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10 tips for repair and maintenance

  • Grind to size

    Grind to size
    The outside diameters on Jack Kiser’s .5-inch lock washers were too big for the repair he needed to make. The thickness was right, though, so the Fremont, Ohioan put 15 of them on a .5-inch machine bolt and tightened the bolt with a nut. With a lathe to rotate them, he used a 4.5-inch angle grinder and grinded them to size.

  • Sharpening guide

    Sharpening guide
    Dennis Wright of Cataldo, Idaho, discovered that two hex nuts glued or spot-welded together make a quick and accurate angle gauge for sharpening drill bits. He says that the top angle will fit the groove exactly to give the correct sharpened angle on the bit. It’s a quick, inexpensive, and easy aid. 

  • Nipple retrieval

    Nipple retrieval
    When removing a short brass nipple from a fitting, the nipple can collapse before it breaks loose. Bill Kahn from Bonners Ferry, Idaho, puts a drill bit shank inside the nipple, one the same size as the nipple. Then he places his pliers in the center where there are no threads. The nipple comes out, and it’s reusable. 

  • Eyehooks

    In the time it took to screw in one eye hook by hand, Keith Wurtz of Ipswich, South Dakota, found that he could install five eye hooks with a simple modification to his cordless drill. By using another eye hook as an attachment, the others will each hook into that one nicely, which makes the job easier and much less time-consuming. 

  • Hole saw

    Hole saw
    Bill Peters of St. Paul, Nebraska, says that the flutes of his .25-inch pilot bit tended to eat away at the pilot hole when he’d use a hole saw on plastic or thin sheet metal. So to eliminate the distortion, he now replaces the pilot bit with a piece of .25-inch round stock, which results in an exact-size, perfectly round hole. 

  • Knife guard

    Knife guard
    Jack Kiser of Fremont, Ohio, uses this homemade stand to remove the knife guard below a bad section in his combine. The stand is made from a large 1-inch threaded rod and nut plus a short piece of pipe. An old worn-out disk blade serves as the base. By screwing the stand up against the section, he says the rivets can be chiseled off and a new section riveted on. 

  • Vented oil

    Vented oil
    To prevent backsplash during oil changes, Tom Feuerstein uses a vented funnel. The Algoma, Wisconsinite softens the small end of a gas-line antifreeze bottle in boiling water. Then he quickly dents it with a straight-blade screwdriver while squeezing the top sides of the “V” with the other hand. The V-shape allows air to escape so there’s no airlock. He uses it to funnel crankcase and transmission oils in his tractors. 

  • U-joint

    When the driveshaft on a tractor is open, the universal joint can become entangled with hay. To keep his U-joint free, Thomas Foster Jr., Brookneal, Virginia, made a cover for it with a rubber mud flap and a piece of a 55-gallon drum. It’s attached to the tractor with chains and hooks. The hay in the windrows pushes the cover back and up. 

  • Grease zerks

    Grease zerks
    Yet another tip from Jack Kiser in Fremont, Ohio: He consulted his operator’s manual and then painted numbers near each grease zerk all around the combine he bought used. A 1 indicates there is only one zerk to grease, a 2 shows there are two, and so on. He used yellow paint (on his red combine) for daily lubrication and white paint for 50-hour lubrication. 

  • Groove joint

    Groove joint
    By grinding away the shaded areas (shown) on a pair of adjustable groove-joint pliers, Jerry Gray of Windom, Texas, made a tool that is very effective at helping take out or put in master links in chains. A person could grind away more for smaller chains, but he says he finds that this gets most of them. 

  • Send us your ideas

    Send us your ideas 
    Be precise. Include a sketch or photograph when needed. The Idea of the Month receives a $2,500 Firestone in-store credit offer. We pay $200 for ideas that appear with drawings and $100 for unillustrated ideas. Send idea, a daytime phone number, and email address to or to: Successful Farming Magazine All Around The Farm 1716 Locust Street/LS257 Des Moines, IA 50309-3023

Here are 10 tips for repairs and maintenance from All Around the Farm.

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