Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rage and The Miseries of Tractor Repair

Maybe there is zen to be found in motorcycle maintenance, but if it is anything like tractor repair, I really doubt it.  I guess everything is easier to get at on a motorcycle and they are relatively simple machines, but I suspect whoever wrote that stupid book was just smoking too much happy weed.

My tractor is overheating.  This is not a new problem.  Years ago, I had a new radiator core put into it and it worked OK (not great, but OK) for the years since.  I have been told, several times, that it needs a new thermostat, which is not an easy thing to replace on a tractor.  Why the people who replaced the radiator didn't also replace the thermostat (when it would have been easy and cheap) is one of those little mysteries that will remain forever unsolved.  I've tried to get other mechanics to work on the beast.  No luck.  I've tried to get them to give me advice so I can do the job on my own since they won't work on it.  You can guess how that worked out.

The word "thermostat" does not exist in this book:

One might (foolishly) think that a repair manual would be a good resource when trying to actually repair a tractor.

The problem could, possibly, maybe, be with the water pump.  The sum total of the advice available about repairing said water pump can be found in paragraph 177 (you thought maybe I meant page 177?  Ha, silly you.  Who'd ever think of using page numbers in a book?).

The manual says (and this is a direct quote), "The water pump is part of the cooling system.  The removal process will be self evident".  That's it.  The absolute totality of advice on locating, identifying and repairing a water pump.

Actually, there are any number of things on a tractor whose removal is self evident and hey, I can take things apart with the best of 'em.  I have wrenches.  Heck, most of the time, I can even put them back together.  Sometimes, I even enjoy it and really, who needs all those pesky details such as:  how to identify the part whose removal is self evident, how to fix it once removed, how to figure out if that is even the problem in the first place?

And why the Hell doesn't the damn book even mention thermostats?  Why??!  Where the Hell is the Zen in that?

I would really, really like to get my hands on the miserable SOB who wrote paragraph 177.  I've got a nice big wrench right here that would be perfect for the job of demonstrating just how self evident it is to take something apart.  I'll bet I could find some Zen in that right about now.


  1. OMG I'm sorry I started to laugh. My husband is a 'sort of' wizard when it comes to old tractors. He can read the manuals and look at the diagrams and actually make sense out of them.
    He has kept our 1940-ish Diesel Allis running for ages and shops junk yards and orders parts to fix it. He even built his own battery cables b/c he thought buying them from the tractor store was too pricey.
    Wish we were neighbors, he'd probably enjoy figuring your tractor out!

  2. You're funny when you're p.o.!!!

  3. Um, yeah...

    I'm going to forward to a friend who might be able to help.

  4. Try to lay your hands on an actual Owner's Manual rather than the repair book. They will have more pictures and some better words and arrows. As far as finding the thermostat you will need to follow the hose from the top of the radiator back to the engine. Usually the hose will be attached to a housing which is bolted to the engine with a few bolts. this is usually where the thermostat is located. Now to locate the water pump. On the front of the engine there may be one or more belts. In some cases the water pump has the fan mounted to it and in some cases it is not, but in any case one of the belts in the area of the fan will run the water pump. Locate the hose coming from the bottom of the radiator. This will usually lead directly to the water pump which is attached to the engine in most cases.
    If you could e-mail us some pictures we could probably tell where the little devils are located. Hope we can help. Andy and Robin

  5. I can't stand to see a do-it-yourselfer work him/herself into a frenzy. My father was a handyman. ;-)

  6. Well said! Reminds me of the instruction sheets that come with stuff you order now days (like the deer cart that hooks to the back of a four-wheeler)...made in set of instruction covers four different models...then there is always missing parts.

  7. I'm awful when it comes to fixing our tractor. My husband gets confused and frustrated reading those manuals, too. We always end up bring our tractor in to get repaired by professionals. That's the only way we've been able to keep ours going.
    Shelly Slader |