The stars at night are big and bright...

The stars at night are big and bright...
The stars at night are big and bright...

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Farmin' is tough work

Sorry I've been even less posty than usual. Real life has decided to monopolize my entire day lately. I attempted to do more plowing and discovered the grease worms had attacked the plow and eaten the bearings. "Grease worms" is a euphemism used around machinery for lack of proper maintenance resulting in failed bearings.

It may not have totally been my fault, who knows how long they were bad... but the bottom line is I didn't check it or grease it before I started and they failed while I was using it. I break it, I fix it. Simple as that. I always return equipment and tools in as good or better condition than I received them. I expect the same in return. In this case I just plain screwed the pooch. But, I digress.

I headed to Bridgeport Auto. They saw a square center (implement axle) and pointed me toward Purvis Bearing or Tractor Supply. I started to go to Purvis first, but I forgot where they were located. They are super hard to find right on 380 next to Subway. Practically hidden I tell you. I walked in to Purvis and in less than 5 minutes they had me fixed up and heading out the door. Can't beat service like that with a stick. They also gave me sealed bearings and collars. No greasing required!

Next I headed to Tractor Supply to pick up some new discs for the plow. I was told they have to special order plow disks. WTF? You're TRACTOR SUPPLY. Maybe less toys/blue jeans and more tractor stuff, ya think? I called AgVantage and was told they don't even carry them. You farm stores need to get yo act together. Next stop McMaster Ford New Holland. They had a wide assortment of sizes and types in stock. I bought 4. It had 3 broken ones on one axle and this was the perfect time to replace them. The outside disk on the left front was worn pretty bad. It was a full inch smaller diameter than the rest but I figured I could swap one that still had some life left in it from the right axle I had to take completely apart and that would put 4 brand new in a row of 7. Again, better condition than I got it.

Now I'd never taken a tandem disc plow before, but let me pass this little nugget along to you it's about 100 times easier to take apart than put back together again. It's not complicated, but it does require a certain amount of muscle to manhandle heavy stuff in tight spaces and there's plenty of tight tolerances to deal with. Thank goodness I have air tools and an assortment of floor jacks. Unfortunately I had to use them outside on a limestone driveway instead of on a nice flat concrete floor, The plow is too wide for my shop door.

I got the bearing replaced and right rear axle re-installed in about an hour. I replaced the bearing and 4 discs on the right front but had mortal Hell trying to get it back in place. The thing weighs around 500 pounds and I was never a powerlifter. I managed to shred a fairly new pair of gloves on the sharp new scalloped disks trying to move the axle into position. There's a total of 9 (3 sets of 3) holes that have to be perfectly aligned to get the bolts in. I worked until it was pitch dark and managed to get 2 sets lined up before I cried calf rope. I'll finish up in the morning and take some pics to prove I actually did some honest to God physical labor, but I'm eager to see how it chews up the dirt now with new teef.

1 comment:

The Donald said...

Grease worms suck. Starter on the old SUV conked out a couple of weeks ago. After a couple of episodes of being able to resurrect it in situ with a tap o' the ball peen hammer, it died 'dead-dead'. When I pulled it off, I found one of the commutator bars had disintegrated, apparently to the point that the tapping wouldn't scootch it along ever so much to let the brushes contact other - good - commutator bars.

I coulda got a new/reman at AZ or OR, or saved some bux and got one at RockAuto, but it's an old vehicle, so I decided to get one NOW, as well as super cheap, so off to Elliott-Reeder Road I went. After spending nearly an hour cleaning the thing up with turpentine, I pulled the tail cap and lubed the bearing with some teflon grease, then gently pulled the motor shaft back from the nose bearing, and added a wee dose there, too.

Obviously, my application used toothpicks and Q-tips, while yours probably uses up whole cartridges of grease, but, yeah, judicious amounts of grease can make a big difference.