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Fox self propelled chopper

Discussion in 'Agricultural Operations' started by Monte1255, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    Yup! teach em young to take care of things, in the process teach em safety and responsibility. driving comes later w/Dad at her side.:D
     
  2. icestationzebra

    icestationzebra Senior Member

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    My dad used to have a 350 cow heard in east central Wisconsin. He ran a Uni 803 with Allis 426. The corn silage head was junk, but we later switched to the 2-piece New Holland style and it was much better.

    Our neighbor had a Fox, but I couldn't say what model. The strange thing is that he ran a Deere head on it, corn I think. And another neighbor had a Fox pull type. Both seemed to run OK.

    ISZ
     
  3. popcorrin

    popcorrin New Member

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    I have a Fox Maxx 2 with a 3 row narrow corn head. I broke the teeth off of the drive gears for the gathering chains and I can't seem to find parts anywhere. I am located in the Omaha, NE area.
    Does anyone know where to get parts?

    Thanks
     
  4. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    If it is the bevel gears that are on the bottom of the gathering chain shafts they are standard bevel gears that can be purchased through any engineering shop. I will go through my local shop in Winona Mn sometimes.
    The name of the place is called Ronco Engineering and the phone number is (507) 454-4124. Ask for Chris.
    if no luck there Hiniker manufactureing has taken over the parts inventory and you can contact them through their website. or call 1-800-433-5620

    another man that I contacted in Wisconsin one time about hydro parts may be able to lead you in the right direction as well
    his business is called Norse Works and his number is 1-812-534-3471. I have never met the man in person or anything and when I talked to him on the phone it seemed he was an older gentleman who may or may not still be in business. so I cannot make any guarantees on the last number.
    But the thing about Fox is that they used all standard parts on their machines and most of them can easily be found through good engineering and hydro shops.
     
  5. popcorrin

    popcorrin New Member

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    Thanks, Hiniker put us in touch with a place to get parts. The gears should be showing up today.
     
  6. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    May I ask who you were directed to contact? would like to keep on top of some of this stuff myself thanks in advance
     
  7. popcorrin

    popcorrin New Member

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    It was a place out of Indiana. The name escapes me right now but I will find it and post it here.
     
  8. gfarm

    gfarm New Member

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    i also have a fox chopper and love it. i;m just woundering where you guys get gathering chains from because i haven't had any luck finding them.
     
  9. dirty4fun

    dirty4fun Senior Member

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    Never had a self propelled Fox but had lot of pull ones. The old one you ran the machine and had a stone mounted on a bar to sharpen the blades. Then they came out with the electric grinder, did a much better job. The other didn't work well and you had to remove the blades to really sharpen them, quite often. The old machines the bolt head only had to be turned a quarter turn to remove the knife. You had to get it pretty loose so it would raise up to let you turn it. Saved time trying to turn the nut clear off. Usually put two springs on the front toothed feed roller, made it push the corn stalks down better.

    Water sure makes the Alfalfa blow much better when in that sticky stage. If we could we would let it get dry enough to bale then chop at night when the dew was on. Would make for some of the best silage, as you didn't loose any of the leaves that way.
     
  10. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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    Nice chopper montee, I had a fox pull type for a month, blew it up so badly it wasn't fixable, went through several new holland pull types as well, then moved onto a field queen with a turbo'd 3208 and dump cart behind it and then filled semi's direct without wagons, best thing I ever did we went from using 6 wagons and four tractors hauling to just one semi and that kept up just fine even from further hauls. We had a small water tank mounted on the chopper and used a small 12 volt pump and pumped water directly into the blower band to help with gumming from alfalfa. We had the electric motor sharpener and then onto another type but ended up with a fixed stone off a hew holland chopper and mounted it on a slide I devised myself and sharpened the knives by running the cutterhead at a slow speed and then just slide the stone back and forth, simple cheap and easy, the best thing I ever did, we also just used an angle grinder to knock the heel off the knives, way better than the revered bevel thing that the company recommended and faster too. I've blown up every chopper I've ever owned, on the field queen we even wiped out the shear bar holder completely along with the entire cutterhead, even the shaft the spiders were mounted on, we rebuilt the cutterhead and used larger mounting steel to hold the shear bar from bowing under extreme pressure. we also went to making our own shear bars and milling off rounded over shear bar edges, we gave up on the hardened edge bars, they didn't last long enough. All the older choppers were excellent machines, back then they were even affordable and fixable, nowadays thats not the case at all. In the field queens the 6-71 put out almost 280 hp, slightly bigger than a 3208 turbo'd cat which did 250hp. Anyhow its good to see older machines taken care of and being used.
     
