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'm Warning You--Be Careful When You Start Your Combine
Aug 24, 2014
At our dealership we've made it all the way through late summer without "processing" a raccoon, 'possum or cat through any of the combines stored on our property. Those critters love to set up housekeeping and make nests in combines. But as more and more farmers move their combines out of storage in preparation for harvest, I expect to hear about somebody having to clean out their combine after some critter didn't move fast enough.
That's why we encourage our mechanics when they're moving a combine out of a storage building to bang on the sides, open and close access doors, and generally make a lot of noise before they climb into the cab. The problem is that some animals--especially baby kittens and young raccoons--tend to hunker down and hide deep inside things when they're frightened. Worst case scenario is if the critter is hiding in the engine cooling fan shroud, so that simply starting the engine makes a mess.
So, when starting a machine after it's been sitting for a long time, I try to remember to just "bump" the engine over once or twice before I actually start it. More than once I've heard scrambling sounds from the engine compartment after my first bump. I also "bump" the separator a couple times, just barely get the sieves and cleaning fan to move a little, before I fully engage things.
With luck and a little patience, all you'll get out of the back of your combine coming out of storage is a lot of dust.