Thursday, December 29, 2011

CLAAS ETRION 400 and the future of American tractors

First watch the above video.  My guess is the design you see will probably make it's way to the states in 20 or 30 years.  It's not the compaction that will bring it but the need to put more horsepower to the ground and the need to get from here to there faster.  A manufacturer could add additional axles (Duetz-fahr or Big Roy ) but now you are getting to a length that becomes unmanageable when viewing either what is coming or the equipment you are pulling.  As they said in the video lifting a set of middle tracks would allow the mobility you need to scoot down the road.

Where will this end?  In my opinion? Automated, motorized tillage equipment or AMTs.  Eliminate the operator AND the tractor from the equation by setting multiple AMTs out to the field with wireless communications between the AMTs and the owners.  Just like ants.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Heeeeere's Henry!

Cousin Henry spent the night so here is a gratuitous post just for Henry.

Henry said "Merry Christmas!  Now I have to get back to my game with Zane."

Zane turns 10

He is currently sitting across the room skyping with cousin Henry from northern Illinois.  And now he is on the cell phone with Aunt Angie. This is all after he skyped with Sue in Rochester and Cousins Roxie and Magnum in New Hampshire and then took a phone call from Uncle Todd.  Granny Kroft did it the old fashioned way, she stopped by.  This kid is getting more attention than Chad Goodman got in his high school career.

Lost: 2 Posts

My posts on the 12th and 13th are gone.  ???

Friday, December 9, 2011

Oliver 2255 with a 3208 Cat

I was browsing some pictures I took this year at the Tippecanoe Steam & Gas show and stopped to marvel at the Oliver 2255.

This is one serious looking tractor.  TractorData lists this weighing 16,500 lbs with 147hp engine. Funny, most data sheets you see list this engine as a 210hp base with up 435hp fully loaded. It also said the 3208 was a replacement for the Cat 3150 (here is one from another 2255 at the Rantoul show)

This 3150 is the same engine that was in the Steiger Super Wildcat. In the Series II Super Wildcat the 3150 and later the 3208 were used and both engines were listed as 200hp.  The Series II Bearcat lists the 3208 at 210hp.  From what I have found online it appears the 2255 was Nebraska tested with he first 3150, never the 3208.  Do the later 2255's have more power?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thankful to complain about this November rain.

Been one of those forgettable Thanksgiving weekends.  Thanksgiving day we lose the belt on the car as we are pulling into my in-laws.  Thankfully we were not heading up to see my older brother in the Chicago suburbs as the problem was a bad pulley that had to be replaced.  Imagine doing that on 8 lanes of interstate. 
Spent half of Black Friday waiting on the part to come in.  The other half was spent on installation.
Sara spiked a fever that night and spent Saturday sleeping.  We did get the tree up. 
And now here it is 7:00 am Sunday morning with a nice cold November rain.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Not another turkey

The rain slickened up the ground.  One of my neighbors hired hands found that out the hard way.  They were trying to finish picking corn a few days ago when it happened.  The hired man pulled the truck into the field and saw he was sinking in a little.  He whipped over onto drier ground and planned on heading out a different way than he came in.  Unfortunately he was heading over end rows.  End rows tend to be tricky because the trash from the picked corn is usually heavier than other places.  That proved to be the case here and it wasn't a big spot.  With both drive axles so close together, a slick area not much bigger than your kitchen table is large enough to lose traction.  It does not have to be deep either, once the smooth wheels spin you better pull your cellphone. 

   Luckily my neighbor has a CaseIH MX305 that was able to yank that truck right out of the field.  Check out the details on TractorData.  Due to legal constraints (for the web pics, I did not take any of my own) I do not have any pictures to post.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Firing Order for John Deere A: 1 - 2

How is that for informational?  A two-cylinder engine has a firing order of the number 1 cylinder first and then the number two cylinder.  How complicated is that?

I mention this because I pulled the fuel tanks (the A has a 14 gallon main tank and a 1 gallon auxiliary tank that piggy backs on the big tank) last week and was looking up repair tips.  It never occurred to me to ask about the firing order but in all dead pan honesty a blogger/poster pointed it out: 1 - 2. Makes me want to roll on the floor with laughter.

As for the tanks - when I drained the fuel for the winter globs of rust came out of the fuel line.  So I pulled the fuel lines off of both tanks and tried to blow air through them.  Nothing except that heavy headed feeling you get from an industrial strength balloon.  The fuel lines are copper so the rust had to come from the tanks.  There are methods of sealing old tanks to prevent rust-thru.  I am going to be exploring those methods in the next few weeks.

