02 Jun Emma: Crazy Busy in Oklahoma
It all started (and we like to tease August about it) when August got the combine stuck. We were driving in mud that was two feet deep in places, but he is the only one that buried the big green beast. I think it’s safe to say he is now officially part of the family. We didn’t even need to get a tractor to pull him out, we just unloaded the hopper. With the four-wheel-drive and a lot of backup power we were able to get him unstuck and cutting again in a few minutes.
This is what we were driving through. In the low parts of the fields, the water was easily up to one to two feet deep.
Getting stuck was just the beginning. In my own combine I began to smell smoke. I told Dan I had a fire and told him exactly where I was in the field. I could distinctly smell it, but couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. I was lucky Dan and Vincent showed up and started to inspect the combine and then Vincent jumped from the ground to the top of the big tire and Dan handed him a fire extinguisher.
The bearing on the cylinder drive pulley went out and caught the surrounding chaff on fire. This area is a very tight space and not exactly an easy fire to fight. As Vincent was working on the right side Dan noticed flames in between the cab and the grain tank. I ran to get another extinguisher and handed it off to Dan. Vincent’s extinguisher ran dry, and the flames refused to be put out.
Three extinguishers later, and a lot of adrenaline later – the fire was put out. We managed to keep it contained and did not have to worry about the field.
Dan refilling the fire extinguishers.
Vincent helping out.
Dan on the phone.
The bearing that went out isn’t an easy fix, given it’s location. It takes a few hours just to get to the area. There is weaving through belts and pulleys, removing parts and loosening others. When working on any bearing there is always a chance it will not come off the shaft, and that is exactly what happened. The bearing had glued itself to the shaft and wasn’t letting go. It’s not a small bearing – it is one of the main drives that make the combine work. It’s about five inches in diameter and it was impossible to get off. We had to get the torch, and broken bearing puller to get the bearing off before we could clean the shaft and prep it for the new bearing. The entire job took two days to complete due to the trouble it gave us.
Dan and Vincent preparing the area to get the bearing off.
Dan and Tim getting the bearing puller on to start working on trying to get it off.
Meanwhile, one of the other combines was having it’s own trouble. A hydrostat motor blew apart, making a very oily mess. We made the necessary repairs then washed the combine. Abby was able to keep one machine running in the field despite our issues. Dan and I traded off hauling loads to the elevator so Abby could keep going.
This is all apart of the harvest experience. It can get disheartening but we’ll get everything moving and in the field again.
Be safe and God bless!