Tractor Test and Power Museum, The Lester F. Larsen


Nebraska Tractor Tests

Date of this Version



This report and any related files are made available to the online through the Lester F. Larsen Tractor Test and Power Museum as resources allow. Established in 1998, this museum is located on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln East Campus. It is and appropriately housed within the walls of the historic 1920 Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory, where the first tractor test was started on March 31st, 1920. Because the pioneer tests became worldwide standards, this location was designated as a Historic Landmark of Agricultural Engineering by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers in 1980, shortly after testing was moved to a new nearby facility on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln East Campus. The Tractor Test Museum and the Tractor Test Laboratory are open to the public. Group tours may be arranged through the museum by calling 402-472-8389 or visiting EXPLANATION OF TEST REPORT TEST A: The manufacturer's representative operates the tractor for a minimum of 12 hours using light to heavy drawbar loads in each gear. This serves as a period for limber up, general observation and adjustments. Adjustments that are permissible include valve tappet clearance, breaker, point gap, spark plug gaps, clutch and others of a similar nature. No new parts or accessories can be installed without having mention made of it in the report. No data' are recorded during this preliminary run except the time that the engine is operated. BELT HORSEPOWER TESTS TEST B: The manual throttle control level is set so that the throttle valve is held wide opened and the belt load on the dynamometer is adjusted so that the engine is at the rated speed recommended by the manufacturer. Carburetor, ignition timing and manifold adjustments are all set for maximum engine power. This test is designed to determine maximum belt horsepower of the tractor at rated speed and to measure fuel consumption at the maximum power on the belt. TEST C: For tractors with carburetors the best fuel economy does not always occur when the engine develops maximum power at rated speed. Test C is intended to allow the manufacturer's representative to select a more economical fuel setting even though there is a slight loss of power. This more practical carburetor setting is used in all later tests except test F. The throttle valve is held wide open and load adjusted to give rated rpm. Tests B and C are the same for diesel tractors, which have an altogether different fuel system. TEST D: The manual throttle control lever is set the same as for tests B and C allowing the governor to control engine speed at part throttle. Load is applied until 85% of maximum corrected horsepower found in test B is obtained. This rating is somewhat less than the maximum belt horsepower in order that the operator may have a certain amount of reserve. TEST E: Varying load serves to show the range of engine speeds when the engine is controlled by the governor during the following varied loads of 20 minutes each: rated load, no load, 1/2 rated load, maximum load at wide open throttle valve, 1/4 and 3/4 rated load. The average result of this test shows the average power and fuel consumption. Since the average tractor is subjected to varying loads, these data serve well in predicting fuel consumption and efficiency of a tractor in general use. DRAWBAR HORSEPOWER TESTS In all drawbar tests the pull exerted by the tractor is transmitted by a hydraulic pressure cylinder to a recording instrument in the test car. When rubber tires are used, all tests are made on the concrete test course. The same tires, wheels and weights are used for all tests except J. All crawler type tractors are tested on a dirt test course which is maintained by grading, sprinkling and rolling so that it remains very nearly the same for each test. TEST F: A drawbar test, the results of which are used to determine the rated drawbar horsepower in test H. The carburetor is set to develop maximum power as in test B. The rated gear recommended by manufacturer as plow gear is used in this test. The drawbar load is adjusted to give rated engine speed. TEST G: Maximum drawbar horsepower is determined in each gear when the carburetor is set for fuel economy as in test C. The manual throttle control lever is set so that the throttle valve is held wide open and the load is applied so that the engine runs at rated engine speed. When operating in low gear it is not uncommon for the tractor to develop less drawbar horsepower than in rated gear because of excessive wheel slippage. When excessive wheel slippage occurs the load is reduced until slippage approaches 15%. When the load is reduced it is necessary to operate the tractor engine at part throttle and control engine speed by governor action. TEST H: Intended to test the ability of the tractor to run continuously for 10 hours at rated drawbar horsepower and to determine the fuel consumption during that time. Rated drawbar horsepower is 75% of 100% maximum drawbar horsepower (Test F), corrected to standard conditions. When operating at rated load the manual throttle control lever is set the same as in tests F and G allowing the governor to maintain engine speed at part throttle. This rating is less than maximum drawbar horsepower in order that the operator may have a certain amount of reserve. TEST J: The tractor is operated in rated gear with all added weight removed. This test shows the effect of the removal of added weight on the performance of the tractor when compared with test G. Removal of wheel weights generally increases wheel slippage and decreases drawbar horsepower. TEST K: This is intended to show the pull, horsepower, and travel speed of t he tractor at rated horsepower (taken from test H); maximum horsepower (taken from test G); and at least four other conditions obtained by reducing travel speed in 10% increments by overload.