The old baler was doing an amazing job......but farm life can change in an instant. After over 850 bales without breaking a string, the old 24T baler lost compression on the hydraulic cylinder that runs the tensioner.
The tensioner in a baler is what determines how tight the bales are packed; which ends up being how heavy they are. Without a tensioner you get "floppy" bales that weigh less than 30 pounds. They are nearly impossible to stack and create quite a problem to handle without creating a mess.
Again, thanks to help and advice from many different people, we identified the problem. It was a leaking seal where the shaft goes into the pump. You can see the wet spot on the side of the baler where the hydraulic fluid was leaking.
We then had to remove all the guards (easier said than done). It took nearly four hours and a cutting torch to get the guards off. There were some stripped bolts that couldn't be removed with wrenches; thus the cutting torch.
We got the pump taken apart and were able to use the old schematic to identify the seal we needed. We ordered a new seal and installed it....but it still wouldn't work. It wasn't leaking but we were not getting any pressure.
This is when we feel stupid....realizing that the problem was because we had the chain on the bottom of the gear instead of the top. The result is the shaft spinning the wrong direction. Instead of rebuilding a pump, we built a lovely vacuum. After we put the chain on the right side of the gear we immediately got pressure.
But WAIT...it also starting leaking again. So we took everything apart and saw that during the process of building our vacuum the spring popped out of the seal so we didn't get a tight seal around the shaft. We were able to pop the seal out without ruining it, put the spring back in place, and reseat the seal. We put all back together and HAPPY DAYS....it works again.
We still have to test baling but after the tests last night I'm pleased to say the pump is working. We have pressure and we have no leaks with the PTO running at full RPM strength from the tractor..
But so everyone knows what farming life is really like....during the process of fixing the baler we spotted a hydraulic leak on the new tractor (well used tractor, but new and more powerful to us). It looks like a line needs to be tightened but we don't have a wrench that can fit in the tight spot. So another fix-it project always in progress.
Lorin and I have been around agriculture our whole lives. We're happy to be part of the family farm.