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Machine life expectancy


lach13
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Hi all, Just been reading the forums around here of people upgrading and repairing tractors and the low hour meter reading of some major overhauls. This got me thinking, what do you guys think is an acceptable life expectancy of well maintained gear and what is the cause of these rebuilds at such low hours. For example I've heard many people on here say that an engine or fuel pump etc was overhauled at 4-5000hrs. To me in our climate, 5000hrs is probably what I would consider to be quite early for an engine rebuild. In my experiances most engine components should last between 8-10k hrs if regular maintenance is carried out. So what is the cause of this premature failure? Climate maybe? Or just maintenance not carried out properly? Obviously there is always going to be the odd premature failure but I seem to read about it on here often. Just interested on everybody's thoughts on what they thought was acceptable. Thanks Lachlan

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3 minutes ago, lach13 said:

Hi all, Just been reading the forums around here of people upgrading and repairing tractors and the low hour meter reading of some major overhauls. This got me thinking, what do you guys think is an acceptable life expectancy of well maintained gear and what is the cause of these rebuilds at such low hours. For example I've heard many people on here say that an engine or fuel pump etc was overhauled at 4-5000hrs. To me in our climate, 5000hrs is probably what I would consider to be quite early for an engine rebuild. In my experiances most engine components should last between 8-10k hrs if regular maintenance is carried out. So what is the cause of this premature failure? Climate maybe? Or just maintenance not carried out properly? Obviously there is always going to be the odd premature failure but I seem to read about it on here often. Just interested on everybody's thoughts on what they thought was acceptable. Thanks Lachlan

  Maintenance and operation always play large into repairs.  Metal processing into alloys is not always perfect I suspect along with heating then cooling in the forging process.  Human error and machine wear in machining material that operates in tight clearances.  I can't speak back to 50 plus years ago but in more current times with one exception we have never been into an engine at the 4-5 thousand hour range.  Talking about engines specifically I would guess that air cleaners get neglected quite a bit.

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welcome lach - presuming you are referring to IH diesel engines or something comparable, lots of variables with climate, care/maint, use during those hours, with good conditions and good maint going with avgs id say you are spot on with the 8 to 10K number, there are engines, environments, care that are going to have a failure at 5K and then there are engines that will go 15K no prob 

acceptable is a relative term, we learn to accept things as they are - how many people would put up with a car that broke/hiccupped  as frequent as a computer does, how about a dysfunctional ford N series tractor and their AVG failure? it shows you where our acceptable limits are for various items of use be it an appliance/computer, light bulb, car, tractor etc.....

 

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We run a Fendt 724 it was sold to us as a 10,000 hr tractor getting close to 9,000 hrs no probs but on full manufactures service scheme still drives as new

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Ok thanks for clearing things up, just the amount of low hour repairs I read about over on the general IH board and when somebody claims that the engine hadn't been touched in 5000hrs that maybe that was a good run with regular maintenance for you guys. I personally know of a machine with 21000hrs that has had no major work done but I guess some people just get lucky too

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Well, around me, nobody does underhauls or runs an overhead..............nobody changes coolant, let alone a coolant filter..............Oil/filters in the engine goes years............Rear end filters/oil, ha ha, is there any?   Air filter ran until they are about plugged.......................Well, it isn't hard to see why things are being done that should go longer.

 

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I don’t know if it is fair to compare 40+ year old equipment with 5K hours to a new one with 8K. In my experience, time (years) is just as cruel to engines as engine hours. Many things can happen to an engine just sitting around over the years that can lead to failures. There is more than one way to wear an engine out. 

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Did you run it every day for 1 hr or did you run it 300 hours over a month and then park it for 11.   Not regularly using something is a silent killer of man and machine.

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I’m no mechanic and just a small time farmer but from what I’ve seen and heard the time period of manufacturing has a great deal to do with it as well as maintenance. My father told me in the past the gas engines from say 50s&60s might go 1500-2000 hrs on an overhaul. Seems the diesels from 60s-early 70s would go about that 5000 hr mark. Late 70s-early 80s more like 7500-9000 hrs. Modern stuff if maintained reasonably could easy go 10000-15000. Just my observations with my ears open

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Also have to account for the difference in hour meters. The old mechanical drive meters don’t run hours up near as fast as an electric meter will, depending on the application. Mixer wagons can be real bad for that. So a tractor with a mechanical meter might have seen quite a bit more use that might show the same hours as a tractor with an electric meter. 

