal With That Icky Stuff?
Fuel Tank Cleaning
Generally use a three pronged attack in my war against tank crud, starting with cheap chemicals and working my way up in cost and time until the job is done. First you need to determine if it's just varnish and decomposed gasoline, and not varnish plus gravel, dirt, bird feathers, straw, dead mice, nests, red rust, etc, like one finds in a tank on a tractor that was left sitting in the fence row with no cap.
To dissolve varnish, my favorite solvent is Methyl Ethyl Ketone, or MEK. You can find this in the paint/thinners section of most Lowe's/Home Depot/Ace Hardware stores. You may need several quarts depending on the size of the tank and the amount of varnish in there. Fill the tank part way, swish it around, and then let it capped for a while so it can work. Now you swish, drain, repeat, and maybe use a few nuts or small bolts in there to cause aggressive agitation, but steel ones that can be retrieved easily using a magnet.
If you have non-petroleum contaminants in there, hot lye water will really do the job to emulsify that stuff into a water-soluble paste that can probably be removed with a good hot water rinsing. Using a power washer will also help speed the job. You can also repeat this process of hot lye rinsing, but be careful that you don't harm the paint on the outside of the tank if that matters. If it does not, fill it with a cork in the bung, and cap it and let it sit overnight. Any petroleum will turn to a type of primitive soap, and the dirt will deteriorate into simpler sediment, both of which can be rinsed out. Again try the nuts and bolts method during agitation.
The last chemical I use is Phosphoric Acid. This will convert any red rust into an inert form of black oxide that will be harmless if left in the tank. Now, rinse, slosh, and repeat, until you can no longer see any rust. You'll want to rinse with plenty of water to get the foamy, soapy residue of the acid out, but don't worry about the discoloration left behind. That is a phosphate coating that will help inhibit rust in the future.
Now this tank is pretty much chemically devoid of any vestiges of flammable hydrocarbons, so now is the best time to solder any pin holes or place any repair patches that might be required. I have an assortment of old solid copper soldering irons that I acquired years ago, the kind that you heat in a torch or on a stove and then the bulky copper mass stay warm for a good long time. Since they use no flame, and hold they heat really well, they are an ideal choice for soldering a steel tank. Start by tinning the area with some good quality soldering paste and flash a coating of solder about the area. A very clean, thin, steel patch can now be placed and fully soldered to cover any large holes. Pin holes can normally be soldered only with a dollop. Check it for leaks before moving on.
To finish it, slosh it with some lacquer thinner and that will work to drive the water out of any creases or seams. If you're not going to use the tank right away, I like to swirl a few ounces of diesel fuel to oil the inside so no further rusting can take place. If you want to use it right now, rinse it with a few ounces of gasoline and let this run out. It will take any last vestiges of water with it and you should have a very clean tank. If you want to paint the outside, you might have to re-arrange the order of the steps.
You have got to be kidding!
Will Hybrid Tractors Ever Plant Hybrid Seeds?
By Phil Needham, Needham Ag Technologies
The automotive industry generated a lot of sizzle with the introduction of hybrid vehicles.
Fuel savings can be substantial with such powertrains, but these savings by themselves can take a long time to pay for the additional hybrid vehicle technologies.
The principal advantage of hybrid motor vehicles is that they need no extra infrastructure. Their engines run on regular motor fuels, and they operate like trucks and buses, except more economically and while producing fewer emissions.
Will hybrid engines ever be cost-effective for agricultural applications?
The most likely hybrid technology candidate for agriculture is a diesel-electric (DE) system. These are simply diesel engines connected to a generator, which create electricity to power components including propulsion motors and ancillary systems. While such principals may sound futuristic, they have been used successfully on locomotive engines since 1895 following the development of a prototype engine developed by General Electric. Other long-term applications of diesel-electric systems include ships, submarines, large LeTourneau loading open-pit mining shovels, snow groomers and New York City busses.
Manufacturers of farm and construction equipment are taking a long, hard look at hybrid diesel-electric engines. Some of the most recent include the following applications.
Caterpillar D7E DE Hybrid Bulldozer. In this case, the manufacturer claims a 10% increase in productivity, coupled to a 10-30% reduction in fuel consumption. However, customers using early production machines are reporting even better results in fuel use. In lower load applications, they’ve observed 40-50% reductions in fuel use.
