Nebraska Tractor Test Data

by Joe Evans


The Tractor Tests Data Table has been compiled from numerous sources.  My goal was to gather in one place as much information that was practical with regard to IHC tractors tested at Nebraska University.  The information in the Table should provide for a 'one stop-one shop' source for IHC enthusiasts.  Many hours have been spent collecting, reading, entering, and crosschecking the data, but there still remains the possibility that errors may exist.  I strived to be as accurate as possible.  The Test Tables are under continual construction as they say.

Read the table, print it, or copy and paste it.  Do whatever you want with it.  This information is not mine; I've just presented it in a different format.  I have provided an Excel file of the table for ease of printing.  The folks from whom I've borrowed the data need to be fully acknowledged here.  My two main sources were: Nebraska Tractor Tests Since 1920 by C. H. Wendel, and The Ultimate American Farm Tractor Data Book by Lorry Dunning.  Secondary sources were University of Nebraska Tractor Test Lab web site, and the International Harvester Tractor Data Book by Guy Fay.   By far, the majority of the data came from C. H. Wendel's book.  While Mr. Wendel's book is excellent, it is a bit awkward to use when wanting to do a quick look up of a particular tractor in my opinion.  I'm a bit loony and like to wonk around with databases.  I have compiled the majority of C.H. Wendel's information on over 1100 Tests  into a database for instant look-ups, sorting, grouping, and ranking of tractors.  The database is extremely handy.  At this writing, I'm still searching for a more complete source on 'corrected maximum HP' figures.  I will amend the Table when and if I'm successful. 

I have limited the data from the the first Tests up through Tests conducted in 1970.  Mr. Wendel's work extends to 1985, but tractors newer than 1970 aren't really antiques.  Our Club has a cut-off year for what is called antique as anything made prior to 1960.  I'm including information on tractors made in the 1960s--they fascinate me as the 1960s stuff was new iron to me as a kid.  That's what I saw in the dealers' lots and at the fairs.

This overview of the Tractor Tests is rather lengthy.  I have made several observations about the data while doing the research that I want to share with you.  If you don't want to read this, and you want to proceed to the TABLE, you'll need some guidance on the heading notes for some of the columns before you go there.  They are as follows:

1.    Source:  Nebraska Tractor Tests Since 1920   by C.H. Wendel.

2.    Source:  The University of Nebraska Tractor Test Lab Web Site.

3.    Source: International Harvester Tractor Data Book by Guy Fay.

4.    Source: The Ultimate American Farm Tractor Data Book by Lorry Dunning.


Using the Table

In general, the Table is sorted by Make (Farmall, International, etc.) then by Model.  I grouped the Models by family or series keeping the Letters, Supers, 100's, -60s and so on together.  Since IHC is famous for cross-dressing tractor models, some problems with this convention arise.  Example: the Farmall 460 is not grouped with the International 460 Utility.  Well...I had to figure out something!  I can easily arrange things around if I get some feedback on the sorting.

In the Test Number column, note that there are Tests listed with letter suffixes.  I added these suffixes for clarity and computer sorting. There are many instances of Test Numbers entered this way.  This signifies that suffixed Numbers were not actual Tests, but that the Test Scores for the tractor with a non-suffixed or true Test Number were used for subsequent models.  For example, the Farmall A was Test Number 0329, and it underwent testing in 1939.  The follow-on Super A (assigned Test #0329A) was never tested at Nebraska, but IH used the A's scores for the Super A.  Another example is the Super WD-9 (#0518), and its follows-ons, the  600 Diesel (#0518A), and the 650 Diesel (#0518B).  This discovery of using older, established test scores for newer models was made when perusing the Nebraska Test Lab Web Page and helped to make a more complete Data Table.  I also added a '0' in front of the Test Numbers for database/computer usage.

The Model column lists the models and model numbers as they were written by C.H. Wendel.

The Engine column was formatted in this manner to save space.  For example, using the Farmall A again, the engine listing is 'IH 4-113'.  What this means is 'IH' is the manufacturer, '4' is the cylinder count, and '113' is the cubic inch displacement.  Most of the text in C.H. Wendel's book for Tests prior to 1950 did not actually state the CID.  I made calculations from the bore and stroke listing for each respective engine in this case to arrive at the CID figure.  Some CID figures were cross-checked using the other listed sources.  Some CID entries were initially incorrect.  Mike pounded on me to correct these.

The Maximum Pull Lbs. column lists the maximum pull in pounds of force the Test tractor achieved in low gear.  This corresponds to Nebraska's testing parameter 'Test G'.  Beginning in 1959, Nebraska stopped the Test G scores using 'maximum pull pounds' and started listing drawbar HP for the maximum pull test.  I elected not to include the HP figures.  In any event, the information for maximum pull post-1958 was not recorded by Mr. Wendell, nor was the information listed on Nebraska's Web Site PDF files.  1959 saw the most significant change to the Tests when Nebraska stopped MBHP testing at the tractor's belt pulley and began obtaining these figures at the PTO.

Weight figures in the Table are those from C.H. Wendel.  Some care had to be taken when reading the Tests with respect to weights.  Generally, Mr. Wendel listed the shipping weight of the tractor, or "presented for testing", or "bare tractor weight".  These are what was used in the Table.  Wendel  was careful in stating that additional ballast was added for the Drawbar Tests.  Sometimes the information was not clear, so no weight figures were listed.  Take the weights with a grain of salt--these can vary greatly depending on how your tractor is equipped. 

I have the Fuel Economy Scores  in the Table as I find them quite fascinating.  This figure is stated as  'horspower hours per gallon'.  That term is confusing (at least to me) and a better way to state fuel economy is by listing fuel usage in gallons per hour.  Mr. Dunning did just this in his book, so I was inspired to do the same. I did not transpose Dunning's figures into the Table--I let the computer do this for me by dividing Wendel's ECON numbers into the two-hour duration MBHP test figure.  These MBHP figures are not in the table.  I'll expand on these more later, but for now, if you are not familiar with the'horspower hours per gallon' terminology, just think of it as 'miles per gallon'--the higher the number the better.

The RPM listing is the speed rating of the engine stated by the manufacturer.  The two-hour test is run at rated RPM.

Horsepower...gadzooks, man!  Where do I begin?  The MBHP (maximum brake horsepower) column is the maximum figure recorded by Nebraska--these figures are from Dunning's book as are the Max Draw Bar HP figures.   The two-hour MBHP Test parameters were changed over time by Nebraska.  The MBHP figures are the basis for all other obtained or observed HP ratings of a particular tractor.   The two columns, MBHP and DB HP, that have the tag "CFSL", are figures corrected for sea level, or are figures published and/or claimed by IH, or they may be SAE figures.  Confused yet?  I almost didn't include this mish-mash in the Table, but there they are!  I'll break these down on page 2.

Go on to the TABLE now if you wish, or for more information (a lot!), continue on to Page 2.    PAGE 2 COMING SOON (yeah, right!)

Bonus!  Just added on 1/18/2004 is a IHC Horsepower Ranking Table.  The tractors are ranked from the lowest to highest in terms of MBHP.  It's interesting seeing them lined up in this manner. Also newly added is a JD vs IHC HP chart--real cool!