Cold temps and tractors?

   / Cold temps and tractors? #11  
One thing which was really helpful for me with my 2014 M59 was realizing I could heat it up multiple times with the glow plugs. (Hopefully I'm not burning them out too much more quickly.) If it's really cold (<20 degF) I'll turn the key to the glow plugs, letting them warm up, then once the relay kicks off, turn the key and let them heat up again. Sometimes I'll even do it a third time, if near 0. My poor tractor lives outside but starts up quite a bit more happy than just a single heating.

Either way, I'll give the little diesel credit, it's never not started for me in about 250 hours of use in two years at about 6,200ft in Colorado; just depends on how much smoke and sputtering I want as it warms up. Certainly, don't run the hydraulics until it's warmed up a bit as I understand it can injure the pump -- then warm them up too! I usually let the engine fast idle (~1100 RPM) warm up until I see one or two bars on the digital engine temperature gauge.
 
   / Cold temps and tractors? #12  
One thing I’ll add is that warming the hydraulic fluid is not a minute or two thing. Kubota recommends hydraulic warmup times as long as 20 minutes at around 0 deg f at 50% engine rpm.
 
   / Cold temps and tractors?
  • Thread Starter
#13  
Thanks guys, makes me feel better if I have to use mine in the severe cold.
I did put in K1 conditioner per my dealers advice.
It's warm enough today so later on I may fire it up and break a path to some wood pallets that are snowed in (from plowed snow being pushed over).
 
   / Cold temps and tractors? #14  
There are also aftermarket 110V thermostatically controlled metal fuel/hydraulic filter preheaters that wrap around the filter housing. Along with my engine block heater I start at -17コF easily and with no hydraulic whine.

Another decent investment is a fuel/water separating filter funnel like "Mr. Funnel" to remove water from any accumulated water in your fuel jerrycan or storage tank.
 
   / Cold temps and tractors? #15  
I use a little bit of white bottle and grey bottle PS and my automatic onboard battery maintainer.

Depending on the temps, it will vary how long I will idle before using it.

Never had an issue.

When I used to work on a farm, the common cause for a machine not to start was a weak battery or really bad glow plugs, or a gelling issue. I found as long as it had 1 or 2 working glow plugs and a well charged battery, they would usually start.
 
   / Cold temps and tractors? #16  
I try & get the block heater (on a remote controlled switch) plugged in if I might need the tractor in the cold. It starts easier & is kinder to the machine. But I wont hesitate to use it in the cold if I need it, regardless of the block heater.

Diesels run on heat. If it's cold many, especially older machines couldnt easily get warm enough to self-combust. Oils are thicker in the cold, so i give it a minute or so to warm up once its started. But the best way to heat the machine up is to work it. Oil is going to be everywhere it needs to be pretty quick, so there is no need to let it sit & idle for a long time. Idling kills modern emissions systems, doesnt generate much heat & wastes fuel.

Diesel fuel gelling is likely to be the biggest issue if you are unprepared. Get a bottle of Power Service 911 (red bottle) & hope you never need it (it's a pain & a little harder on the fuel system). Getting fuel for your climate and/or treating it is key. I use Power Service white bottle ontop of only buying fuel (300 gallon tank in the barn) in the winter. Any competent local fuel supplier will blend their fall & winter fuel to not tell at the lowest local temperatures. Treating it makes sure I wont have issues.

I use a couple of old-school heat lamps placed under the oil pan, hydraulic reservoir and on the side of the engine to warm it up. The tractor is a lot less sluggish on starting when I use them on really cold days. I have a video on my setup for anyone who is interested:

Tractor Heater Upper - Kubota Cold Start - YouTube

Also I absolutely agree with anti-gelling treatments. I use Howe's Diesel Treat and have been very happy with it. It really keeps water from accumulating in my tank.
 
   / Cold temps and tractors? #17  
Mine sits outside year 'round. Winters get to -40 F here. I have a block heater, a stick on pad heater on the oil pan sump, and a stick on pad heater on the hydro sump. I have them on a timed outlet to come on in the morning, at least an hour before I know I need the tractor. My OEM Interstate wet cell battery died the first time it hit -30 F. Replaced it with an Optima red top AGM battery, and ZERO battery issues since (2 winters now). I'm also running Amsoil synthetic engine oil. I use the white bottle Power Service additive and run winter red dye fuel. Tractor always starts on the first glow plug cycle.

Other than replacing the stock battery with an AGM, the best thing I did was the oil pan and hydro sump heaters. The hydro heater allows me to start using the tractor almost immediately when it starts. No having to wait until all that hydro fluid warms up and the HST and hydraulic controls start working.

Start it up, let it idle for a minute or two, then bump the idle speed up to 1500 rpms and leave it there until I'm done and shut it down. If you don't bump the idle up, it will actually lose heat and cool off while it's sitting there idling when it's -40 F outside.
 
   / Cold temps and tractors? #18  
...Start it up, let it idle for a minute or two, then bump the idle speed up to 1500 rpms and leave it there until I'm done and shut it down. If you don't bump the idle up, it will actually lose heat and cool off while it's sitting there idling when it's -40 F outside...

Yikes! I can't imagine living anywhere where an engine can't warm up unless it's running above idle! Have you considered moving farther south?
 
   / Cold temps and tractors? #19  
never considered moving south, the snow just means more tractor seat time and besides too many poisonous things likes snakes and spiders down south. the cold up here just weeds out all of that sort of rif raf.
 
   / Cold temps and tractors? #20  
never considered moving south, the snow just means more tractor seat time and besides too many poisonous things likes snakes and spiders down south. the cold up here just weeds out all of that sort of rif raf.

Actually there's plenty of opportunity for tractor seat time with the mild winters we have - just rarely having to clear snow. I've lived in Georgia all 59 years of my life and I have seldom come across venomous snakes. When I do, they die. And we only have two venomous spiders to look out for: Black Widows and Brown Recluses. Again sightings are fairly rare and I've never been bitten by either. Got stung by a scorpion once but it was about like a wasp sting.
 
 
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