Maintaining Agricultural-Duty Equipment

Maintaining Agricultural-Duty Equipment

Hard Working Equipment Requires Hard Working Attention

Farming in the heartland of America is an imperative need in the survival of our country, to provide the crops and livestock we all need to sustain our own daily lives. And with some of the challenges facing today’s farmers with ever-changing weather forecasts, governmental regulations, export tariffs and shifting prices at the mills, the last thing the American farmer can incur is broken down agriculture-duty equipment stalling out in the fields, or breaking down in the barn.

Josh Loyer of Loyer Farms (Marion, OH) has been farming his whole life, following in the family business with a heritage reaching four generations deep. Josh, his brother and his father are the latest iteration, currently farming their 3000 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat along with raising cattle, running a trucking business and a truck and tractor-pulling race team on the side. “We come by it honestly. My great grandfather was still farming at 100 years old.” says Josh.

Spread across the farm are the various red and green CASE and John Deere tractors as well as a couple combines, corn planters, bean planters, and other various forms of agricultural gear. All of which being diesel powered. “We have a couple straggler tractors for smaller tasks,” Josh says, “but everything else requires the torque and horsepower for the heavy duty work needed across the farm.” The Loyers for example, run their combines with 40’ draper heads, thereby needing to continually move 40’ worth of soybean load. With their 8-row Corn Head, they are continually pulling the weight of 20’ of corn. “Plus with the long, hard hours these vehicles run, it’s not like a car trip to the store and back. We are running these machines in the fields from sun up to sun down nonstop, daily. We put 1000s of hours on these tractors.”

With the need to pull trailers and devices full of crops, and the efficiency in lower RPMs to do so, agriculture equipment relies on the diesel power plant for not only the results from the beginning of the day to end, but also helping avoid hazards that could come from a gasoline engine instead of diesel. “These big cubic inch diesel motors are going to outperform and outlast a gasoline motor. Plus, we don’t have to worry about throwing a spark in the middle of a wheat field, that could ignite an entire field on fire. It’s very dry in the middle of the summer, and a gasoline motor introduces a very unneeded risk. Diesel isn’t going to spark.”

Typical Maintenance

“We usually do all of our own maintenance work,” states Loyer, “and preventative maintenance is key.” Josh offers a few tips for helping keep Agricultural equipment up and running smoothly:

Change the Engine Oil and Filters:
Recommended after the first 50 hours of new use. Then recommended every 100 hours thereafter.

Change the Hydraulic Oil and Filters:
Recommended after the first 50 hours of new use. Thereafter, recommended to change the filter every 200 hours. Change the oil every 400 hours.

Grease the Bearings, Tracks and Chain Lubrications:
Recommended every eight hours of use.

Keep up on Additives:
Deep system cleans recommended bi-annually.
Every day cetane, lubricity and mileage enhancement recommended for each tank of fuel.
Oil additives recommended every 2nd or 3rd oil-change.

Check Your Wheels/Tires:
Recommended to check your wheel lugs after the first 10 hours of new use. Then recommended every 50 hours thereafter. Inspect tires for nails, thorns, dry rot and/or cracking every 25 to 50 hours. Maintain the tire pressure at proper levels; typically in the range of 12 lbs. for radial and 18 lbs. for bias ply tires.

Regardless of the schedule, it is always wise to check fluids as often as possible. If not able to daily, especially during the busy season, make sure to at minimum, check once a week. In the winter, perhaps every 20 hours. And always consult your owner’s manual for manufacturer-recommended maintenance, parts and schedules.

“During the season when running it hard,” says Loyer, “regardless of new or old gear, you’re bound to break some chains, a bearing will go out, you’ll bust a belt or pulley or a variety of other items. When you’re asking that much out of the equipment, the level of maintenance and replacements tends to rise a bit.”

The Loyer farming business spends quite a bit of money on the best oils, grease, additives and other items that help prevent future breakdowns. “We see some great longevity in the use of our gear, without catastrophic failures,” says Josh. “We put the best in, to get the best out in return. We have to see the big picture, and spend money to make money. When paying for premium products, you have to have your sights set farther than just the present. We know our maintenance investments today will pay bigger dividends tomorrow.”

