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6 Tips on How To Keep Your Antique Tractor Running

     Antique tractors can be incredibly rewarding to restore and operate. These 6 tips will help you enjoy your treasured tractor while you keep it running well,

1. Start it regularly
Vehicles left to sit for long periods deteriorate much more quickly than those which are started and used regularly. Fluids settle, metal surfaces start oxidizing, rubber components become brittle and crack and sub-assemblies seize. Running your antique tractor regularly -at least once every three weeks-- will keep it in good working order.

Don't just start the engine for a few seconds and then shut it off. Such short run time often causes condensation that forms inside the engine block to mix with the oil and form a milky, mayonnaise-like emulsion that compromises lubrication. Bring the engine up to normal operating temperature for a few minutes to make sure all the oil in the crankcase has a chance to circulate through the engine.

2. Disconnect the battery
The leading cause of battery failures is from sitting uncharged for a long time, a scenario all too common when it comes to antique vehicles. Lead acid batteries large enough to start a tractor engine can be quite expensive, so it's worth it to be diligent in this area of tractor maintenance. Luckily, this is a situation where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Disconnect the battery when the tractor is not running to help prevent it from losing its charge. The best way to do this is to install a disconnect switch on the battery to isolate the positive terminal from the rest of the wiring harness. Doing so will also help to minimize any electrolytic corrosion of electrical components between the battery and ignition switch. This type of damage is most likely to occur in damp climates. Giving the battery a top-up charge every couple of months will ensure maximum life.

3. Move it
Flat spots can form on tires whenever a vehicle is parked for a lengthy period, especially when there are cold ambient temperatures making the rubber less flexible. Under-inflation increases the likelihood of developing flat spots, and cold tires lose pressure faster than when they are warm, so always keep the tires fully inflated.

Leaving a tractor tire flat from a bad valve or puncture is a recipe for flat spots and permanently deformed sidewalls. The best protection against flat spots is to avoid them in the first place. Moving the tractor periodically will ensure that no section of tire takes the full weight of the tractor for too long.

4. Cover it up
Keeping an antique tractor in a garage or barn is preferable to letting it sit out in all weather, but even barn-stored tractors need a dust cover. Keeping your antique tractor covered will prevent dust and dirt from finding their way into electrical components where they can mix with grease to make an abrasive paste that can cause shorts or component failure.

Due to the design of many antique tractor exhaust systems, where the exhaust manifold is actually the lowest point, any water entering the muffler can pool in the manifold or even make its way into the exhaust port and combustion chamber. Covering the muffler with a rain cap to prevent water intrusion is a quick and easy preventative measure.

5. Check fluids before running
With any antique vehicle not in daily use, it is important to check all fluids before turning on the engine. Hidden leaks could make engine oil or coolant levels dangerously low. As any mechanic knows, running a motor with low fluids can easily cause major damage. Nobody looks forward to the expense and time involved in an engine rebuild, or the frustration of locating obscure engine parts.

A quick check of the dipsticks and a look into the radiator before each start will prevent unnecessary damage and can provide a vital early warning of problems that should be addressed -especially leaks.

6. Use a fuel stabilizer
Following the tips above will help to keep your antique tractor in good running condition. But any advice on keeping an antique tractor running wouldn't be complete without mentioning something that takes many antique vehicle owners by surprise; bad fuel.

Whether your antique tractor runs on gasoline or diesel, adding a fuel stabilizer that consists of an antioxidant, corrosion inhibitor and biocide will help to prevent deterioration of the fuel in the tank, which can happen surprisingly quickly.

Several manufacturers recommend that diesel fuel should be used within a year, certainly something to bear in mind when filling the tank on an antique tractor that may not see much use. Bad fuel that has oxidized, gone stale or has a lot of condensation in it can make it hard to start the engine at best, and clog fuel lines and filters at worst.

Article Source:

Located in a beautiful Lennon, MI, Steiner Tractor Parts is the industry's leading seller of new tractor parts for your antique tractor. Some of the parts they carry are grills, antique ford fuel cap, emblems, decals and much, much more.

Posted on 2011-11-25, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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