Dan Anderson: Duct Tape Do’s and Don’ts

11:25AM Nov 27, 2019
Dan Anderson
An experienced farm mechanic by day, Dan Anderson’s practical shop tips, tricks and fixes are tested and true.
( Lindsey Benne )

I’ve seen some amazing temporary repairs done with duct tape. I’ve also seen some ”What were they thinking ... ?” repairs that reeked of desperation and lacked common sense. Here are some uses of duct tape of which I approve and a few that concern me.

  • I’ve seen and accepted placing duct tape over a hole in an auger housing in order to finish a field for the day. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but there’s no harm in trying. Slicing open a soda can and placing it over a small hole before wrapping in duct tape will have better longevity than duct tape alone.
  • Duct tape makes an acceptable ”strap” to hold wiring harnesses and hydraulic hoses away from moving parts. Zip ties are a better choice because they don’t leave slimy, sticky residue when you eventually install proper hold-downs. That is, if you ever do.
  • A single wrap of duct tape around the center pipe that runs from side to side in a grain head’s reel, placed in the appropriate place (centered between two rows directly in front of the operator) is a great driving aid. Instead of trying to gauge where the divider snout on the end of the platform is in relation to the edge of the uncut crop, the operator just keeps the strip of tape centered between the two rows in front of him.
  • I’m not a fan of trying to fix weepy hydraulic hoses by weaving an entire roll of duct tape over the leaky area. It might slow the leak, but eventually the oil will defeat the duct tape’s adhesive and it will have to be fixed correctly. Duct taping a leaky hydraulic component makes a small mess into a bigger mess.
  • When making repairs to electrical wiring, duct tape is better than nothing, but the next person to deal with that repaired area will cuss you. If you have the foresight to keep duct tape on the combine for repairs, have the foresight to also include electrician’s tape.
  • In many cases, zip ties trump duct tape for fastening items in place on combines. An assortment of 12" to 24" zip ties is a wonderful thing to keep on hand.