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Insulate tractor battery for frost


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,486 ✭✭✭White Clover

  • Registered Users Posts: 81 ✭✭GerryCarry

    That would be too thick. I'm looking for something maybe 3mm to 5mm thick. Plus i'm a little worried about putting something so close to the battery in case it catches fire, so the material would need to be fireproof.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,069 ✭✭✭✭mickdw

    Are you sure you don't have a drain that is taking abit out of battery overnight and then the extremely cold start is showing up the weakened battery?

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,822 ✭✭✭✭Say my name

    @GerryCarry As well the potential drain I'd be looking at the starter too. High speed starters transform the likes of what you are describing. And good connections go without saying.

    I had a bad connection that would show up especially in cold weather. It was only by having a second person on the ground move the earth cable while starting that showed it up. The bad connection was hidden by the sheath of the earth cable.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,874 ✭✭✭emaherx

    Or a Lazy Starter. A high speed starter would sort out issues with cold starts.

    Very unlikely the issue is a new battery getting too cold (granted cold weather will make the tractor harder to start).

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,524 ✭✭✭bassy

    use some fibre glass

  • Registered Users Posts: 81 ✭✭GerryCarry

    I have a special switch that I turn to disconnect the battery from everything after I switch off the engine. So there should be no silent drain on the battery overnight.

    The connectors to the battery also seems fine.

    I just wonder is this a problem all old tractors have maybe. I only turn this tractor on once every 5 days or so.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,874 ✭✭✭emaherx

    I had a 698T here that needed 2 100Ah batteries and would still fail to start below -2. Put on a high speed starter and it started without issue on the button using 1 75ah battery all year round no matter how cold or how long it was left without starting.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,973 ✭✭✭✭Water John

    Is there an inlet heater that's not being turned on? For example the Ford 7610.

  • Registered Users Posts: 81 ✭✭GerryCarry

    No. I turn the key a little bit for about 20 seconds to carry some charge to the battery before turning the key all the way and actually starting the engine. If I did not do that procedure each time, I don't think I would be able to start the tractor at all.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,084 ✭✭✭DBK1

    Turning the key like that is not carrying a charge to the battery, on a lot of older tractors that how you send power to the heater plug which is pre heating the engine before you try starting it and therefore making it easier to start.

    The only time there will be a charge going to the battery is when the alternator, or dynamo depending on the tractor, is spinning. This only happens when the engine is running.

    You say you’re only starting the tractor once every 5 days so presumably you’re not doing a lot of work with it? Is it left running for a while then to allow the battery to charge up or are you only using it for a short period and then stopping it?

    I don’t know what 3-5mm material you’re expecting to get to put under the battery but I do know that no matter what you get it won’t make any difference to the tractor starting.

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    Carry charge to the battery? No. That is nonsese. If you turn the key half way for 20 seconds, the only thing that might be doing is turning on the manifold heater, which obviously helps cold starting.

    I honestly don't think putting some piece of insulating material under the battery is going to make a blind bit of difference. It just isnt. Sure the rest of the battery is still exposed to the cold. I think you are wasting your time there.

    As others have said, go through the system and check all connections are good clean and solid. And if the starter is ancient, then maybe a replacement with a high speed one is what you need.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,407 ✭✭✭J.O. Farmer

    Try doing that for a bit longer and heat it more.

    Sometimes if you have good hearing you might hear a pop when it's fully heated as diesel ignites. That's the time to turn the engine.

  • Registered Users Posts: 81 ✭✭GerryCarry

    I let the tractor run for about 10 to 15 minutes and then put it back inside a shed. I do this every 5 days or so. I have two tractors and they are both the same though different models so I figured it was the cold that was the common denominator that was causing the problem for both tractors and felt the battery being too cold might be the prime suspect.

    I figured having a battery sit on the cold steel frame of the tractor would be sending a constant cold into the battery and draining the charge. The most important place therefore, in my opinion, to insulate the battery would be right where it sits and is in actual contact with anything cold.

