How it Works: Tractor Cooling Systems

Posted by Robert Piesz on


The cooling system of a tractor has two essential parts that prevent the engine from overheating. Here's how it works.

1. Air cooling system

The air cooling system in a tractor consists of an air blower that circulates air to control the temperature in the engine. It dissipates heat from the surface of the engine, especially from the cylinder. The air blower also comes with special baffles or fins that direct the air to the heated component without touching any hot spot along the way.

The size and spacing of the baffles depend on the model of the tractor and its engine. Apart from the tractor and engine's make and model, the baffles also depend on the temperature of air, material of fins, gap between the cylinder and fins, and speed of air. Most of the renowned tractor manufacturers use multiple short fins as they are more effective for cooling the surface area of the engine.

The air cooling system works on a basic principle: the higher the air pressure, the smaller the space between the fins. This is the ideal condition that every tractor should have. With lower air pressure, the fins won't rotate as quickly to lower the engine's temperature.

Manufacturers prefer using air-cooled engines for two reasons: they are easier to warm up compared to water-cooled engines and are lightweight. Moreover, air-cooled engines are appropriate for farms experiencing extreme weather conditions where water may freeze easily.

2. Water cooling system

Tractors with water cooling systems have water jackets around the engine liners or engine cylinders. The jackets contain water that circulates inside and absorbs heat from the surface of the cylinder. The heated water then cools down by the air passage inside the radiator.

The water cooling system contains some essential components, such as a thermostat valve, radiator, water pump, water jackets, fan, pulley, and belt. Water is the primary coolant in this system, but many manufacturers also add special coolants with better properties like higher boiling point and corrosion-free effect. They help to obtain and maintain higher engine efficiency.

The cooling system forces water to circulate in the jackets at a specific speed and pressure. Most tractors come with centrifugal water pumps that have water outlets and inlets with impellers. These push the water out from the pump outlet using their centrifugal force. The pump inlet connects at the bottom of the radiator so that it can draw coolants from the radiator.

Once the engine cools down, the thermostat valve opens up and the same coolant circulates again inside the water jacket. This gives the water enough time to heat up, thus allowing the thermostat to dissipate heat and preventing it from coming in contact with the air that passes through the radiator. Water cooling systems find their way at the front of the tractors. The radiator sits right in front of the vehicle consisting of the coolant tank, pressure cap, and tubes.

The pressure cap, although a small part in the cooling system, prevents water from evaporation from the jackets. It also helps to maintain the increased air pressure inside the cooling system. Heat dissipates quickly when there is a difference in temperature between the water inside the radiator and the air outside. Air generates in the cooling system with the help of the forward and backward movement of the tractor and the fan installed in the unit.

Tractor engines usually operate efficiently between 800C and 900C. It's crucial that the engine reaches this temperature range as quickly as possible, especially in cool weather conditions to perform at the optimal level. An inbuilt thermostat gives you an idea of the temperature range as the water circulates in the water jackets.

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