Peterbilt Model 335 DE Dump Truck. In this application, an electric motor is mounted in the driveline, ahead of a 6-speed mechanical transmission. During braking, the motor becomes a generator that produces electricity, which the system stores in a bank of lithium-ion batteries. The more the truck stops and starts the greater the fuel savings and the lower the emissions.
John Deere 7030 E-Premium Tractors. These European tractors were released 2 years ago and incorporate a crankshaft driven 27-horsepower electric generator. This creates either a 230V single-phase or 400V three-phase systems to provide power in lower demand applications, such as the discs on a Kuhn fertilizer spreader, external lights or hand tools.
Belarus DE Tractor. It’s not often that the winner of a design and engineering award comes from Russia, but at the Agritechnica show in November, it came in the form of a Belarus tractor. The Belarussian tractor maker showed a 295-horsepower diesel-electric tractor that generates an amazing 230-horsepower of DC electricity. That power is used to run the PTO, fertilizer spreaders, sprayers and anything else that is able to utilize electric power.
Benefits of DE Systems
Diesel-electric power systems offer several benefits over conventional mechanical systems. These include the following:.
Improved Efficiency. With the new DE systems, electric generator output is matched to a consistent and fuel-efficient engine speed. From an agricultural perspective, tractor manufacturers suggest that a smaller tractor, such as a 125-horsepower unit, may only use full engine power 20-25% of the time. Surprisingly, the same tractor operates at minimum load (including idling) 30-40% of the time. So, if a smaller engine was installed within such a platform and coupled to a generator, additional power could be drawn from a rechargeable battery during high-load operations. The battery could then be recharged during low-load operations.
During idling, the diesel engine would be shut down and auxiliary systems, including air-conditioning, lights, radio etc., would be powered from the battery system. This not only reduces fuel consumption, but also lowers emissions and extends engine life. (Most electric motors have a 30,000-50,000 hour service life.) Such a system would also eliminate the need for conventional batteries and starter motor, as the engine would be kick-started by the main electric motor.
No Clutch Needed. Only electric motors can supply full torque from zero RPM. Compared to a conventional transmission, which needs to be revved up to reach the required torque curve, this is far more efficient and eliminates the clutch and its associated costs.
Challenges of DE Systems
Like all new technologies, there will a hefty price tag on early diesel-electric entries to the market. There will also be a steep learning curve when it comes to training service technicians. Dealer personnel will need in-depth training to service and repair high-voltage electrical systems. Special tools and diagnostic equipment will also be required for service work.
Other concerns surround the safety and durability of electrically powered equipment, especially as these systems are operated in rain, mud, dust and heat.
Implements and other equipment to which the diesel-electric systems can be coupled will be needed. One final challenge is the life and size of battery packs, especially when the platform needs to draw 50-100 horsepower, for example.
The Future of DE Systems
Interest in hybrid vehicles for agriculture is increasing and you can be sure that some type of diesel-electric tractors will be running on farms in the next few years. AGCO just introduced a new electric prototype sprayer at the Ag Connect Expo in January
Personally, I believe some of the most suitable platforms for diesel-electric technology will include equipment such as combines. Imagine replacing the belts and chain drives with electric motors. Not only would this reduce the number of moving parts, but also the wear on components as well as damage to grain.
Such applications might include an electrically powered cutter-bar or clean grain elevator. When running at slow speeds or with low grain-flow, these components would operate at a slower speed. As the combine speeds up, the components would pick up proportionate speed. Items like unloading augers could also be powered with electric motors to provide a steady increase in speed, compared to sudden shock-starts on existing systems.
The following article is a re-print from:
Machines of the Past: The Hit-and-Miss Engine.
A fly wheel, or hit or miss engine is defined as an engine that uses a set of flywheels, or one flywheel attached to a crankshaft for the sole purpose of maintaining engine speed by storing energy. A hit and miss engine, is a certain type of fly wheel engine that was first created in the late 19th century. Though there is not one company credited with the creation of fly wheel engines, they were in demand from the early 1900s to approximately 1940. Many companies utilized fly wheel engines until new technology created methods that are more modern. During the late 1940s, fly wheel engines ceased to be utilized, as they were replaced by internal combustion engines capable of delivering greater horsepower. However, modern-day fly wheel engines are seen in the oil production industry.
