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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think it’s important we review others’ mistakes to learn from them…
I keep my 1025 under tarp. It had been sitting about a month without use, but it was time to get some yardwork done. I uncovered her and she started right up while standing next to her because I first had to tip the backhoe bucket to dump out the mosquito nursery (apparently I need a knew tarp).
As I moved the lever to dump the bucket, I heard a “dink” sound come from up front. It was a slight sound that most people probably wouldn’t notice, but I am very keen to engine noises as a pilot and mechanic. I cocked my head and listened carefully, but no further strange noises came and everything sounded normal at that point.
I saddled up, and noticed the warning light on the dash, with the battery symbol lit up. I immediately assumed it was just low-voltage from sitting so long and figured it would probably clear up quickly. I commenced moving pallets with citrus trees on them around the yard. I noticed the battery warning light didn’t go away so I started thinking I should probably turn it off and see if it reset and if not, check the battery voltage. After running about 10 minutes, I noticed an odd smell with a strange combination like rotten flesh and BBQ. A moment later, I noticed smoke coming from underneath the tractor, and I quickly shut the motor off.
Damn
I opened up the front and took the side panel off and noticed a rat nest at the back of the engine compartment. Damn, I hate rats.
About this time I noticed rat entrails strung around the engine like Christmas decorations, with some of them on the exhaust - hence the awful smell. Figuring the only way a rat could get disembowled, I looked at the fan. That’s when I noticed the fan belt was off the pulleys.
At that point the chain of events became clear:
1. I failed to do a proper ‘pre-flight’ - as a long-time pilot I should know better. We ALWAYS preflight our airplanes before every flight, and take extra care if a plane has been sitting for a while. Of course, the repercussions of a problem with an airplane are a lot more severe than with a tractor, but nevertheless, the principle still applies. My failure to notice a disgusting rat nest in my engine compartment was chain link 1.
2. The ‘dink’ sound I heard was a rat, probably terrified of the incredible vibration and sound of a running diesel engine, that abandoned its nest and ran along the engine to the front (why the front? Who knows!). In so doing, it got caught in the fan belt which knocked the belt offline, not to mention spreading its entrails around the engine compartment, therefore, thankfully, ending its life. This took both the cooling fan AND the alternator offline.
3. I was immediately notified of this problem by my trusty steed. Admittedly the notification was vague, but I should have ceased operation and investigated. Instead, I made an incorrect assumption based on nebulous data. Yes, the tractor was telling me of low voltage, but it was because the alternator was not supplying juice to the system due to the afore-mentioned separated belt, not a low battery from sitting idle.
4. Having made the incorrect assumption that the warning was because of low battery voltage, I failed to properly scan the rest of my scarce engine instruments. If I had, I would have noticed the rising engine coolant temperature gage.
5. Since it was a hot day, the engine temperature quickly rose until it vented off coolant, which struck the exhaust, causing the appearance of smoke.

Lesson’s Learned:
1. Always do a good ‘preflight’
2. If you get an idiot light, don’t be an idiot - investigate.

The good news is there was no harm done. 30 minutes later I had the fan belt back on, the coolant filled back up, and the engine power-washed clean of entrails and rat nest. More good news: I went to where my tractor had been parked and I had heard the ‘dink’ sound and sure enough laying there on the ground was not just one disembowled rat, but two! I got a twofer! That’s a mama and papa rat that lived together and died together and thankfully won’t be producing any more baby rats.

Did I mention I hate rats?
 

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AHhhhh...at least One is gone.

Great write up 9 outta 10..........Guts strung like Xmas was a good Visual.

Now HOW are you gonna keep them from returning??
There stench is there......They will be back B4 the sun goes down.

Evil beasts
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
... Not much for them to eat underneath there. Guess they could have chewed on the high voltage wire to the plug, but no.
Well, unfortunately I noticed they did chew the cover off of the alternator terminal. I'm hoping I don't discover any further damage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
AHhhhh...at least One is gone.
...
Now HOW are you gonna keep them from returning??
There stench is there......They will be back B4 the sun goes down.

Evil beasts
No, I got two! I am actively trapping them and will work at eliminating every rat I can - realizing it is a never-ending battle...
 

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I would not tarp the machine. Rats like the darkness and security the tarp adds.
 

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I feed my mice and that seems to help a lot, I only caught one over the winter. Also helps keep the Red Squirrel and Chipmunk population down. One bucket of food lasts a couple of years.
 

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I always pop the hood, look for nesting all around front and back, take off the right side panel and pull the air filter end cap to check that the filter does not have a hole chewed through it. Then I start it up. I hate field mice!!!
 

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I thought for sure it was gonna start with "It was the best of rats, it was the worst of rats, ..." 🤣 You know, from A Tale of Two Cities.
 

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X320, 3720 W/ 300cx loader, 5'ford 917 flail, CL 6' box blade, 64 massy 165
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I don't worry about mice/rats. I have a large outdoor cat that lives with the goats. It eats what it catches. This kind of forces her to do a thorough job. Every now and then she leaves presents on the backdoor steps though. Eeewww!
Unfortunately sometimes she gets a bunny. I don't mind them running around.
 

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As a former mechanic (and aspiring future pilot), I always check engine and transmission oil levels before firing up my tractor. I also open the hood, eyeball the coolant level in the recovery tank and have a look around for critter nests and anything else awry or out of place.

Sucks you had that happen but good to know there was no permanent damage to your tractor!

As you now know, the battery light on most* equipment indicates that the battery is not charging. Sometimes it can also indicate an overcharging condition. The circuit is actually pretty simple in most cases. One side of the bulb or comparator circuit senses battery voltage, the other side senses alternator/regulator voltage. If there is a significant difference, the battery light turns on.

*On cheap junk like lawn tractors manufactured by MTD, the battery light is indeed a simple "low voltage" indication.
 

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Have comfort knowing the last thing which the male rat heard was the female rat telling him "I told you this wasn't a good idea. I don't know why I listen to you, now it's up to you to lead me to safety and get us out of here.".........
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Have comfort knowing the last thing which the male rat heard was the female rat telling him "I told you this wasn't a good idea. I don't know why I listen to you, now it's up to you to lead me to safety and get us out of here.".........
Good one - - although more like the female rat saying "Now it's up to ME to lead us to safety and get us out of here..."
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
I would not tarp the machine. Rats like the darkness and security the tarp adds.
I live in Florida. It rains almost every day here. I've been wanting to stretch it out as an awning but just haven't had time.
 

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X320, 3720 W/ 300cx loader, 5'ford 917 flail, CL 6' box blade, 64 massy 165
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I just bought a 12x20 included
I live in Florida. It rains almost every day here. I've been wanting to stretch it out as an awning but just haven't had time.
I just purchase this fabric shed to mine in temporarily, till I get some construction done and build a pole shed/garage.

Automotive parking light Tire Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Vehicle
 

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I don't worry about mice/rats. I have a large outdoor cat that lives with the goats. It eats what it catches. This kind of forces her to do a thorough job. Every now and then she leaves presents on the backdoor steps though. Eeewww!
Unfortunately sometimes she gets a bunny. I don't mind them running around.
with ours we got 4 sets of bunny parts on the shop door steps in one day......she keeps all the furry critters cleaned out ....and other critters on high alert ....
 

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I feed my mice and that seems to help a lot, I only caught one over the winter. Also helps keep the Red Squirrel and Chipmunk population down. One bucket of food lasts a couple of years.
I just started to do this also. This week 100 small "Blue Meatballs" have been served in my van in nightly portions of 20. Plates are again empty this morning
 
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