Back In The Saddle

Yesterday, having caught up with my seeding, I did other things for my land. I finally got around to fixing the old mower’s deck. The mounting bolts I thought were rounded off were actually coated with grass-juice… I sharpened the blades to increase efficiency. They weren’t as bad as I thought despite hitting so many rocks on my property last year.

Some things were wrecked however. When I went to remount the deck, I discovered that two bolts were missing that supported the deck on one side. I guess the abuse last year loosened the bolts. As I did not have any replacements I did a bit of welding to secure the mount. I also straightened a strut that was bent.

I took it out for a spin and whacked off the first dandelions and the grass itself. This is the first spring after planting from seed. In places the grass is already perfect, lush and dense. A few spots with poor soil or low snow-cover have a lot of growing to do. The thing I liked most is that the quackgrass has really been set back. Large portions of the lawn have none despite a general infection two years ago. Quackgrass hates regular mowing and perennial rye grass just gets bushier.

There are a few places I need to level a bit as the land settled in an irregular fashion after planting and in the drought last year. I need to do a bit of rake and wheelbarrow work. The damned berms are a bigger problem. The dandelions love them and the little woman still has planted nothing there. I am temped to turn them into a paradise for rabbits by planting them over with wild roses… 🙁

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in horticulture and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Back In The Saddle

  1. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson I would say by that description they disappears because over years of abuse they snapped.

    Preventive maintenance does not really help against bolts that snap. Snapping bolts is required to prevent other harm normally to the machine.

    Lot of the John Deere non maintainable are physically too long to fall out if the locking nut is removed due to other parts of machine in the way. So the only way for them to fall out is if they snap.

    So case of new bolt or weld.

  2. bw wrote, “In the old Navy we used to do what we called Preventive Maintenance and would tighten those bolts periodically so that they didn’t get lost in the first place.”

    In this case the bolts were inacessible to a wrench as far as I can see. The nuts would have had to have been tightened as the machine was assembled and before the chassis and other working parts were installed. I could not even reach the place where the heads should have been with my fingers. Think building the frame, then attaching a few things like this and then everything else on the platform so created. It would have been many hours of work and the thing weighs ~600 lb so I took the easier route. My welds don’t interfere with any moving parts and I doubt the tractor will ever be disassembled until it’s scrapped, perhaps later this year. The bolts were short things with a square shoulder and a locking nut. They were never intended to be removed. How/when they disappeared I don’t know but it was probably when I mowed the damned burms and the deck hit rocks or dug into the Earth at times giving it quite a shakedown. It’s amazing that I mowed without them. It shows John Deere’s redundant design.

  3. oiaohm says:

    bw Preventive Maintenance is performing security audits on everything you use.

    Downloading patches is Reactive Maintenance. Reason defect has been exposed and has to be fixed but you are listing to manufactures notifications about issues.

  4. bw says:

    In the old Navy we used to do what we called Preventive Maintenance and would tighten those bolts periodically so that they didn’t get lost in the first place. Today we just download patches when they are released and keep from having to worry much about malware.

  5. oiaohm wrote, “Cut off from hardware supplies no. Scary part is in cities I have seen people use welders instead of bolts. Same kind of reason 15 mins by transport to hardware store is enough that some people resort to weld instead of get bolts.”

    Sure, I could drive 30 miles to buy a couple of bolts but this unit is 29 years old and I have spent enough repairing it. Also rain was approaching and I wanted to get the most weeds under control as soon as possible. Was my time more effectively spent buying bolts which would have required disassembling the tractor to install or dragging out the welding cables and throwing a switch? One danger is that the frame was high strength steel which might have been damaged by the heat. I reasoned that the weld far from the edges of the beams would have little effect. I also used a fast-freeze electrode, E6011 which penetrated the paint well but does not put a lot of heat into the beam. I ran it DC+.

  6. oiaohm says:

    bw I have lived rural. I would say weld to fixing missing bolts is either effort or laziness or frustration over losing them.

    Missing bolts mowers more often than not fencing wire replacements for the lazy(and death wish at times when there is not a bolt other than holding head on engine block). So welding is effort compared to this.

    Laziness is the fact that most rural has tap and die sets and suitable metal rod around. Its not that hard to make a bolt when you have the gear. In fact you cheat. Its thread rod with slot cut across and you make a nut to wind on. Does the same basic job.

    So not that rural to cut off from hardware suppliers equal metal stock pile and tones of spares.

    Rural enough to be inconvenient to access hardware supplies. That would be correct. Cut off from hardware supplies no. Scary part is in cities I have seen people use welders instead of bolts. Same kind of reason 15 mins by transport to hardware store is enough that some people resort to weld instead of get bolts.

  7. bw says:

    “I discovered that two bolts were missing that supported the deck on one side. … As I did not have any replacements I did a bit of welding to secure the mount”

    A rather revealing anecdote, I would say. Your rural location is cut off from hardware supplies?

Leave a Reply