Tractor controls and parts guide
Tractors are synonymous with farm work and make a lot of otherwise impossible jobs very simple. Driving or using a tractor is not the same as a driving a normal car or truck. The extra tractor parts mean that there are different methods used. For instance a tractor often has two, if not three gearboxes. One is used one on the road and the other (sometimes two) is the low range gearboxes suitable for use in the fields.
Many modern tractors have up to five foot pedals in the cab. The one on the left hand side is the clutch which is used when changing gears and when stopping. Some tractors have a button mounted on the gear stick which operates the clutch.
Two of the pedals on the right operate the brakes. Often, a modern tractor will have independent left and right braking systems to help reduce the turning circle which is handy for working in the field. Each pedal controls a different side.
The furthest pedal on the right will be the accelerator. For most of the time, this works in the same way as it would in a car. However, a lot of tractors have a hand operated throttle that can be set to constant, for use when ploughing etc. and the accelerator will then work in reverse (i.e. pushing it down will decrease the revs). This constant throttle can also be used when the tractor is stationary and supplying power to another machine. If a tractor has a fifth pedal, it is often situated in front of the driver seat and it operates the diff lock which is used when getting over very steep or rough terrain.
The cab is often where the controls for the PTO and any other tractor parts that have been fitted are housed. Modern tractors feature fully integrated computer control systems that have gotten rid of many of the levels and switches that would previously have been found in the cab.
All tractors will have a PTO fitted. This stands for power take-off which is used when attaching other tractor parts that need power such as a grass cutting attachment or a baler. Unless the attachment functions by running over the ground (such as a plough) the PTO avoids the need for an external power source such as a generator.
The PTO itself is a drive shaft situated and the back of the tractor that can be attached to the other equipment and is considered one of the most important tractor parts along with the towing hitch and the two will nearly always be used simultaneously.
Most modern tractors have the ability to supply electrical or hydraulic power to another machine by either pipes & hoses or wires. It’s these extra tractor parts that make them so useful on a working farm.
All tractors are different and all are controlled in a slightly different way. Other tractor parts can also be attached such as hydraulic lifts and diggers.
Picture: Dunlop South