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 08-06-2000, 17:25 Post: 18556
tom stanley



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 cold weather starting

I recently purchased a JD 955. this tractor has a diesel engine. I have heard horror stories about cold weather starts with diesels. since I live in minnesota, I was wondering what types of steps I should take (and what steps to avoid) to ensure reliable starting. Garaging is not an option. Any comments or experience with starting JD 955's (or any other diesel tractors) would be appreciated.






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 08-07-2000, 06:30 Post: 18566
TomG

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 cold weather starting

I'm in Northern Ontario where it's about as cold. I had no trouble starting my Ford 1710 last winter. Of course, it doesn't snow much here when it's really cold, so the tractor can just sit and shiver through the worst of it.

Starting diesels does take battery power, both for the glow plugs and for cranking. The battery should be kept in good condition, and I use a battery blanket. There also is a block heater on the engine, and I use 0W-30 oil. Block heaters are better than alternatives since they warm the cylinder walls. It's a good idea to crack the hand throttle 1/2 - 3/4 open to start on a cold day. The injector pump will then give an initial big shot of fuel. It's sort of the diesel equivalent of choking.

Glow plugs do become weak over time--contacts corrode etc. It's a good idea to check the condition of glow plugs on an old tractor. Even on mildly cold days, glow plugs are needed to start a diesel. Of course, the engine isn't going to start if the fuel gels. Number 2 diesel does gel, and an anti-gel additive should be used

After the engine starts, a warm up period should be allowed. Diesels don't warm up much at idle, and they should be run near 1500 rpm after a short period at idle speed. Cold hydraulic oil also can be a problem. I use two magnetic heaters on the transmission case and hydraulic sump. My dealer said that they don't actually do much, but I use them anyway. Some people use synthetic hydraulic oil due to it's superior cold whether performance, but I haven't switched. I don't do any heavy work with the tractor until I feel some warmth in the hydraulic hoses.






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 08-07-2000, 07:41 Post: 18571
Bird Senter

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 cold weather starting

I think TomG covered what to do very well. As for steps to avoid; don't use starter fluids like ether.






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 08-07-2000, 21:36 Post: 18600
tom stanley



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 cold weather starting

Thanks for the input! To be on the safe side, I think I will use synthetic motor oil, a block & a battery heater, plus I understand that JD has a transmission heater for the 955 (no starter fluid). I will let you know how it went,in the spring of next year.

















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 08-07-2000, 21:47 Post: 18601
Roger L.



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 cold weather starting

Tom did cover it pretty well, didn't he? I also live in cold country and use heaters for the block and transmission oil...They are sort of like miniature hot water heating elements and screw right into the block. I'll generally plug the tractor in about 2 to 3 hours before I want to use it - depends on the temperature. It starts and runs better heated this way than it does in the Summer.
Another thing Tom said was to use a good battery. I enlarged my battery box enough to fit a regular 12 volt car battery instead of the 2/3 size lawn and garden batttery it was designed to take. Big difference!






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 08-09-2000, 11:21 Post: 18667
Frank R Taylor



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 cold weather starting

Bird, what's the problem with using starter fluid? I've used it for many years to start the farm tractors during the winter. It does get cold enough in East Texas occasionally to have trouble getting them to start (you wouldn't think so now though- Lord it's HOT). What possible damage could I have done using it a few times each winter for this extended length of time?






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 08-09-2000, 15:14 Post: 18671
Bird Senter

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Frank, I'm not going to claim to be an expert, but all the compact tractors I'm familiar with have warnings in the operator's manuals to not use starting fluids or ether, as do many of the smaller diesel cars and pickups. I realize they are sometimes used to start big diesels, and I don't know what size farm tractors you have, or what type of starting system they use. As I understand it, the reason for not using starter fluids is because if you have glow plugs, and you've preheated them in the normal fashion so they're hot when the starter fluid hits them, instead of just starting, you may have an explosion that could destroy an engine, and perhaps the operator at the same time. I don't even know how many different starting systems exist. Both of the tractors I've owned, and the only diesel car I've owned, had glow plugs. My brother has a truck with a Caterpillar engine that's instant start, even cold, but it has it's own built-in system to automatically inject the right amount of starter fluid if needed instead of glow plugs, and a neighbor has an old Oliver with a preheater in the air intake to heat the intake air instead of glow plugs in the cylinders. And of course, he's not supposed to use starter fluids on that Oliver either because he could have an explosion in the air intake housing before it even gets to the cylinders. Now at least in theory, I guess starter fluid could be used if it were injected to start with before allowing any glow plugs or other preheat device to get hot, but I don't think I'd want to chance it. Someone on this, or another discussion board, said you could use WD40 since it's not as explosive as ether, but fortunately, I've never needed to use anything and don't want to take any unnecessary chances. Anyone want to expand on this?






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 08-09-2000, 17:49 Post: 18678
Murf

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 cold weather starting

My neighbour (relatively speaking) TomG covered most of it very well. I do have two small things to add however. Firstly, the electric heater blanket he spoke of, if you put one or two of these (depending on machine size) around the transmission your machine (which can be awkward with shifters, floorboards, mid-pto's, etc.) it makes a BIG difference in the hydraulic fluid warm-up times. Secondly, the best reason for NOT using ether (quick-start) in a diesel is not the glow-plugs (which you will burn out using starting fluid, they are hot, ether very cold, try putting a hot light bulb in cold water...) it is the high compression ratios achieved in a diesel engine, the ether is very volatile, when you put too much in a diesel the violent explosion can easily blow a hole in a piston. That makes snow removal very difficult indeed, and usually ruins your day too..... Best of luck.






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 00-00-0000, 00:00 Post: 18688
lsheaffer



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 cold weather starting

Many of the compact tractors have pre combustion chambers, which with ether confines the explosion to a small area. Larger deisels use direct injection without a precombustion chanber, so the explosion is not confines to a smaLL area.






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 08-10-2000, 15:49 Post: 18704
Frank R Taylor



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 cold weather starting

Thanks guys, I'm a little smarter now than I was about using ether. I can see where blowing a hole in a piston might take the edge off your day. I just wondered because the old JD 820 I have at the farm has a fitting below and to the right of the steering wheel supposedly to be used for injecting ether. I assume therefore that it's OK to use it on the JD 820 but not the little Kubota B2400 that I use at the house.






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Tractor Engine Repair Rebuild Forum

Thread 18556 Filter by Poster:
Art White 1 | Bird Senter 2 | Frank R Taylor 2 | lsheaffer 1 | Murf 1 | Roger L. 3 | tom stanley 2 | TomG 1 |




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