1 - 2.

Still yeech

Been two weeks now.  Still hurts when I sit for extended periods.  Incision pains are gone.  Just not right yet.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Turning 40

I turned 40 on Saturday.  I had hernia repair surgery on Monday.  Yuck. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Update on the A

    I drained the water on the A.  It came out a nice orange color but surprisingly still had the consistency of water. Next I drained the fuel.  It also came out orange. With lumps.

    For those of you new to the mechanical and chemical side of anything with an engine - orange is bad, lumps are worse. Orange means there is rust in your fluid. The darker the orange the worse it is. If you hit brown you need to look at options.
    Lumps are groupings of rust. These form when your fluid has been sitting and the rust settles into a nice low place, say the hole in the bottom of the tank where your fuel line begins transporting fuel to the engine. Lumps are capable of plugging up things like carburetors and fuel injectors which have small openings to meter out the fuel going into the engine. Picture a hairball in your bathroom sink. Equally gross and annoying. Both stop things from flowing.
    I removed the carburetor from the tractor and brought it home to work on it this winter. I have no real experience with carbs so I have begun my research. Even better, I have experts to guide me through it. My friends at antiquetractorsforum are always eager with advice, experience, pictures, diagrams and videos. Locally I have found my ace-in-the-hole, Dick Engler. No, not acehole. Brian and I take turns at being the acehole. Dick and his neighbors south of Lafayette do a lot of nice restorations. (At least from the pictures I have seen. I'll need to attend one of their shows to be sure ;)). When I told him what I was working on Dick was able to explain in detail the problems and quirks I would run into and how to handle them.
    Cleaning up the carb and putting new gaskets and o-rings will make the tractor run smoother and stronger but the real key will be preventing it from happening again. Virgil, my father-in-law, has used a product that rust-proofs fuel tanks. Performing that process on the A will not be an easy task.  I'll go into detail on another post.
    Before this turns into a full on ramble I will say: End Chapter.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Been awhile.

I am sure you hard been bored to tears without my inspirational prose.  It has been a lack of inspiration on my part that has choked the prose.  I agreed to put on the church service for Laity Sunday on Oct. 16th.  This will include me giving part of the message.  The stress has been overwhelming.  I have actually lost sleep over it.  The message isn't the hard part, I have relevant stories. The hard part is putting the service together.  What parts to include?  Do I put in extra bible or responsive readings?  One of my readers thought he would take a brief vacation to St Vincents Hospital, I hope he is ok, but that does add a twist to my planning.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

John Deere 68

I picked this up from a former coworker last weekend.  Flat tire, torn up seat, wouldn't turn over, bad carburetor.  Zane and I ran down and picked it up last Saturday.  Even though the mower deck is in good shape we took it and the bagging attachments off after we got home.  When we pulled the inner cowling the gunk was so thick on the carb that the governor and some of the throttle linkage would not move.  We removed few additional shields and then pressure washed the mower. 
The left front tire would not hold air.  Being it was tubeless I decided to try an old trick.  First I pumped it full of air and then held the wheel under a garden hose.  Sure enough, air leaked around the bead - but even better - it was only on one side.  So I pried that side of the tire back a little and shot it with some lube and then pumped it up, it has held 5 days now.  Checked the plug, changed oil, cleaned air and fuel filters (will need to replace them this winter), shot carb with carb cleaner, put new fuel in and charged the battery (see here)
Then on Monday I bought a new battery.  Then I removed the old torn seat and replaced with one I had received for Christmas a few years ago.  Thanks to Bill Shortz for the help on that. We then put a little fuel in the carb it after a couple of cranks it fired up.

Here are the kids riding it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Reverse Charged my Battery - NOW WHAT????

Red-on-black and black-on-red.
I had the charger on it for about 10 minutes before I realized what I had done. 
It is my "new" JD 68 riding mower. 
My new restoration project. 
If I would turn the key would that make it my new explosion?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Max Armstrong and the Politics Express

Here comes Max Armstrong as engineer on what I called the Politics Express. 
Yep.  Max is pulling 7 manure spreaders.  I still don't think that rig can keep up with the Washington DC crowd though.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

More Power

Here is the dashboard of Big Blue. Yep 2 keys - 1 for each engine.

A view of the hood of the dual engine 8850 by Kinze.

Heritage Iron had a display of "Muscle Tractors" that was really a neat sight.

