Sunday, May 21, 2006


This is the story of an International Hydro 100 tractor. I'm putting this line here so that those doing searches to see how to fix this type of tractor can readily find this post. Now if you fit into this particular category, I don't expect you to find this post until long after I've moved on to other and lesser topics so here's what you need to do: 1.) Go to the latest entry in my blog and 2.) leave a comment asking me for help. I'll get back to you as soon as I read the comment, and then I'll talk you through the things that you need to do to figure out where the problem is and maybe how to fix it, if I know.

This past January, we decided it was time to park the tractor for the winter. We'd been a bit lax and had left it sitting out in a field, so I drove it up the road to my place. We figured that we'd go ahead and change the filters and fill it up with new engine oil and top it off with hydraulic oil while we were doing things, so we did.

This tractor is a unique tractor in such that it's not geared, but rather is a Hydrostatic. That means instead of having a geared transmission, it runs off of hydraulic pressure. The good thing about such a tractor is that you can dial it in to any speed you desire regardless of the engine r.p.m.'s . The disadvantage is that you can't pull plows and such with it like you can a geared tractor. We mostly use ours on our baler, and it makes the perfect tractor for this application.

Last summer, it started to lose a little pulling power, and my dad was concerned, as was I, but the hydraulic oil was a bit low and so we hoped that by topping it off, we'd solve the problem, and it seemed to do just that.

After the filter change, I drove it up to my folk's place and parked it in the shed, like we usually do for the winter to keep it out of the weather.

Now we come to a few weeks ago when it was time to take the tractor out of the shed. After playing around with the batteries for a bit, we got the rig started and I let it warm up for a bit on low idle, then I put it in reverse and... nothing happened. Hmmmm... now how can something work when you park it, and then all at once quit when nothing's changed? Life's funny that way, but things around this outfit seem to spontaneously fail with no apparent cause.

I was perplexed, so my dad climbed up to the cab and kicked the throttle up to very high, then I tried the reverse again, and it kicked in and backed up, only it was maximum reverse velocity, and there was no adjustment on the speed. Oh well, at least it was moving and out of the shed. Now once I got it out in the yard, I put it in neutral and then forward to try and pull up to the fuel tank, it luched into full reverse again. It didn't matter which direction I put the gear shift, it was stuck in full reverse mode. We made a few laps around the yard in reverse in hopes of freeing something up, but it was no use. There was definately something wrong, and we had no clue what it was. So I backed it down the road to my place and put it in the shop.

I'm not really a stranger to fixing this tractor. We've had to rebuild the engine twice in the last ten years, and I've fixed the wiring, heater, and air-conditioning too, but I've got no clue about the drive train as I've never been in there. We decided at this point to consult with the local mechanic and see what he suggest we do. He gave us a few pointers and his Technical Service Manual and wished us good luck.

We talked it over and decided to get a second opinion. I couldn't hurt. So we drove over to the nearest dealer and talked with the shop foreman. He was about as much help as stopping by the local Black Panther headquarters and asking where the KKK rally was being held. "Well, haul it down here and we'll take a look." I'm sure they would, at $60 an hour, plus parts. Why don't I just give him my bank account number like those nice Espana Lottery folk.

So we tore into the tractor, starting at the steering column where the local mechanic told us. After we got that done, we still weren't any wiser. We didn't know what we were looking for, so we didn't know if we'd found it or not! That's not a good position to be in, but there we were. Coincidentally, I had a court appearance slated for around that same time, in the next town with a dealer, so we stopped by their shop and talked to their shop foreman. He was just as clueless as the last guy, but he knew that and told me straight away. Then he added this little tidbit, "But I know just the guy to tell you. Follow me."

We went out into the shop and spoke with the mechanic who did nothing but fix hydrostatics. That guy was helpful. He said that it was exceptionally easy to troubleshoot the problem, told me how to narrow it down, and where to go from there. Then he gave me some fittings so that I could do the trouble shooting myself at no charge.

Next time -- the mystery of the always reversing tractor is closer to being solved, but the intrigue continues with a new and unexpected turn of events!


Blogger trinamick said...

So, about this court appearance. We require details, I'm afraid.

5/22/2006 1:49 PM  
Blogger LL said...

Nothing worth talking about. You know, just the usual legal junk... :innocent:

5/22/2006 4:07 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

In the next installment, will there be a young priest and an old priest present?

The oil of Chrysler compells you! The oil of Chrysler compells you!

5/23/2006 6:33 AM  
Blogger LL said...

No... just a young Loser and his dad.

5/23/2006 7:59 AM  

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