For their engine oil program for example, the Loyer’s continually implement an oil analysis to make sure the lifeblood of their gear is always performing at its best. “We’re able to keep an eye on any wear and tear that needs to be addressed, and it helps us prevent any future hazards.”

Loyer Farms fill their own fuel tanks to keep all the gear in the fields. To avoid the inconsistency of diesel fuel at the station pumps, and the frequency/proximity of fuel needs, the crew at Loyer rely on a local supplier for their on-farm fuel tank fill-ups. They then treat their own fuel with diesel additives. “Every gallon of our diesel includes Hot Shot’s Secret fuel additives,” says Josh. “We use Hot Shot’s Secret religiously and the results show. We never have any issues with our fuel filters. Every single time we change our fuel filters, they are almost as clean as when we put them in. The only reason we change filters is because its time to do so in our preventative schedule. Hot Shot’s Secret also adds the cetane boost we always need of diesel fuel, and we know when we hit the key on all of this gear, it’s instantly firing and running.”

Loyer notes that Hot Shot’s Secret has helped with emissions too. “These tractors now have the DEF and DPF regen systems, just like the big rigs. Not only have we had zero injector issues, but with the cleaner burn and reduced emissions when using these additives, we have less regen cycles and less plugged up systems like we see elsewhere.”

With a heavy price tag for each piece of gear in the fields, a little upfront maintenance and attention to fluids alone can save thousands and even millions in lifespan repairs and replacements. “If you buy a brand new combine with a corn head and a bean head, it’s in the range of $500,000. And with the preventive maintenance needed, costing far less, let’s give it the best that we can possibly give it. Regardless of your business, a half-million dollar equipment replacement is usually not a feasible business plan,” says Josh. “We prefer longevity and we keep up on the work, the products and the best advice we can rely on.”

Reliability:

Also particular to the Farming industry is the need to seize the moment. With the unpredictability of weather as a primary determinant of how much work can be completed and when, the farming industry has to have gear that is reliable, going to start every time, and make it through the day/season. Because tomorrow may not be an opportunity to work. When too many of those down days happen, it can result in millions of dollars lost in earnings. “In a year like this,” says Josh, “There’s been so much rain, many are not getting their crops in. So when we can, we have to work when it’s dry enough and we have to take advantage of the opportunity. We ran around the clock the other day because we found dry dirt. But today it’s raining and we’re not turning a wheel. When it’s go-time, we need to be able to count on everything. Any little bit of prevention we can lend to our equipment is huge, when the time comes to run it for hours on end. The reliability in our gear, literally ‘pays off,’ when we need to get to work.

Truck and Tractor Pulling Teams:

The Loyer bunch not only relies on their gear getting them through the acres of their crops, they also rely on their high-performance racing gear to get them 300’ down a Pulling track as well. “We do a lot of Semi-Truck Pulling competitions. We run a Mack truck in the Street Class of pulling, which is far from ‘street,’ says Josh. The Ohio farmers are also involved with a friend’s team with their two Pro Stock Pulling trucks in the Ohio State Tractor Pull Association, and the Loyer’s work with some well-accomplished neighbors that race a Pro Stock Pull tractor, having won numerous NTPA and OSTPA championships. “I’m a horsepower nut and that’s even more reason for me to get into Hot Shot’s Secret. When we add it to our racing program, with all of the protective and preventive benefits,” Josh says, “it will also add horsepower! Anything I can pour in my truck to make me go faster and farther, I’m for it!”

Hot Shot’s Secret Product Descriptions:

Diesel Extreme: Diesel Extreme is the most concentrated fuel injector cleaner and cetane booster on the market. Diesel Extreme safely cleans internal diesel injector deposits, including waxy and polymeric films, carboxylate salts and external carbon coking injector deposits. This fully functional formula also includes a low sulfur neutral lubricity agent, fuel stabilizing compounds, a water dispersant and anti-corrosion additives. All of this translates into the most powerful and balanced fuel additive that money can buy. Diesel Extreme provides increased power, performance and fuel economy while reducing maintenance costs.

