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Mechanics Corner: Quick answers to common equipment problems

Progressive Dairyman Editor Lynn Jaynes Published on 18 January 2016

Q: My water pump is slowing down, so I thought I would replace the impeller. How do I get it off?

A:  (By regular contributor Brad Nelson) Most, if not all automotive water pumps have the impeller pressed onto the shaft. In easy layman’s terms, that means the shaft is just a smidgen larger than the bore of the impeller.



This makes for a “press fit” that won’t loosen with use. Getting the new piece on is easier than getting the old piece off. If there is nothing visible holding the impeller to the shaft, then it’s a press-fit issue.

To press the old impeller off, one would need a hydraulic press and some means to hold the old impeller. It’s possible a gear puller would work to get it off, but that’s hard to diagnose sight unseen. Be careful prying on it not to damage the housing.

If the impeller appears to be plastic, and there is nothing in the way of a fastener or keeper or pin holding it on that is visible, it’s probably easiest to break it apart getting it off. If the new part is in hand, that may give some clues. But again, be careful prying on it not to damage the housing.

It’s rare for the impeller to wear out on an automotive or farm equipment engine. A rebuilt water pump for these applications is generally less expensive than the labor to change out the impeller. If you are dealing with semi-antique equipment, that changes everything.

Q: I have a very old tire stuck on a rim and am trying to break the bead loose; how can I break the bead loose?


A: (By Julio Rocha, service account manager, Dawson Tire and Wheel) Never attempt to repair or modify any type of bar or lever by heating, welding or grinding. By applying heat or welding, the properties of the metal are changed and weakened.

Never use an altered, repaired or worn tire iron or lever. If you find a worn or damaged iron or lever, remove it from the service area and scrap it immediately.

If you run into an old tire that is stuck on a rim, apply penetrating oil on the bead area where the tire and rim come together as it is being deflated. As the air inside the tire is being drained out, it creates a vacuum that sucks some of the penetrating oil into the bead area. This makes it easy for the slide hammer or bead breaker to do its job breaking the bead from the rim.

Always check the rim. Make sure there are no cracks, bends or imperfections on it. Always check the mating and mounting surfaces; they must be clean. Run a wire brush over them and then wipe down with a rag.

Before performing any repairs, please have all personal protective equipment in place and take all safety precautions.

Q: If my corn head has to sit outside in the winter, what can I do to protect it – especially the gathering chains?


A: (By Brent Raines, Krone territory product manager) Whenever possible, indoor or under-cover storage is the best option. However, sometimes it is necessary to store a head outdoors.

A good cleaning with a high-pressure air compressor before being stored will pay big dividends next season. Also, make a checklist of items that need attention in the off-season and take advantage of winter parts pricing to make the necessary repairs. After cleaning and repairs are made, touch up painted surfaces to reduce the chance of rust.

A good-quality tarp to cover the head is well worth the investment for reducing the effects of outdoor storage. The head should be stored on a solid, level surface that drains well. The parking stands should be placed on the head, and plywood may be put under the parking stands to reduce the chance of it settling.

Relaxing the tension on the collector for the storage period can be beneficial to the collector chain. It is important to remember to re-tension the collector chain prior to operation for the next season. A light coating of silicone spray or light-grade lubricant will help condition it over the winter and may decrease the time it takes to get it field-ready next season.

The PTO shafts should be removed and stored inside a building. Care should be taken in storing them to avoid compressing the protective shielding. Hanging the shafts may reduce damage to the protective shielding. It is important to lubricate the crosses before storage.

At the beginning of next season, they should be lubricated again, and if the PTO has a clutch, the proper adjustments should be made. Refer to the manual for proper adjustments.

Q: I have heard of homemade mousetraps and I want to put one in my shop. Can you describe how to make one?

A: (By editor Lynn Jaynes) These homemade mousetraps are found throughout several online forums across the Internet, and all seem to agree they’re very effective. Here’s one method: Take a 5-gallon bucket. Drill two small holes across from each other an inch down from the top.

Take a piece of quarter-inch rod and stick it through a plastic pop or water bottle. Make sure the bottle freely rotates on the rod. Remove the bottle from the rod and insert the rod through one hole at the top of the bucket. Push the rod through the bottle and out the other hole. Smear the bottle with peanut butter.

Put a few inches of water in the bottom of the bucket. Make a ramp so the mouse can get to the top of the bucket. The mouse will crawl up to get the peanut butter, but as the bottle rotates, the mouse falls into the bucket and can’t get out.  PD