Measurement of Tractor Pulling Sport

Tractor Pulling

This application note was provided by our valued supplier DEWESoft.

Introduction of Tractor Pulling

At which sport do you see the combination of C10H20…C15H28 (or CH3OH)+ 1000…8000 bhp + >100 dB on a short track of 100 metres? You are at a tractor pulling event where standard and modified tractors (running on diesel fuel or methanol) compete with each other in strength and over distance.

The sport originates in the 50’s from the United States, where farmers battled with each other by pulling a weight over a certain distance. In 1977, the sport was introduced in Europe (The Netherlands) and is still growing in popularity all over Europe.

The rules are simple: pull a 28000 kg sled over a 100 m track. However the tricky part is, that the sled will dig itself, due to its weight, more and more into the soil as the distance progresses. This causes a higher and higher friction: thus more resistance to the tractor.


There are several classes in the Tractor Pulling Sport, from Light weight to Heavy Modified. All these Specials are unique and have an individual design.  Based on an engine that could for instance be a tank engine or even a combination of multiple helicopter turbines. In the early years nothing was measured. Over the last 10 years data loggers (5 to 10 pt/sec) were used for measurement, but this is not enough anymore.


Typical ‘standard’ configuration needed:

  • 6 to 10 Pressure sensors (turbo(s), inlet, oil, water, gasoline)
  • 6 to 16 Temperatures (one sensor per cylinder exhaust, oil)
  • 2 to 6 Counters (wheel speeds, engine rpm, turbo rpm)
  • Video (now post sync GoPro video)
  • Math channels

Expected future requests:

  • GPS (at least 5 pt/sec as the run is only 10 seconds!!)
  • Combustion pressure (only for expert users)
  • Vibration measurement
  • Order tracking
  • Alarms (indicator and output)
  • Video camera that can withstand the huge shocks/vibrations


First tests were done with the Dewesoft MINITAURs system and a CAN-bus measuring unit for temperatures.

Experimental setup MINITAURs Mounted under the drive shaft

Test of housing using SIRIUSi slice under the drive shaft

Location of the DEWESoft MINITAURs

Driver view – see the DEWESoft display in the middle

Driver view – DEWESoft driver dashboard

Data presentation

Post analysis of the run


Therefore, by collecting data over a time span of just 1 minute (the race takes only 10 seconds).  The high-speed data provides at lot of useful information to optimise the engine. Next to that, engine failures can already be detected in an early stage, which saves money and down time of the machine. The Dewesoft solution is compact, fast and has an easy to use configurable user interface.  Key information on a simple interface can be provided to the driver. After the run the experts can perform extensive offline analyses and create statistics.

A lot can go wrong at tractor pulling event, therefore analyzing of the data really helps them to prevent accidents like this.

For more information on the equipment used to measure, analyse and provide solutions to optimise the engine, contact us.