In the Shop
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
No More Over-Powered Tractors With Loaders
Aug 16, 2014
The technical explanation is long and complicated, but the short version is that it's not going to work well to put bucket loaders on big tractors that use diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). Nor is it going to work to put a high-horsepower tractor on a windrower, a pull-type sprayer, or possibly on a grain cart.
The issue is that engines that use DEF need to be consistently loaded for the DEF system to work correctly. Running a DEF engine at low to moderate rpms a lot, or running a DEF engine at high rpms at light load, doesn't generate enough heat for the DEF system to do the things it must do. If DEF engines run too cool, too long, they go into "regenerate" mode more frequently than is optimum, which can lead to problems.
DEF engines need to be worked hard. That need is starting to show up on dairy farms where DEF tractors are used daily, at moderate loads, for choring. It may show up this fall on grain farms when large-frame DEF tractors are attached to grain carts that idle or run at mid-range rpm for days at a time.
Talk with your salesman and mechanic before buying a DEF-equipped tractor to ensure your needs and the tractor's needs are in sync.