N Board Forum - Expanded Thread Page

Subject: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type

[Back] [Return to Top of Forum]

Kimberly    Posted 03-10-2019 at 23:49:42 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • Hello:

    I am assuming that it is best that I put in fresh hydraulic oil since the oil has been in the tractor for some time even if the tractor does not see a lot of use; mostly hauling wood and a bit of garden work in the spring. There are not a lot of tractor places left here. I have a Tractor Supply Company and a Rural King farm. Can anyone provide me with the fluids from these two stores that is compatible to use in my tractor, 8N? I can link to the Rural King fluids;

    Larry Holbrook    Posted 03-12-2019 at 05:57:41 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • The originally-specified 80 or 90 weight gear oil is probably a better transmission and final-drive lubricant – the downside is that it is not so good as a hydraulic fluid, especially in cold weather. For those reasons, a combination transmission/hydraulic fluid which does conform to the Ford M2C134D spec is probably a better compromise between hydraulic system performance and gear lubrication. I live in a cold climate so I use theExteme in the link I'm posting. I worked great for years in my 8N. I've since sold it and purchased a Ford 3000. That's what I'm using in it also. If I lived where it was warm I would just use the 80-90 gear oil.

    TheOldHokie    Posted 03-12-2019 at 07:52:18 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • The originally-specified 80 or 90 weight gear oil is probably a better transmission and final-drive lubricant

    Another popular oil myth. Perhaps true of the economy fluids like the Xtreme product but definitely not true of a premium heavy duty UTTO. Take a look at these data sheets from Castrol, Shell, Mobil, and Valvoline.

    Mobil Fluid 424
    Shell Spirax S4 TXM
    Castrol AgriTrans Plus 80W
    Valvoline Premium Universal Tractor Fluid

    All of them claim Ford M2C-134D, John Deere J20C, and API GL-4 level gear oil performance. The Xtreme product does not. Also notice the difference in the physical properties of the premium oils vis-a-vis the Xtreme product. The Xtreme product is not a premium heavy duty UTTO and does not claim to be.

    You can get the level of final drive gear oil performance you want/need using a UTTO - all you have to do is open your wallet a little wider. The name brands are all $20+ per gallon but you can do a lot better for a lot less money by stepping up a few dollars with an inexpensive heavy duty generic.


    Larry Holbrook    Posted 03-12-2019 at 10:29:38 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • I'm not saying it is the best. I'm just saying it will work and did work well in my 8N for many years. Working fine in the 3000 also. I had it out this winter at -19 and the lift went up and down normal speed. I noted that the Xtreme is rated Ford ESN-M2C, 134B, C but not D. I just read it on there product sheet.

    TheOldHokie    Posted 03-12-2019 at 11:46:50 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • I was actually commenting on your idea that UTTO as a class is an inferior gear lubricant than conventional gear oils when in fact a good quality UTTO is actually an API GL-4 gear oil. You don't have to accept less than conventional gear oil performance to get the cold weather benefits of a UTTO.

    As cold weather performance goes and your experience not withstanding the Xtreme product literature makes it explicitly clear that the oil you are using is not intended for that sort of service. This is directly taken from the datasheet that you linked:

    Xtreme™Tractor Hydraulic Fluid is a straight SAE 20 weight product and is designed for use in warmer climates, where low temperature operation is not an issue.

    Use Xtreme® Heavy-Duty Universal Tractor Hydraulic Fluid for all-season or cold weather use.

    Here is the datasheet for the heavy duty formulation of Xtreme THF.

    Xtreme Premium Heavy Duty THF

    As you can see it is available in two viscosity grades both of which are all season formulations. The viscosity properties of the heavier oil matches up nicely with the now discontinued CNH Ambra Multi-G 134 (M2C-134D) and is reasonably close to the properties of John Deere HyGard (J20C). The lighter oil is billed as a substitute for John Deere low-temp HyGard (J20D) but falls well short of matching the properties of the real thing.

