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When do you complete your yearly maintenance?

  • Spring

    Votes: 14 41.2%
  • Fall

    Votes: 20 58.8%

  • Total voters
    34
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Discussion Starter #1
I thought I would see what others do and think about yearly tractor maintenance. I very seldom put enough hours on my machines to change fluids on that schedule. So, that got me to the default of being on the yearly schedule. I tend to lean towards doing my maintenance in the fall. But, it got me to thinking that others may do it in the spring. I guess my thinking is the dirtiest time is the summer and I would like to clean and maintain the equipment in the fall giving me a refreshed machine for the winter and leading into spring. So, what say ya, Fall or Spring?
 

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I voted Fall... I don't put enough hours on mine after a year's running so I don't go by the book when changing fluids either. I change my engine oil & filter fall to fall no matter the hours .... I change the hydraulic fluid when I feel the oil is starting to look cloudy/ opaque or it's hrs are up. The front axle lube I go by hours and the way the oil looks also. I check fluid levels all the time. I also use an engine oil additive that basically adds more of the same additives oil companies put into motor oil to (supposedly) make motor oil last longer and reduce friction.
 

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Randy, might be interesting to see how many go "by the book", you might want to add that to the poll? On changing in the fall. That's the way I'd do it if it was going to sit for any length of time. It's a cardinal rule in the motorcycle business, at least it was in the shops I worked in and when I ran my own. Condensation is a by product of running an engine and it can cause rust, corrosion, etc on bearings, etc. Another by product is acid, and another catalyst to change if it's sitting for any length of time. Not so bad if you're running year round, which I do, but I'd definitly change it if it's sitting around. Which reminds me I have to get cracking on doing that to the Harley....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Randy, might be interesting to see how many go "by the book", you might want to add that to the poll?
Hey George, Yup, going by the book. That is why I am was asking the question. Here is a copy of my manual. Unless I didn't understand your request.:unknown: Though, until I just looked at it, I was under the impression the tranny fluids got changed yearly as well as the engine oil.

On changing in the fall. That's the way I'd do it if it was going to sit for any length of time. It's a cardinal rule in the motorcycle business, at least it was in the shops I worked in and when I ran my own. Condensation is a by product of running an engine and it can cause rust, corrosion, etc on bearings, etc. Another by product is acid, and another catalyst to change if it's sitting for any length of time. Not so bad if you're running year round, which I do, but I'd definitly change it if it's sitting around. Which reminds me I have to get cracking on doing that to the Harley....
These are very good points and another reason I do a fall change. As the tractor can sit for a month or two in between use.
 

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I your case, I would say fall. If you use it a little less in the winter, better to have clean oil in the pan.

Ours gets done twice a year, spring and fall, but if I used it less, would be fall.

I did not vote, because I do it twice a year.
 

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One of the reasons i use an additive is because the one I use goes into the metal without changing the oil's viscosity, ... it's always protecting the engine's parts from moisture and cold start wear and tear. It only needs to be replaced on the third oil change. I can't before sure that is does what it claims to do but it's the best I can do for my equipment and vehicle motors.
 

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Fall for me, # 1 My schedule is less hectic. #2 I don't like running dirty oil in a cold engine. Hydro I change when my brother ( D mech.) says to.
 

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"Fall" in North Carolina means sometime in November or early December when all cutting and new seeding projects are done.

By the book on oil. But with antifreeze, I'm on the fence about every 2 years (the book) or every 3 and do a test of the antifreeze. Seems like it gets far less dirty than oil, and it's just a question of are the additives OK.

Also this year will try something new- used oil analysis.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Also this year will try something new- used oil analysis.

Pete
OK, at the risk of a novel, :mocking: I will ask, what is prompting this analysis? Are you having problems? Let us know cost and convenience of this exercise.
 

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Spring.

