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Pre-season combine maintenance not only saves you time at harvest, but may also help you harvest more grain.
Here’s a checklist of maintenance items and adjustments you might consider before harvest arrives.
Before harvest, check all paddles and replace missing or damaged equipment. Inspect chain and paddles for excessive wear and replace if needed.
Also, replace sprockets if teeth are worn so chains aren’t stretched. Tighten the chain to manufacturer’s recommendations.
You should tighten the clean-grain chain at the bottom of the elevator if you have a yield monitor. Generally, leave the top shaft and bearing in a constant position so it doesn’t change the grain’s impact on the yield monitor’s mass-flow sensor.
Examine slats and replace worn and bent ones. Make sure slats are operating parallel to each other.
Sagging chains accelerate wear, eventually leading to chains jumping on sprockets. It’s normal for the center chain to sag a bit because of the weight of the slats and upward force of the crop material.
Don’t over-tighten chains, as this can lead to shaft and bearing failure.
Examine eye rollers, pins and keepers, as well as all chain bits for wear. Also look for cups. Worn valleys and teeth that are cupped back on the feeder house’s top sprocket are sure indicators that a replacement is overdue.
Another task is to feel the drive belt. Handle the entire length of it while looking for cracks, missing pieces, burned spots and belt separation.