Planter Prep Tricks

Published on: 17:47PM Mar 17, 2018

Planter repairs and maintenance aren't hard, but they can be annoying. Here are some tricks to help with some common frustrating repairs:

-Old-style closing wheels that mount to their frame with a roll pin through the axle shaft can be a pain to remove. The axle shaft freezes in the housing and doesn't slide out once the roll pin is removed. A "pickle fork"-type ball joint removal tool can help. I had a local blacksmith build a stouter, thicker, wider version of a pickle fork to drive between the closing wheel and the closing wheel frame. But there are times when the only solution is to use a torch to apply heat to the housing to get that axle out. And there are times, when wheels on both sides of the frame are totally frozen, that it may be worth considering replacing the entire housing.

-Removing/replacing disk openers can be frustrating because the contact between the two disk openers "loads" the bearings in the disk hub and makes them tough to remove. The second blade on each row comes off easily because there's no side-loading of that bearing. To help those disks pop off their stub shafts, remove the bearing nut from each disk. Remember that the left-side disk has a right-handed nut. Then use the butt of your fist or a rubber mallet to whack one of the disks. The disk opposite the one you whack will usually pop off after a couple swings.

-Before you spend time greasing the hubs on tine-style row cleaners, remove one of the row cleaners and disassemble that hub. Most row cleaners come from the factory with grease zerks, but with sealed bearings. Greasing those hubs is a waste of grease because the seals on the bearings prevent grease from actually getting to the balls or rollers. To get the benefits of greasing those zerks, the hubs have to be disassembled and the seals facing the greased cavity need to be popped out with a small screwdriver so that grease can actually reach the bearings.

-Finally, back-in-the-day we used to "set" the tension on finger-style seed meters by rotating the T-shaped driveshaft with our fingers, and judging the resistance we felt. The goal was to have all the seed meters on a planter with the same resistance. We've discovered with seed meter test stands that our "finger test" was wildly inaccurate. The only way to make sure all finger seed meters on a planter are equal is to run them on a test stand.