What Tractor Used The 301 IH Gas Engine?-All Tractor Models

What Tractor Used The 301 IH Gas Engine?(Short Answer)

The IH 301 gas engine was primarily utilized in the International Harvester (IH) 560 tractor model. This tractor was produced by International Harvester from 1958 to 1963. The 301 cubic inch (4.9 liters) inline six-cylinder engine powered the IH 560 tractor, providing it with reliable performance for various agricultural tasks.

Several tractor models from International Harvester (IH) utilized the 301 IH gas engine. Some important ones are listed below:

1. IH 606: This row-crop tractor, produced from 1963 to 1972, was widely popular and offered the 301 engine as an option.

2. IH 706: Similar to the 606, the 706 was a row-crop tractor available from 1960 to 1972 and could be equipped with the 301 engine.

3. IH 806: This versatile tractor, manufactured from 1963 to 1981, offered the 301 engine as an option in both row-crop and utility configurations. It’s estimated that over 100,000 units of the 806 were produced, making it one of the most common tractors to use the 301 engine.

4. IH 826: This hydrostatic transmission tractor, produced from 1969 to 1981, primarily used the 301 engine.

5. IH 856: This powerful row-crop tractor, manufactured from 1967 to 1981, offered the 301 engine as an option alongside a diesel engine choice.

It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and other IH models might have used the 301 engine depending on the specific year and configuration. Additionally, some manufacturers other than IH might have utilized the engine under license, although information on those instances is less readily available.

301 IH Gas Engine
Source: Agro Specs

Also read: Why Do Tractors Have 3 Cylinder Engines?

Tractors Equipped with the 301 IH Gas Engine:

1. IH 606 (1963-1972):

  • Horsepower: 65 hp
  • Notable Features: Row-crop tractor, 3-cylinder gasoline engine, manual transmission, hydraulic lift.

2. IH 706 (1960-1972):

  • Horsepower: 70 hp
  • Notable Features: Row-crop tractor, 6-cylinder gasoline engine, manual transmission, hydraulic lift.

3. IH 806 (1963-1981):

  • Horsepower: 83 hp
  • Notable Features: Versatile tractor available in row-crop and utility configurations, 6-cylinder gasoline engine, manual transmission, hydraulic lift, optional power steering and loader.

4. IH 826 (1969-1981):

  • Horsepower: 83 hp
  • Notable Features: Hydrostatic transmission tractor, 6-cylinder gasoline engine, ideal for applications requiring frequent direction changes.

5. IH 856 (1967-1981):

  • Horsepower: 88 hp
  • Notable Features: Powerful row-crop tractor, 6-cylinder gasoline engine (optional alongside diesel engine), manual transmission, hydraulic lift, optional power steering and loader.
IH 856 (1967-1981)
Source: TractorData.com

Also read: Is the Perkins diesel a good engine for Tractors?

Popularity of the IH 301 Gas Engine in Specific Tractors

The 301 IH gas engine gained popularity in specific tractor models for several reasons, including:

1. Reliability and Durability: The engine was known for its robust construction and dependable performance, offering farmers over 2,000 hours of operation before major overhaul. This reliability was crucial for agricultural tasks requiring consistent operation.

2. Ease of Maintenance: Compared to contemporary diesel engines, the 301 was relatively simpler to maintain. This meant lower maintenance costs and allowed farmers to perform basic servicing themselves, reducing dependence on specialized mechanics.

3. Affordability: The 301 engine was generally less expensive than diesel options at the time, making it an attractive choice for budget-conscious farmers, especially for smaller farms with moderate power requirements.

4. Smooth Operation: The 301 engine offered smoother operation compared to some diesel engines of the era, providing a more comfortable experience for operators during long working hours.

5. Availability of Fuel: Gasoline was widely available and often cheaper than diesel fuel in many regions, making the 301 engine a more economical choice in terms of fuel costs.

6. Specific Applications: The 301 engine’s characteristics, like its lighter weight and smoother operation, made it suitable for certain tasks like loader work or powering PTO-driven equipment where maneuverability and responsiveness were important.

