Extreme Cold weather operation

91diesel

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BX23S Homemade hyd toplink and pallet forks, Agriease/Nor-Trac snowblower
Dec 31, 2021
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Fairbanks, AK
Ok, new here and I did use search with 3 different phrases.
My question is what people think about operation in extremely cold weather? (-5 to -30*f) Just as far as not damaging the tractor goes. It's in the -20's here in Fairbanks AK and although I don't want to go clear mine and other's driveways, a big dump of snow came before the cold weather and I must. My BX23s was bought here and is 'winterized' with a block heater and an oil pan heater (oil pan is shorted I think, so currently not used). I start the tractor, let it run at a little bit of a high idle first. Then I will move the FEL rams in short movements (not the full throw and at a low rpm 1700). Then I'll bring the rpms up to 2200-2500 and drive the tractor in low and work the FEL to more full throws. After this I'll start working the tractor. Like my 12 valve Dodge cummins, the tractor won't really warm up until you start working it some (as far as the temp gauge goes). Any thoughts, opinions, facts, or conjectures are appreciated.
For instance, would you just say clear your own driveway at -10 and below and refuse working on neighbors (for money) or just follow the slow use warm up and use it as a tractor!
 
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hagrid

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K1600GTL, ZX-14R
Jun 11, 2018
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I think you're doing just fine with your warmup routine. I dont see a downside with operating your tractor in those conditions. Keep an eye on your fuel condition.
 
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Roadworthy

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L2501 HST
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One method is to start the tractor then let it sit and warm while you go back in the house for a cup of coffee. That should get the fluids flowing and starting to warm. At your temperatures it won't really get warm until you start working it. You could partially block the airflow through the radiator to help the engine run warmer but that won't do much for the hydraulic fluid. Use will warm the fluid, though. Once it gets warm working it will keep it warm and clearing snow for the neighbors is just like any other work.
 

jimh406

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Kubota L2501 with R4 tires
Jan 29, 2021
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For sure, consider a fuel additive to prevent gelling. It’s not as cold here, but I still use my block heater and glow plugs. I find the block heater just helps it come up to operating temperature faster. Once the tractor is in normal temperature range, I think you are good to go.
 
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Dave_eng

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Kubota manuals contain a chart about getting the tractors ready to use in cold weather. Their concern is with the transmissions and hydraulics not the engine.

Kubota warm up chart.jpg


In your situation I would leave the block heater powered up during the warm up.

Dave
 
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GeoHorn

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If your tractor doesn’t really “warm up” until you begin working it…. and you’re willing to work your own driveway …and that “warms” it…. then,… now that it’s “warmed up”…. why wouldn’t it be good to work your warm-tractor on your neighbors driveway also?

In fact, working it ‘til it’s warm and then shutting it down after only short work is hard on it, because unless it was worked long enough to drive out all the condensation and additional water created by burning fuel…. then shutting it down with that moisture in it is one of the worse things you can do.

I’d do it for money if they insisted……but I’d also do it just for good neighbor relations ….and maybe barter…..

The neighbor…. is she cute? (wink)
 
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Bmyers

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I let my tractor warm up until the cab is good and toasty. Once the cab is warm, I figure the tractor engine is warm and I can go to work.
 
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lynnmor

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B2601-1
May 3, 2021
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Be sure to use engine oil that is the lowest viscosity that the manufacturer recommends.
 

GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S
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I blocked off a portion of the pullout 'grain screen' in front of the rad to reduce airflow to get engine up to 'normal' temp in real cold weather. If very cold, it's possible the engine won't get 'up to temp'.
For the 1st 1/2hr , I'd go 'low and slow' to be sure everything is running right. BTW check the front axle for oil level ! It's been common here that delaer's miss checking it.
 
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91diesel

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BX23S Homemade hyd toplink and pallet forks, Agriease/Nor-Trac snowblower
Dec 31, 2021
28
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Fairbanks, AK
Thanks for all the replies. I don't know what exactly they put in the diesel fuel here in Alaska, but gelling is not an issue (using my 12v Cummins, which is a gelling machine, has never had an issue here).
You definitely have to work the tractor for it to warm up, Idling at these temps is bad for a diesel. So like Greensvillejay I work it at a slower rpm/pace starting off.
I mentioned the 'for money' part because I wanted to compare the potential of tractor damage (busted hydraulic lines etc) vs a very slight side hustle. I appreciate the neighborly thing and do our road when possible, but these 'driveways' I'm referring to are 1/4 mile long and going up or down a hill. In addition, everyone here has a walk behind snowblower so I don't want people to think I'm just fleecing my neighbors....
I think Greensvillejay's idea about a partial block off is something I should do. I have the entire radiator and intercooler blocked off on the Dodge during the winter!

I made my own hyd top link setup and it's very handy even with just a back blade. I also discovered that while the flat face connectors are pretty sweet as far as not leaking anything while connecting/disconnecting.........The pioneer couplings on the ram operated flawlessly in frozen/iced conditions...... sorta like all the older stuff (messy, not as comfortable or warm, but functional).
My next goal is a 3ph snowblower, that should make short work of these long skinny driveways.
 

BobInSD

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L5740
Jun 23, 2020
254
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Thanks for all the replies. I don't know what exactly they put in the diesel fuel here in Alaska, but gelling is not an issue (using my 12v Cummins, which is a gelling machine, has never had an issue here).
They probably switch to #1 diesel in the fall and use different additives. Not an issue in the truck you drive every day, but make sure you've got "winter" fuel in the tractor.