Fall's a busy time - getting wood moved, doing the last driveway repairs, squeezing in the last projects that didn't fit in the summer, and generally getting ready for winter. Winter's busy with snowblowing. Spring has mud season when the tractor will sit idle for the longest time.
 

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Ah, don't pay attention, that's just me being senile again, misunderstood the poll...:bye2:

Hey George, Yup, going by the book. That is why I am was asking the question. Here is a copy of my manual. Unless I didn't understand your request.:unknown: Though, until I just looked at it, I was under the impression the tranny fluids got changed yearly as well as the engine oil.



These are very good points and another reason I do a fall change. As the tractor can sit for a month or two in between use.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
A lot of good stuff here, thought I would resuscitate this dinosaur.
 

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Analysis

OK, at the risk of a novel, :mocking: I will ask, what is prompting this analysis? Are you having problems? Let us know cost and convenience of this exercise.
I just met with the local Caterpillar dealer and our group got a long presentation on fluid analysis. Their machines are pricey, :gizmo: at least for me but the explanation of the analysis was pretty good.

Basically their tech guy said they could pick up many minor problems in the fluid analysis way before an operator could notice anything. They suggested having the analysis done on a schedule, particularly if the first one picked up any anomaly. They keep a record of all the tests and look at trends as much as the raw data. The cost varied depending on the fluid but I think a basic oil analysis was around $20. I'm going to pull a sample of my coolant just to see how the process works, may do oil as well.

They obviously deal with Cat equipment but said they run thousands of samples from other equipment as well, including farm equipment. The test equipment is pretty sensitive so they pick up contaminants, dissolved metal etc. way before it's visible and usually before any visible failure. It's obviously cheaper to fix small problems than split a piece of equipment. Basically they said if problems were noticed by the operator, don't bother with the analysis as it's too late unless you are looking at some warranty issue such as using the wrong fluid to start with.

Treefarmer
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the info TreeFarmer. I wonder if Deere Dealers offer this analysis service. :unknown:
 

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Deere should offer it

Thanks for the info TreeFarmer. I wonder if Deere Dealers offer this analysis service. :unknown:
I would guess Deere does have the service but all dealers may not offer it. Our Cat dealer does it in one location and ships samples from any of their other 10 or so locations. You can also ship them samples if you want and they email the results back. (Apparently you can't ship diesel fuel and definitely not gas due to shipping regs but oil, antifreeze, hydraulic fluid etc. are ok.)

If you can't get it done by Deere or locally, I'll give you the information for our Cat dealer. They are very good folks, just wish I had the bucks to play with their equipment! They will work on anything, and if necessary build a new piece, including hydraulic cylinders from scratch.

Treefarmer
 

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I'm starting to rethink my reasoning here but I was always told to change the oil in the spring so that you have the best oil for the hottest time of the year. As the oil breaks down it will only get thinner so winter use on say 8-10 month old oil was suppose to be far less demanding on the oil than summer use mowing in 90F heat. I do see your guys point though about having the best oil in the engine when it sits the longest to prevent corrosion and breakdown.
 

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I'm starting to rethink my reasoning here but I was always told to change the oil in the spring so that you have the best oil for the hottest time of the year. As the oil breaks down it will only get thinner so winter use on say 8-10 month old oil was suppose to be far less demanding on the oil than summer use mowing in 90F heat. I do see your guys point though about having the best oil in the engine when it sits the longest to prevent corrosion and breakdown.
IMHO if your changing fluids at the required frequency any breakdown between new and time of change would be minimal thus making time of year for the change inconsequential.

If your pushing the limits of time in service (hours) or the max calendar interval then you might see some fluid degredation, but with as cheap as fluids and filters are why push it and risk problems?
 

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A good value for oil analysis for us small guys -

Blackstone Labs
I've used Blackstone, fair price and a really detailed analysis. I don't do regular fluid tests on my own equipment, but I've used them when I thought there might be a specific substance moving where it shouldn't be.
 
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