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PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCEAND PRE-OPERATION CHECKSHOSTA Task Sheet 4.6CoreNATIONAL SAFE TRACTOR AND MACHINERY OPERATION PROGRAMIntroductionThings to check include:with broken bulbs or glass Fuel level Coolant level Engine oil level Hydraulic oil level Battery condition Lug nuts and wheels Tire condition Loose or defective parts SMV emblem Fluid leaks Operators platform/steps Seat/AdjustmentThe neighbor suggested the engineoil, but John didn’t know where tofind that dipstick, which turned outto be hidden by the high-lift arms.The dipstick registered no oil at all. Seat belt Fire extinguisherfriends to check Lighting/Flashersbefore they started Visibility from operator’s seatPerforming tractor maintenance isa critical task for every tractoroperator. This task sheet discussesthe proper way to maintain atractor to avoid costly andunnecessary repairs.Some Practical Hints Low tires and leakage from thevalve stemPre-Operation Checks Oil or hydraulic leaks on theground beneath the tractorJohn is a part-time farmer. Twoyears ago he purchased a smallutility tractor with backhoe andscraper blade for 12,000. Hewanted to push snow, clean thebarn, and do odd jobs on hisproperty. While driving his tractordown the road, the engineoverheated, began to make noise,lost power, and shut down. Aneighbor stopped by and Johnasked, “What could be theproblem?” He was already pouringwater in the radiator. “Could it bethe hydrostatic transmission?” heasked as he checked that dipstick.A good operator uses a dailychecklist of items and systems toinspect before starting the tractor.This is often called a pre-operationchecklist. Many drivers write downwhat needs to be inspected andthen check off the list as theyexamine each item. An SMV emblem that is fadedor distorted in either color orshape A fire extinguisher with apressure gauge in the“recharge” range Several tools or supplies on theoperator platformIf you were to buy anew, expensivetractor, what wouldyou want yourHere are several things to look foras you perform a pre-operationcheck:the engine?Learning Goals To conduct pre-operation checks on adaily basis to reduce repair costs anddowntimeRelated Task Sheets:Fuel, Oil, Coolant Levels4.6.1 A frayed or worn fan beltLead Acid Batteries4.6.2 Corroded battery terminalsTire and Wheel Condition4.6.5The Operator Platform4.6.6 Loose bolts or lug nuts onwheels Dirty cab windows thatobstruct your vision Headlights or warning lights The Pennsylvania State University 2004Cooperation provided by The Ohio State University and National Safety Council.

Page 2PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE AND PRE-OPERATION CHECKSDon’t start theengine until youhave completed the“walk-around”inspection and aresure all systems areready to work foryou.Safe StartsSome newer utility or lawn tractorsmay have safety start systems. Ifso, the owner should also have ingood working order one or both ofthe following items:Seat Switch/Safety Interlock thatprevents starting the tractor if theoperator is not in the seatA good operatortakesresponsibility forthe tractor he orshe operates.Neutral-Start Safety Switch thatprevents the tractor from starting ifthe tractor is in gearSafety Activities1. Make a chart of maintenance items to be done on your tractor. Use the following format, or develop yourown chart. If you have a computer, make a spreadsheet or database project to help with maintenancerecords.Tractor Maintenance LogDateItem CheckedProblem FoundCorrective Action2. Help someone change the oil and oil filter on a tractor.3. Help someone change an air filter on a tractor.4. Call a tractor dealer/service center, and ask for any maintenance charts or record forms that they can send toyou.5. Memorize the “pre-op” checklist, and recite this list as you conduct a pre-operation inspection for your classor an interested adult.6. Math Problem: You forgot to check the engine oil in the tractor before starting. When the oil light came on,you continued working. Now the engine must be rebuilt to the amount of 5000. This is the only tractor thatcan pull the forage harvester and chop 40 acres per day for the next 5 days. An estimated nutrient loss valueof 10 per acre will occur due to the delay in harvest. Calculate the dollar loss to the producer.References1. Farm and Ranch Safety Management, JohnDeere Publishing, 1994.2. Safe Operation of Agricultural Equipment,Student Manual, 1988, Silletto and Hull, HobartPublications.3. Owners’ Manuals for specific tractors.Contact InformationNational Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation ProgramThe Pennsylvania State UniversityAgricultural and Biological Engineering Department246 Agricultural Engineering BuildingUniversity Park, PA 16802Phone: 814-865-7685Fax: 814-863-1031Email: [email protected], written and edited by WC Harshman, AM Yoder, JW Hilton and D J Murphy,The Pennsylvania State University. Reviewed by TL Bean and D Jepsen, The Ohio StateUniversity and S Steel, National Safety Council.Version 4/2004This material is based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and ExtensionService, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2001-41521-01263. Any opinions, findings,conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do notnecessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Pennsylvania State University 2004Cooperation provided by The Ohio State University and National Safety Council.

