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.
How Often To Lube Tined Row Cleaners
Apr 11, 2014
Last spring I blogged that there were questions about how often to grease the zerks on the hubs of tined row cleaners on planters. The installation instructions that came with aftermarket row cleaners indicated that the person assembling and installing the row cleaners had to make a choice, because the row cleaners were shipped with sealed bearings to be installed in the hubs of the tined wheels. The installer could leave the sealed bearings "as is," and reduce the need for the hubs to be greased, or one of the seals could be flipped off the bearing with a small screwdriver so lubrication could reach the bearing when grease was pumped into the grease zerk of the hub.
The only way to know whether or not the tined row cleaners on a particular planter didn't need greasing or needed frequent greasing was to disassemble one of the hubs and see if the bearing's seal was in place.
This year the same question arose about factory-installed row cleaners. The design is the same as the aftermarket units, and a search of our manufacturer's parts catalog proved that the factory-installed bearings are sealed bearings. The owner's manual said to lube the zerks on the hubs every 50 hours, but...why lube a sealed bearing?
An email dialogue with a tech guy at the manufacturer indicates that the factory-installed sealed bearings don't need to be greased every 50 hours. The new recommendation that hasn't yet been included in the owner's manuals is to grease those hubs every 200 hours, adding just enough grease to each hub till slight resistance is felt. That keeps enough grease in the hub's dust cap to reduce the opportunity for moisture or dust to get past the seal and into the bearing.
I know, I know--that's a lot of concern about a small component on a planter. But I've learned that when two or three farmers ask me the same question in a short period of time, it means there are probably a lot of farmers wondering the same thing.