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: Remember The Planter Parts You Forgot Last Year
Mar 21, 2012
Remember last spring when the shear pin on the (driveshaft, drillshaft, marker arm) on your planter broke and you ended up temporarily fixing it with a rusty 16-penny nail or 3/8-inch bolt you found in the bottom of the tractor's toolbox? Be honest---that nail or bolt is still in place, isn't it? Even if you take time before planting to replace it, it's not a bad idea to carry one or two spares in the tractor.
In fact, it's a good idea to spend a few minutes walking around the planter to make a list of the various shear bolts, roll pins, shear pins and other wear items that always seem to break just as a thunderstorm is rumbling over the horizon. Every planter has its unique drive system that uses specific-sized pins, bolts or cotter keys to connect various driveshafts or couplers. Be sure to get the right size and hardness for each location. It's also a good idea to add a few roller chain connectors and half-links that will fit various chains on the planter. Considering how cheap a seed meter drive chain is, it's not a bad idea to carry a complete spare--you can rob connectors or half-links as necessary from the complete chain.
While you're stocking up on spare parts, identify any tools that would make replacing those parts easier. Roll pins or shear bolts tend to break off inside driveshaft couplers---it's really handy to have the right size roll pin punch or pin driver when you try to drive the remnants from the coupler. It's useful to have a Crescent-type wrench to turn hex driveshafts, a hefty hammer for aligning things, and a screwdriver that fits the hose clamps holding seed delivery or vacuum hoses.
Think back to last year when you had a minor breakdown with the planter that took way longer to repair than it should have, because you didn't have the correct replacement parts or tools to do the job quickly and easily. With a little planning those repairs will be fast and easy when they occur this spring. And you know they will.