By Reed Boettcher – www.greatplainskubota.com
With summer months come damaging elements that can be hazards to your Kubota’s health. A few simple steps and a little extra time can go a long way when the life of your tractor or implement is on the line.
There are several important things you can do as a responsible Kubota tractor owner this hay season. Keeping your radiator fins clean as well as your radiator and hydraulic fluid levels properly filled are just the beginning. Summer brings the heat and the heat brings the dust so check these fluids often along with your fuel filter sediment bulb. This should be cleaned and checked for optimal operating performance.
A lot of people beat the heat with a nice air conditioned cab. Give your tractors cab more attention than you would your cars since tractors generally work harder in rougher elements than most vehicles. Check your cabs condenser fins and cabin filters to maintain the cooled air you worked so hard for. One of the biggest failures to air conditioners during the hay season is not checking your radiator.
Another good practice before baling hay or any tractor operation is to do an overall inspection of your Kubota. Check for leaks around your tractor. Ask yourself what should the fluids look like and take into consideration what operations will take place during your tractors upcoming hours. One easy maintenance step that should always be done is properly greasing your grease fittings. Get to know where all your greasing locations are and use them.
In the field it is important to check and keep your radiator screens cleaned. You might think that you could never get anything done when you spend so much time monitoring and checking the tractor? Look for the signs. If the temperature range is above normal, stop and blow out the radiator screens and check the fluids. Another in the field tip that will help prolong performance is simply knowing when to stop. If something breaks or your tractor shows symptoms something isn’t right don’t push it. Ignoring a small problem will create a big problem down the road. We always worry about time lost. In the field if we look at the big picture, we see time saved.
Jamie Anderson, Great Plains Kubota Technician stresses the importance of the owner’s manual. He says, “First and foremost read your owner’s manual and keep it with you. I hear: I’ve been around tractors my whole life I don’t need to read those things. Well, tractors today aren’t what they where ten years ago. Technology and advancements keep changing, so it is very important you read and know your manual.” Some issues Anderson has run into with this were simple warning lights. On certain Kubota L-Series tractors a maintenance minder light comes on every 50 hours to remind owners of upcoming maintenance. People have brought their tractor in to diagnose this issue when time and money could have been saved by simply reading the owner’s manual.
Keeping a sharp eye on your tires is another small step you should take. Check the lug nuts often and always make sure they are tight and even. Also, check tire pressure. Tire pressure can have a direct effect on implement performance.
Getting to know how your implement operates under normal conditions will give you a better idea of what to expect in harsher, more variable conditions.
Make sure all covers and shields are in place and unbroken. Rigging up your own guards is never a good idea. There are plenty of funny stories to accompany this issue but for most the outcome isn’t so funny.
Lastly, end you’re day with a good clean up. When you’re done blow out your screens and any debris on and in your tractor and implement. When bailing hay it is really important not to let hay sit. Chaff gathers around in tight places and since hay is already dry a chance for fire can occur.
The key to a successful season is operator maintenance and observation. Give your tractor a little time and effort now so it can give you a lot of time and effort in the future. Most Kubota manuals have a checklist and hourly maintenance schedule. Use the checklist and adhere to the recommended maintenance scheduling. It doesn’t hurt to go over in hours but to wait several hundred hours later before servicing can have a negative affect especially when working your tractor hard.
There is always a better chance before than after. This holds true for maintenance and breakage. Don’t let the smaller things that are going to happen become the bigger things that you don’t want to happen.
Jamie Anderson has been a tractor technician for 20 years, 14 of which have been strictly dedicated to Kubota tractors and engines. As a heavy equipment mechanic touring in Desert Storm, he knows all to well the importance of operator maintenance and observation. Of course sand isn’t hay but the end results of negligence are and will always be the same.
On the topic of your implements it is important that you get to know them just as well. Keep belts tight, blades sharp, and grease fittings pumped up. One obvious thing never to do is to inspect your implement while your PTO is running. It’s hard to have another season without another hand. Again, read the owner’s manual and keep it with you.