    At the risk of beating a dead horse - if you truly want API GL-4 gear wear performance AND an all season lubricant you will be well served by opting for a generic heavy duty UTTO over the economy fluids. It is well worth the modest price difference.


    Larry Holbrook    Posted 03-12-2019 at 15:35:24 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • You're right. I just got home from work and looked at the container. I used the Extreme Premium Heavy Duty. It is better suited for cold weather. You are more of an expert than I am. I'm just an old farm boy who doesn't farm anymore HA. I just looked on line at the Rural King website to see what they had and this stuff had the proper Ford Rating on it so I'd figured it would be ok. Like I said it worked great in the 8N and seems to be working ok in the 3000. Yes people could beat this thing to death for sure. I also think one thing to keep in mind most of us don't use these tractors hard like the original farmers did. When I changed my oil this fall I looked and I believe I had 14 hours on my tractor. Not much. Mowed and cleaned snow off the driveway. I just got my Operators manual out and it say to use a fluid that is rated for Ford M-2C51-A in the Manual Shift Transmission , Hydraulic System (rear axel) Oil, Steering Gear Housing (manual and power) Oil and same in the Belt Pulley. Then it goes into the Winter Blend and tells you to mix it with M-2C41-A oil for temps between +20 and -20. Well knowing we don't have to do that anymore I just bought the one that is Ford New Holland rated1209 (Hy-Tran ESN-M2C, 134A, B, C, D; M2C86B, M2C41B, M2C48B, M2C53A,B,C,D, FNHA-2-C-200, FNHA-2-C-201 as in the Xtreme Premium Heavy Duty. Figured I'd be ok.

    TheOldHokie    Posted 03-12-2019 at 16:25:19 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • I am no oil expert - just like to understand how things work. And having spent 30 odd years in the technical specifications world I naturally gravitate to technical documentation when I go searching for information.

    One other tidbit I noticed is the PDS for the Xtreme Heavy Duty UTTO states a sulfur content of .37% and ASTM D100 copper corrosion test result of 1B. The PDS for the economy fluid claims a D100 test result of 1A and does not list a sulfur content. While not conclusive that strongly suggests the heavy duty UTTO has a higher EP treat rate and one could expect a corresponding improvement in final drive gear wear protection. It also suggests they are using cheaper un-buffered (reactive) sulfur as the EP additive in order to get that performance. That would help to keep product costs down compared to mpre expensive formulations using buffered sulfur or sulfur alternative.

    It's also interesting that none of the generic UTTO's claim an API GL performance level while the big boys all claim GL-4. The GL-4 service category is obsolete and the test rigs used to test for GL-4 conformance (old DANA axles) are no longer available. My understanding is the current industry "rule of thumb" is that you can claim GL-4 performance if your EP treat rate is some magical percentage of the treat rate used to obtain GL-5 performance. Perhaps the generic guys can't afford the API GL-5 testing needed to establish that baseline.


    TheOldHokie    Posted 03-11-2019 at 07:59:57 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • Your tractor has a common sump that supplies oil to the transmission, final drive, and hydraulic system. So the oil needs to be suitable for use in all three applications.

    The original owners manual recommended a mild EP gear oil, grade SAE 90 (Ford M-4864B) for summer use and grade SAE 80 (Ford M-4864A) for winter use. Here is a link to a Ford chart with oil recommendations for all of the tractors up thriugh the Hundred series.

    Ford Tractor Oils

    A decade or so later oil formulation had progressed considerably and Ford introduced a new all season tractor oil (M2C-134D) that replaced the older oils and was recommended for year round use in just about all of their common sump tractors. So how does that match up with the current day products you listed?

    1. A number of the products on the list are pure hydraulic oils. They lack the level of EP additves needed for wear protection of the transmission and final drive gears in your tractor. They are identified by the labeling as Anti-wear (AW) hydraulic fluids and/or a grade designation of AW xx or ISO xx. They are intended for use in dedicated hydraulic systems and should not be used in a common sump tractor application.

