Kearsley Agri Services

Finding intermittent faults on tractors is a growing part of Pete Kearsley’s business and his team of six engineers cover everything from tractor rebuilds to parts supply. However, being able to exert a load on the machine via a dyno, without running the machine up and down the field, means getting to the bottom of sporadic issues quicker.

“For intermittent faults to occur, we must be applying the right load on the machine, which isn’t always possible and meant we weren’t able to quickly diagnose problems,” says Mr Kearsley.

“Unlike some dynos we have used in the past, the Dimsport unit has all the software on a laptop, which makes it easy to apply different loads on the engine to find out the issue.”

Another recent addition to Kearsley Agri Services, based in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, is a professional engine remapping facility. The business became an Avon Tuning’s Authorised Agent network in January 2022, which means they now advise customers on safe increases in power and torque within the limits of the tractor’s engine to match specific applications, by editing the ECU software.

Since the business started offering the service, Mr Kearsley has been surprised with the level of interest in tractor remapping. “We have carried out numerous remaps already on tractors from 120hp up to 400hp, with some very pleasing results in performance increases, improved work efficiencies and fuel savings. I only advertise on Facebook and we now get weekly enquiries, which is consistently growing as the word spreads about the service,” says Mr Kearsley.

Tractor health essential

Mr Kearsley sees the demand for remapping growing as long lead times for new machinery continue to hamper supply, and the cost of replacing machines also making farmers think twice about upgrading.

ECU remapping offers a safe solution to increase the tractor’s power within the limits of the engine. It can also tailor the power requirements to match certain applications, for instance if peak power is required at a lower rpm to operate certain equipment more efficiently.

Understanding the health of a tractor is essential before advising customers on any potential increases, and allowing customers to see what the dyno is registering, makes problems easier to diagnose and explain to customers.

Mr Kearsley continues: “If a customer requests a remap saying they need more power, the first thing we do is several runs on our dyno to establish if the health of the tractor is as it should be. I believe if you don’t know the starting point, how can you advise on any increases.

“One of the most detrimental things we could do is install an ECU remap to a tractor that already has mechanical issues. We would also never advise a customer to increase power beyond the engine’s limits as reliability is still a key factor for every farmer.”

Fuel saving

As the price of diesel remains high, customers with remaps installed have reported increased fuel efficiency as a common benefit from the software change. This has been achieved by allowing the tractor to run at a lower working rpm, due to the same amount of power it previously needed now available lower down the rev range.

“A professional remap allows the tractor to be on top of a job it was previously struggling with, whilst keeping within the limits of the engine and running gear. This means the working rpm can be lower and for road haulage, the operator doesn’t need to drop down as many gears to maintain forward speed.”

Avon’s Genius remapping tool allows Mr Kearsley and his team to tweak the increases in line with what the customer needs and the type of work being carried out. The software edits are carried out by engineers at Avon Tuning’s premises in Bristol, and new maps are back on farm within the hour, with the whole process taking around two hours to complete. Mr Kearsley says the support from Avon is invaluable and always means there is someone to help if there is an issue.