The Useful Duck!

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Friday, November 12, 2010

A bad day, amplitorque fails on White, I slice my finger almost in half, and I melt my GPS

Well the title says it all...
I planted in the pouring rain last night until the beeping of the plugged seed tube alarms started to really get on my nerves.
This morning the sun was out early. Early enough for me to wear just a light waterproof windbreaker and then the fog set in.
I got to the field and walked around the drill and tractor and checked the fluids. When I pulled the dipstick out of the three speed hydrashift or whatever White calls the Amplitorque I noticed it was silver instead of a light gold from the hydraulic fluid. It is one of those moments when you feel the tension start. I walked around to the other side and pulled off the side sheet metal and unscrewed the oil filter. Hydraulic oil is not supposed look like silver paint.
I got a bucket out of my pickup and prepared to change the oil. Of course I could not find a 1/2" drive extension to fit my square socket as someone had used it and did not put it back. I went to the farmer's shop to look for one. I could have driven home in the time it took to find it.
The oil didn't look quite so bad when I drained it but there was a lot of fine particles of cast iron. Not bearing flakes just the silvery fines.
I went home and found a new filter and on the way called my local dealer. The White expert said that the three speed was so expensive to work on that I should not drive it or it could cost me "thousands," and then he added that it might cost me thousands anyway.
After consulting with my brother we decided it was probably the planetary drive that is engaged when you are in overdrive. That was really the only variable.  Last night I ran in 4th in over drive for a couple hours. I almost never run in overdrive when under load and it was pulling really hard. I check the oil every single day, except I didn't check it Wednesday. My helper checked it and filled it before I went to the field. I am pretty sure I checked it Thursday morning. I can't remember for sure. But, I always do check it. I know there has not been metal filings in the oil before. It had to have happened in the last two days. That is pretty severe in my opinion.
I changed the oil and started it. The three-speed has good oil pressure, I can't hear it making noise.  It never slips, I just can't see how it could go bad.
I sat in the cab for a few moments unable to make a decision.
I could get my cousin's 7140 4wd but then I would owe him money or a favor and what if I broke it.
So... I went and got the 2-135 out of the field. It is only 2-wd but it has taller tires than the 2-155.
It doesn't have three remotes but I have a valve doubler.
I didn't hook up the monitor or calc-an-acre and I don't have to put on fertilizer till tomorrow. I just hooked it up and went.
Then I saw seed falling on the ground.
The openers kept plugging and the uncleaned seed they are planting had stems when plugged the feed cups when the drill got low.
I made two rounds and discovered a bearing on one v-opener was out.
The farmer had not brought me my pickup back so I called him and got him to go to our shop and get me another opener.
Then i saw something shiny in my last pass. One of the opener discs had spun off and it was laying in the middle of my previous pass. I got out my 15/16 wrench and re-attached it. I got it tight and gave it a spin to make sure the bearings were ok.
My finger slipped and I could see it all happening but I could not stop the momentum of my hand. If my finger would have had just a little bit more angle that razor sharp opener would have sliced it to the bone. Instead, it peeled back a 1/4 x 1/2" slice of skin. You would not believe the amount of blood.
My first aid kit was in the pickup. I washed it out from a water bottle and wrapped one of those blue shop towels around it. It made me feel all queasy. That pass was not as straight as the previous one.
The farmer arrived and gave me a ride to the pickup. He has some really cool butterfly strips that we used to cinch the skin back into place.
I went back and replaced the other opener.
I also found my spare little Garmin 18 hocky-puck GPS antenna. It is not real accurate but I now had an acre counter. My drill acre counter failed and Great Plains has replaced the good old mechanical counters with a digital counter that doesn't actually work. So, I've never bought a new one.
I get going. No more plugged tubes and I sort of have GPS. Pretty soon I start smelling something hot. I can't figure it out.
Then I see the cord to the GPS melt.
I do have another one that is USB powered so I found that. But won't plug into my little interface box that shuts off the GPS when the drill is raised.
I finally got really going and was feeling pretty good.
Then the stop engine light and buzzer started going off. I've got oil pressure and water. What more is there? The hydrualics have their own sensor. I don't know. I wiggled wires. I shut off the tractor for a while. Finally I just decided to ignore it. Sure enough it went away.
I did another 15 acres after dark. Then I started noticing these little patches that someone had combined around. I went slowly though them. No problem. On the way back I found out what they were. One rear dual suddenly dropped a foot with a loud wham! Tile blowouts.
I quit for the evening. I'm not pushing what little luck I have left. I've dropped a front wheel in one of those before and it was not such a happy thing.
Tomorrow I am going to run away and join the circus. Orin can have my 2-135 if he can keep it on the road at 21.5 mph...

Four wheel drives are for sissies!


  1. Don't try the highwire act; you might be tempting fate.

  2. Yeah, circus got knives, swords, flaming hoops, tigers and like that. Maybe join a Mime troupe. All their pointy tools are imaginary. Maybe you could contract to plant for them...all perfectly straight rows of imaginary crops and only imaginary tractors to break down that you fix with the flourish of an imaginary wrench. Course then they would pay you with imaginary legal tender that you would deposit into a figment of the Fed bank, which is kind of how it works in real life.

  3. Gorges, very good point. Perhaps i can be a clown-a tragic clown!
    Collieguy,I was wondering how this would be any different from real life and then I realize you were talking about real life!

  4. Well Budde, an old saying goes, "adversity makes us stronger". Seems to me you are getting stronger every day with all the setbacks you are having. I wish you some better luck. I think I have nothing to complain about here in the frozen north.

  5. A close friend of mine ran away & joined the circus as a boy. Now he makes big money working in an office for Walmart at corporate headquarters as an estimator. Sort of a similar business I guess.

  6. I'm really excited in your design. I can't wait to build it. white metal bearings

  7. I would still prefer using the metal bearings.
    babbit bearings


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