Propane Farm Tractors?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Up North, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

    Messages:
    3,841
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    Anybody own and operate one?
    I recognize that refueling can be an inconvenience, but other than that what are the negatives in having one on the farm?
    Do they start ok in cold weather?
     
  2. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    12,031
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Michigan (U.P.)
    There is less heat per gallon so you use a bit more propane than you would gasoline. Start fine in the winter. Local school had all propane school buses for awhilt.
    At one time there was a price savings with propane. I doubt that advantage exists today.
     

  3. sammyd

    sammyd Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,770
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    Location:
    Central WI
    Less horsepower than the gas models.
    If I could get the equipment to refuel them I might be tempted to get one. They always seem to be cheaper than the regulars.
     
  4. milkinpigs

    milkinpigs Dairy/Hog Farmer

    Messages:
    508
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2005
    Location:
    Catlett Creek Hog Farm Unit 1
    Got an IHC 706, use it all the time;starts easy in the cold.We have a 250 gallon tank by the barn with a filling hose,takes just a few minutes to fil and the LP company will fill it straight from the truck when they are out this way.Great tractors for everyday use....putting out hay,cleaning lots....field work in a pinch. Don't have to plug them in in the cold weather but need to keep them parked in the dry if possible. The fumes won't choke you down if you have to run it in the barn.....plus the pilgrims don't want them so you can get them at a good price.Most used ones were owned by folks that take care of their equipment.
     
  5. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

    Messages:
    3,841
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    Kinda what I had in mind. A backup Loader tractor for feeding hay, unloading hay trailers, lifting heavy items around the farmyard. Then I could leave the newer loader tractor at the field, load hay trailer, and make loops with pickup and hay trailer as there would be a second loader tractor at home.
    There are quite a few of the older 30 series Case(830, 930, 1030) and a JD 4010 loader tractors in the area for sale, all propane fueled. Prices are lower, and they sit for many months unsold.
    I suppose people are just not familiar with them and so hesitant to buy them.
    Of course resale value would be tepid at best.
     
  6. ninny

    ninny Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,341
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    Running propane is a lot cleaner than either gasoline or diesel. You can tear a propane engine apart after 100,000 miles and it looks almost new. Like said earlier, you will lose a little power.


    .
     
  7. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

    Messages:
    11,076
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Kansas
    Those 830 and 930 Cases were wonderful tractors, probably the 1030 too but I've never been around one of them.

    I really like the fact that they used paired cylinder heads rather than one large head. Minneapolis Moline used paired cylinders as well as paired heads on many of their tractors.

    There weren't a lot of LP 4010s around where I was. Case and Minneapolis Moline were the favored LP gas tractors.

    Most LP tractors start easily IF they are adjusted correctly. The IHC newer models seemed to start a little slower than the older ones.

    The nice thing about an LP tractor or other vehicle is that once the engine is running it doesn't stumble when warming up as sometimes does a gasoline engine.

    We used LP gas tractors from the mid 1960s until the farm equipment was sold off in 1996. Even then my brother bought all three of the tractors to use for his operation. Sold the very next year after he died of cancer.

    The biggest negative about LPG tractors is the safety issue for fueling if you or those filling it are careless and thoughtless. In my area I only knew of one fueling accident. It was because a guy fueling his father in laws tractor lit up a cigarette which ignited the vapors he was venting from the tractor. He then panicked. Afraid of an explosion of the 500 gallon fueling tank/trailer, he opted to pull it away from the tractor instead of turning off the fuel going into the tractor which was feeding the fire. Of course when he pulled away it broke the liquid filling valve on the tractor and then he had some major fire fueled from the propane coming from both the nurse tank and the tractor tank. He unhooked his pickup from the nurse tank and got the heck out of there and let them burn. The safety valve in the nurse tank closed as it should and only fed the fire slowly until all fuel was exhausted from the tank. The tractor suffered a fair amount of damage but wasn't by any means destroyed. Never the less the owner traded it for a diesel because he didn't want his smoker son in law to burn another one up.
     
  8. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,942
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    Location:
    S.E. Ks.
    either way they are fine you can always convert it back to gas gaining a few HP since propane has higher compression
     
  9. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

    Messages:
    11,076
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Kansas
    I have never heard of a tractor being converted from one gas to another but I don't see why that certainly couldn't be done. All of the ones I've ever been around have been factory units.

    Do you think the higher compression would be too much for the lower octane rating of todays gasoline?
     
  10. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,942
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    Location:
    S.E. Ks.
    Mine was a Case the compression on the gas version 6 to 1 the propane was 8 to 1 . conversion was quite simple unbolt the propane carb and bolt on the gas carb, replace the propan tank with a gas tank. It made a marked difference in pto HP .
    When I rebuilt an AC WD45 I opted for the over bore sleves and pistons as well as the higher compression and gained roughly 8 hp by doing so with no ill effects on pump gas.
    the biggest problem is lack of leaded gas and the need to put hardened valve seats in on older tractor whether converted or not .
     
  11. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm This Space For Rent Supporter

    Messages:
    45,793
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Location:
    Eastern North Carolina

    Ive seen lots of forklifts that would run on gasoline if being used outdoors, but could switch to propane for indoor use, so evidently its not a hard conversion
     
  12. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

    Messages:
    11,076
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Kansas
    I agree that converting a vehicle to run dual fuel isn't difficult. I worked 7 years for an LPG dealer and converted a number of vehicle. I've just never known tractors to receive a conversion.

    PyroDon, an 8 to 1 compression ratio conversion indeed wouldn't be a problem. I kind of think our MM G705 had 9.5 to 1 or 10 to 1 compression ratio with factory LP. It was a 100 horsepower tractor to get an idea of size.
     
  13. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,837
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    I converted a propane power John Deere combine back to full time gasoline. The change was rather simple and not very expensive. I went to a salvage yard and got permission to browse the yard for old engines that still had carburetors on them. I found a similar intake manifold on an old Ford and bought the carb and gave it to the JD. I had to make a simple adapter plate for the carb and to install an electric fuel pump. The combine had a fuel tank from the factory and I routed a fuel line through a filter to the carb and I installed a choke control in the cab. I ran the machine for several years with no problems from the fuel conversion. It is a different story with the threshing mechanism as the machine liked to consume bearings. I upgraded to an IH rotary.