Years ago, when I worked for another publisher, I had a conversation with a long-time automobile media guy who got into a conversation about how a car from 1988 was radically different from a car from 1972. Remember that's pre-electronic ignition and pre-super Clean Air Act on car emissions. By 1988, a lot of changes had been made, but that was 22 years ago...look at where cars are today.
Now look at your tractor. If you've bought a new high-horsepower machine in the past three years you've picked up a Tier III machine. Chances are good that the innards of this machine look very different from the first diesel engines you started using on the farm. Engineers are working on ways to boost efficiency, even as regulators turn up the heat to keep emissions down.
Recently the Diesel Technology Forum released a paper detailing the Tier 4 engine changes that have been made for new equipment that go on sale in a little over a month. Unless you've been exploring the Polar wastelands without access to magazines or the Web, you already know that equipment the engines you'll be able to buy after Jan. 1 will have some other differences.
I'm not going to get into the different approaches the manufacturers are using to meet emission standards in this column. Instead, I'll let your favorite tractor salesman talk about the tech they have to offer and explain their approach.
But if you're looking for an explanation of the key changes, give the DTF document a read. It answers a lot of questions and can help you sort out what's happening under the hood of these bigger new machines.
We've explored the different approaches in the past, and we'll go more in-depth on them in the future. For now, download the FAQs on Tier 4 engines HERE.