Tractor Test and Power Museum, The Lester F. Larsen


Nebraska Tractor Tests

Date of this Version



EXPLANATION OF TEST REPORT GENERAL CONDITIONS Each tractor is a production model equipped for common usage. Power consuming accessories may be disconnected only when the means for disconnecting can be reached from the operator station. Additional weight can be added as ballast if the manufacturer regularly supplies it for sale. The static tire loads and the inflation pressures must conform to recommendations in the Tire Standards published by the Society of Automotive Engineers. PREPARATION FOR PERFORMANCE RUNS The engine crankcase 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 12 hours on drawbar work in accordance with the manufacturer's 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. Prior to the maximum power run the tire tread-bar height must be at least 65% of new tread height. POWER TAKE-OFF PERFORMANCE Maximum Power and Fuel Consumption. The manufacturer's representative makes carburetor, fuel pump, ignition and governor control settings which remain unchanged throughout all 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 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. 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 of the 85% torque; maximum power, ¼ and ¾ of the 85% torque. Since a 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 use. DRAWBAR PERFORMANCE All engine adjustments are the same as those used in the belt or power take-off tests. Varying Power and Fuel Consumption With Ballast. The varying power runs are made to show the effects of speed-control devices (engine, governor, automatic transmission, etc.) on horsepower, speed and fuel consumption. These runs are made around the entire test course which has two 180 degree turns with a minimum radius of 50 feet. The drawbar pull is set at 4 different runs as follows: (1) as near to the pull at 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; (3) 50% of the pull at maximum power; and (4) maintaining the same load and travel speed as in (3) by shifting to a higher gear and reducing the engine rpm. Maximum Power with Ballast. Maximum power is measured on straight level sections of the test course. Data are shown for not more than 6 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 manufacturer's representative has the option of selecting one gear or speed over eight miles per hour. The maximum safe speed for the Nebraska Test Course has been set at 15 mph. The slip limits have been set at 15% and 7% for pneumatic tires and steel tracks or lugs, respectively. Higher slippage gives widely varying results. Varying Drawbar Pull 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. SOUND MEASUREMENT Sound is recorded during each of the Varying Power and Fuel Consumption runs as the tractor travels on a straight section of the test course. The dB(A) sound level is obtained with the microphone located near the right ear of the operator. Bystander sound readings are taken with the microphone placed 25 feet from the line of travel of the tractor. An increase of 10 dB(A) will approximately double the loudness to the human ear. For additional information about the Nebraska Tractor Tests write to the Department of Agricultural Engineering, University of Nebraska Lincoln, Nebraska 685831.