Everyday Diesel Treatment: EDT is extremely effective in middle distillate fuels to improve combustion and ignition efficiency, enhance fuel economy and maintain fuel in a clean, stabilized condition. The sulfur content of this diesel fuel additive does not exceed 15 ppm. The reason for better performance with EDT is that cetane improvement in the fuel gives a smoother, less erratic pressure buildup in the combustion chamber during the ignition delay period which occurs between injection and ignition.

Stiction Eliminator: Stiction Eliminator is composed of a safe but effective synthetic cleaner that dissolves the stiction found on oil-wetted components, resulting in a rating of 92% clean in the ASTM D4828 scrub test. A Group V synthetic ester assists in bringing deposits and additives back into solution, reducing friction and lubricating your oil system. Patented carbon nano particles are blended into Stiction Eliminator, filling in microscopic irregularities on the machined surface to provide a smoother surface for the lubricating film to form, which reduces friction and wear.

FR3 Friction Reducer: FR3 Friction Reducer is a lubricity-enhancing oil additive that increases the lubricating and wear reduction properties of the host oil. The product contains patented synthetic lubricants that have unique lubricating properties even compared to PAO or mPAO synthetics of the same viscosity. Negatively charged Group 5 synthetic esters tenaciously attach to all internal parts completely lubricating your engine. Esters are also responsible for the increased rubber seal lubrication as well as a slight swelling the seal for less oil leaks.

Testimonial:

“For four or five years now, we have been using Hot Shot’s Secret in everything we run. We use the Hot Shot’s Secret Diesel Extreme a couple times a year in our fuel tanks. And we use the Everyday Diesel Treatment in all of our big on-site fuel tanks. Whether it’s the tractors, the semi’s, the pickup trucks, whatever it may be, when we pour in our diesel fuel, every piece of gear is treated with EDT.

We use Stiction Eliminator in the oil at every third oil change. And we are pouring in FR3 Friction Reducer for every oil change in between. We use the FR3 in our hydraulic systems, our rear ends, transmissions, power steering and engine oil.

We also use the Hot Shot’s Secret Antifreeze in all of our gear as well.”

“We tried a little bit at first just to test it out. Once we knew that ‘wow, this stuff really does work,’ we used it more and more. We now sell it to other customers as well, and it’s just flying off the shelves.”

“As a dealer, I want to know I can be completely behind it and know that it works first. We still have a few that are leery, asking why they should ADD to something they think should already work, stating ‘my engine oil is good enough,’ or ‘my fuel already includes lubricity.’ We still have to sometimes explain that the government regulations for emissions, have removed the sulfur from the fuel. What used to be the lubricity of sulfur at 500 parts per million, is now down to 5 parts per million. We explain that’s why people experience problems with their injectors, pumps and plungers sticking for instance, by using the dry fuel with no lubricity. Then when we have someone try it, they come back claiming an increase in their mileage, the truck starts so much easier, they now have so much more power and on and on.

Hot Shot’s Secret additives are one of those products that sell themselves. Once it’s in their hands and actually in use, it’s fairly obvious for results.”

“We have a customer that is in property maintenance, landscaping, paving, concrete, etc., and they have a fleet of F450 Power Strokes. One came in with the owner saying ‘it’s not running right, it’s missing, it’s breaking down.’ They actually had a Ford dealer mechanic diagnose four failed injectors, and recommended to replace all eight injectors as the fix. Before they followed the dealer’s advice, however, I was able to convince them to try Diesel Extreme first. They treated their tank and let it run for about 30 minutes. It smoothed up, the truck is back on the road and they haven’t been back since. They spent maybe $30/$40 in Hot Shot’s Secret additives. And the savings on their one truck, avoiding a $3000 injector job has since been used to buy more Hot Shot’s Secret instead.”

“I’m hoping that Hot Shot’s Secret can increase bottle sizes too. Working with farmers is different than diesel shops and we need much larger containers for our on-site fuel tanks. We are a huge market needing huge quantities of this stuff. “

Josh Loyer
Loyer Farms

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