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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.
It bothered me to admit in my last blog that planter gauge wheel tires were getting the best of me. I'm going to salvage my pride by offering tips that have allowed me to emerge victorious from efforts to efficiently replace the small rubber tires on planter closing wheels.
Modern rubber tires on planter closing wheels, like the aforementioned gauge wheel tires, aren't as easy to change as their ancestors. I'm suspicious manufacturers have toughened their rubber compounds to reduce wear in no-till situations. It seems to be more of a challenge to change closing wheel tires now than it used to be. But if I have time and foresight, it helps to soften the tires by laying them in the sun for half and hour, or, if you're in a rush, laying them in front of the hot air blowing from a pickup truck's heating duct. If you've got access to hot water, soaking them in a bucket filled with hot water works nice, too.
Then use either soapy water or some sort of lubricant to speed the process as you use flat-blade screwdrivers or your fingertips to lever the side of the tire into the appropriate grooves in the wheel-half, before bolting the two halves together. It's still not as easy as I remember it from years ago, but I seem to remember being able to grab a rubber closing wheel tire in both my hands and stretch it like a rubber band.
I can't do that anymore. Either the new tires are lots tougher and less resistant to stretching, or...
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