Fuel for old tractors.
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Thread: Fuel for old tractors.

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    Evergreen's Avatar
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    Fuel for old tractors.

    I know other areas of the forum have beaten this topic to death, but not in regards to the effect of modern fuels on older machines. I'm just curious about what others are feeding their old machines and if anyone has noticed more power or lower rates of consumption on certain fuels. If anyone has a comparison of the effect of modern fuels on the combustion chamber, I would also be interested to hear that as well. I have never opened up a two-cylinder after running it on modern fuel.

    My M was run on 74 octane at its Nebraska test, but I've never seen 74 or 'tractor gas' for sale before because I guess I'm not old enough. The manual for my G (it was an all-fuel) said that it could run on basically anything that could burn once it had warmed up. Due to the price of kerosene, I only ever ran it on gasoline.

    I have run just about all modern grades of gas in my '50 M, '52 G, and my little Sears with an I/C Briggs & Stratton; regular 87 octane, 87 e5, 87 e10, premium 92/94 octane, 92/94 e5, and even some low-lead 100 octane av-gas. I have never tried e85. I have noticed a few trends and was wondering what other people's experiance has been compared to mine.

    Generally speaking, a higher octane seems to yield slightly better fuel economy in situations where the tractor is working harder, but in light load situations it does not seem to make any difference. My G would very consistently burn about 1/2 a gallon less per hour while plowing with a tank of premium. Pulling a hay wagon or the firewood wagon had no effect.

    Also generally speaking, all of my old machines seem to run smoother with ethanol-free fuel. This could be that the only ethanol-free gas I can get is higher octane. I have tried e-10 regular fuel with and without a few different kinds of "ethanol stabilizers" in an attempt to isolate the ethanol as a variable with varying degrees of success. Without knowing what the different additives are and how they effect the fuel's hydrocarbon molecules or combustion it is hard to really know what is a band-aid covering up the effects of ethanol, or what is actually neutralizing it. I have not found anything I would consider to be conclusive. Furthermore, the cost of adding $12 of additives to each 10 gallon tank of fuel drastically increases my operating costs and makes ethanol-free premium a cheaper option.

    A friend had some gas left over from his race car that he didn't want sitting around in his garage for a year, so he gave it to me to burn up. Plowing at night with 100 octane av-gas was fun because I had fire coming out of the stack when the govenor opened up! Probably not good for the exhaust valves so I turned the carb down. I don't think the lead in the fuel really did anything one way or the other for the G.


    Obviously modern fuels are "fine" to run through old tractors. I'm probably over thinking this a bit more than it needs to be, but I like it when things are better than just "fine".
    BigJim55 likes this.
    '50 Model M w/electronic ignition, 12v conversion, and a 3pt conversion plus a homemade snowplow, a Deere Model 51 trailer plow, a Woods RM59 finish mower, a Bark Buster splitter, and a few other toys.
    '69 Sears Suburban 14 48" deck and 42" back blade, an estate rake, and a sweeper.
    '07 F250 XL Powerstroke, crew cab, short box, 4x4.
    '85 F150... I finally sold my very first truck after racking up over half-a-million miles on the original drivetrain.

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    89420's Avatar
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    burn is burn. if the head was rebuilt after 1970 or so it probally has harden valve seats for the unleaded gas. dont worry burn what ever you like
    1935 jd model D
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    77 jd 80 cart
    83 420 rear pto, 3 point hitch
    88 332 46"deck s
    89 420 60" deck
    89 318
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    2)jd 35ev chainsaws (echo)
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    jd cs40 chainsaw (efco 940)
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    Not sure about the old PoppinJohnny's but IH used hardened valve seats and an excellent high temp resistant alloy steel exhaust valve in their engines. They could run for weeks with the exhaust manifold glowing orange hot. A little lead did greatly improve valve and valve seat life.

    I always had the best performance for the least cost using 5 gallons of premium no lead straight gasoline mixed with about 1 to 1-1/2 gallons of 108 octane leaded race gas, Unocal, Sonoco, whatever the local station bought that year. The race gas normally cost about $2-$3 over normal premium no lead pump prices. Shelf life of the mix or blend
    could be measured in years too.

    The gasoline tractors I ran back in the 1960's fueled with leaded regular gas all turned the inside of the muffler outlet a nice medium gray, just a bit darker than Battleship gray. The gas blend of premium no-lead and leaded race gas provided the same color exhaust meaning the combustion temps were very close to what the tractors were designed to run when new.

