brief update :: Ford TC33 tractor

1.21.2012 – Saturday

While my attempts to understand the electrochemistry of cold batteries are stalled until spring, when warmer temperatures will give me a true comparator, there is another mystery at the cabin: The Ford-New Holland TC33 compact tractor.

The sturdily built 33hp 3-cylinder diesel tractor suffers from one small defect… it doesn’t start. Well, sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t. Less than ideal when it is relied upon for snow removal. While we love spending time at the cabin, we’d prefer not to get snowed in until the spring. The tractor has proved to be a valuable asset to our activities at the cabin, but lately the privilege of ownership has been less than pleasant. Recently some $1000 dollars was sunk into replacing a gear that engaged the PTO – it was never “properly adjusted from the manufacturer” and over time it was ground down into an impressive bit of malformed metal. Right now it resides on the workbench in the garage – I’ll have to snap a picture sometime. Oh, and this happened just a tad after the warranty was up. Nothing like paying extra money to fix something that was more or less broken on the day of purchase.

So that brings me to the issue at hand. The starter will not “go” when called upon to turn over the engine. The starter was replaced… twice, without fixing the problem. Fuses were inspected and one was cleaned up and replaced. Now a few relays are under investigation. It could just be one of the safety switches acting up – in order for the tractor to start you must, A) sit in the seat or have the brake engaged, B) have the PTO off, C) have the tractor in neutral. We’ll see… maybe.

When functional it’s a great tractor. For now it seems to be working alright. It’s all back together and fully functional – though it sounds like the Ol’ man managed to strip a bolt somewhere under the hood, in such a manner that it can’t be easily fixed, while in the process of attempting to check the relies/fuses.  I guess the bolt threads through some plastic and holds the lid on a fusebox or some-such.

Overall, things are well at the off grid cabin. My wife and I recently spent some time at the cabin and visited Marquette for a day. The Ol’ man and mother have been spending some time at the place, and it sounds like this winter might be the winter someone finally has a successful coyote hunt.


4 thoughts on “brief update :: Ford TC33 tractor

  1. Bheki

    Sam! Hi! Just checking in with you. Your cabin battery situation sounds interesting. Wish I had an answer for you. The Green Dragon’s (tractor) first Winter up here were hard starting. Lots of 911 fuel additive. Had all fluids changed over to the lighter weights. Much happier starting. Still needs the additive. Also, keeping the tank topped off to avoid condensation in tank or engine will lag. We’ve discovered some fuel handling hints for the diesel over time. Did you know that the diesel fuel can get a fungus? Anyway, this Winter a valve stem cracked on one of the GIANT back tires. Went flat. The whole beast looked like the leaning tower of Pisa, ready to fall over on my Jeep. Still recovering from that bill. Just glad there was a place that would handle the tire. I’m sure our tractor would prefer a heated shop and to have engine block plugged in. Just not set up right now for that. I’m reviving my blog. Regards to Sara, The Ol’ Man, and Mother. : )

    1. offgridcabin Post author

      Bheki, thanks for checking in. The Ol’ man has his share of experience with cold and tractors from one of our previous neighbors who more or less got us into tractor ownership… I still remember the old Massey Ferguson that took 1 minute just to get the bucket 2 feet of the ground. He’s been educating me about what to use when it gets cold and I’m reasonably sure he even mentioned something about fungus – but I wasn’t listening too closely for some reason or another. The tractor gets spoiled and is parked in the garage for winter, which never gets below 30°F thanks to the Ol’ man’s obsession with insulation. I look forward to the revamped blog. And we actually got rid of the TC33 this week and more or less upgraded a tad. More on that to come 😉 Regards to Mike, the feLIONs, Diesel, and the rest of the animals.

  2. Nick

    HI – would like to blog about your blog on my

    Could I please use your pic mg_5166 – sleeping in the cabin?



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