Tuesday, June 11, 2013

SPQ13 Phil

Today is the last day of the diesel program!

So I havent posted the last few weeks, things have really been crazy lately. I'm already working 6 days a week and my boss told me yesterday that we will be moving to 7 a week really soon. Harvest is about 2-3 weeks off and this is the time that a lot of small farms start asking us to get them ready for season...with only a few days to do so.

I'm currently working on a picker that has really been a mess. It started that my boss had tested the main drive pump and told me it was bad and sent me up to replace it. So I replaced it then did my pressure test. The pressure should never drop lower than 220 psi and the new pump was only at 150 psi. So my boss had me install a new pump (which is no easy task...I'm doing this in the field with no lifts or jacks and its not light) and it still wasn't making  pressure. So after talking to the head mechanic at OXBO I checked all three of the wheel drive motors. I found one that had a really steady streem coming out of the case drain so I pulled it and then pulled the pressure again. Still low...so I then checked the other two motors and they both had started poring out of the case drain as well. I'll be heading up to Canada again today to do some more work on it. Its looking like this picker is getting a whole new drive system though.

Well looking back at the past two years it has been quite the ride! I went from being a farm hand to a full time mechanic! Farmers equipment is looking to start a shop up in Canada at the end of this year and I'm in line to be the head mechanic up there. I really have learned a ton in the past two years and I'm really greatfull to everyone who has been behind me, pushing me forward. A big thank you goes to you Jeff!! You really have been a great instructor!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

SPQ13 Phil

Still logging the Canadian hours...and still mainly services. Last Thursday I installed tote loaders on a 8000. They are a option for the 8000 blueberry pickers so instead of filling 50 lb flats you can use the 1050 lb totes. Yesterday I was working on a picker and the customer noticed the welder in my truck. He then started dragging out all kinds of broken farm equipment and wanting me to weld them back together. Its been really good to get back into the busy feel of things because As soon as June hits I'll be logging some crazy hours!

48 hours this week (school and work)
Quarter total: 309 hours

My new service truck

Logging a ton of Canadian hours on my new truck :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

SPQ13 Phil

This week I got a little brake this week from winter services to do some warranty work. It actually fit in quite well with school because it was hydraulic cylinders. Basically what it was is the front steer cylinders on the 7420 have always had a problem with toe in or out. In the past years there was a toe switch on the dash that controlled only on of the cylinders so you could line up the wheels again. Last year they changed it so that when you turn the wheels completely to one direction it would open a dump valve on the cylinder that would dead head first allowing the other cylinder to catch up to it so they would be correctly aligned. The problem that came up though is that some of the cylinders had a different stroke. To solve this OXBO gave us kits that we would replace the rod with one that had a thread on eye. We could then adjust the two cylinders like  a tie rod to make them line up true. 

Reflection on learning this week: This was the first time I had pulled apart a hydraulic cylinder and it was really cool to see how it worked.

46 hours this week (between work and school)
Quarter total: 261 hours

Monday, May 6, 2013

SPQ13 Phil

Another really busy week. I have been up in Canada Wed through Fri with no lunches or brakes :-/ It is nice to get back in the field and get back in the harvest mindset. Its been mainly services but I did have a few other calls. I had to swap out a pickers catcher rails, which is the catcher plates and the rail that they all attach to, on a older 1990's machine. The new rails that I installed were for a new picker so I had to do some modifications to the old mounting brackets and even build a new rear bracket for the rails. I had another machine that had a head weight brake off. It was just a simple weld job but while I was out there the customer complained that "the machine would sometimes not lift up". After a quick look I noticed that the hydraulic lift switch for the left side of the machine was running off switched power. I simply found a new power source and the problem was solved.

44 hours this week (between work and school)
Quarter total: 215 hours

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

SPQ13 Phil

Well it has been a busy week at work for me. I got my work visa last week and the plan was I was going to head up to Canada on Thursday to do some winter services. Well on Wednesday Our trucker called from Point Roberts and said he had a flat tire and his air gun couldn't break the lug nuts free. Well my service truck is the only one that can run the one inch gun. So I went up there just to swap a tire and it ended up being a 4 1/2 hour service call with all the traffic. I was then up in Canada on both Thurs and Fri just doing winter services. I also had to work on Sat to help get caught up in the shop.

48 hours this week (between work and school)
Quarter total: 171 hours

Monday, April 22, 2013

SPQ13 Phil

Week 3 of school

On Wednesday I went to Canada to get my 2 year visa. What is different about this one is previous years we only got work permits that were only good for 6 months. With the new visas we will be able to work year round so we wont be so slammed going into the season. Other that that is was a typical week in the shop. I did a few bigger jobs, one of which was pulling out a rear bolster or stinger of a 7420.

In class today we talked about lockout/tagging out equipment and making sure it is not functional until it was fully fixed. It reminded my of something that happened in our shop. We had a bench grinder that was missing some guards and so it was tagged out but left there till the guards could be replaced. However one of the other mechanics still used it so the plug was cut off the power cord. So as a joke the same mechanic just stuck the wires in the power outlet to run the grinder. The grinder then promptly disappeared from the shop. While the grinder was just tagged out because of missing guards it is a good example that simply tagging something out is not always enough to keep it from being used.

I have another story that falls in with what Jeff was talking about when there is a hydraulic failure and the operator makes things worse by still running the equipment. Last season I went on a call to a picker that the operator was complaining that the front wheel was locked up. When I arrived you could see big ruts down the rows and the operator proudly announced that even though the wheel wouldn't roll he could just drag it along with the other wheels. Sure enough the front wheel drive motor had grenaded and with all the driving he did it sent the metal to the other two drive motors. All three had to be replaced and they run about (if I remember right) $2,000 a piece.

Learning reflection this week: A good reminder to always be safe around hydraulic systems. Always take your time to make sure you do things safely.

40 hours this week (between work and school)           
Quarter total: 123 hours