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: Nag, Nag, Nag
Oct 24, 2010
I don't mean to nag, but...clean your combine before you put it away for the year! I'm always frustrated by the number of combines I see that have faded paint, corroded wiring, cracked belts and other unnecessary damage because they were put away "dirty". A dirty combine can easily eat an extra $500 when it comes time to prep it for harvest next year, compared to a combine cleaned before storage.
At a minimum, open and clean rock traps. Do the same for unloading auger, clean grain elevator and tailing elevator sumps. Use compressed air to blow crop debris off the machine. Aside from "staining" the paint, crop debris attracts rodents, and gnawing rodents can wreak expensive havoc on wiring harnesses. I replace or repair dozens of expensive mouse-gnawed wiring harnesses on various machines before harvest each year. One customer had to replace the entire plastic fuel tank on his combine before this year's harvest because rats gnawed a hole through it.
If you choose to pressure wash a combine before storage, be sure to grease all the zerks and oil all the chains after you wash it. Then run the entire machine long enough to warm the bearings, belts and chains to drive out excess moisture and distribute lubrication. Once the machine is cleaned and tucked into the far corner of the machine shed, distribute moth balls, rat poison, "Mouse-Out" or whatever varmint deterrent you favor.
And that bag of GummiBears or M & Ms in the armrest console? Take them out now before next summer's heat melts them all over the notebook where you kept notes on yields and crop performance.