In the past, I've had epic battles trying to get the combine started after it's been sitting for a year, but I've learned the hard way that if I ever want to get it started again, one of the things I need to do is to fill it up with diesel right after harvest. It still doesn't make sense to me, but if the tank isn't almost full, it can be a pain to get it started (it has something to do with the fuel pump getting enough fuel up to the engine, or because my combine is a worn-out temperamental cuss of a machine).
I've also learned that it's important to take the battery out after harvest and put it on a battery charger before I re-install it. It doesn't matter if every meter I have says that the battery is still charged, if I don't put it on a battery charger the combine refuses to start, so I charge the battery to keep that temperamental cuss of a machine happy.
|The view from one of my business offices|
Even when I fill up the fuel tank and have the battery charged it can be a lot of work to get it started, so I was surprised when it roared right to life without any trouble at all this year.
It was purring like a big mean kitten when I idled it down, and roaring like a lion when I went to full throttle, and when I threw the lever to turn on the separator it didn't have any new vibrations, thumps, or rattles (it just had all the same old vibrations, thumps, and rattles).
I had avoided a long drawn out battle through proper preparation and everything was right with the world, then I was walking around the combine checking that everything was still as it should be (like a pilot walking around a clunky airplane with brick-like aerodynamics doing his pre-flight checks) and saw that something wasn't exactly right.
|Isn't that supposed to be level? #$%@, !$%#^*, and double #*$&%|
You would think that it would be relatively simple to replace that one bolt, for a good mechanic, it should take five minutes at the most.
NOoooOO (is that the correct spelling for the word 'no'?), that bolt is installed in the bowels of that combine and I would need to crawl down in there to put that bolt back in. But, before I could even think about crawling down in there, I had to remove the chaffer (that riffled looking part at the bottom), and before I could remove the chaffer, I had to take off the straw chopper (otherwise known as the big heavy awkward strain-your-back-taking-it-off piece on the back of the combine).
It takes a couple of people to get the straw chopper off, so after we got it off (luckily I only hurt my back a little bit), I then wrestled the chaffer out (only hitting my head three or four times inside the combine), and I was ready to take out the lower sieve (or whatever the heck they call it).
Now that I had scattered these pieces of the combine along with all the nuts and bolts needed to put it all back together all over the place, it was going to be a piece of cake to get the only bolt that mattered put back in (it shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes or so), since all I had to do was push the hanging-down piece (surprisingly, that's exactly what it's called in the schematic of this combine) back up into place and then put in the bolt.
I didn't realize until I had crawled/drug myself in there that that hanging-down piece was packed full of old grain and dirt that didn't get augered out because of that broken bolt. The only thing to do was to crawl back out and figure out a way to jack it back into place, and it turns out that an old 2x12 and a jack is what you need to jack something back into place (who'da thunk that??).
|I was crammed upside down inside a combine taking this picture, so give me some slack if you can't tell what the heck you're looking at.|
After I had clawed my way up and out of the depths of the combine, had hosed myself off, and got finished coughing up one of my lungs, (sorghum chaff is some nasty stuff that always makes me itch and cough) it was a simple matter to reinstall everything, and I only dropped and lost three bolts in the whole process (a personal record, that probably won't be broken anytime soon).
|Now it looks right, nice and level (even though I didn't hold the camera nice and level)|
Wish me luck and give any gremlins you happen to come across a good chewing out for messing with my combine.