Our Harvest started out very well, the 860 over the first week gave us no problems whatsoever and the weather although overcast and gloomy allowed us to cut through two customers crops which yielded pretty
well above average in this area.
However with a short breakdown in the weather we were soon preparing and moving the 525 up to its first piece of wheat to cut.
On the 24/8 we started cutting wheat and within a few hours my ever reliable 525 broke a spring that holds the floating tensioner pulley on the fanning mill!
A quick rummage
at the farm and a suitable replacement was found and off we went again, and within a few hours the engine was running hotter than normal and with only an hour of daylight I decided to shut her down for the night and investigate the following morning when everything
was cooler and check the coolant levels.
The following day the forecast was for rain the following day I checked the coolant level which was fine and next step was to check the fan belt, which was
ok and I knew the radiator was clean as it was blown through after the last season had finished!
However as I had a spare set of thermostats in my truck I decided to renew them as a precautionary
measure also to rule out this as a potential problem.
As the afternoon moved on the old girl settled down to a steady pace in the crop of organic wheat which was full of everything you don't
want to put through a combine.
There was no repeat of any overheating issues and the weather was particularly hot today so all was good in this department at least.
The day was soon stopped again after the straw walker drive belt broke!
Another trip back to farm to sort through the many belts we keep in stock, many of them secondhand,
but disappointingly I never had one, and despite checking over every belt before season starts it doesn't always mean nothing will fail.
Buying from a main dealer will be not only costly but probably
2/3 days, and I contacted Cliff Arter at Arter Brothers in Kent who had a belt with me in 24 hrs!! A new one which was made in Germany.
With the new belt fitted late afternoon the following day we
were soon on our way again, and the forecasted rain passed us by thankfully.
The following day we finnished the wheat and moved the combine over a couple of miles to await the spring barley, which
would require a few more days to reduce the moisture which was showing 21%.
The weather gave us a few hot sunny days and within four days we made a start on the spring barley, a couple of hours into
this very light and disappointing crop I noticed the sample was very trashy coming into the tank so on investigating the fanning mill setting which was fast but the belt looked slack! after removing the guard it came apparent the pulley was located past the
end of the shaft? And was allowing the belt to drop down from pulley onto shaft itself allowing no tension on belt!
A quick investigation resulted in finding that the 25 mm circlip had came off,
which locates the pulley into its correct position.
After this problem was rectified we were off again, my partner Hillary was running trailers about 9 miles each way to the customer who had bought
the grain,and unfortunately suffered a puncture which held us up also.
The following couple of days we checked our other crops of spring barley and realised they were near to ready to harvest although the
weather now had other plans and prevented anymore action untill the Bank holiday week end.
A return to the field on the Friday afternoon the moisture now 16% it was decided to proceed so after checking over the
525 an attempt was made to start the 525 but she was having none of it and after checking and cleaning all the terminals on the solenoid and battery it came to no avail, bypassing the starting switch and crossing the starter resulted in no joy,there was a
good chance the solenoid had failed but this motor was 39 years old and for the cost of an exchange starting motor I decided to order one online for 24 he delivery, but it left us without a combine and a good deal of work to remove the old one?.
As we prepared to remove the starting motor our harvesting partner Howard made a start on our Barley at Stratton on the Fosse with his 400 , but this didn't go smoothly ,as frequent fuel starvation resulted in him replacing
the tank fuel pump after checking all the other possible fuel scenarios.
Our progress on removing the starting motor from the 525 had been slow, the position of this item is directly under the hydraulic spools that
connects to the operating levers on the dashboard, and to have any chance of removing we would have to remove and drain down the hydraulic tank and hoses and a considerable amount of guards trim and dashboard components! A job for a workshop and not in a field.
With the majority of our barley now waiting to be cut we took the decision to move the 860 up to our position despite the problems of access which resulted in cutting of several tree limbs and widening a gateway and removing
part of a wall.