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Harvest ain't over till the grease monkey sings.
September 01, 2003

Harvest isn't over 'till the grease monkey sings
Post-harvest maintenance can add up to big savings

By John Smith, University of Nebraska Farm Machinery Specialist

The dry bean harvest season isn't over until your combine is serviced and stored for the off-season, says John Smith, University of Nebraska machinery systems specialist.

End of  season servicing can extend the useable life of the combine, minimize repairs and downtime next season and add thousands of dollars to the value of the combine.

Here are several key end-of-season service recommendations that can literally save thousands of dollars in repairs and downtime in following years:

Service the engine.
Change engine oil and filter at the end of season and not the beginning of the next. Contaminates in used engine oil can initiate corrosion on internal parts and deteriorate seal during the off-season. Run the engine after changing the oil to fully lubricate the engine before storage. Collect a representative sample of the engine oil and submit it for analysis. Regular engine oil analysis will inexpensively monitor engine condition and warn of impending problems before major overhaul is required.

Check coolant for correct antifreeze mixture. Flush and refill regularly. Add a cooling system conditioner if you don't change the coolant.

Remove ALL grain, plant material and soil from the combine - inside and out.

They will hold moisture causing metal panels to rust through within several years. They also attract rodents that can chew through plastic, wiring insulation and rubber. Two hours spent thoroughly cleaning the combine will easily return thousands of dollars not needed for repairs.

Remove the header and clean headers and feeder house.

Open or remove all access doors, cleanout doors, and panels from the grain tank, augers, elevators and rock trap.

Start at the top of the combine and move down through the entire machine. Use a good shop-vac and high-pressure air hose with a long, curved nozzle to remove all seed, soil and plant material.

Use vacuum and high-pressure air to thoroughly clean the inside of the cab.

Retract all hydraulic cylinders to prevent piston rod corrosion.

Lower and place blocks under feederhouse or head to remove pressure from hydraulic system.

Fill fuel tank with good quality diesel fuel
A full fuel tank minimizes water condensation in the tank and tank corrosion.

Remove batteries
Remove them from the combine, check fluid level, fully charge and place in a moderate temperature environment on a piece of cardboard or lumber. This will add years of life to your batteries.

Store combine indoors
Indoor storage can add approximately $2,000 per year to the value of a new combine in the form of reduced repairs and increased resale value. After a planter, the combine is the most important implement to store indoors.

Place tape over opening of the engine exhaust and breather pipes.

This reduces the movement of water vapor into the engine during periods of high humidity - important for long storage periods.


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Northarvest Bean Growers Association | 50072 East Lake Seven Road | Frazee, MN 56544
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