Tractor Test and Power Museum, The Lester F. Larsen


Nebraska Tractor Tests

Date of this Version

January 1968




East tractor is a production model equipped for common usage. Power consuming accessories can be disconnected only when it is convenient for the operator to do so in practice. Additional weight can be added as ballast if the manufacturer regularly supplies it for sale. The static tire loads and the inflation pressures muse conform to recommendations in the Tire Standards published by the Society of Automotive Engineers.


The engine crank case is drained and refilled with a measured amount of new oil conforming to specifications in the operator’s manual. The fuel used and the maintenance operations must also conform to the published information delivered with the tractor. The tractor is then limbered-up for 1 hour on drawbar work in accordance with the manufacturers published recommendations. The manufacturer’s representative is present to make appropriate decisions regarding mechanical adjustments.

The tractor is equipped with approximately the amount of added ballast that is used during maximum drawbar tests. The tire tread-bar height must be at least 65% of new tread height prior to the maximum power run.


Maximum Power and Fuel Consumption. The manufacturer’s representative makes carburetor, fuel pump, ignition and governor control settings which remain unchanged throughout tall subsequent runs. The governor and the manually operated governor control lever is set to provide the high-idle speed specified by the manufacturer for maximum power. Maximum power is measured by connecting the belt pulley or the power take-off to a dynamometer. The dynamometer load is then gradually increased until the engine is operating at the rated speed specified by the manufacturer for maximum power. The corresponding fuel consumption is measured.

Varying Power and Fuel Consumption. Six different horsepower levels are used to show corresponding fuel consumption rates and how the governor causes the engine to react to the following changes in dynamometer load: 85% of the dynamometer torque at maximum power; minimum dynamometer torque, ½ the 85% torque; maximum power; ¼ and ¾ of the 85% torque. Since at tractor is generally subjected to varying loads the average of the results in this test serve well for predicting the fuel consumption of a tractor in general usage.


All engine adjustments are the same as those used in the belt or power take-off tests. If the manufacturer specifies a different rated crankshaft speed for drawbar operations, then the position of the manually operated governor control is changed to provide the high-idle speed specified by the manufacturer in the operating instructions.

Varying Power and Fuel Consumption With Ballast. The varying power runs are made to show the effect of speed-control devices (engine governor, automatic transmissions, etc.) on horsepower, speed and fuel consumption. These runs are made around the entire test course with has two 180 degree turns with a minimum radius of 50 feet. The drawbar pull is set at 3 different levels as follows: (1) as near to the pull a maximum power as possible and still have the tractor maintain the travel speed at maximum horsepower on the straight sections of the test course; (2) 75% of the pull at maximum power; and (3) 50% of the pull at maximum power. Prior to 1958, fuel consumption data (10 hour test) were shown only for the pull obtained at maximum power for tractors having torque converters and at 75% of the pull obtained at maximum power for gear-type tractors.

Maximum Power With Ballast. Maximum power is measured on straight level sections of the test course. Data are shown for not more that 12 different gears or travel speeds. Some gears or travel speeds may be omitted because of high slippage of the traction members or because the travel speed may exceed the safe-limit for the test course. The maximum safe speed for the Nebraska Test course has been set at 15 miles per hour. The slippage limits have been set at 15% and 7% for pneumatic tires and steel tracks or lugs, respectively. Higher slippage gives widely varying results.

Maximum Power Without Ballast. All added ballast is removed from the tractor. The maximum drawbar power of the tractor is determined by the same procedure used for getting maximum power with ballast. The gear (or travel speed) is the same as that used in the 10-hours test.

Varying Power and Travel Speed With Ballast. Travel speeds corresponding to drawbar pulls beyond the maximum power range are obtained to show the “lugging ability” of the tractor. The run starts with the pull at maximum power; then additional drawbar pull is applied to cause decreasing speeds. The run is ended by one of three conditions; (1) maximum pull is obtained, (2) the maximum slippage limit is reached, or (3) some other operating limit is reached.