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.
In The Shop: Flammable Raccoon Dung
Oct 08, 2010
I picked up this bit of "interesting" info from an intranet forum hosted by our dealership's equipment manufacturer, where mechanics exchange tips on fixing equipment and discuss common problems.
According to one mechanic, his dealership has had two combines catch fire so far this fall. In both cases, the cause of the fire was traced to raccoon dung deposited on top of the combines' engines. According to the mechanic, dried raccoon dung behaves like charcoal briquets--slow to start, but hot and long-burning once ignited. 'Coons like to crawl around the engine compartments of combines stored in sheds, and for some reason like to defecate on top of engines. If the dried, flammable dung rests against the exhaust manifold or turbocharger...
So, if you can't keep 'coons out of your combine, at least clean off their deposits before heading to the field. And if you doubt the plausibility of raccoon dung starting combine fires, remember that Native Americans used to collect dried buffalo dung and used it as fuel for their fires.
Remember, you read it here first...