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A boy and his combine
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denny-o
Posted 9/13/2012 07:51 (#2588771)
Subject: A boy and his combine


Michigan - Saginaw County
Just got around to going over the 7720 I bought a while back...
I should have noticed the portents at the time I bought it...
First, the dealer had it way back on the lot, like almost down in the gully going to the scrap yard next door and he had a rusty, old grain wagon parked sideways in front of it so that it was invisible from the road...
Second, when he asked if he could help me I said lets start up that one on the end and he said "that one?" shook his head like he was confused and started to giggle..
Third, when I made an offer for half of what was marked on the for sale sign he replied, "I'll have the mechanic throw in 50 gallons of diesel while I clear your check with the bank." Boy, was that a tough negotiation...
Fourth, as I pulled slowly onto the highway in my new combine the entire dealership stood out in the lot waving goodby to the combine... Some had tears in their eyes.... They said it was part of the family...
One middle aged clerk said it had been there every since she started working for the dealer... I asked her when that was,,, She said high school...

So, yesterday Tim and I started going over it... The chains were rusty... Well, actually they were solid... They did not bend... There was the dessicated carcass of a dead mouse laying on top of the feeder house chain...
I should have known better...
Jumped in to start it up... Dead, not even a click from the solenoids... I checked the battery set with the VOM, 6.68 volts... Looking at the chart showing voltage versus percentage of charge I have posted on the wall in the shop, it doesn't go down to 6.68 volts... It just has that area in solid red with the letters D E A D printed over it... I hook the battery charger up and turn it on... NO charge current is showing... I crank it up to the 225 amp starting position... The meter shows the batteries as taking 6 amps of charge... I pull the batteries.. It wasn't that bad of a job except for the blue green powder all over the terminals.. I only scraped two knuckles and and wrenched my shoulder when a bolt snapped... Oh, and the half inch wrench that fell somewhere into the innards, I still haven't found...

Down at the auto parts store it was $158.62 to liberate another pair of batteries.. I asked the clerk if he could help carrying the batteries out... He looked at me funny... I explained that I had back surgery and I was not supposed to lift more than 20 pounds... He hollered, "Hey Liz, help this guy carry these batteries." Liz comes out from the back room... She is built like a left tackle in the NFL... She looked at me like I was a bad child, shrugged, grabbed one battery in each hand and marched out the door with me trailing behind... I wonder what she does to her husband when he gets her annoyed... I felt sorry for him...

OK, batteries are installed (new bolts, terminals greased, a grade A installation) I hit the key... Hey, it cranks... And then it cranks... And it cranks some more... I climb out and pump the primer until I am sweaty... It still cranks... After 20 minutes of crawling around the engine while thinking how much a service call from the dealer was going to cost, I discover the fuel cutoff cable is sloppy and the lever did not go all the way forward... I push it forward another half inch with my finger... The engine starts immediately with a blast of black smoke...

So, I push the big yellow lever forward... I feel like the train engineer... I think I will get one of those big railroad hats...The engine bogs slightly, snorts and suddenly the world is a cacophony of sounds, and vibrations, and the combine is rocking like a merry go round at the fair... Hey, it works! We go around the machine in wonder... Belts galore spinning away, chains rattling and vibrating, things going up and down and back and forth... Oh wait, this feedhouse chain thingy is not going around... Back into the manual we go... Oh, I see... The little yellow knob on the side panel... I run out and pull the little yellow knob... Bad idea...
The combine gives one convulsive lurch, there is a solid bang that I can feel in my feet, the engine belches, then all is normal again... Things going around, up, down, in, and out... But not the feed house chain... I shut the combine down and get out... We look at the feedhouse chain... The slats are cockeyed... A closer look shows the chain is broken... Sigh...

Fast forward after a 50 mile round trip to the dealer for links and stuff... Lots of swearing and grunting on crowbars, grinder sparks in my face, the chain is whole again and the slats are straight across... With the engine running I carefully flick the yellow knob so that the chain lurches forward about a foot at a time... We spray the chain links with the highly secret formula for rusty chains (tranny fluid and acetone) I'm getting dizzy from the fumes... After a bit the feedhouse chain is running nicely... I lean back in the seat, inhaling the smell of moldy grain and mouse poop, for my well deserved rest... Wait... What is that I see... The voltmeter is pegged to the right and thumping against the pin... Huh? I take the VOM and crawl out to the roaring engine... 17.8 volts across the batteries... I shut the engine down... All is quiet except for the thump, thump, thump of me hitting my forehead against cab because that is less painful than dealing with the new crises... I wonder how much this is going to cost me... In my mind I can hear the dealer snickering as he counts the pile of hundred dollar bills my check turned into...
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