...
I think Greensvillejay's idea about a partial block off is something I should do. I have the entire radiator and intercooler blocked off on the Dodge during the winter!
I have always done this with previous tractors. I'm a little concerned about blocking the the flow to the turbo, especially since it won't be seeing the road speeds a truck would see.
 

bird dogger

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Thanks for all the replies. I don't know what exactly they put in the diesel fuel here in Alaska, but gelling is not an issue (using my 12v Cummins, which is a gelling machine, has never had an issue here).
You definitely have to work the tractor for it to warm up, Idling at these temps is bad for a diesel. So like Greensvillejay I work it at a slower rpm/pace starting off.
I mentioned the 'for money' part because I wanted to compare the potential of tractor damage (busted hydraulic lines etc) vs a very slight side hustle. I appreciate the neighborly thing and do our road when possible, but these 'driveways' I'm referring to are 1/4 mile long and going up or down a hill. In addition, everyone here has a walk behind snowblower so I don't want people to think I'm just fleecing my neighbors....
I think Greensvillejay's idea about a partial block off is something I should do. I have the entire radiator and intercooler blocked off on the Dodge during the winter!

I made my own hyd top link setup and it's very handy even with just a back blade. I also discovered that while the flat face connectors are pretty sweet as far as not leaking anything while connecting/disconnecting.........The pioneer couplings on the ram operated flawlessly in frozen/iced conditions...... sorta like all the older stuff (messy, not as comfortable or warm, but functional).
My next goal is a 3ph snowblower, that should make short work of these long skinny driveways.
Regarding blocking off the grill/screen below the steering wheel on your BX23S.....see post #65 here
Behind that removeable outer screen and below the battery there should be one or two removeable plates. Same as what's been done for my neighbor's tractor and a few other's here on OTT. You could block off the outer screen and remove or vary the openings below or in the cover over the outer screen.

I made a cover for someone's BX23S in Fairbanks, I believe, that covered the screen below the steering wheel but also had a variable opening in it to allow more air in as needed.

Our smaller Kubotas need all the help we can give them to keep their engine temps in the midrange in our sub zero temps. Like all the above posters have mentioned.....restricting the cold air intake to the radiator will make for very quick warm ups, help raise the engine temp & help keep it in mid range, burn off internal condensation, keep the fuel warm (if your tank is also under the hood), etc. Once your tractor's warmed up to temp the longer you run it the better! Or until frostbite sets in!! :)

If you have any questions or interest in a nice easy on/off cover for your outfit.....let me know. Would be happy to get one up to you.
David
 
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AKguy09

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B2301 1950 Farmall Cub
Nov 22, 2017
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I lived for 16 Years just outside of Fairbanks, Had a little BX tractor, I would plug it in for like 2-3 Hours before I was going to use it. Start it and let it run at 1500 ish RPMs for about 10 minutes. Then like you are doing work the Hydo, and just slowly move it around. No need for fuel additives up there, they treat the fuel correctly for the conditions. Wear warm clothes.
 

woodsy

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95 Kubota L3300DT W/FEL, 60" AgroTrend 3pt snow blower89 Arctic Cat 440 Panther
Apr 20, 2021
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From the chart above, what is considered 50% of rated rpm?
50% of PTO rpm ?
 

mcmxi

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How does Kubota's recommended warm up regimen work with their recommendation not to idle tractors with DPF for extended periods?

If the block heater has been on for a couple of hours prior to starting the engine how does that factor in?

I have a chip and programmer in my F250 and it sure would be nice to have something similar to monitor oil temperature for example. It wouldn't be hard to install an oil temperature sender and gauge for the hydraulic oil.
 
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nbryan

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B2650 BH77 LA534 54" ssqa Forks B2782B BB1560 Woods M5-4 MaxxHaul 50039
Jan 3, 2019
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From the chart above, what is considered 50% of rated rpm?
50% of PTO rpm ?
I take 50% of rated to mean if rated engine working rpm is 2500 rpm then 50% of that is 1250rpm.
I like to start and warm my B2650 at a strong idle, around 1250 rpm, anyway.
To that end, when I park the tractor after use I set the throttle lever to hold rpm around 1250 rpm, then shut it down there. Then when I start it cold, it's already at a strong idle.
 
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woodsy

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95 Kubota L3300DT W/FEL, 60" AgroTrend 3pt snow blower89 Arctic Cat 440 Panther
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Thanks nbryan , You also answered another question I had about shutdown rpm.
That is close to what I've been doing.
 

GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
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Greensville,Ontario,Canada
There's 2 'systems' to consider, engine and hydro.
While block heaters,rad reducers,etc. really help with the engine starting and running, the 'hydro' system is the one that needs gentle use during warmup. On the BX23S, like others, the 'hydro' system controls everything and the oil needs to be liquidity to flooooooow nice. I like to 'exercise' all the bucket cylinders to move the oil around in the system, thinking that way ALL the oil will eventually get warmed up.
never ,ever understood the car 'experts' that say 'don't warmup your car' just start and go after 2 minutes. There's no way an automatic tranny /torque converter is 'happy' about that. I KNOW my forklift loves a good 10-15 minute warmup before being asked to move !
 

GeoHorn

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How does Kubota's recommended warm up regimen work with their recommendation not to idle tractors with DPF for extended periods?

If the block heater has been on for a couple of hours prior to starting the engine how does that factor in?

I have a chip and programmer in my F250 and it sure would be nice to have something similar to monitor oil temperature for example. It wouldn't be hard to install an oil temperature sender and gauge for the hydraulic oil.
They don’t recommend warming it up at idle. The instructions indicate to warm it up at approx half-throttle.
 

mcmxi

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They don’t recommend warming it up at idle. The instructions indicate to warm it up at approx half-throttle.
I've been warming up the engine at 1,600 rpm before heading down the driveway but maybe for not as long as I should. I'll increase the warm up time before engaging the snow blower.