Monday, July 31, 2006

Tractor Tires

I own a tractor. A 20 horsepower 2 cylinder diesel Yanmar YM1600. It pulls a four-foot shredder. I bought it used about five years ago and basically ignore it except to check the fluids before I start it and change the oil once a year.

Last summer I noticed the tires had dry-rotted and pumped them back up till I finished mowing, then put the tractor in the barn and didn't think about it till this year. This little tractor gets run about 100 hours a season.

This morning I had to put tires on it. Firestone 8.3-24 R1 offroad/ag tires.

There are hundreds of thousands of these little tractors all over the US. They all use the same engine, the small diesel from Mitsubishi. In either the two or three cylinder variation, this engine powers IH, Case, John Deere and probably a couple of other brands. If it is a small diesel tractor, you probably have a Mitsubishi engine.

The tires never wear out on these tractors. They finally just dry-rot off the rims. I had a heck of a time finding two tires in this area, simply because there isn't much demand for them. I actually started last week trying to find some tires that didn't demand a king's ransom to buy and mount.

I got it done at a local place. I took the tractor off the trailer and sat in the shade swapping jokes and smokes with the tire mechanic, a guy about my age. He was kind of pissed, because, in his words, "The boss ran off all the other help and now he is on my case because he's behind. If you don't mind waiting, I'll change those tires right now, but I ain't getting in any hurry."

I propped up on a skidder tire and we talked while he worked. About half-way through the job, the boss came out and asked him to change one steering tire on a Kenworth tractor. He looked at me, and I shrugged my shoulders. He jacked that tire off the ground and changed it with the rim still on the truck, using tire irons. I offered the comment that it looked like he had done that a couple of times. He told me that he had been changing big tires for 29 years and that it was easier to change the tire on the truck than taking it off and putting it on the machine. In twenty minutes he was through, and got back to working on my tractor.

All told, with the jokes and the coke and everything, it took about two hours to put the tires on that tractor. I really enjoyed sitting and talking to a man who obviously understood his work.


Anonymous said...

Inquiring minds want to know--what does a new tractor tire cost?

Pawpaw said...

Oh, about $135.00 each. Plus $15.00 for a tube and $25 to mount it. Plus tax, of course. I got out of there for under $350.00.

Anonymous said...

wow,I don't know about you, but for $300+ I'd be doing what the RV people do, cover their tires when they wern't using them. I've seen individual opaque tire shields that blovk the UV rays, but I suppose with a tractor you could just tarp the entire thing.

Anonymous said...

Old world craftsmanship turns up in the oddest places.
And appreciation for same gets increasingly scarce.

Flintlock Tom

wst... said...

these are great tractors, especially for getting in the woods; disking up food plots around a deer stand.

Anonymous said...

I love my Yanmar YMG1800d (4WD version). 3-cylinder workhorse. Of course, being 6'0" on a tractor built for little Japanese guys is a little challenging, but they are a heck of a lot cheaper than their John Deer cousins. Yanmar, for along, long time, actually made the JD compact tractors and inported them. So many of the older Yanmars have equivelent JD models, making part swapping a lot easier than finding the Japanese parts.

For those who own trractors, allow me to plug a great site: The definitive online tractor owner's community.


Unknown said...

It may be a mystery for some why tractor tires don’t get worn so easily as normal tires. The reason is simple: these aren’t used on long trips. HAHA! You have to wonder how they’d do if used on long trips though. :D