  • Registered Users Posts: 646 ✭✭✭

    The battery has hard plastic casing...that's a kind of insulation in itself

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,361 ✭✭✭

    You are right to a degree but they say you should never store a battery on the floor as I can see where the poster is coming from. I usually get three years out of a battery but it always seems to fail at this time thus the cold would be the factor that makes it redundant. I am always conscious in those winter evening to let it run for a few minutes without the lights on before I stop it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 54 ✭✭tibia

    The battery is also in contact with the air around it. The steel on which it sits will be at the same temperature as the air. Insulation is not going to achieve anything. But as others have said, the temperature of the battery is not the problem.

    To me, 5 to 10 minutes seems a very short run to replenish the battery after a hard start. I can't give an exact figure but I would guess 30 minutes to an hour might be better. Others might have a better idea. If your usage doesn't allow the battery to charge up then a battery charger might be needed. Or as others said, a different starter might give an easier startup and draw less from the battery.

  • Registered Users Posts: 371 ✭✭cal naughton

    I bought one of these during the last cold snap for the mf290. I put it on overnight and i has transformed the battery. Starts on a cold morning now first turn on a seven year old battery.

  • Registered Users Posts: 81 ✭✭GerryCarry

    The battery in one tractor is 7 years old and the battery in the other tractor is just 1 year old. The newer battery is performing better.

    3 years seems awfully short for a tractor battery. A car battery seems to last alot longer than that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,361 ✭✭✭

    Do you take the leads off the battery when charging? The reason I ask is because i have a battery charger.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 371 ✭✭cal naughton

    No i left them on it . It stops charging when it is full. I bought mine in a local motor factor's.

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    You are going to shag up the engine at that carry on. Those short cold runs are doing more harm than good to the whole engine. Starting it up for only 10-15 minutes at a time means it won't be heated up to proper operating temperature at all, and then when you knock it off you'll get corrosive combustion products condensing inside the engine and slowly but surely contaminating the oil. This will accelerate wear.

    What'll also happen eventually is you will get glazed cylinder walls. Basically, combustion waste condenses and builds up on the cooler than normal cylinders like a sort of hard varnish. It will cause the engine to run smokey and spit oil out the exhaust. I've seen it with a tractor ticking over on log splitter duties. Often the only cure for this in a bad case is to strip the engine and re-hone the cylinders to strip away the glaze on the cyllinder. It is mostly a problem with diesel engines that are idling a lot. You also see it in lightly loaded diesel generators all the time.

    If you are doing this start up just as a "keeping her free" type of thing, then you are actually doing more damage than good. An engine is nearly better off left off than starting it only for short periods. An engine stored properly isn't going to deteriorate if left for a few months. But running it cold and never letting it warm up is just causing wear and build up of corrosive contamination inside the engine.

    Diesel engines need to run with a load in order to stay in right order. Idling is a killer for them.

    Your 15 minute run is also not going to be fully charging the battery.

    if you want to do maintenance runs, then you are better off start it once every 3 months and give it a good hard thrash up the road for an hour. In between runs, put a trickle charger on the battery to keep it charged.

  • Registered Users Posts: 81 ✭✭GerryCarry

    Well I don't just turn it on for 15 minutes and then turn it off. I drive it around in circles for about 10 minutes of that time and do some light work such as move a silage bale into a round feeder or scrap the yard. I then let it run idle in the yard for another 5 maybe 10 minutes before I put it back in the shed for another week. I've been doing this for over 5 years and the tractor seems fine.

    But thanks for the tip. I'll probably drive it around in circles a few more times each time I start it up thanks to your advice.

  • Registered Users Posts: 436 ✭✭Girl Geraldine

    Well not really. Like 5 or 10 minutes tipping around in circles is still basically idling.

    And it still won't have gotten up to proper operation temperature, ie hot enough that corrosive combustion products won't start condensing inside and contaminating the oil.

    Sure, it seems fine. But only because the internal gunning up and corrosion on the bearing surfaces hasn't yet caught up with it.

    But the fact nonetheless is, this engine is going to wear out in much less engine hours than it would if it were running at a proper temperature and load.

    My advice is, unless you need the tractor to do a task, don't bother starting it. Leave it be. When you must use it, get it up to temperature. Give it a few km drive down the road. And give it a good hard thrash under a load once every 3 months or so.

    And to reiterate, the odd start and dilly dally around the yard is doing more harm than good.

    Most engine wear takes place when the engine is cold.

    Anyone who knows a lot about engines knows this.