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.
I Shoulda Replaced It
Jul 12, 2010
I'm frustrated tonight because I spent all day and a lot of a customer's money rebuilding a hydraulic pump on his machine. I should have replaced the entire pump, but when I told the customer a new pump would cost more than $1000, he swore and asked, "How much is a rebuild kit?" I told him the seal kit cost around $50. He then asked, "How much will the labor be to rebuild it? I reluctantly quoted a couple hundred bucks. His response: "Well, that's a no-brainer--$300 bucks to rebuild versus $1000 to replace it? Why would you even think about putting on a new pump when you can rebuild it for 1/3 the cost?"
So I spent most of today rebuilding the hydraulic pump. He now has new seals in a pump that has several thousand field hours on it. Everything is worn except for the new seals. I predict the worn components will quickly eat up the new seals, and the customer will be calling me everything in the book next fall when he has to spend $1000 to replace the pump during harvest.
I'm going to be the villain either way, so I might as well have got the shouting and swearing over with now. As we say in the shop, "Turning wrenches is the easiest part of being a mechanic."