Fly wheel engines are a type of internal combustion piston engine that uses a crankshaft, piston, valves, spark plugs, both intake and exhaust camshafts, and connecting rods to create heat, then store and transfer it as energy. The engines operate by turning pressure into circular motion, thereby creating energy. Like other internal combustion engines, fly wheel engines required some source of fuel that would be heated inside a cylinder or mixed with air in order to create the internal combustion. In fly wheel or hit or miss engines, the piston uses the fly wheel in order to return to the cylinder, where it repeats the process. Fly wheels not only help the process to completion, but are also used to store the energy as the engine completes its power cycle.
The fly wheel was a regular feature in a number of companies that created engines. Some of the most popular companies known for using fly wheel engines, such as the hit and miss, include the 19th century company Fairbanks Morse, Novo Engine Company, Baker Monitor, Fuller and Johnson, Witte Engine Works, International Harvester Company, and John Deere. These companies relied upon the fly wheel engine as a source of slow, but reliable power. They were useful for providing energy sources for generators, devices such as washing machines, and for early power saws. Farmers frequently used them to save time and energy.
A number of late 19th century pumps were powered with hit and miss, fly wheel engines. They are considered slower units than what is available in modern times and antique fly wheel engines often delivered between 1 and 100 horsepower. Though many companies use faster engines capable of greater horse power, the engineering company, Arrow Engines, continues to create fly wheel engines. Most hit and miss, fly wheel engines had an open crank case that made it easy to see the engine’s components. Because the crankcase was open, it was not uncommon for these engines to spew oil, grease, or other lubricants while the engine was in operation. This was viewed as a major drawback and was one of the factors that led to the phasing out of these engines in the 40s.
Fly wheel engines posed several problems in addition to their slow speed. The units were very heavy, making them difficult for use in applications that required movement or easy transportation. Today, many people view hit and miss and fly wheel engines as relics of the ancient past and early features from the industrial revolution. The company Jaeger Machine had developed a fly wheel engine used for their cement mixer. The mixers were small-scale, but used the engine for the purpose of mixing concrete and removing the time and energy that workers would expend performing the work by hand. Witte developed a five horsepower throttle engine that was in demand by farmers during the early 20th century. Though the older style hit and miss or fly wheel engines are no longer developed in modern times, those who collect these engines often have great success restoring them to working condition. Fly wheel engines are an important part of industrial history and though they ceased production in the 40s, continue to impress curators to this day.
You may learn more about fly wheel engines in the following resources.
From The Seat of The Tractor
AN OLD FARMER'S WORDS OF WISDOM
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---YOUR FENCES NEED TO BE HORSE-HIGH, PIG-TIGHT AND BULL-STRONG.
---KEEP SKUNKS AND BANKERS AT A DISTANCE.
---LIFE IS SIMPLER WHEN YOU PLOW AROUND THE STUMP.
---A BUMBLE BEE IS CONSIDERABLY FASTER THAN A JOHN DEERE TRACTOR.
---WORDS THAT SOAK INTO YOUR EARS ARE WHISPERED NOT YELLED.
---MEANNESS DON'T JUST HAPPEN OVERNIGHT.
---FORGIVE YOUR ENEMIES; IT MESSES UP THEIR HEADS.
---DO NOT CORNER SOMETHING THAT YOU KNOW IS MEANER THAN YOU.
---IT DON'T TAKE A VERY BIG PERSON TO CARRY A GRUDGE.
---YOU CANNOT UNSAY A CRUEL WORD.
---EVERY PATH HAS A FEW PUDDLES.
---WHEN YOU WALLOW WITH PIGS, EXPECT TO GET DIRTY.
---THE BEST SERMONS ARE LIVED, NOT PREACHED.
---MOST OF THE STUFF PEOPLE WORRY ABOUT, AIN'T NEVER GONNA HAPPEN ANYWAY.
---DON'T JUDGE FOLKS BY THEIR RELATIVES.
---REMEMBER THAT SILENCE IS SOMETIMES THE BEST ANSWER.
---LIVE A GOOD AND HONORABLE LIFE, THEN WHEN YOU GET OLDER AND THINK BACK, YOU'LL ENJOY IT A SECOND TIME.
---DON'T INTERFERE WITH SOMETHIN' THAT AIN'T BOTHERING YOU NONE.
---TIMIN' HAS A LOT TO DO WITH THE OUTCOME OF A RAIN DANCE.
---IF YOU FIND YOURSELF IN A HOLE, THE FIRST THING TO DO IS STOP DIGGIN'.
---SOMETIMES YOU GET, AND SOMETIMES YOU GET GOT.
