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Early maintenance and repairs will save time during harvest

August 27, 2019
By KRISS NELSON - Farm News editor ( , Farm News


MANSON Whether you take your harvest equipment to the shop for fall harvest preparation, or perform the duty yourself, now is the time to perform those checks before hitting the field.

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Trevor Hood, service technician at Manson Red Power, Inc. services a combine recently in preparation for the fall harvest.

Scott Franke, service manager for Manson Red Power, Inc., said they have been servicing combines since the end of last year's harvest season.

"We have guys that work on combines year-round anymore," he said. "They bring it in, we do an inspection on it, we get a hold of them and any work that they approve, that is done in our shop, they get a five percent discount on parts and labor."

Currently that combine inspection can be done for $299 and involves going completely through the machine.

"We will do a list on anything that is worn that needs replaced, any suggested services, changing fluids in the gear boxes or whatever," Franke said.

Franke said oftentimes, for producers who bring their combines in annually, the service technicians become familiar with the machine and can be helpful in recommending an order, according to urgency, in which repairs need to be made first.

"You can break up a high dollar bill a little bit if we see those combines every year and know how much wear and tear the combines get by the amount of acres the customers do," he said.

When inspecting your combine prior to harvest, Franke said to look at the augers and threshing components.

"Look at the augers, even auger troughs - make sure you don't have a hole in one of them, that way, it is basically money running on the ground if you are losing corn going through the field," he said.

Franke said producers are also starting to bring in their combine heads for inspection.

"Draper heads especially, because they are a pretty complex machine compared to the grain tables," he said. "This year we have gone through a lot of them. We have been working on heads for two months now already."

When going through the heads, Franke said they will look at the cutter system -the sickle guards, reel as well as gear boxes.

"We are real big on changing fluids - it prevents breakdowns," he said. "Grain heads are no different than a combine. If you take care of the small stuff, you usually can nip running into a big problem in the end."

And it's that small stuff, Franke said, is what oftentimes is neglected.

"Changing fluids in the gearboxes and other small stuff. Those things that are more obvious are sometimes overlooked," he said. "An ounce of prevention leads to a pound of cure and that is pretty true in this case too."

Chains on both the heads and the combines need to be looked at as well, ensuring they are properly tensioned.

"In the heat of the battle, everybody's in a hurry. The chain gets loose, it really wears the sprockets, jumps up and creates a lot of issues. Feeder chains are something that are really overlooked," he said.

Tillage equipment also makes its way to Manson Red Power Inc.'s service shop for a quick look over prior to fall.

However, if a producer chooses to do their own pre-harvest checks, it is important to not wait to do so when it's time to start working that ground.

But be sure to go deep into that inspection.

"I think blades, your ripper points, stuff like that - everybody looks at that, but something I think that gets overlooked is the wheel bearings," he said. "Guys forget to jack it up and look at the wheel bearings. We see quite a few wheels fall off throughout the season and I think that could be an easily preventative thing. And, it seems it happens while on the road. And at night."

Franke also suggest checking the tread is ample on all of your equipment's tires.

Sometimes, no amount of preventative work will avoid a breakdown. In that case, Franke said they will be stocked with parts and are also available for in-field service calls.

"Usually we can fix the minor stuff out in the field - we get them up and going again," he said. "We have fast service. The guys put a lot of hours in - in the spring and fall to keep guys going."

Franke said there are combine clinics that will be held before harvest begins.

"Attending these clinics help refresh your mind with the technology on these machines - how to run the monitor, going through settings and stuff. A lot of guys think they will remember it but sometimes it is overlooked or they forget once they get out into the field," he said, adding to contact your dealership for combine clinic information.



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