    The new gasolines all seem to turn the exhaust pipes of new gasoline cars/trucks black. Same thing with old tractor engines when not run hard. Means the combustion temp is too low. One exception is SON'S new RAM 2500 CTD, after a year and over 10,000 miles the inside of his tailpipe is still squeaky clean, no soot, not a single spec!

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    coalminer16's Avatar
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    We made the mistake of running ethanol blend a few times but learned. The old fuel systems breath more I think so getting hot and cold it sucks in air with moisture. This moisture quickly can spoil the fuel and rust the fuel tank as well as the cast iron carberator. I have seen the fuel turn almost black from it going bad in less then a year. If you are using it up fast enough (within days) maybe it isn't bad on these older machines but I think it is worth the cost for ethanol free. In some cases aviation gas is the only stuff you can find ethanol free or racing fuel. In my area I can get 87 octane ethanol free at a few spots within 30 miles and withing any town you can get premium fuel without ethanol.
    "Travis" on WFM
    First year 332 with H3 added X 2, JD 3 pt, JD factory delux seat with flip pan. 430 rear diff. 430 fender deck(have two that are mirror copies of themselves). 420, two more 332's.
    Attachments:JD 44 loader, JD 50 inch mowing deck, JD 48 replacement mowing deck JD 47 two stage snow blower, JD Hyd 42 Tiller, Gannon Earthcavator 42 inch 3 point mount, Cozy cab, JD 20 plow, Brinly 12 inch plow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by POWERSTROKE View Post
    Not sure about the old PoppinJohnny's but IH used hardened valve seats and an excellent high temp resistant alloy steel exhaust valve in their engines. They could run for weeks with the exhaust manifold glowing orange hot. A little lead did greatly improve valve and valve seat life.

    I always had the best performance for the least cost using 5 gallons of premium no lead straight gasoline mixed with about 1 to 1-1/2 gallons of 108 octane leaded race gas, Unocal, Sonoco, whatever the local station bought that year. The race gas normally cost about $2-$3 over normal premium no lead pump prices. Shelf life of the mix or blend
    could be measured in years too.

    The gasoline tractors I ran back in the 1960's fueled with leaded regular gas all turned the inside of the muffler outlet a nice medium gray, just a bit darker than Battleship gray. The gas blend of premium no-lead and leaded race gas provided the same color exhaust meaning the combustion temps were very close to what the tractors were designed to run when new.

    The new gasolines all seem to turn the exhaust pipes of new gasoline cars/trucks black. Same thing with old tractor engines when not run hard. Means the combustion temp is too low. One exception is SON'S new RAM 2500 CTD, after a year and over 10,000 miles the inside of his tailpipe is still squeaky clean, no soot, not a single spec!
    that would be the dpf on your sons truck holding all the soot then will regen and burn it out.. wait till that dpf needs replacing$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    1935 jd model D
    65 110 rf
    77 jd 80 cart
    83 420 rear pto, 3 point hitch
    88 332 46"deck s
    89 420 60" deck
    89 318
    jd #8 chainsaw (remington)
    2)jd 35ev chainsaws (echo)
    jd 50v chainsaw (echo
    jd 60v chainsaw (echo)
    jd 70v chainsaw (echo) sold
    jd 80ev chainsaw (echo)
    jd cs40 chainsaw (efco 940)
    husqvarna 240 chainsaw
    husqvarna 372xp chainsaw
    husqvarna 455 chainsaw
    2)dolmar 117 chainsaws
    dolmar 100 chainsaw

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    Quote Originally Posted by 89420 View Post
    that would be the dpf on your sons truck holding all the soot then will regen and burn it out.. wait till that dpf needs replacing$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    There are DPF cleaning services that restore them to like new. DPF Regeneration.com I'd think he would wear out the rest of the truck before needing a new DPF.
    2008 LA135 Limited Edition

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    Ahh No!

