The following commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of AgWeb or Farm Journal Media. The opinions expressed below are the author's own.
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.
Low grain prices encourage farmers to find ways to save pennies on combine maintenance. A common econo-fix for worn auger flighting is to either install plastic replacement flighting over the worn spots, or to buy spiraled metal flighting and weld that new flighting to what's left of the old flighting. Either way, care must be taken to keep the auger in balance.
Manufacturers of plastic replacement flighting generally sell their kits in lengths and designs that keep augers " in balance.' Problems can arise if the installer decides to shorten the flighting and doesn't maintain that balance. Adding extra bolts to attach the plastic flighting, or installing bolts in different places than recommended, can also change the balance of the repaired auger.
The same concerns about maintaining balance is valid if new metal spiral flighting is welded to the old, worn flighting. Not only must the segment of new flighting be balanced, but the amount and position of weld beads should be considered. And there is often a challenge of keeping a new section of spiral flighting centered around the auger's center shaft.
What are the consequences of an auger that's out of balance after being repaired? If it's a slow speed auger firmly supported on both ends, maybe not much. But if it's a fountain auger in a grain tank that's sticking up in the air relatively unsupported on its upper end, an unbalanced auger can make the entire combine shake like a dog after a bath. Ignore the shaking long enough and the upper clean grain elevator housing that supports the fountain auger housing will eventually self-destruct in very expensive ways.
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