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.
To Re-Use, Or Not To Re-Use...
May 22, 2014
When you make repairs to your machinery, do you re-use lock collars, bearing flangettes, and other parts that aren't broken or worn out? I confess that it's a judgement call every time I make repairs, whether I replace all parts with new parts, or re-install parts that I removed incidental to the repairs.
It's obviously best to use new parts, but in an effort to save my customers money, I'll re-use as many parts as possible. For example:
-if bearing lock collars aren't cracked, worn or obviously damaged, I'll often re-use them. If they don't lock firmly by hand, or won't lock after when tapped with a hammer, I replace them.
-if I had to disassemble a bearing to get to another part of the machine, I'll often re-use the bearing flangettes or bearing mounting block. If the bearing is easy to get to, I may even re-use the bearing, depending on its condition, and if it's okay with the machine's owner. If the bearing is buried deep inside the machine and difficult to get to, I'll replace that bearing during the repairs, even if that particular bearing isn't the cause of the repairs. Any time I have an excuse to freshen a bearing that is buried deep in a machine, I do.
-I generally re-use nuts and bolts unless they're so corroded that they don't thread back together well. Or if they're torque-critical bolts like engine cylinder head bolts.
Ultimately, my goal is to make repairs as economically as possible, so that the machine will run for many hours before more repairs are necessary. If I can save my customer a few bucks by re-using parts, I will, but if I have to decide between saving money and durable repairs, I'll always choose durable repairs.