Better to shut off and restart, or let idle?

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Better to shut off and restart, or let idle?

Postby DavidG » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:05 am

Here's a question I haven't seen an answer to, it's a simple question with maybe as many answers as people on the board.

If a Cub's going to sit for a short bit, like while making an adjustment to an implement, running back to the shop for a tool, pausing work for a minute to talk to someone, etc, is it better to shut off the engine during that period or to let it run at idle? Should I be shutting off the engine every time the tractor's not actually in motion (minimizing engine run time) or starting it up for a task and not shutting it down until I'm done (minimizing engine starts). Or does it matter?
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Re: Better to shut off and restart, or let idle?

Postby Yogie » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:13 am

I don't think it really matters much for a short time. I don't let mine run for long periods of time in neutral because when the tractors not rolling there's no oil being brought to the top of the trans to lube the main shaft bearings. Bottom row has to be turning to bring oil up, there's some there but not much...
Cubs don't have a slinger like most all others, some people who use cut off saws and such have been known to jack up one wheel and let it turn while using the tractor stationary.
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Re: Better to shut off and restart, or let idle?

Postby Bob McCarty » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:38 am

If you are using something like a mower that involves a "danger" factor, I think it would be better to turn the tractor off just to minimize any risk that you would be exposing yourself to.

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Re: Better to shut off and restart, or let idle?

Postby Eugene » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:29 am

After initial engine start up for the day, I usually shut the engine off rather then let idle for even a short length of time. Reason, reducing the operating cost.

Some rough math. $4.00 a gallon for gasoline. 3/4 gallon per hour fuel consumption - working hard. Low idle, guessing 1/5 - 1/4 gallon per hour. Cost per minute ='s.

I have never figured out the actual cost of operating my Cub as a work tractor. Again just guessing, gasoline about $3- per hour when mowing, plus additional expenses. Actual cost is probably in the $4- to $5- per hour range.
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Re: Better to shut off and restart, or let idle?

Postby Rudi » Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:39 pm

For me I really don't think it matters a whole heck of a lot. I sometimes let Ellie run and sometimes I shut her off. All depends on the situation. Now ifn I am splittin wood, well she can run for hours :D :!:
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Re: Better to shut off and restart, or let idle?

Postby Boss Hog » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:31 pm

If it is going to run for over a minute or 2 cut it off, It is 12 volt it will start back up.6 volt folks may let it run :D but I dont like to.
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Re: Better to shut off and restart, or let idle?

Postby beaconlight » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:38 pm

How long is a short period in minutes or hours????
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Re: Better to shut off and restart, or let idle?

Postby TJG » Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:36 pm

I don't assume that it will restart after I shut it off. I've been burned before. So, if I'm close to the shed where it is easy to jump start or push I'll shut it off. If I'm a long ways away from the shed I leave it running.

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Re: Better to shut off and restart, or let idle?

Postby Joe Malinowski » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:03 pm

I would say what ever you think, don't think it amounts to much one way or the other.
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Re: Better to shut off and restart, or let idle?

Postby Gary Dotson » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:55 am

If it's a brief stop, I let it idle, maybe up to 5 min. but who keeps track? If I'm taking a refreshment break, I shut down.
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Re: Better to shut off and restart, or let idle?

Postby beaconlight » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:19 am

I forgot this at first but I have shut down twice for lunch and would not restart because the rivets that hold the end on the rotor rotted out and the tip fell off. It was lunch time on Saturday first time it happened. I was using my neighbors C at the time Fortunately we ate early and I was able to get to the dealer before 1:00 when they shut for the day. I bought a rotor, coil, points, cap and condenser for all I had time to check was no spark. Of course when it happened with my Low Boy years later it was easy for I had the parts on the shelf and I was next to the shop.
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Re: Better to shut off and restart, or let idle?

Postby Matt Kirsch » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:29 am

How much do you really run the tractor? Probably a couple hours a week if you're lucky right?

I wouldn't worry about leaving it running in that case, except if it poses a safety issue.
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Re: Better to shut off and restart, or let idle?

Postby MilGunsmith » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:11 pm

With a hand crank start, leave running. If its one of those green "tow start" tractors you have to leave them running.
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Re: Better to shut off and restart, or let idle?

Postby outdoors4evr » Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:27 am

I don't think there is a wear question either way. Oil has already been provided to the bearings and starters don't "wear out" that fast. Fuel costs are minimal at an idle. Some people think it costs more to get an engine started than to let it idle.

I really think the question is best viewed from a safety perspective.
Is there a chance the tractor can roll or get bumped into gear while dismounting?
Will I be adjusting anything near the PTO or PTO driven equipment?
Are there children around who could "hop on"?
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Re: Better to shut off and restart, or let idle?

Postby Boss Hog » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:25 am

I was taught by my dad and granddad to cut it off when I got off the seat.
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