Minnesota Farmer

Diagnosis, Not Good

My last posting told of the white smoke that was coming out of our JD 8220’s smoke stack.  I got the diagnosis today and it is not good.  Cracked sleeve with piston head and injector damage.  This is major repair. Unknown

So here’s a little lesson for you non-engine folks.  An internal combustion engine has pistons that go up and down as fuel is injected into the cylinder and is ignited.  A diesel engine is higher compression than a gas engine and has less room between the piston and sleeve walls, thus more potential for damage when water gets into the cylinder.  A diesel engine does not need a spark for ignition.  The fuel/air mix is compressed to the point that it will explode without a spark.  As the engine gets warmer it will do a better job of burning all of the fuel than when cold.

Something in our JD 8220 cracked and allowed the water coolant into the combustion chamber.  Water does not compress.  This caused the damage to the piston head.  This is not a cheap fix.  The engine will have to be taken out of the tractor, taken apart, repaired, and put back into the tractor.  The amount of damage so far is only an estimate.  They may find more damage as they get deeper into the repair.  If luck holds and the repairs are no worse than projected, we’ll have the tractor back later this week.

Right now field work is mostly at a stand still because of major rainstorms in our area of southwestern Minnesota.  We were lucky, we only got about 3 inches for the weekend.  Areas south of us got over 7 inches in the friday night storm, and more saturday, sunday and today.

I was able to get out and cut our little bit of alfalfa hay this afternoon.  It will be at least wednesday before we can get back into the field, and then I’ll start on the higher fields.  The hay we cut today should be ready to bale on thursday.  If the weather stays dry as is forecast, we should be back at work in all of the fields by friday.

There are still things to do, just nothing that can be done in the field.  That means that when it gets dry, we will have to hurry, the corn is growing every day.


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