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Cold weather starting

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#1 Bud ONLINE  



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Posted November 24, 2010 - 08:32 PM

Just wondering what tricks or tips other might have for cold weather starting. I had some free time, the sun came out and it warmed up to about 3 degrees so I started the MF 7. It took about a half hour of charging and cranking but got her started and some snow pushed around. I thought about putting a magnetic pan heater on the motor, maybe starting fluid ?


#2 tractormike OFFLINE  


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Posted November 24, 2010 - 09:01 PM

Other than making sure I have seafoam mixed with the gas and that they are tuned up, the tractors that I plan to use in the winter always have the biggest battery I can make fit in them installed. I usually get a small car battery rather than a garden tractor battery. I have had much better luck with the car batteries lasting and they also having a higher cold cranking amp rating than the garden tractor battery. When it's cold it's all about getting the engine to turn over fast enough and having some electicity left over for the ignition to be able to work. My old John Deere 112 was my snowblower tractor for 8 years and it had the same battery in it all that while and almost always started sitting in an unheated garage. Once in a great while I would use the Knipco torpedo heater on it to thaw it out good or if it was 20 below out to help warm it up a bit before starting it.
I have never used starting fluid on the garden tractors so I am not much help on how well that would work for you. As to the magnetic heater is there enough flat surface of the side of the block to put one. If you put it on the bottom of the engine you would be putting it on the bottom of the frame of the tractor and not on the bottom of the oil pan/block. I don't think you would get a lot of heat transfer through the frame of the tractor and then into the engine itself.

#3 MH81 ONLINE  


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Posted November 24, 2010 - 10:16 PM

Way back, when we wanted to try to start a smaller engine in the "Too damn cold" temperature range, we'd take a clamp-on trouble light & get it right up against the block if we could... the 2-10 degrees it raised things after an hour or so made a big difference.

#4 poncho62 OFFLINE  


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Posted November 24, 2010 - 10:19 PM

Been told that running synthetic oil makes it easier to turn over cold.

#5 caseguy OFFLINE  


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Posted November 25, 2010 - 12:37 AM

In the past, I have used one of those 500 watt halogen work lights to heat the block. If you've ever used one, you know that they throw off some serious heat. I wouldn't put one right up against it though, might be too much! I've never used ne of the magnetic block heaters. I guess that would depend on the output wattage and the available real estate to place it in.

#6 mjodrey OFFLINE  



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Posted November 25, 2010 - 05:40 AM

Way back, when we wanted to try to start a smaller engine in the "Too damn cold" temperature range, we'd take a clamp-on trouble light & get it right up against the block if we could... the 2-10 degrees it raised things after an hour or so made a big difference.

I also have done the trouble light thing in the past,and it did seem to help a bit.



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Posted November 25, 2010 - 05:49 AM

I guess maybe it is because we don't experience the extreme cold that some of the other members on the site do but I never really had any trouble starting any of our tractors. As long as the battery is charged really good. It might have to turn over a couple extra revolutions before firing but they almost always fire off.

My diesel tractor trailers were another story.

I think as long as you have fresh gas, good tune and a fully charged battery you would be alright. I think a torpedo heater facing the tractors direction in the shed or garage would help and be the fastest way to warm it enough to start it.

#8 massey driver OFFLINE  

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Posted November 25, 2010 - 08:47 AM

One thing I've done is to put a tarp over the tractor and put a 1500watt heater under and warm it up that way.Just be sure to keep checking on it and don't have the heater too close to anything that'll catch fire???We've done that even with the farm tractor when the block heater wasn't enough,of course now we have the circulating heater as well.One thing about using the tarp is that it helps to warm up the other parts as well that are stiff from the cold.This is done only in extreme conditions and we keep a watchfull eye on it at all times.Larry

#9 powerking56 OFFLINE  


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Posted November 25, 2010 - 08:53 AM

As others have said, fresh gas with your favorite additive and good spark plug goes a long way, another thing to check is the weight of the oil. My antique Briggs call for 20 weight, down from the 30 weight summer oil in cold weather. I've used the clamp lamps and halogens for heat next to the block but my biggest problem is putting the equipment away wet from melting snow in an unheated garage and finding the starter bendix frozen the next time I need it. That is usually when the heat is needed.

#10 Bud ONLINE  



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Posted November 25, 2010 - 09:13 AM

Thanks everyone for the good comments. I've had to heated a lot of different things before but this was the first time for a GT. If it wasn't for this site I probably wouldn't have bothered, but I found I enjoy GT's for fun and don't want old man winter to stop me. Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you and your family's with good eats.



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Posted November 25, 2010 - 09:02 PM

Been told that running synthetic oil makes it easier to turn over cold.


IMO from first hand experience synthetic oil in air cooled engines,
start easier when cold
burn less oil when hot
oil stays cleaner longer
summer or winter

#12 DGS345 OFFLINE  



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Posted November 28, 2010 - 01:34 PM

Just bought some sea foam going to give it a try. never used it before 9.99 for a can bought one for my car and one for the tractor.

#13 Josh Smith OFFLINE  

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Posted December 16, 2010 - 03:07 AM

I have two space heaters I put next to mine and Ive found that if you splash a little gas into the carb theyll ffire about the 2nd or 3rd lick with the choke about 3/4 way on. I hate the cold its to hard on things Lol Me included Lol

#14 Reverend Blair ONLINE  

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Posted December 16, 2010 - 03:09 PM

A splash in the carb is a good idea, especially if it's been sitting a while...the new fuels seem a little more prone to evaporation than the old ones.

Advice from the Canadian prairies:
I use two battery blankets-one for the battery and one for the engine-and make sure that I have the biggest battery that will fit in the tractor. Use synthetic oil. Make sure that everything (spark plugs wires, choke, etc.) is working properly. If you've got a liquid-cooled engine, make sure your anti-freeze is good down to -40. Park it out of the wind so that the heat from your magnetic block heater/battery blanket/light bulb gets to where it should, and you don't end up with frost or snow built up under the hood.

Once it's running, let it warm up well. The charging system needs to recharge your battery and the hydraulic fluid needs to loosen up (especially with hydrostatic drive). When you start working, go slowly at first. Everything is likely be a little stiff and everything gets more brittle in the cold. Be gentle.

#15 olcowhand OFFLINE  


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Posted December 16, 2010 - 04:36 PM

For small gasoline engines, I never use starting fluid, but rather cheap carb cleaner in a spray can. It'll fire them up without ANY danger of harming the engine. Usually just a spray into the air cleaner housing is all it takes.

Edited by olcowhand, December 16, 2010 - 07:23 PM.
added "gasoline"

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