It’s important to note that the popularity of the 301 engine wasn’t universal, and factors like increasing demand for higher horsepower and stricter emission regulations eventually led to its decline. However, within the specific context of the mentioned tractor models and for the time period, the reasons mentioned above contributed significantly to the 301 IH gas engine’s widespread adoption.

Specific Applications of 301 IH Gas Engine
Source: Tractor Zoom

Comparisons With Other Gas Engines Tractors

Comparing the 301 IH gas engine with other contemporary gas engines used in tractors during its era (1960s-1970s) involves several factors:


  • 301 IH: Offered around 65-88 hp depending on the tractor model and configuration.
  • Competitive Engines:
    • Continental M series: Offered a range of 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder models with horsepower varying from 50 to 90 hp.
    • Hercules Gas Engines: Similar power range to the Continental M series, with models spanning from 50 to 90 hp.
    • Ford and Massey Ferguson also offered gas engines in their tractors during this period, with horsepower typically ranging from 50 to 75 hp.


  • 301 IH: 3.9 liters
  • Competitive Engines:
    • Continental M series: Displacement varied depending on the model, ranging from 3.3 to 5.4 liters.
    • Hercules Gas Engines: Displacement ranged from 3.6 to 5.4 liters.
    • Ford and Massey Ferguson engines generally had smaller displacements compared to the 301 IH, typically falling between 2.3 and 3.9 liters.


  • 301 IH: 6 cylinders
  • Competitive Engines:
    • Continental M series and Hercules engines offered both 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder options.
    • Ford and Massey Ferguson tractors primarily used 4-cylinder gas engines during this era.

Additional Considerations:

  • Fuel Efficiency: While specific data comparing fuel efficiency across different engines is difficult to find for this era, it’s generally accepted that larger displacement engines like the 301 IH might have consumed slightly more fuel compared to smaller engines delivering similar horsepower.
  • Availability of Parts and Service: The 301 IH engine was widely used in IH tractors, making parts and service support readily available in many regions during its production years. However, the availability of parts for some of the competitive engines might be more limited nowadays.

It’s important to remember that these are general comparisons, and specific engine models within each category might have deviated from the mentioned ranges. Additionally, factors like emissions standards and technological advancements can further influence the comparison when considering modern gas engines used in tractors.

Accessibility of Replacement Components:

The availability of replacement parts for the 301 IH gas engine varies depending on the specific part you need and your location. Here’s a breakdown:

  • OEM Parts: Finding genuine IH parts from authorized dealers might be challenging due to the engine’s age. However, some online retailers and salvage yards may still carry limited stock.
  • Aftermarket Parts: A wider selection of aftermarket parts is generally available from various online and brick-and-mortar stores. These parts may offer a more cost-effective option but ensure they meet quality standards before purchase.
  • Universal Parts: Certain components, like filters and spark plugs, might be interchangeable with other engines using similar specifications. Consult your tractor’s manual or a parts specialist for compatibility information.

Maintenance Tips:

Regular maintenance is crucial for extending the lifespan and performance of your 301 IH engine. Here are some key tips with estimated timeframes:

  • Oil Changes: Every 50 hours of operation or 3 months, whichever comes first, is recommended. Use the appropriate oil grade specified in your tractor’s manual.
  • Air Filter Replacement: Replace the air filter every 100 hours or annually, depending on operating conditions.
  • Spark Plug Replacement: Replace spark plugs every 200 hours or annually.
  • Fuel Filter Cleaning: Clean the fuel filter every 500 hours or as needed based on fuel quality and storage duration.
  • Cooling System Maintenance: Flush the coolant and inspect hoses and clamps every 2 years.
  • General Maintenance: Regularly check fluid levels, belts, and hoses for wear and tear. Refer to your tractor’s manual for specific service intervals and procedures.