FUEL, OIL, AND COOLANT LEVELSHOSTA Task Sheet 4.6.1NATIONAL SAFE TRACTOR AND MACHINERY OPERATION PROGRAMIntroductionA tractor is a huge investment tomake farm work more efficient.Even a mid-size tractor may cost 40,000 or more.The tractor must be kept in topoperating condition. Downtime forengine and tractor repairs arecostly. An engine rebuild may costover 5000 in parts and labor. Acrop in the field may be lostbecause of harvest delays. Croplosses can lead to increased coststo purchase replacement feeds orprotein supplements.Figure 4.6.1.a. Before driving the tractor to the field, check for the possibility of an empty fuel tank.If you run out of fuel during a workday, you are causing downtime losses.What to DoTherefore, tractor and equipmentpre-operation checks are aneconomic necessity. A damagedengine or an empty fuel tank at thefarthest field from the barn is noexcuse for the skilled operator.This task sheet discusses theimportance of checking the fluidlevels of the fuel coolant, and oilsbefore you touch the tractorignition switch. Developing thishabit will help you to understandthat the tractor engine is ready forfield work.Fig. 4.6.1.b. Check the fuel level.Fig. 4.6.1.d. Check the coolant level withthe engine cold.Learning GoalsFig. 4.6.1.c. Check the oil level.Save an engine from costly To understand how to check fuellevels of common engines(alternative fuels excluded here) To safely check coolant levels ofliquid cooled engines To correctly check oil levels of anyengineRelated Task Sheets:Tractor Instrument Panelrepairs; check the fuel,coolant, and oil levelsbefore starting the engine. The Pennsylvania State University 2004Cooperation provided by The Ohio State University and National Safety Council.4.4

Page 2Why You ShouldCheck Fuel, Coolantand Oil LevelsFuelCheck the fuel level before leavingthe barnyard or shop area. Youcannot assume that someone elsehas done this job. Failure to checkthe fuel level may result in lostfield time. Or it may result in theneed to mechanically bleed airfrom diesel fuel lines in some oldertractors.Be sure you do not fill diesel fueltanks with gasoline and vice versa.OilOil bathes metal surfaces toprevent the heat of friction fromdamaging the moving parts. LowFUEL, OIL, AND COOLANT LEVELSengine oil allows engine parts tooverheat, expands them, and“seizes” the engine. Overfilling theengine oil results in oil sealdamage.Use the oil dipstick daily to preventengine damage.CoolantCoolant fluid (water andantifreeze) carries engine heataway from the engine. Air flowingacross the radiator then reduces thecoolant temperature. Lack ofcoolant causes overheating of theengine. Water used as a coolant byitself will cause rust in the waterpump.Figure 4.6.1.e. Never remove a radiator capfrom a hot engine. Steam and hot water fromthe radiator can scald your skin. Safety Managementfor Landscapers, Grounds-Care Businesses, and Golf Courses,John Deere Publishing, 2001. Illustrations reproduced by permission. All rights reserved.Check coolant levels while theengine is cold to prevent severescalds.If the engine oillight comes onwhile you areoperating thetractor, shut downimmediately.Safety Activities1. Park the tractor at the farthest field from the barn, and time your walk back to the farm shop or fuel area.This is wasted time or downtime when cropping work could be completed.2. Call a tractor dealer’s service department to ask about the cost to rebuild a tractor engine damaged from lackof oil. Provide this information to your class and instructor.3. Using a hydrometer (device to measure specific gravity of coolant or antifreeze for level at which the liquidwould freeze), test engine coolant for level of temperature protection that coolant would provide.4. Explain the meaning of the term “oil viscosity.”5. Describe the difference between diesel fuel and gasoline. How does the storage of these fuels differ?ReferencesContact Information1. Safety Management for Landscapers, GroundsCare Businesses, and Golf Courses, John DeerePublishing, 2001. Illustrations reproduced bypermission. All rights reserved.National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation ProgramThe Pennsylvania State UniversityAgricultural and Biological Engineering Department246 Agricultural Engineering BuildingUniversity Park, PA 16802Phone: 814-865-7685Fax: 814-863-1031Email: [email protected] Farm and Ranch Safety Management, JohnDeere Publishing, 1994.Credits3. Owners’ Manuals of Several Tractors.Developed, written and edited by WC Harshman, AM Yoder, JW Hilton and D J Murphy,The Pennsylvania State University. Reviewed by TL Bean and D Jepsen, The Ohio StateUniversity and S Steel, National Safety Council.Version 4/2004This material is based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and ExtensionService, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2001-41521-01263. Any opinions, findings,conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do notnecessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Pennsylvania State University 2004Cooperation provided by The Ohio State University and National Safety Council.

