In the Shop
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
Dec 07, 2008
You all have long lists of things that need to get done before spring rolls around, so I'm probably telling you something you already know. But if there's a day this winter when you're tired of looking at the DTN screen and need an excuse to hole up in the shop, here are some good maintenance and repair projects, whether your shop has in-floor heat or you work in the blast from a kerosene space heater:
-Rebuild spray pumps. Herbicide spray pumps should be stored "wet," filled with antifreeze solution. If you remove pumps from the sprayer for the winter, don't fill or coat their inside with petroleum products--some rubber seals swell and degrade when exposed to petroleum products. If a pump had low pressure or was leaky by the end of last season. take time this winter to rebuilt it. Most seal kits come with good instructions. Be sure to check the impeller "nose" for wear where it sits inside the impeller housing. Check the inside of the impeller housing for chemical buildup. If the impeller shaft shows pitting or rust, replace it.
-Check and clean planter units, especially finger-type units. It's not a bad project to go out into the machine shed, pull off the individual planter units, and bring them into the shop for careful inspection and maintenance. Check finger units for wear to the stainless steel backing plate--be sure to check for wear the "bump" just ahead of the ejection hole. All finger springs should have similar resistance. Check the rubber belt for cracks at the base of the "paddles." Be sure to check the small teeth on the plastic wheels that drive that belt--they can become hooked and cause the belt to jerk and stutter. Vacuum-type planter row units don't have all the wear-parts found in finger units, but it never hurts to check their door seals, knock-out mechanisms, and other details.
-Clean up your work bench. Remember all those times last fall when you said you'd clean up your shop "this winter?" It's winter. Collect all your tools and make a list of those that never returned from that midnight combine repair a couple months back. Restock your collections of cotter pins, roll pins and assorted fasteners. Try to get the shop organized before you tear into winter repairs--if you're like me, once you get into a project, it's tough to stop and organize.
If you have other bench work that you always try to do on cold days, pass it on. Your comment might remind other viewers of projects they planned to do this winter, but forgot about.