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.
Hand Winch to the Rescue
Dec 11, 2011
In the shop we call them a "come-along," but in tool catalogs they're listed as "cable winches." They're a tool that may not get used often, but when you need one, they're worth their weight in gold.
I was tickled yesterday when a cable winch was the fast and easy way to pull the belly tank into place on a high-clearance sprayer. It was too heavy to push by hand, and the booms on the sprayer kept me from using a forklift's forks to nudge it into place. I pondered the situation for a bit, then rigged some light chains to the sprayer's motor mounts and used my cable winch to ease the tank into place.
I've used my come-along to lift heavy, awkward sheave assemblies or gearboxes so I could bolt them into place on combines. I've used a come-along to hold the wing of a field cultivator in "folded" position to limp the machine out of the field. I've seen planters roll into the dealership with a cable winch stretched from marker arm to marker arm to hold them in transport. They give one man the strength of three men, and make jobs requiring lots of lifting and tugging much safer.
A cable winch stashed behind the seat of a farmer's pickup truck, or in the toolbox, isn't something that will be used every day. But just like the winch(es) I keep in my service truck, they're a miracle tool when you need them.