---THE BIGGEST TROUBLEMAKER YOU'LL PROBABLY EVER HAVE TO DEAL WITH, WATCHES YOU FROM THE MIRROR EVERY MORNIN'.
---ALWAYS DRINK UPSTREAM FROM THE HERD.
---GOOD JUDGMENT COMES FROM EXPERIENCE, AND A LOTTA THAT COMES FROM BAD JUDGMENT.
---LETTIN' THE CAT OUTTA THE BAG IS A WHOLE LOT EASIER THAN PUTTIN' IT BACK IN.
---IF YOU GET TO THINKIN' YOU'RE A PERSON OF SOME INFLUENCE, TRY ORDERIN' SOMEBODY ELSE'S DOG AROUND.
---LIVE SIMPLY, LOVE GENEROUSLY, CARE DEEPLY, SPEAK KINDLY, AND LEAVE THE REST TO GOD.
---DON'T PICK A FIGHT WITH AN OLD MAN. IF HE IS TOO OLD TO FIGHT, HE'LL JUST KILL YOU.
The following article is a re-print from the writings of Gene Logsdon
Maybe Old Tractors Do Die
In Gene Logsdon Blog on January 4, 2012 at 6:07 am
After the conversations we had here recently about old tractors, I began to hear about a problem that really does affect their longevity. Ethanol in gasoline is not the wonder fuel it has been made out to be. It is causing problems when used in off-road vehicles— lawn motors, chain saws, boat motors, four wheelers, not to mention old tractors. Although I have had no cause to complain yet myself, I first heard rumors of these problems when 10 percent ethanol was added to gasoline (E-10 fuel. Now that the EPA has approved 15 percent ethanol in gasoline (E-15 fuel) the complaints are increasing. Ethanol corrodes plastic and rubber and even some metal not made to handle it. It also absorbs water into the fuel. You don’t want to leave a can of gas set around very long unused if it has ethanol in it. And recently out of California came reports that E-15 gas pollutes the air more than pure gasoline (can you call gasoline “pure”?) — contrary to all the propaganda the champions of ethanol have been putting out for several years.
I called a local small engine repair shop whose proprietors I know and trust and asked them if the problem is serious. The mechanic’s first reply was a long drawn out groan. “Oh yes, unfortunately,” he finally replied. “Our carburetor repair work has at least doubled lately.”
What can you do about it since there are now reports that E-10 gas is causing problems too? He sighed again. “Well, you just have to get your carburetor worked on more often. There are additives now to put in ethanol gas, but I am not yet sure if they are all that effective. And they are expensive. It looks like manufacturers will have to design and develop new carburetors for their motors. Right now, if you look at the warranty on your new lawnmower or chain saw, you will see that the carburetor and attendant parts are not covered. Manufacturers are washing their hands of the whole problem.”
The government requires service stations that sell E-15 gas to have labels on the pumps which say: “Use only on 2001 and newer passenger vehicles and in flex-fuel vehicles.” The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers think the warning labels ought also to include specific instructions directing consumers to check their owner’s manual to determine the appropriate fuel for their vehicles but so far the EPA evidently does not think that’s necessary. But that complaint might be beside the point because some mechanics say that E-10 shortens the life of small engines too.
Obviously, owners of old tractors are going to be hard hit by this situation because no one is going to start making ethanol-proof carburetors for them, I don’t think. You are going to be forced to buy a new tractor whether you can afford to or not. Or better yet, move forward to draft animal power.
This situation seems to me unconscionable. If you look at only the ethanol news from the corn industry or ethanol manufacturers, you would never know there is this problem because most of these sources simply ignore it. Ethanol from corn is, furthermore, so expensive that it requires huge subsidies from the government before it can be “profitable.” (I think they are going to lose some of the subsidies soon.) Taxpayers must not only pay for it but now must pay the extra costs of keeping their small engines running. We have been sold on green energy, but ethanol from corn is not green. It is red — red with anger and indebtedness. It is also driving up the cost of food.
Do any of you readers know other ways around the problem? And how can you be sure the gas you buy is free of E-15. According to information on Google, not all gas pumps are properly labeled. Or customers, used to just grabbing the hose and filling the tank or gas can, aren’t aware that they should look for it. The EPA, for political reasons, has not been all that energetic in publicizing the down side of this red alternative fuel.
1 Gene Logedon, Maybe Old Tractors Do Die, http://thecontraryfarmer.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/maybe-old-tractors-do-die/ , (January) 2012