The complaint for this class action alleges that Smitty’s Supply, Inc. and Rural King sell “303” tractor hydraulic fluid (THF) which purportedly meets 303 specifications. What’s wrong with that? The complaint claims that 303 specifications have not been available for over forty years and that that type of fluid is outdated.
The complaint for this class action is all persons and other entities who bought Super S SuperTrac 303 Tractor Hydraulic Fluid, Super S 303 Tractor Hydraulic Fluid, or Cam2 ProMax 303 Tractor Hydraulic Oil in Kentucky, for use and not for resale, at any point between June 28, 2014 and the present.
THF is a multifunctional lubricant that has been sold for over fifty years for use in farm, construction, and logging equipment, as hydraulic fluid, transmission fluid, and gear oil. The original 303 THF was made by John Deere. However, an essential ingredient was sperm whale oil. When laws protecting endangered species outlawed the use of this oil, the complaint says, the specifications became obsolete and it was no longer possible to make real 303 THF.
It’s not just the lack of current specifications that’s a problem. The complaint claims that the companies have deceptively sold the THF “as meeting certain manufacturer specifications and providing certain anti-wear and protective benefits when, in fact, [the companies] knew, or should have known, the fluid they are selling does not meet all listed manufacturer specifications and does not contain the anti-wear and protective properties required” in THF.
It claims that the product is made from “poor quality base oils, waste oil, line flush, used oils and diluted additive packages” in the 303 THF.
The two companies now sell Super S Super Trac 303 Tractor Hydraulic Fluid, Super S 303 Tractor Hydraulic Fluid, and Cam 2 Promax 303 Tractor Hydraulic Oil. However, the complaint claims that “they are all the same product: the fluids come from the same ingredients, the same tanks, the same formulations and blends and the same manufacturing plant.”
Instead of protecting equipment, the complaint alleges that the products “not only lack the required lubricant and protective benefits offered to purchasers, the fluids actually expose purchasers’ equipment to increased wear and risk of damage to the spiral gear, excessive wear in the planetaries, improper and poor shifting, seal leakage, and improper operation of the wet brakes.”
Missouri, Georgia, and North Carolina have all banned 303 THF.
The complaint alleges that between late 2017 and throughout 2018, Smitty’s management discussed the problems with the product internally, including “how its 303 THF Products lacked detergent additives, exposed equipment to increased wear, was thinner than typical THF products, and could lead to buildup and sludging in equipment. However, it has continued to sell the products.