First day of fall. The shelter belts are thinning, leaves yellow and the air is a bit crisp in the morning. Winter is on the horizon! With that in mind, let’s take a look at a couple of important fall service requirements for our Kubota tractor, and let’s do it today before there is a foot of snow on the ground.
If you haven’t discovered it yet, that little orange Kubota tractor of yours can take a lot of service neglect and still perform remarkably well. I’ve seen tractors here in the service department with fuel filters crammed with crud, the air filters caked with dust and seed and radiators with little more than creek water and mud in them. I am always amazed that in spite of that, these Kubota tractors keep starting and running. A testament to their superb engineering and design, regardless of age. That being said, we all know that our favorite orange tractor does need love every now and then, so with that, this article is the first in a multi-article set that covers basic Kubota servicing.
Small But Important
The single most important service item for your Kubota is the air filter. Diesel engines consume major amounts of air and all of it passes through that paper and mesh filter, so it has to be clean.
Locate the air box, and remove the snap on end cap. Inside the end cap you will see a silver “cup”. It’s inside here that you’ll find the first of what is usually a pile of dirt, bugs and debris. Strangely enough most owners don’t even realize that this cup is itself a filtering system, and subsequently, this area can be overlooked. Tap out the dirt and then replace the cup inside the end cap.
Next, remove the air filter element paying careful attention to the rubber rimed washer on the end of the wing nut. This 10 cent item has been the cause of more than one engine failure over the years. That rubber rimmed washer must be in perfect shape when it seals to the metal end of the air filter, otherwise all the dirt that you saw inside the silver cup gets ingested right into the engine, bypassing all the filtering! Assuming it checks out OK, remove the air filter element.
Kubota engines employ cyclonic air filtration on all their diesels and for good reason – the air flows around the filter at high speeds, shaking out heavier particles (sending them to the silver cup we looked at earlier) and then filtering the finer particles through the medium of the filter before intake into the air plenum.
Rap the filter lightly on the work bench to dislodge any heavy particles, and then with a blow gun and care (under 30 PSI), blow out the element. It’s also acceptable to wash the paper element out in a bucket of warm water, rinsing back and forth until the paper is clean. Don’t blow air over it after washing, just let it stand and dry before reinstalling.
A Common Misconception
Everyone seems to think that you have to replace the air filter every year. Not so. With frequent cleaning and blowing out (minimum twice per operating season), you’ll get five years or better from that Kubota cartridge. Now you know why that Kubota brand filter is $37 and the NAPA one is $18.
OK, the filter is clean, lets inspect the paper for any breaks or tears. Use a Mag light or a small fluorescent trouble light and really look that element over. The slightest break in the paper and it’s garbage. Don’t cheap out here! There are things you can skimp on,and this air filter is not one of them.
Before reinstalling the filter, take a shop rag and wipe out the inside of the air canister assembly. Reinstall the element using the wing nut and rubber rimed washer, snap the cap and debris cup back on – we’re finished here.
Summary for Servicing your Air Filter
- locate the air box
- remove the push-on cap at the end of the air box
- inspect and clean out silver cup on the inside of the air box cap
- inspect washer and wingnut assembly for fit against metal base of air filter
- remove filter cartridge and clean with light air pressure or warm water letting stand to dry
- inspect filter for tears with fluorescent light if available
- clean out air box assembly
- reassemble filter, washer, wingnut, cup and cap
If you’d like to learn more, head on over to Part 2.
Service Department Vic
Kubota Servicing 101: Part 2 – Fuel Filter
Kubota Servicing 101: Part 3 – Cooling System
Kubota Servicing 101: Part 4 – Oil Change
Getting to Know your Kubota’s Clutch
Forum: Service, Repair & Maintenance