TIRE AND WHEEL CONDITIONHOSTA Task Sheet 4.6.5NATIONAL SAFE TRACTOR AND MACHINERY OPERATION PROGRAMIntroductionTractors are traction machines!Better traction comes from goodtires.Tractor tires can cost severalhundred dollars each. Estimatesshow that tractor tire repair andreplacement comprise nearly 30%of the total repair costs during atractor’s lifetime.You are responsible for protectingthis valuable traction component.TireCalcium fillline is 80% ifcalcium solution is used.RimValve StemThis task sheet discusses tractortire and wheel conditions for safetractor operation.Tire BasicsThese simple activities can extendthe life of tractor tires: Check tire pressure regularly. Use wheel weights to reduceexcess slippage, which candamage the tire. Drive carefully to avoiddamaging objects. Make tire repairs promptly.Tire and WheelHazardsTractors are not built for highspeed. High speeds on paved roadsreduce tire life. Unpaved roads cando the same and also increase thechance for large stones to damagethe tire as well.Figure 4.6.5.a. Tractor tire components include the tire, the rim or wheel, an inner tube with valve,and, many times, a calcium solution filling about 80% of the inner tube.Foreign objects can puncture tires.All farms have their share of sharprocks, hidden field objects, andconstruction debris. Fields nearrural roads may have glass bottlesand metal cans which can cut tires.Be alert for those objects whichcan damage tires.Improper use can ruin tires.Turning too tight and gouging thetire into towed equipment leads tocut tires. Most tractors have noshock absorbers; so the tire mustabsorb all ground shocks. Tiresidewall breaks can occur whenobjects are impacted. The Pennsylvania State University 2004Some rear tractor tiresare filled with a calciumsolution to add weight tothe tractor to improvetraction.Learning Goals To identify faulty tire and wheelsituations and take corrective actionto remedy the problemRelated Task Sheets:Preventative Maintenance andPre-operation ChecksCooperation provided by The Ohio State University and National Safety Council.4.6

Page 2TIRE AND WHEEL CONDITIONTire and WheelDefectsFig. 4.6.5.c. Damaged rims fromcareless use may cause damaged tirebeads and flat tires.Tractor tires areFig. 4.6.5.b. Worn treads and dry rotmake for poor traction and risk fordowntime due to a blowout.Fig. 4.6.5.d. A leaking valve stemreleased calcium solution whichrusted the rim. A major expense willbe incurred, as well as a severesafety hazard in using this tractor.expensive. They maycost hundreds ofdollars to repair orreplace.Safety Activities1. Call a local tire dealer who specializes in tractor tires, and ask for the price of a tractor tire that fits yourtractor. For comparison purposes, call several dealers.2. Have an adult mentor, leader, or teacher show you how to check air pressure in a calcium-filled tractor tire.3. Find out how much a rear tractor tire weighs when it is filled with a calcium solution. You can use theYellow Pages of the phone book to find a tractor tire repair service or tire dealer.4. Ask a local tractor tire dealer what the recommendations are for filling tractor tires with liquid ballast (orcalcium solution).References1. Farm and Ranch Safety Management, JohnDeere Publishing, 1994.2. Safe Operation of Agricultural Equipment,Student Manual, 1988, Silletto and Hull, HobarPublications.Contact InformationNational Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation ProgramThe Pennsylvania State UniversityAgricultural and Biological Engineering Department246 Agricultural Engineering BuildingUniversity Park, PA 16802Phone: 814-865-7685Fax: 814-863-1031Email: [email protected], written and edited by WC Harshman, AM Yoder, JW Hilton and D J Murphy,The Pennsylvania State University. Reviewed by TL Bean and D Jepsen, The Ohio StateUniversity and S Steel, National Safety Council.Version 4/2004This material is based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and ExtensionService, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2001-41521-01263. Any opinions, findings,conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do notnecessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Pennsylvania State University 2004Cooperation provided by The Ohio State University and National Safety Council.

