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Old 07-08-2011, 11:16 PM
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Here recently I've been noticing that my tractor's temp gauge has been running right on the line between the green and red. Doesn't matter if I'm idling around on a joyride in 80 degree heat, or if I'm bush hogging in the heat of the day, it goes to this area fairly quickly and stays. I'm assuming that's a little warm. I have no other known symptoms to go by, although I do know my radiator is a little dirty. What should I do to ensure that my water pump is working and radiator isn't clogged? My dad said I could pop the top on the radiator and crank it then see if water is moving... is that all I can do? Also how do I know if it is getting too hot? Should I freak out about the temperature gauge or chill about it? Could the temperature gauge itself be bad? Not sure what to do, any advice is appreciated.
Old 07-08-2011, 11:37 PM
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Is this a noticeably difference from what you're used to seeing? Because different gauges may read a little different.
It should probably run between 180 and 210 degrees, usually about 190.
Sounds like the radiator just needs a good washing. Air MUST be able to freely flow through it. Use a forceful water flow on it but don't direct the spray sideways or you may bend the cooling fins.
Next, make certain the radiator cap is holding pressure. Replace it if it seems suspicious. Often, if there is an overflow tube it will loose coolant through the overflow if the cap is weak.
If all is well it should really stay in the green.
Make certain the fluid is not low.
Depending on the size of the engine as to whether or not it will have a fan clutch.
A thermostat could be sticking but check other things first.
If all else fails, make certain that the intake hose is not collapsing on the inside.
Also, there should be NO oil in the radiator coolant and NO water (or foam) in the oil or on the dipstick (once it is warmed up). If there is it could be a sign of a leaking head gasket but we're not going to think that without a really good reason.
If it is really old, the radiator itself could be getting plugged up. Usually a good flush with cleaner will fix this but it may have to be "rodded out".
A flow-meter inline can check the rate of flow through the radiator. Something else you don't want to expect without reason.
The "normal" way that water pumps will go out is for it to wear out the seals and leak fluid. They can break a shaft and quit pumping but usually it will overheat to hot if that happens.
Make sure any belts are snug and not slipping.

Just some things to check. hope it helps someone.
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Old 07-09-2011, 12:58 AM
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how are your filters? when did you last change the oil? I would first look at air filters, then drain and replace oil and new filters, change and drain water and check the state of the antifreeze... in short, give it a service. You men are notorious for not servicing your machines but oil breaks down over time, so does antifreeze, and filters clog. It's a bloody filthy environment out there weed whacking and you end up with straw and chaff everywhere.

rant, nag.
Old 07-09-2011, 01:01 AM
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Clean the radiator is what I just did on mine, then the air filter would be the second choice.
Old 07-09-2011, 01:54 PM
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Filters will not cause an overheat condition. Period. Either will oil condition. Your options are a partially restricted radiator be it externally (debris in the fins), or internally (sediment and corrosion), a thermostat sticking (unlikely if it doesn't boil over), or a water pump that's failing (rare, but possible). Even coolant condition won't cause this. Water is a better coolant than antifreeze. Antifreeze is needed to lubricate the water pump and to change the freeze/ boil temps. If you have access to an infrared temp gun, or any type of thermometer that you can get right on the radiator, check the temps on both of the tanks. You should see about a 40 degree temperature drop. If the temps are low (under 160 or so), water is not flowing in the system. Also make sure the fan is in good condition, if it has a clutch fan, make sure it has some resistance when you spin it. Also make sure the belts are tight.
Old 07-09-2011, 03:06 PM
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If it has a thermostat, that could be stuck open. This will allow the water to remain the same temp most of the time. Some of the above ideas are good ones too.

