In The Shop: Odds and Ends Before Harvest

Published on: 11:16AM Sep 18, 2019

Some of you are already well into--and maybe nearly finished with--corn harvest, but here are some odds and ends about combine maintenance and operation that I haven't had an excuse to include in earlier blogs:

If the edges of an auger's flighting are sharp, the auger is worn out. Done deal. Not only will the edges of the flighting wear thin and eventually fold under, but the auger's diameter is reduced, allowing grain to slip back between the edges of the flighting and the auger housing. Either way, it puts tremendous extra load on the auger's drive system. Replace the auger or you'll be replacing the auger AND auger driveboxes and belts.

If your combine engine overheats, don't wash the radiator out with a power washer. Power washers tend to bend the fins and that reduces air flow. Don't wash out radiators with a garden hose unless you have time to let the radiator completely dry. Wet or even damp radiators taken immediately back to the field, when exposed to dust, become plugged with mud. The hot coolant "bakes" the mud and almost turns it into a ceramic.

My recommendation is to blow out dust-plugged radiators with compressed air. Carefully. You can bend the fins that way, too. 

Another issue, especially with chopping corn heads, is that when harvesting high moisture corn with green stalks, or dry corn on dewy mornings, the chopping units put a sappy, sticky mist into the air. That mist gets sucked into the radiator, where it coats the fins with a shellac-like substance. Compressed air can temporarily open up sap-clogged radiators, but the complete cure is to soak the radiator with soapy water, NOT under high pressure, let it sit for an hour or so, then flush it with a garden hose. Don't go back to the field until all the fin surfaces are dry. Running the machine while sitting in the farmyard circulates hot coolant and speeds the drying process.