    Quote Originally Posted by caddydaddy View Post
    There are DPF cleaning services that restore them to like new. DPF Regeneration.com I'd think he would wear out the rest of the truck before needing a new DPF.
    The EPA mandated a 150,000 mile life cycle for on highway truck DPF's. That can be converted to hours - say 40 mph average. At that rate the DPF needs changing including periodic cleaning at 3,750 hours. Since the DPF includes precious metals such as platinum you don't want to pay for the replacement! I had trucks in the fleets I was responsible for that had to have the DPF replaced at 90,000 miles.
    Now we are down to 2,250 hours. I presume the EPA came up with an equally unrealistic life cycle in hours for ag engines. Wait a few years and you will not be a fan of tier 4 when your tractor goes down in the middle of an important job to you because a sensor went bad and you either have to get the dealer to do a house call or some how transport the non functional tractor to the dealership. You are not allowed to touch the emissions system or your unit is illegal!!! Believe me you will wear out the DPF and the system components long before you wear out the tractor
    2015 550 XUV Gator with numerous options purchased January 2017. Inservice February 2017. 2014 purchased spring 2015 1023e, D120 loader, 54" mid mower, imatch, ballast box
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    Evergreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VintageOkieDriver View Post
    You are not allowed to touch the emissions system or your unit is illegal!!! Believe me you will wear out the DPF and the system components long before you wear out the tractor
    For the price of replacing the DPF on a new tier 4 tractor, I could buy ANOTHER antique tractor. Just one of the many reasons I think I'll stick to old machines.

    One additional thing I have noticed with ethanol blended fuel is that hot starts can sometimes be a little harder. I think it is because the ethanol vaporizes at a lower temperature than gasoline from the 1940's which my tractor was designed to run on. The intake runner on my M sits right between the two logs of the exhaust manifold. This was done in order to help heat up and vaporize lower grade fuels. When the hot motor sits, this draws the easier to vaporize ethanol up the runner and replaces the oxygen which leads to a really rich mixture. Thank goodness for electric starters!
    Last edited by Evergreen; 11-12-2015 at 08:44 PM. Reason: Pour grammer
    '50 Model M w/electronic ignition, 12v conversion, and a 3pt conversion plus a homemade snowplow, a Deere Model 51 trailer plow, a Woods RM59 finish mower, a Bark Buster splitter, and a few other toys.
    '69 Sears Suburban 14 48" deck and 42" back blade, an estate rake, and a sweeper.
    '07 F250 XL Powerstroke, crew cab, short box, 4x4.
    '85 F150... I finally sold my very first truck after racking up over half-a-million miles on the original drivetrain.

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    VintageOkieDriver (11-12-2015)

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    89420's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caddydaddy View Post
    There are DPF cleaning services that restore them to like new. DPF Regeneration.com I'd think he would wear out the rest of the truck before needing a new DPF.
    sorry but nope
    1935 jd model D
    65 110 rf
    77 jd 80 cart
    83 420 rear pto, 3 point hitch
    88 332 46"deck s
    89 420 60" deck
    89 318
    jd #8 chainsaw (remington)
    2)jd 35ev chainsaws (echo)
    jd 50v chainsaw (echo
    jd 60v chainsaw (echo)
    jd 70v chainsaw (echo) sold
    jd 80ev chainsaw (echo)
    jd cs40 chainsaw (efco 940)
    husqvarna 240 chainsaw
    husqvarna 372xp chainsaw
    husqvarna 455 chainsaw
    2)dolmar 117 chainsaws
    dolmar 100 chainsaw

  13. The Following User Says Thank You to 89420 For This Useful Post:

    VintageOkieDriver (11-12-2015)

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    Quote Originally Posted by VintageOkieDriver View Post
    The EPA mandated a 150,000 mile life cycle for on highway truck DPF's. That can be converted to hours - say 40 mph average. At that rate the DPF needs changing including periodic cleaning at 3,750 hours. Since the DPF includes precious metals such as platinum you don't want to pay for the replacement! I had trucks in the fleets I was responsible for that had to have the DPF replaced at 90,000 miles.
    Now we are down to 2,250 hours. I presume the EPA came up with an equally unrealistic life cycle in hours for ag engines. Wait a few years and you will not be a fan of tier 4 when your tractor goes down in the middle of an important job to you because a sensor went bad and you either have to get the dealer to do a house call or some how transport the non functional tractor to the dealership. You are not allowed to touch the emissions system or your unit is illegal!!! Believe me you will wear out the DPF and the system components long before you wear out the tractor
    I thought we were talking about the DPF on a Dodge Ram? The DPF on my Jeep has 160k miles on it. I'm sure with a cleaning that would get at least twice that many miles out of it.
    2008 LA135 Limited Edition

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