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^^^ Big part of it. All these older tractors had the mechanical counter that was only accurate at a certain RPM. So, say the meter was accurate at 2000 RPM, at 1500 it would take 1 hr, 15 minutes to put an hour on the meter.

Another reason is duty cycle.... the percentage of time run at maximum HP. At Cat, they judge an engine by the gallons of fuel it has burned. Take a 3406E truck engine. It should burn approximately 200,000 gallons of fuel between overhauls. Say one truck is pulling light van trailers and gets 5 MPG, another truck is constantly pulling heavy haul getting 2.5 MPG. One engine will run a million miles, the other will be worn out at 500K.

I don’t know the target duty cycle/lifespan they designed tractors of the past to, but it wasn't 100%. However, say it was 50%/10,000 hours. A tillage tractor running close to 100% would only last 5000 hrs, while a tractor on mixer duty only using 25% could go way more than 10k.

And then, throw in the maintenance or lack of, and all other factors.....

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...some of yesteryears   Caterpillar    diesel engines have clocked up huge hours....Regular   maintained Cat motors in graders...have recorded up to thirty thousand hours

,,,,my old EX200   Hitachi Excavator  hour meter quit at 18000 hrs....it still runs perfectly     (  Isuzu Diesel  ).....There were Hitachi  Excavators in the NZ  West Coast gold mines that  exceeded 20,000    hrs...( I know   the Hitachi franchise "boss" from down there,...)

..and there are some Diesel Engines that seem to be incrementally far better than other brands....

I would imagine that with all the EPA    ' BS' required today....the Diesel engine life will possibly regress ...rather than progress.....

Mike

.

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It makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE what you are doing with them. Someone doing summer fallow, with the dust absolutely covering your tractor will probably have more damage to the equipment then someone who is just haying. The old poured Babbitt bearings needed the bottom end touched up more frequently. Oils have improved dramatically. 
All that being said, I don’t have a single tractor that has a working hour meter and sadly I am very lax in routine maintenance   

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We have a fleet of Magnum tractors and half of them are averaging 15k hours on its original engine. Closest to new one we bought was a year old 8950 and that has 17,500 hours and only had exhaust gaskets and 3 head gaskets and a turbo. Original sleeves and bearings so far. We run them extended oil change interval to an extent. We had a 1586 that we had more than 20k hours on the engine

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5 hours ago, Cattech said:

^^^ Big part of it. All these older tractors had the mechanical counter that was only accurate at a certain RPM. So, say the meter was accurate at 2000 RPM, at 1500 it would take 1 hr, 15 minutes to put an hour on the meter.

Another reason is duty cycle.... the percentage of time run at maximum HP. At Cat, they judge an engine by the gallons of fuel it has burned. Take a 3406E truck engine. It should burn approximately 200,000 gallons of fuel between overhauls. Say one truck is pulling light van trailers and gets 5 MPG, another truck is constantly pulling heavy haul getting 2.5 MPG. One engine will run a million miles, the other will be worn out at 500K.

I don’t know the target duty cycle/lifespan they designed tractors of the past to, but it wasn't 100%. However, say it was 50%/10,000 hours. A tillage tractor running close to 100% would only last 5000 hrs, while a tractor on mixer duty only using 25% could go way more than 10k.

And then, throw in the maintenance or lack of, and all other factors.....

Re duty cycle - there was the "Maximum horsepower 100, maximim continuous horsepower 75" rating around older gear.  Was also a handy answer to anyone who believed people worked better under pressure.

So does it mean that an Allis dozer with an electric hour meter with ,overhauled at say 5000 hours,  actually went longer  between overhauls than a Cat or IH with a mechanical 5000 hours?

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21 hours ago, Ian Beale said:

Re duty cycle - there was the "Maximum horsepower 100, maximim continuous horsepower 75" rating around older gear.  Was also a handy answer to anyone who believed people worked better under pressure.

So does it mean that an Allis dozer with an electric hour meter with ,overhauled at say 5000 hours,  actually went longer  between overhauls than a Cat or IH with a mechanical 5000 hours?

Would you hesitate to say a bulldozer at 5000 hours was actually only under load for 2500 hours while a farm tractor could have been under load for the whole 5000 hours.

Kinda comparing apples to oranges in my opinion.