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Old 07-09-2011, 03:21 PM
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You're sure it's not a convection type (no water pump)?
I ask because I was shocked to find out that many of the lower HP diesel tractors are made this way.
Old 07-09-2011, 03:31 PM
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I not sure if this applies to all tractors, but I just bought a Cat mini excavator, and the owners manual said there is some type of additive that needs to be added to the coolant from time to time as the coolant breaks down after a while.
Old 07-09-2011, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corndogggy View Post
Here recently I've been noticing that my tractor's temp gauge has been running right on the line between the green and red. Doesn't matter if I'm idling around on a joyride in 80 degree heat, or if I'm bush hogging in the heat of the day, it goes to this area fairly quickly and stays. I'm assuming that's a little warm. I have no other known symptoms to go by, although I do know my radiator is a little dirty. What should I do to ensure that my water pump is working and radiator isn't clogged? My dad said I could pop the top on the radiator and crank it then see if water is moving... is that all I can do? Also how do I know if it is getting too hot? Should I freak out about the temperature gauge or chill about it? Could the temperature gauge itself be bad? Not sure what to do, any advice is appreciated.
If it stays on the line and doesn't get hotter then water is moving. If you park the tractor and let it idle for 1/2 hour and the engine doesn't overheat then you can be sure that water is flowing. your water pump may be cavitated to some degree and water is not moving well but it is moving. Do a good TSP flush if your motor is cast iron and radiator is brass, or baking soda flush if there aluminum in the system somewhere. you may need to get radiator rodded. Some ol boys don't take care of their toys well, that is the problem with buying used. Change the antifreeze at least every other year.
Old 07-09-2011, 07:43 PM
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What year, type, and brand is your machine, overall condition, how heavy used ? All this and more. With the engine cold only take the cap off. Take a small sample bu do not allow to be injested as the older style anti freeze is etheline glycol and cannot be made non poisonous. The fluid should feel slightly slick, smell slightly sweet, and should be relatively clear with the exception of a red or green tent. Any debris in the sample is mutifold especially in the bottom of your radiator. You can view the water flow. The next tip to be done w/ a cold engine . Prior to starting remove the cap, at this point the coolant mix will be at room temp. The waterflow can be viewed. This test can be misleading as water may flow, but not at the desired pressure due to worn or broken pump impellers. One of the telltale signs of pending pump failure is leaks developing around the pully seal. Also with engine off try wiggling the fan front to back. If there is excess play the bearing is shot and the pump must be replaced. If this is happening have rad. removed and cleaned. this is also a good time to replace belts. a $10.00 belt is better than an engine plus belt. All in all every liquid coolant system is a closed system. Over time it picks up scaling from the engine / rad , and contaminated water as well as clean water and coolant installed by the operator. Unless there is a a reason to cause overheating, which can be many, the fluid level should remain the same. If there is a problem it will have left some clues. These are the answer to your coolant problems. Above all never open a cap after the engine has warmed. You'e not fast enough to prevent burning and it is very painful. And as a side note you will loose your coolant. Also never put any type coolant into an already hot engine as it can vaporize and scald you with steam. Not to scare anyone but these cautions are real. Hope this helps.
Old 07-11-2011, 08:34 AM
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If she don't boil when you're workin' her hard, you should be ok.

Never put any type of coolant into an already hot engine, as it will crack the head and/or block.
Old 07-11-2011, 11:30 AM
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I think I figured it out. Apparently my radiator was clogged up more than it appeared. I have transmission and axle coolers in front of the radiator, covering up half of it. Behind them, the radiator was totally clogged, I was scraping stuff away by the hand full. I had to take these other coolers off to get to them. I hosed it down real good with a jet spray (not pressure washer) and it cleaned up real good.

However, I think I also need a new thermostat. It takes alot longer to get hot, but it still goes up to the red within 20-30 minutes after cranking. After that point it seems to cool off and stay 1/2 to 2/3 up on the green, which is what I'd expect. I suspect that the thermostat is slow to open. I ran it for 3 hours the other day after cleaning and it did great. I am going to order a new thermostat and flush the coolant then put in new water and antifreeze.
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