THE OPERATOR PLATFORMHOSTA Task Sheet 4.6.6NATIONAL SAFE TRACTOR AND MACHINERY OPERATION PROGRAMIntroductionIf you compare the tractor operatorplatform to the cockpit of a jetfighter plane, both the tractor andjet fighter have: Steps to climb on board Adjustable operator seatwith seat belt Multiple controls at hand andfoot positions High visibility from theoperator’s seatKeep these similar work areas freeof obstructions for safe operation.Could the pilot of the jet plane beable to fly to our defense in amoment’s notice if: Figure 4.6.6.a. The operator’s platform is not a tool box. You must have room to operate hand andfoot controls. PTO levers, differential locks, foot throttles, and brake locks have to be engaged fromthe floor position. Soda cans and tobacco snuff containers can roll under control pedals and preventcorrect, timely operation.Operator PlatformWorkplaceThe tractorplatform servesas the cockpitThe steps were coveredwith mud and manure?The cockpit was filledwith chains, grease guns,tools, and hitch pins? The windows werecovered with pesticidespray drift or other materials? The pilot could not reach thecontrols because of a poorlyadjusted seat?This task sheet discusses the needfor a clear tractor operator platformand an adjustable seat to safelyreach the operating controls.of this farmtool.Figure 4.6.6.b. Falls account for many farminjuries. Keep the steps and platform clean ofmud, manure, and tools.Learning GoalsFigure 4.6.6.c. Tractors with ROPS comeequipped with seat belts. Use them. To understand the need to keepsteps and platform clear of tools anddebris at all times To adjust the tractor seat and seatbelt to safely reach all controls whileyour seat belt is buckledRelated Task Sheets:Preventative Maintenance andPre-Operation Checks4.6Figure 4.6.6.d. Keep windows and mirrorsclean for good visibility. The Pennsylvania State University 2004Cooperation provided by The Ohio State University and National Safety Council.

Page 2THE OPERATOR PLATFORMSeat AdjustmentEach person who operates thetractor will be a different size andweight. Check and adjust the seatadjustment so that you cancomfortably reach all controls.Seat controls may be levers orknobs and will be black in color.They may:1. Release the seat to tilt it awayfrom rain if the tractor is sittingoutside.2. Position the seat higher, lower,closer, farther, or to a differenttilt position from the steeringwheel and foot pedals.Figure 4.6.6.e. Locate seat adjustments andknow how they work. You may need theOperator’s Manual. Farm and Ranch SafetyManagement, John Deere Publishing, 1994. Illustrationsreproduced by permission. All rights reserved.Figure 4.6.6.f. The steering wheel should beadjusted as soon as you are seated. In thecorrect position, your arms are bent at a 90degree angle as you hold the steering wheel.Your legs should remain slightly angled whilethe foot pedals are fully depressed.Seat belts keeptractor drivers frombeing thrown out ofthe cab or off the3. Adjust the seat for the weightof the operator.seat duringroll-overs.4. Be sure the seat belt is alsoadjusted for the seat.Wear your seat belt!Safety Activities1. Select any tractor at the farm where you work, and clean the tractor steps and platform. List how manydifferent objects you can find there.2. Use the NIOSH website to locate data on injuries due to falls in agricultural work. Are falls from getting onor off tractors considered a problem? If so, describe how serious it is.3. Conduct a farm survey in the area with the help of your club or class members to determine how manytractors have seats or seat belts that can be easily adjusted.References1. www.cdc.gov/niosh/injury/trauma2. Owners’ Manuals for Specific Tractors.3. Farm and Ranch Safety Management, JohnDeere Publishing, 1994. Illustrations reproducedby permission. All rights reserved.Contact InformationNational Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation ProgramThe Pennsylvania State UniversityAgricultural and Biological Engineering Department246 Agricultural Engineering BuildingUniversity Park, PA 16802Phone: 814-865-7685Fax: 814-863-1031Email: [email protected], written and edited by WC Harshman, AM Yoder, JW Hilton and D J Murphy,The Pennsylvania State University. Reviewed by TL Bean and D Jepsen, The Ohio StateUniversity and S Steel, National Safety Council.Version 4/2004This material is based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and ExtensionService, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2001-41521-01263. Any opinions, findings,conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do notnecessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Pennsylvania State University 2004Cooperation provided by The Ohio State University and National Safety Council.

1. Farm and Ranch Safety Management, John Deere Publishing, 1994. 2. Safe Operation of Agricultural Equipment, Student Manual, 1988, Silletto and Hull, Hobart Publications. 3. Owners’ Manuals for specific tractors. References Page 2 PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE AND PRE-OPERATION CHECKS 1. Make a chart of maintenance items to be done on your tractor.