    2. The products labeled as Tractor Transmission/Hydraulic Fluids (UTF) are multi-function fluids designed specifically for common sump applications like the N-series tractors and are a generic equivalent of the Ford M2C-134D oil. They have a robust EP additive package for final drive and transmission wear protection and a high viscosity index making them suitable for all season use in a hydraulic system. As such they closely match the performance characteristics of the seasonal oils originally recommended by Ford and eliminate the need for changing oil with the seasons. I would suggest you stick with them and as previously mentioned avoid the ones labeled as J20A or 303 oil. They are inferior oils matching a long obsolete John Deere specification and are not suitable for year round use in cold climates. And unless you live in an extremely cold climate I would avoid products labeled as J20D compliant. This is a modern low viscosity version of the J20C product and intended for use in more modern equipment that are very sensitive to cold weather increases in viscosity (e.g. hydrostatic/CVT/power shift transmissions, power steering, wet clutches/brakes, etc).

    3. Not listed is a modern SAE 80W90 gear oil. This is a multi-grade version of EP gear oil that will perform a bit better as an all season oil than the originally recommended gear oils but not as well as the UTF products

    4. Also not listed is the all mineral SAE 90 GL1 gear oil. This is a conventional gear oil that contains no EP additives and has an extremely low viscosity index making it inferior to just about all of the others in terms of wear protection and cold weather performance. I put it in the same category as the 303 oils.
    There are a lot of products to choose from but the simplest and most economical choice for year round use is any Premium UTF that Rural King or TSC has in stock/on sale.


    Kimberly    Posted 03-11-2019 at 10:32:34 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • So when looking at a UTF fluid, what viscosity do I want to get? That confused me on the UTF fluids.

    TheOldHokie    Posted 03-11-2019 at 11:15:44 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • I think you are confusing the UTF and Hydraulic oils. The hydraulic oils are sold in a variety of voscosity grades that are designated as AW or ISO followed by a grade number - e.g. AW 32/ISO 32, AW 46/ISO 46, etc. The AW designated oils have the same viscosity as the corresponding grade ISO labeled oils but contain a more robust anti-wear additive package. You do not want either of those for your N-series tractor.

    UTF on the other hand is not typically labeled with a viscosity grade. You would have to get the product data sheets for each brand to find the actual viscosity but for practical purposes they are all the same. In your list the Premium UTF products are CAM2 PROMAX J20C, Harvest King Trans Hydraulic Fluid, Harvest King CASE IH fluid, and Shell Spirax S4.

    The other trans/hydraulic fluids are lower quality (e.g economy) fluids with a less robust anti-wear package and lower viscosity index (e.g. poor cold weather hydraulic performance).

    If you go into TSC you will find a similar offering with Traveler Premium Heavy Duty trans/hydraulic fluid being the house brand.


    Kimberly    Posted 03-11-2019 at 12:35:54 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • Just to be sure with the Rural King, the following are suitable (I did not include the shell because it was a 55 gal drum):

    Kimberly    Posted 03-11-2019 at 12:13:17 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • OK, at TSC is this product:
    Specification Description
    Pour Point: -44 deg. F
    Shop By: Bulk Discount
    Flash Point: 435 deg. F
    Product Type: Hydraulic & Transmission Fluid
    Brand: Traveller
    ISO Viscosity Grade: 46
    Manufacturer Part Number 590901

    I was looking at the ISO Viscosity Grade but that may not mean what I thought it meant; and I was comparing that to 90W gear oil.

