Calamities of Harvest

As with every operation, nothing goes completely right.

We had our share of breakdowns this harvest.

We started out with two combines running and a third one getting ready.

A little background – we run older machinery and I spend time fixing to keep it going.  That also means having a wrench ready during harvest to keep them going.  Over the years I have spent more than one late night session from 11 PM until 1 AM fixing a bearing to have the combine rolling the next day.

The third combine – an IH 1460 was one we picked up last year – at a bargain basement price – as it was a fixer-upper.

It needed a new hydro-static cable, needed a couple grain pan augers changed, and the blocks that the grain pan augers ran in needed replacing.

Luckily we have a 1460 parts combine sitting in the yard.

Logan had started on the repairs earlier in the summer, so it was just left for the both of us to finish putting the pieces together. We had it running soon after we were there.

But unfortunately the fan belt fell apart shortly after.  Then the fan belt pulley needed changing, and finally when it was running smoothly – maybe too smoothly – the back axle snapped going through a rut in a draw in the field (maybe a bit too fast).  Good thing is that we have it all back up and running and ready to hit the field next year.

The main combine – a Case-IH 1680 did quite well with only two related breakdowns.  The grain pan behind the grain augers fell off one evening, so a trip to the salvage and a little brazing had that one back running the next day.  Those combines run great when working, but they are built a little light and are prone to the tin tearing and breaking at times.

The 1680 did break an shaker arm – probably due to me not timing the shaker arms properly on the previous fix – sometimes at harvest you take short cuts and it bites you in the butt.

The other IH 1460 had very little problems.  The hydraulic header reverser motor had to be changed half-way through – but that is understandable as it got very very heavy use with all the piles from the hard swathing and the wind-blown canola.

Half-way through Dad made a deal on a combine he had been looking at over the last month.  Sometimes those late harvest deals can be great as prices drop as harvest progress.  We bought this one late one night – and possibly should have waited until the daylight – as there was a few small things wrong that we didn’t spot in the dark.  But the combine actually worked out very well – Jackson was glad to have a combine to run.  This was a John Deer 7720 (another fixer-upper to be) and he was grinning to be driving something green.

The only real issue was about  10 PM one night Jackson all of a sudden couldn’t go anywhere.  The combine would not drive in any direction.  Thoughts of a yellow lemon, instead of a fancy green deer went through my mind as I drove out to check on it.  Transmission gone? Variable Speed shot? Belts broke?

I got looking it over and all looked fine, transmission seemed to be shifting ok, variable speed working well, belts looked great.

Then I crawled underneath and spotted the problem.  A hammer and some fancy green duct tape and Jackson was back in business.  Duct Tape really can fix anything (with the right hammer).

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