Do Tractors Have Catalytic Converters? (Surprising?)

Whether your work is in agriculture, forestry, construction, or another related industry it’s likely that your most essential vehicle is a tractor.

The machine power of tractors has advanced farming, construction, and forestry practices but has brought with it emissions that aren’t great for human health or for the environment.

While you may be fairly familiar with the powerful capabilities of your tractor, a common question is whether tractors have catalytic converters.

Do Tractors Have Catalytic Converters?

Today’s tractors do have catalytic converters. However, if your tractor is an older model, it may not have. Catalytic converters are exhaust emissions control devices used to decrease the harmful environmental and health impacts of engine emissions.

Most new tractors are fitted with catalytic converters as a requirement of laws governing vehicle emission norms.

What is a Catalytic Converter and What Does it Do?

A catalytic converter, also known as a cat or catcon, is a component of a vehicle’s exhaust system. It’s a common feature on automobile exhaust systems but is also used on engines found in airplanes, mining equipment, forklifts, generator sets, and tractors.

Put simply it’s a metal box with two pipes, one of which extracts fumes from the engine, the other which connects to the exhaust and acts as an output. Its function is to clean up the emissions that are produced by the engine.

Do Tractors Have Catalytic Converters?
Do Tractors Have Catalytic Converters?

Traditionally, tractors were run on diesel which is more efficient than petrol but also more polluting. Today tractors can be diesel or gasoline-propelled. All types of tractor engines produce emissions that can have a negative impact on human and planet health.

The catalytic converter in your tractor results in a reduction of emissions, better for you and the environment. There are different types of catalytic converters but the most commonly used is the 3-way catalytic converter which is the most efficient.

It works by using oxygen in the exhaust system to convert carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide. It also converts hydrocarbons, unburnt or partially burned fuel, to water and carbon dioxide, and controls the emission of nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide.

If you’ve got a diesel engine you can see and smell your catalytic converter at work as there will be a visible reduction in sooty exhausts and an elimination of diesel odor.

Where are catalytic converters located on a tractor?

You will find the catalytic converter on your tractor by searching its underbelly if you are able to observe a bulge somewhere along with the exhaust then it’s likely that’s your cat. In most cases, it is a close-coupled catalyst that is fitted to the exhaust system, as close to the engine as possible.

Molten catalytic converter cut in two
Molten catalytic converter cut in two

This is large because they like a lot of heat, temperatures of around 750 degrees Fahrenheit, to work effectively. The catalytic converter attaches to the exhaust manifold which is the first section of the tractor’s exhaust and is bolted to the engine.

Do old tractors have catalytic converters?

Old Tractor

Tractors generally live long lives. Many of the older models around are running without catalytic converters. While it is possible to retrofit older tractor models with catalytic converters most current regulations do not require this to be done.

As a result, older tractors are a greater source of polluting emissions. Current trends indicate that the adoption rate of after-treatment devices is low across the globe.

While we are purchasing catalytic converters on our new tractors, and in many cases are required to, it would seem the old fleet of tractors is running without.

The Clean Air Act is the main federal legislation governing atmospheric greenhouse emissions and the EPA is the main governing body.

Do John Deere tractors have catalytic converters?

The entire line-up of John Deere tractors, from the sub-compact through to the 4WD 640 horsepower workhorse, both diesel and gasoline-powered models, are produced with highly efficient catalyst systems.

John Deere is a familiar name in quality tractor production in the US and around the globe and has a tractor model to suit every need.

John Deere has been involved in the development of catalytic converters since the 1960s. This has resulted in their large range of catalytic exhaust systems available through Catalytic Exhaust Products Ltd. 

Your local John Deere dealer will be able to advise you on the necessary emissions equipment needed to comply with the laws in your jurisdiction.

Does other farm machinery have catalytic converters?

Most farming machinery that is self-propelled will have catalytic converters. This is because the emissions from farming machinery have to be compliant with the regulations of that jurisdiction.

Some examples include foragers and sprayers. Generator sets and other machinery that requires an engine to run will also likely contain catalytic converters.

Some smaller-scale farming equipment, like lawn care machinery, may be sold without a catalytic converter installed as certain vehicles are exempt from current EPA regulations ruling emissions.

Tractor catalytic converter scrap price

Not only are catalytic converters good for the environment when in use, but they are also recyclable for cash when removed. They can be sold at scrap prices through dealers easily found online or on open markets like eBay.

Prices will vary according to the model, condition, and whether they come from diesel or gasoline-propelled engines. An unfortunate side-effect of the value of the precious metals contained in catalytic converters is that they tend to be targeted for theft.

For this reason, you can obtain an accurate quote for the scrap price of your catalytic converter by submitting its serial number in an online query.

Agricultural production is surging in the US and other developed nations.

As a result, agricultural tractor production is estimated to be the fastest-growing off-highway vehicle market, especially in the US and Europe where their use is most prominent.

As tractor use increases and governments work to strengthen vehicle emissions targets, the demand for catalytic converters for tractors will also increase. Steer your tractor in the right direction by investing in a catalytic converter today.

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