John Deere Maintenance Monday: Conserving energy with maintenance
In this edition of Maintenance Monday, we're answering a question from Lori in Alabama. She admits she hasn't been vigilant changing her utility tractor's engine filters. But what's the harm of letting them go a little longer than what the operation manual says?
Mark Hanna is an extension ag engineer at Iowa State University. He says restriction in fuel and air filters impacts fuel economy. A study in Missouri on 99 tractors showed that fuel savings were measurable when filter replacement and other general maintenance was scrupulously performed as directed by their operation manuals.
"This study suggested when the air and the fuel filters got changed, there was a 3-4% bump up in power," says Hanna."Or alternatively, it means you could pull back that throttle or fuel supply, and cut that back by about 3-4% and get the same power that you were getting before you changed those filters."
Hanna says an additional 3-1/2% of power on a 200-horsepower tractor is equivalent to adding seven-horsepower.
Staying vigilant on the maintenance schedule is the best way to retain good fuel economy.
"If the manufacturer suggests changing out at a certain point in time, and if you don't do that, you're pretty likely penalizing yourself, and you also don't really realize that," says Hanna. "It's kind of one of those things where you've started to lose fuel economy over time, and you're doing different jobs out there and stuff, and you don't really realize that."
Other things you can do to conserve energy include paying attention to engine temperature, avoid excessive idling to cool the engine, use a timer with an engine block heater, protect the fuel from evaporative losses, and select the right fuel for winter and summer operation.
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Radio interview source: Mark Hanna, Extension Ag Engineer, Iowa State University
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