Evaluating Thermostat Function

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    Since we recently discussed radiator caps and coolant changes, it is only natural that thermostats come to mind as well. The purpose of a thermostat is to open and close thereby regulating the flow of coolant within your tractor's engine. The heat created by your engine is dissipated by coolant. The thermostat stays closed during this process until the level of heat reaches a certain point, at which time the thermostat will open up and allow coolant to pass through it. Once the cool coolant passes into the engine from the radiator and cools the thermostat down, it will again close. The process then begins again as heated coolant is cooled and moved throughout the radiator and engine to prevent overheating.

    The lifespan of a thermostat on a tractor is usually somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 hours. When a thermostat fails, this is a problem that results in overheating and can lead to a blown gasket or something even worse. To avoid problems such as this, thermostat maintenance is very important to the health of your tractor. The typical failure point of a thermostat is when it comes to rest in a closed position and stays there, and this is what will cause heat damage. However, if your thermostat fails in the open position, the engine will take a very long time to be able to warm up and your fuel efficiency will take a nosedive. Regardless of the failure point you happen to encounter, both are problems that need to be addressed thus regular thermostat maintenance and replacement should become part of your routine.


    Thermostat maintenance requires that your engine coolant be emptied. Because of this, it is wise to check your thermostat when you are already planning to conduct a coolant change. If you are not at a point in your maintenance routine where a coolant change is necessary, however, you can drain and trap coolant while you attend to your thermostat issues, then replace that coolant once the thermostat work is done. Just be sure to keep coolant in a safe place that is inaccessible to animals during the process as it is toxic and can harm or kill those that consume it.

    It is possible to test your thermostat at home for proper function, although having a professional do so works as well. If you wish to conduct your own tests, look in your owner's manual for the temperature at which your thermostat should open. Once you know this number, take your thermostat inside and place it in a pot of water on the stove. Heat this pot of water to the temperature at which the thermostat should open. If it opens at that temperature and closes once cooled, this is an indication of a properly functioning thermostat. If it does not open or close as it should, take this as a sign that it is time for a replacement.

    If your thermostat test indicated a need for a new one, consult your owner's manual for the proper method of replacing it. Should your thermostat be in good working order, all that is necessary is to put in back in place. Be sure to return all of the proper drain plugs to the locations in which they belong then refill the coolant. With a properly working thermostat and coolant that is in good condition, your tractor will be ready for a return to work in the hot weather that is right around the corner.


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