Zane wanted his picture taken with this Versatile.  He thought it looked cool.  I tend to agree.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Olivers and brethern from Half Century of Progress at Rantoul

If you look closely at the first two you should notice the four garden tractors are Oliver, White, Minneapolis-Moline, and Cockshutt.  That is one RARE collection of garden tractors. The Oliver and Cockshutt are model 75s. While the other two are 107s.  The kids sitting with the garden tractors told me all four are the same tractor.  From the looks of it, I believe them.

 That 1800 is beyond restored.  Great job.
 This 125 is supposed to be rare because of the transmission. I took a picture of the underside to help me remember why it is rare but the pic did not turn out.
 For the Cletrac fans.
 Here are two more nice restorations.  Was there a different "white" used at the factory or is one of these tractors off in color?

 I love these things - the redheaded stepchildren of tractors.
 This 2255 was still in workclothes.  Sounded like a dream when that kid fired it up.

 These were in the same collection as the 2255.

 The kids in front of Olivers lined up to pick corn. That bottom pic is all Oliver, wagon included.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

33 hours until Rantoul

One of the biggest tractor shows in the USA started today.  We will be heading there Saturday morning with the hopes of seeing Kinze's Big Blue.
This tractor has TWO engines - one in the normal position and one under the cab.  I have trouble believing that cab is a cool ride! 
 I was told I needed a golf cart to tour this show but I had to call ahead of time to rent one.  $75.  We are taking the bikes.  I need the exercise anyway.  I am going to keep this short in hopes that the next one will have loads of pictures, videos and stories.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I have a cat. Sort of.

For the first time in nearly 30 years I almost have a cat.  Actually it is my neighbor's cat but it has been living over here ever since my neighbor burnt it. 
      Earlier this summer I went across the road to help my neighbor Gary, he was moving some equipment around to load his planter.  He started a grain truck that he was using to carry a 1,000 gal water tank, fertilizer and seed.  The belts on that truck started squealing like a steam engine locking-up the brakes on a downhill grade.  Gary cut the engine and I realized that squealing was the sound of a cat.  
      While I stood with my fly catcher stuck wide open and brain in low gear Gary jumped out of the truck and popped the hood.  The cat (named Bonesy) was in the worst position possible.  He was stuck between the two hottest parts of the engine - the block and the exhaust manifold.  Literally stuck.  All four paws were running in midair.  Had Bonesy been on the ground he would have outrun every dog that had ever lived.  As it was, he was doing nothing except making it harder for Gary to get a hold on him.  Gary did get him out quickly.  The fur was burnt in several places, a few spots all the way to the skin.  Bonesy quickly fought free and ran off for the next 3 weeks.  
      We found Bonesy in our barn lot and took him back across the road twice a month ago.  Last Friday my wife was showing one of her friends our barn lot when Bonesy appeared again.  This time he stayed around until I got home from work.  He looks to be healed but malnourished so I gave him some meatloaf.  And again on Saturday.  Again on Sunday.  Monday he was AWOL.  Last night he was back.  Tonight he showed up in the back yard after dinner and hung out for a half hour.  The picture above and below were taken an hour after that when he made a run for the water bowl.  
   Did I mention my son and I are allergic to cats? 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Huh. I forgot to hit publish.

Last week I wrote what I thought was a nice article detailing why I needed a tractor of my own to enjoy instead of mom and dad's.  I explained how color was not as important as the model and model was not really that important as money was my biggest concern.  I even went through the reasons of why a non-runner would not be a bad thing as I would have some time this winter to get it running.  I read the preview of the post and then promptly did something else.  Never hit the publish post. 

 So I guess it is not meant to be - at least right now.  But keep me in mind for that thing that has been sitting back there covered in whatever.  I might be just the guy to take it off your hands.  If I can get it on the trailer. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Greatest Dad EVER!!! For today.

Last week I bought a go kart frame with 4 wheels and tires.  3-10" tires, 1-11".  3-5" rims, 1-6 rims.  3 knobby lawn mower tires, 1 slicker road course tire.  So today I head up to the town wide garage sale to find some sort of combination and an engine.  Instead I found this:

This thing MOVES.  Thankfully both kids are still scared of it. That will keep them safe until we get a couple of helmets.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This one is for Chad Watts

Chad is a childhood friend who has a 1959 Oliver 550.  This isn't it but if memory serves this ought to be close.  I think his might have the exhaust routed underneath the axle. has this listed as being produced from 1958 to 1975.  17 years for a single model to be produced is a pretty good track (or field) record.  Chad said he mostly uses his 550 for snow plowing and mowing and will put it in a show with proper arm twisting.