Tractor terms


If you are in the market for a tractor, and no matter if you're considering new or used, you'll be finding a particular tractor industry jargon that is important in that market. Despite some similarities, the terminology is not like when you are discussing automobiles.The rest of this article defines some of the terms and explains a bit about what they mean for a buyer.

Drawbar: The hitch where some types of mowers, certain plows, and other farm implements attach to the tractor.

Hand clutch: Not a few older and antique tractors had hand clutches, whereby the wheels and PTO engaged with and disengaged from the power of the engine.various tractors came with just a hand clutch while others also had a foot pedal clutch.

Horsepower: The power of the tractor is measured in horsepower. Through the years, different varieties of horsepower came to be commonly used. For instance, early on tractors used to be evaluated on the basis "belt" horsepower, in reference to the power production of the tractor at its pulley.

"Drawbar" horsepower refers specifically to its power on the ground, in other words the amount of pulling power the tractor has.

"PTO" horsepower refers to the power production measured at the Power Takeoff (PTO).

"Engine" horsepower is the amount of power evaluated right at the engine.

Power takeoff: Commonly situated at the tractor's rear, it is a shortish splined shaft. The PTO, or power takeoff, supplies mechanical power to a piece of equipment that the tractor is pulling. In the case of residential tractors, the mower is run via the power takeoff. Farm tractors make use of the PTO to operate manure spreaders, power sprayers, tillers and other implements. The part of the powered equipment that attaches to the PTO is name its "universal".

Three-point hitch: This is a system of attaching the pulled implement to the tractor at 3 points. The tractor will have two hydraulic cylinders attaching to 2 lower links for elevating the equipment. Stabilization is maintained by the higher positioned third link. This type of three point hitching system is the one most commonly used.

Hydraulic cylinder: A cylinder, connected to the farm tractor by a heavy hose, used to power the raising and lowering of equipment.

Live: Usually termed as "live PTO" and "live hydraulic system". These device systems function independently of the transmission of the tractor. Therefore, the operator can come to the end of a field with a live hydraulic system, step on the clutch and raise the plow out of the ground. If the system is not live and the farmer wants to elevate the plow while at a halt, it is necessary to stop at the finish of the row, shift to neutral and then release the clutch. Sometimes also referred to as "independent" PTO or hydraulics.

Pulley: A side-mounted pulley, or in rare cases a rear-mounted pulley are standard in some older tractors. The pulley was used to provide power to stand alone devices like a hammermill or silage blower. On some tractors, these pulleys operate continuously. On others, they can be engaged and disengaged. The pulley can be a danger to people who are close by, because it spins out in the open.

ROPS: Roll-over protection system. A "cage", which in the case of a tractor roll-over, protects the tractor operator. A seat belt must be used in conjunction with the ROPS for full protection.

Seat: A tractor has only one seat. It is not designed to carry more than one person.

Crank: A lot of vintage tractors come with a crank so that, when the battery is too weak, then by hand cranking the engine can still be started. Some of the early tractors have no electrical systems anyway, and cranking by hand is how they start up. Some old time farmers relate that there is actually quite a bit to learn about crank starting an engine.


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