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Ian you got me with the AC part, my uncle ran HD 21 from 72 until me died in 02. He operated the landfill/ city dump for a town of 10,000. He had other dozers for dump duty and did other jobs in the afternoon with the 21. But the 21 was at the dump a lot too. He had some really high hour meter reading (I want to say close to 20,000). But at the dump spreading garbage is not hard work for a big tractor, and he never shut it off between trucks showing. So you take Cat's 50% of the time running is working for a dozer plus his sitting and idling, his meter hours could be close. 

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I posted this not too long ago.  All of these tractors would have spent their entire life in front of a plow.  On the other hand, my grandpa’s Farmall M had never been opened up.  The drawbar hole is perfectly round because it never pulled anything but a rake.

 

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CATTECH'S comment that fuel use being the best measurement of an engine's need for service I have to agree with.  It allows for the cold starts and idling in winter to warm up, the running flat out for hours, or in the case of the 903 Cummins in my semi-tractor, bob-tailing all over Chicago and other places wound up to the governor, 2600 rpm but no load, it would be at operating temp.  But didn't make any difference,  shop still would not give my truck an oil/filter change and grease it.  They gave me a different truck to run one day, hooked up to the load and made it about 20-30 miles and instead of 55-60 psi oil pressure I was around 25-30. They also wouldn't run the overhead in 903's either! They had me stop at a truck repair shop, have them drain all the oil they could and replace with new fresh 30W. Went right back to 55-60 psi.  Truck was repossessed by the bank a month later.

   I've always kept a fuel use diary or log book in every car/truck I've owned.  My first car the speedometer/odometer didn't work in, so gallons of gas was only way to track use/miles. 200 gallons was around 3000 miles,  when it started sucking oil past the o-rings on the valve stems and I added a quart every 300-400 miles I stopped changing it. I'd spin on a new filter a couple times a year.

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In the mid-70's, I would find a fair amount of misses in the 06/56 series tractors.

Would pull the head and find a bad piston/cylinder.

This was usually due to a bad nozzle, especially if the fuel screw was opened up a bit. 

One could still see the cross hatch in the cylinders at 10K hours.

Would put one new cylinder in it, fix the nozzle and the way it went again.

People then were proud of their tractors and most treated them right with oil changes/filters, etc.

Some just drove them and then complained when they broke.

Nozzles was probably 75% of the cylinder issues in the day.

The fuel has to be atomized to make a clean burn and to get the power you want.

Now, with the sulfur removed from the fuel, what the long term effect is is yet to be seen.

There is no substitute for maintenance.

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On 6/4/2021 at 4:12 PM, Ihfan4life said:

Would you hesitate to say a bulldozer at 5000 hours was actually only under load for 2500 hours while a farm tractor could have been under load for the whole 5000 hours.

Kinda comparing apples to oranges in my opinion.

To add further confusion to this topic, the undercarriage of a bulldozer would definitely have the full 5000 hours and then some, as the undercarriage wears faster backing up due to 3 loaded flex points in the chain as opposed to one going forward. But in staying in spirit of the original post, I think an interesting study would be TBO in the south VS. in the north. I would think frigid starts and general cold weather operations would have greater wear tendencies than warm weather.  $.02.

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^^

One could say a dozer is only under load 50% as it has to back up the same distance it was pushing. But varied engine RPM is also a wear factor too. So dropping to nearly low idle then accelerating to high idle every couple minutes is probably as hard on an engine as a constant 100% load. Again, fuel consumption is the best way to judge the life of the engine. That decel/accel burns fuel faster than an engine running one set RPM.

Judging a piece of construction equipment to a farm tractor is also apples to oranges. 

Something to ponder, the new snowmobile I have ordered is about 140 horsepower. That is roughly the same as an IH 1486. There is no magic in the measurement of the HP, it is RPM x FTLBs torque ÷ 5252. In theory, that 650cc gas 2 stroke could do the work of the DT436 IH diesel. But we know that wouldn't be a workable combination, that little 2 stroke wouldn't last 50 hrs if ran like that. And a DT436 weighs 4x more than the whole snowmobile I'm getting, so a DT436 would not make a good powerplant for a sled... (be kinda cool though)

Every piece of machinery ever produced has been engineered using a variation of my above analogy. The engineers cannot anticipate every application their creation will endure, therefore they design to midway point that is more market driven than anything else.

So long story short, your car, truck, tractor, lawnmower or toaster oven have all been designed to last for only so long, the harder you work them, the shorter the lifespan.

 

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