The stars at night are big and bright...

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

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

They must think I'm an Aggy.


After I got all the welding done on the swather, it was time to address the cutter drive belt. The only way to remove it is to remove the driveline and gearbox. Driveline not so tough. Gearbox is a different story. You have to remove a drive chain idler, 3 bolts holding the chain drive bearing and 4 bolts holding the gearbox and it should drop right out. Easy peasy.

Riiiiiiight.

The chain idler bolt refused to come out. I beat on it as hard as I dared (didn't want to bend it) with a 2lb sledge, used a pry bar and it managed to make it slide down enough to work the chain off the sprocket, but the bolt refused to come out. Removing the 3 bolts on the bearing was no easier. they were carriage bolts inserted backwards. The nuts were hidden on the inside of the swather above the conditioner rollers and the rake. If I did my best contortionist impression I could reach the carriage heads with a finger to hold it in place while I removed the nuts. Putting them back is going to be fun.

The gearbox still was wedged in tight. I was afraid to try too hard to get it out for fear of it coming free and 120lbs of steel gearbox crashing down on my foot, but it finally slid out and I got the drive belt off.

Since I'd gone this far I knew I might as well replace the rake drive belt next to it because I'm not going thru this procedure again for maybe ever. As my luck would have it there was 1 bolt preventing me from removing it. All I needed was half an inch clearance. Tried removing the bolt, but there was a skid plate preventing that from happening. I was ready to start using an acetylene wrench but a few "SERENITY NOW!!!" and I decided to push my luck and try wedging the pulley with a prybar without bending it at the same time. I think I was successful. Time will tell. Either way, I got the belts off.

I'd called around using the parts numbers I had and found an OEM belt at Hendershot in Decatur for $185 + shipping. No way, Jose. I had stopped by Purvis Industries in Bridgeport yesterday but they wouldn't sell me a belt unless I brought it in. The guy made a big deal about it being some sort of special belt when I showed him a parts drawing. Honestly, the guy didn't know what he was talking about, in my opinion and he was pretty pompous about it. Smoking a cigarette at the counter didn't help his customer service rating, either. 

Last night I found a belt online for $23 that I thought was the right belt, but I wasn't 100% sure. When I took the belts in to Purvis today Marlboro Man said they would order them and be in tomorrow, I asked how much it would be and he said he wouldn't know. That's when I told him what I found online and how much it was. He said there was no way that belt was that cheap and his would be 'considerably' higher. He also said I told him they wanted $185 for it yesterday. It was pretty clear what was going to happen here. He was going to order a $30 belt and charge me just under $185 because he knew the other price. I told him to give me the belts back and I'd get them online. Just because I'm a farmer does NOT mean I'm an Aggy.

That was the best move I made all day.

I called V-Belt Supply.com and these guys know their stuff. We took measurements of belt length, width, pulley dimensions, ect and they found the exact belt I needed for the application. With shipping it came to $43. That was higher than I originally thought, but not 'considerably' especially since I hadn't figured in shipping. It was certainly 'considerably' cheaper than $185 + shipping Hendershot wanted and however much Purvis was going to break off in me.

Now I get to kick back put my feet up and sip on a cool adult beverage for 2 days while FedEx does the heavy lifting so to speak. Then I get to try and reassemble the whole mess. I'll be saving a few of those beverages for then.

1 comment:

The Donald said...

I successfully removed a recalcitrant bolt once by heating it with a propane or MAPP torch. Had to use an impact wrench to loosen the strap bracket to drop the fuel tank on my SUV when the pump petered out.

Non-CSNY Deja vu: Almost exactly one week later, middle son calls late in the evening with a flat tire. I summoned #1 son to assist us, since #2's mechanical skills are not up to par. We got his tire off, but this time, WallyWorld didn't have its 215/45r17 replacement in stock , so we did the unthinkable and tried to 'southern engineer' (I guess that's PC to say) by putting nearly a quart of ATV sealant in it - no luck. We limped it back home by borrowing his mother's CRV spare (not an exact fit, but good for the couple of miles @ under 15 mph to her house), and the next day got a real replacement at the Roanoke NTB. I apoligized beforehand to the female service adviser, warning of the goop that #1 son had pumped into the tire. She said she'd seen worse.