How To Start A Diesel Tractor That Has Been Sitting – Carl Broerman’s 1941 MD was a very early production diesel. Judging by the serial number, it’s actually a 1940 model, but Carl calls it a 1941, so we’ll do that too. Raymond Loewy styling combined with Harvester Red paint changes its era. That was the first time tractor makers learned they needed styling to attract buyers, just like car and truck makers, so they invested in hiring a stylist and fitting the tractor. Broerman’s showed the full weight, bringing it to about 7,500 pounds. Weight fight.
When International Harvester introduced the new Letter series tractors designed by Raymond Loewy in 1939, it was one of their biggest advancements. Improvements have been made at nearly every level, starting with the Lowey styling and ending with solid technological advancements and the replacement of the F-30 by a larger M tractor. Three styles of tractors were initially introduced, the Small A, Medium H and Burley M, followed by the Model B, which was largely an adaptation of the A. These tractors replace the F-Series’ rather skeletal-looking model and replace it with the W-Series stationary running gear, benefiting from the same level of advancement a year later.
How To Start A Diesel Tractor That Has Been Sitting
Missing from the 1939 debut, and the soot we care about most, is a diesel option. IHC then had a diesel option, one dating back to 1934. Their 1934-1940 WD-40 was a fixed track unit, we’ll consider a standard tractor or Wheatland model later. It was sold until 1940 as the company’s only wheeled diesel agricultural tractor. In 1941, the Farmall MD (D for diesel) debuted as the company’s first universal adjustable tread diesel farm tractor, and a new WD-6 would replace the WD-40, as would a more powerful WD-9.
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The MD Diesel is just the M model with the same features and options, but with International’s newly upgraded petrol-start diesel. While the MD engine is similar in design to the WD-40, it has five main bearings instead of three and has a displacement of 248 cubic inches versus 460 cubic inches. Both have roughly the same belt power, which speaks to the improvement in diesel technology. Like the older IH diesel, the MD is two engines in one. For starting and heating, it runs on petrol, but then switches to diesel. This was an innovative technology at the time, when the few diesel engines in use were powered by gasoline or compressed air engines.
To start the engine, the driver operates a compression release lever that opens a third valve in the cylinder head, called the start valve, exposing a separate combustion chamber, increasing both the size of the combustion chamber and exposing the spark plugs. With the start valve open, the engine has a CR of 6.75:1 and uses a miniature fixed bore carburetor that is only designed to run the engine at fast idle. At the same time, the controller disconnects the distributor mass, opens the fuel valve in the carburetor and the butterfly valve that connects the combustion chamber of the gas cycle to the intake, and closes the diesel intake.
Start the engine with a 12 volt starter and idle at 6-800 rpm. This is enough to warm up the engine as long as diesel combustion is possible. Although there is choke, the idle speed is not controlled by the driver. After warming up the engine for one to three minutes, the compression release lever is pulled back quickly. This closes the start valve, shuts off the gas to the carburetor, grounds the distributor (sparks out), closes the intake manifold, and starts the diesel injection pump. The engine then started running on the diesel with almost no hiccups. Stop, you go back to gas and turn off the engine with the ignition, ready for the next start.
All of this seems pretty expensive today, but it’s one of the most efficient ways to start a diesel before the battery and starting system have enough power to start it in cold weather, let alone cold. A practical glow plug system will still be a decade or more in the future, again limited by battery capacity. Direct-start diesel engines were important when they debuted in the mid-1950s.
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The MD was rated at 36 belt horsepower in the 1941 Nebraska Tractor Test, about three times less than a gasoline engine whose block and bore/stroke shared diesel. The petrol and diesel rev the same at 1,450rpm, but the diesel is of course more economical. The 248-cid gas four burns 3 GPH at full power, while the diesel uses 2.4 GPH. Diesel maintained the same lead as natural gas in various load tests, averaging 1.56 GPH to 2.16 GPH for natural gas. With the MD’s 16-gallon fuel tank, a farmer can work a day on one tank.
The diesel is backed up by a five-speed gearbox, and IH has announced that the tractor can do an impressive 16 mph on the highway. Options include a side mounted belt PTO, a rear PTO (not activated) and a rear sway bar. Rear tread width can be adjusted from 52 inches to 88 inches. An optional hydraulic lift, called Lift-All, is optional and can be used with most of the available IH-manufactured tools.
The International Harvester MD is a key development in bringing diesel power into the agricultural mainstream. It’s not that farmers are buying MDs or any other diesel tractors in droves, it’s that they are learning the benefits of diesel power one by one. Despite the learning curve and sometimes disgusting new technology. After a long time, diesel tractors became as easy to use and familiar as natural gas and distillate (kerosene) tractors, but after 1941 the industry achieved its first benchmark in MD.
The diesel side of the 248-cylinder gas-started four-cylinder diesel is equipped with an IH injection pump and dual fuel filters. They take clean fuel seriously using water separators (glass bowls), followed by fine primary and secondary filters. The jet pump has its own fuel pressure gauge, which alerts the operator when the filter becomes restricted.
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The gas side (cough, vomit!) shows spark plugs, distributor and miniature carburetor. There is no driver-controlled throttle on the gas side. The carburetor is large enough to run the engine at about 800 rpm for warm-up. When it warms up, you switch the engine to diesel mode.
The working end of the MD shows the swing drawbar and tension-free PTO. This was before the three-point connection and when the hydraulic system was always there. This tractor has optional hydraulics, but it’s pretty anemic compared to modern tractors.
The standard PTO in 1941 was a pulley. The long, flat belt will be rolled forward onto equipment such as a corn peeler or thresher. You can imagine the possibility of an accident, which is why the PTO shaft was invented. Pulley PTOs held up long enough (early 1950s) to wear out old belt-driven equipment. Pulleys are made from a variety of materials, including steel, but pressed wood fibers generally provide the best belt grip at the lowest cost, with the best wear characteristics.
Given the simplicity of that era, the controls were plentiful, but some of them were for gas-started diesels. The electrical system is pretty basic, and the instrumentation is limited to three gauges… the ammeter seen here, the oil pressure gauge, and the water temperature gauge on the hood.
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If the engine is stopped long enough, the fluid will flow to the lowest point of the engine. All suspended particles in the liquid begin to settle to the bottom.
With his passing
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