    TheOldHokie    Posted 03-11-2019 at 13:59:22 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • Both of those are fine and I admire people that want to learn new things. Your confusion is natural because unless you have been studying hard for your tribology exam the SAE viscosity grades are not intuitive. People tend to think they are viscosity measurements and they are not - they are simply grade names that happen to be numbers. They could just as easily be labeled light, light-medium, medium, medium-heavy, and heavy. For many people that would be a lot less confusing. Plus the grade numbers are different for engine and gear oils. For example the specified viscosity of SAE 40 engine oil is 12.5 - 16.2 cSt @ 100C which almost completely overlaps the viscosity range of SAE 90 gear oil which is 13.5 - 18.4 cSt @ 100C!!!! On the other hand the ISO viscosity grades are actual viscosity measurements. An ISO 32 hydraulic oil has a measured viscosity of 32 cSt @ 40C with an allowance of +/- 10% (29.8 - 35.2) Notice that viscosity is measured at a different temperature than the gear and engine oils so there is no direct comparison between the ISO and SAE systems.

    If you are like me and don't have a life and spend hours reading datasheets and technical specifications you will discover that the Premium UTF's generally have a measured viscosity of ~9.5 cSt @100C and ~55 cSt @ 40C. That puts them somewhere between an ISO 46/68 hydraulic oil, on the low end of an SAE 30 engine oil, and smack in the middle of an SAE 80 gear oil. That is one of the reasons they are excellent oils for use in common sump tractors.

    Now I bet you are even more confused ;-)


    Kimberly    Posted 03-11-2019 at 14:16:40 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • Thank you for the education; much appreciated. Now, are any of the ones presented offer something more than the rest other than just the price differences? Would you recommend one over the other? TSC is the closest but Rural King isn't that much out of the way either.

    TheOldHokie    Posted 03-11-2019 at 15:11:59 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • Any of the premium UTF's will work equally well in an N-series so let your wallet be your guide. I have a TSC nearby and try to buy a couple pails of Traveler UTF when it is on sale which is often. I use it in my older common sump gear drive Kubota and the 8N. If I had a Rural King nearby I would comparison shop their house brand and the Traveler. You can also find house brands of premium UTF at places like Walmart/Sam's club and auto supply houses like Advance or Autozone. They are seldom on sale however.

    I have a couple newer Kubotas with HST transmissions and I use Kubota Super UDT2 in them. Same sort of oil but with a slightly lower viscosity and considerably higher viscosity index. The difference in price is significant - $5-6/gallon for the Traveller UTF and $20+/gallon for Kubota Super UDT2. The Kubota branded oil MAY perform a bit better in the hydrostatics and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling because Kubota engineering likes it. It would be a massive waste of money in the old 8N and the gear drive Kubota neither of which would benefit from the performance difference. Plus the Kubota leaks like a sieve. Whatever you use the key to getting the most out of it is keep it clean and free of water.


    Kimberly    Posted 03-11-2019 at 11:57:50 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • Thank you. Yes, I was confused and I appreciate the time to help me learn.

    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 03-11-2019 at 05:49:08 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • This info is in my article on 8N hydraulic repair on a budget but here goes anyway.Either one of these products will work fine. TSC Traveller brand is probably the cheapest, and many of us have been using it for years. By your recent posts can we assume you have the top cover off now? Was the control arm bent when you inspected the system? Was it connected correctly as well? Seems you had issues with the draft control before. Arm may have gotten bent when someone was assembling the cover before -it can't get bent in normal use. Oil needs to be flushed and changed if color is murky brown or whitish. Either or means the system is contaminated with water. They don't mix and water will freeze and possibly cause major hiccups to the system. You don't need a 'tractor place' to buy oil. Plain SAE-90 API GL-1 gear oil works fine and also UTF as well -most auto parts stores carry it. Avoid that 303 stuff.


    Tim Daley(MI)

    Kimberly    Posted 03-11-2019 at 09:42:53 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • There is a NAPA place here; it shut briefly but someone reopened it in a new location.

    Gaspump    Posted 03-11-2019 at 10:26:56 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • Read the post by TOH just above. There are better choices out there SMO is not one of them.

    Farmer Dan    Posted 03-11-2019 at 05:41:22 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • Farmer Dan    Posted 03-11-2019 at 05:45:10 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Hydraulic Fluid Sources and Type
  • [Back] [Return to Top of Forum]