Common Challenges

Here are some common challenges encountered with the 301 IH gas engine, along with maintenance and troubleshooting tips:

1. Starting Problems:

  • Possible Causes:
    • Faulty spark plugs or ignition system components (coils, points, condenser)
    • Carburetor issues (clogged passages, incorrect adjustments)
    • Weak battery or loose/corroded battery connections
  • Troubleshooting Steps:
    • Check the gap and condition of the spark plugs and replace them if needed.
    • Inspect ignition system components for wear or damage, test and replace if needed.
    • Clean and adjust carburetor according to service manual guidelines.
    • Ensure battery is charged and connections are clean and tight.

2. Engine Performance Concerns:

  • Possible Causes:
    • Dirty air filter restricting airflow
    • Vacuum leaks in intake system
    • Worn spark plugs or incorrect spark plug type
    • Valve adjustments out of specification
    • Carburetor problems (clogged jets, worn components)
  • Troubleshooting Steps:
    • Replace air filter regularly according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
    • Check for cracks or loose hoses in the intake system and repair any leaks.
    • Ensure spark plugs are clean, properly gapped, and of the correct type for the engine.
    • Adjust valve clearances as specified in the service manual.
    • Have a qualified mechanic diagnose and service the carburetor if necessary.

Experts Advice

1. Regular Maintenance:

  • Oil Change: Every 50 operating hours or 3 months, whichever comes first, change the engine oil and oil filter using the recommended grade and viscosity for your operating conditions.
  • Air Filter: Clean or replace the air filter every 25 operating hours or monthly to ensure proper engine airflow and prevent dirt and debris from entering the engine.
  • Spark Plugs: Replace spark plugs every 100 operating hours or annually to maintain optimal engine performance and fuel efficiency.
  • Cooling System: Check the coolant level regularly and flush the system every 2 years to prevent overheating and corrosion.

2. Additional Tips:

  • Use high-quality fuel: This helps prevent engine deposits and prolongs engine life.
  • Avoid overloading the engine: Operating the engine under excessive load can lead to premature wear and tear.
  • Store the tractor properly: When not in use, store the tractor in a clean, dry, and well-ventilated area.
  • Consult the owner’s manual: Refer to the owner’s manual for specific maintenance intervals and procedures for your particular tractor model.

3. Considering the Age of the Engine:

As the 301 IH gas engine is no longer in production, finding certain parts might require searching for used components or aftermarket replacements. It’s crucial to factor in the potential cost and availability of parts when considering repairs or maintenance for older tractors.


The 301 IH gas engine found its home in several workhorse tractors from International Harvester, most notably the versatile IH 806 (produced for over 18 years), alongside models like the IH 606, 706, 826, and 856. These tractors, known for their durability and ease of maintenance, played a significant role in agricultural operations during their era. While the 301 engine is no longer in production, understanding its history and applications in these tractors can be valuable for enthusiasts and those maintaining these classic machines.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which tractor model utilized the IH 301 gas engine?

The IH 301 gas engine was primarily used in the International Harvester (IH) 560 tractor model.

When was the IH 560 tractor produced?

The IH 560 tractor was produced by International Harvester from 1958 to 1963.

What is the cubic inch displacement of the IH 301 gas engine?

The IH 301 gas engine has a displacement of 301 cubic inches (4.9 liters).

How many cylinders does the IH 301 gas engine have?

The IH 301 gas engine is an inline six-cylinder engine.

What tasks and applications was the IH 560 tractor used for?

The IH 560 tractor was utilized for a wide range of agricultural tasks, including plowing, planting, cultivating, and hauling.

Was the IH 560 tractor known for its reliability and performance?

Yes, the IH 560 tractor, equipped with the IH 301 gas engine, was renowned for its reliability, durability, and performance in various farming operations.

Is the IH 560 tractor still available in the market?

The IH 560 tractor is considered a vintage or collectible model and may be available through private sellers, auctions, or tractor restoration enthusiasts.

What is the value of a restored IH 560 tractor equipped with the IH 301 gas engine?

The value of a restored IH 560 tractor can vary depending on factors such as its condition, originality, and market demand. However, well-restored examples can command significant value in the vintage tractor market.

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