Monday, November 24, 2014

Spinning my gears

When chopping the corn noticed that the chopper had an odd vibration, which took me a while to figure out because, well, when you're on the tractor and chopping nothing is holding still.  Turns out that one of the gears that transmits power to the corn head was worn enough that the teeth would slip about 5% of the time, and as the slippage happened, it was wearing the gear out and was happening more frequently.  

 I'm not a farm implement mechanic by choice, but I'm getting better at it.   After years of tinkering i've got a fair grasp of bearings and bolts and roll pins and cotter pins and so on.
 After getting the gear out it doesn't look all that worn, but when I looked at the other gear it was running against, it was clear it needed to be replaced.  I always wince when I see replacement part costs; the big gear in this exercise was $280.  The smaller one $85.   Probably 2 hours to take it out, and then I couldn't get the bearing off of the shaft that it was mounted on, so I called uncle and took it to the local tractor dealer, who grinned and took it apart for me for $140.

I'm not going to kick too much about it.  This pair of gears was used for hundreds of acres of corn every year for 15 years, so I figure that this repair, properly done, will probably outlive my active farming lifespan.
The corn itself is now ensiled -- chopped fine and packed tight and covered with a tarp.  It'll stay that way for 90 days while it ferments in the pile, and the resulting half-fermented corn and corn stalks will form the bulk of the cattle feed late in the winter and early spring.

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