  11. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    Randy: It's interesting to hear how you had swapped out parts for the knife sharpener, I have kind of had the same ideas with the sharpener from time to time, but mostly I end up sticking with the old system mostly because it's pretty much all the same as when the factory put it together. For this machine I'd like to keep it all original for the sake of history and preservation, but maybe in the near future I will find another maxII and convert it to NH900 or FP230 cutter head and three row corn head or 9 foot hay head. I think it would be a fun project to do just to see if it can be done. I think it is entirely possible to install metalert technology at the same time which would give me a machine with Detoit Power, simple belt drive gearbox and cutterhead, metalert, hydrostatic drive, and the efficiency of the newer pickup heads.
    As for taking care of this machine it is so ugly it's beautiful!!.............would really hate to see it go. I had several guys come here to take measurements for models of this machine and it's really nice to see those models on display at the local fairs and etc. One guy even has a miniature of my machine that he runs at local fairs and remote controls it down a row of hay for spectators. it doesn't chop the hay, but still cool to see nonetheless.
    If you ever make it to Mabel MN some time for the steam Engine days about the first week of Sept. I'm sure he'll be there showing it off.
     
  12. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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    Monte, I did the sharpener for two reasons, first off the original was junk and second it sharpened each individual knife one at a time and I wanted all knives sharpened equally so they hit shear bar the same and wear was the same, so I used the cutterhead to do the sharpening and that way wear was equal on all knives the same. As for the cutter head on the fox and queen models, they had a lot to be desired, the spiders were weak and caused a lot of problems vs the new holland that was pretty bullet proof and a lot stronger as well, but we did blow those up as well but were repairable and we always saved the spiders the knives were bolted to, it usually ended being a knife replacement job and new shear bar only, the fox and queen you usually ended up doing the entire thing.

    As for the metal alert, I'd opt for cutter head insurance instead, I never blew any cutter head up with metal, it was always rocks or something that never set off the metal alert, we eventually gave up on the metal alert completely, usually when you needed it, it never worked anyhow, in the operators manual it stated that every morning you were supposed to check the system by blocking open the feed rolls and sticking in a piece of metal tied to a wooden stick to make sure they system still worked, yea thats going to happen isn't it. We always chopped a lot of hay and every time we had the hay head on is when we'd blow the cutter heads up by picking up debris along with the hay, with the corn head on unless you ran a gathering chain in it was pretty rare to have any problems, we did however pick up a rock one time with the gathering chains and suck it into the chopper and thats when we did the entire cutter head on the queen, we were running a recutter screen at the time and there was no place for it to go and by the time we pulled the lever to shut it down it was beyond repair and did about 6k in damage and a lot of time to rebuild everything.

    As for the two stroke detroit engines I owned a few over the years and wasn't a big fan of them, they did work fine but liked the fuel more than other engines at the time, the 3208 cat wasn't much better, they were a throw away engine in my book and a pain to work on and keep running and didn't have the lugging power to run a chopper at all, so the extra hp helped to maintain rpm's, but the hang in there factor wasn't there at all and the power curve was pretty short, not like an inline 6 cylinder 4 stoke diesel. As for what killed the queens and fox machines it was the fact they never kept up with technology and design, they never advanced their cutter head design and changed the weak spider's and the sharpening was never updated, they were a simple design and just needed some improvements that were never done, the queen's were short wheel based and very rough riding and also had too light of a final drive in them, they were not designed to pull 16-20 foot wagons around in the hills or to really grind ear corn at all and drag a wagon behind them for that purpose period, they were way too light of machine for that. The queens also had the cab on the wrong side of machine for most people, I was left handed and liked the controls backwards compared to most tractors of even today but most didn't like them. On the queens the spout didn't turn 360 degrees to load trucks or wagons off the right side which also killed them unless you ran a truck spout on it but then it was almost18 ft tall and caused other problems, it needed a hydraulic lowered spout which the guy I sold mine to put on himself to solve that problem but they needed that factory installed instead. For their time they had some great features but just never kept them coming for advancements into the future, don't get me wrong deere didn't have and still doesn't have a cutter head worth taking home but they had other things going for them that kept them towards the front of things for many years and operational comfort was the big one there. It was a more user friendly machine to run, even the older 5400 series, and equipped with rear wheel assist they did get around pretty good too pulling a wagon.

    We pulled a dump cart for years behind the queen and got along great, as far as I was concerned it was the greatest system I ever found, I'd chop into the dump cart doing odd ends and short pieces where you were constantly turning around and until I had a load I wouldn't dump it and as soon as the truck showed up I'd swing the spout and fill the truck and off they'd go and I'd go back to filling the cart, once full I'd dump it on the truck and then top off the truck by direct filling it and then back to the cart again, nobody got out and the machine never really shut down except to dump the cart which took maybe a minute to cycle it through, we went from 3-4 wagons per hour to almost 8 by not hitching up wagons all the time, that was a time killer to switch wagons all the time, not to mention all you got done was climbing in and out of the cab and up and down the ladder all day long, we tried the auto hitches but they were a joke in my book, that and you still had to get off the tractor a half dozen times to deal with the power take off shafts and switching speeds on the wagons all them time, I won't even talk about maintenance on the wagons and that nightmare to keep 6 wagons running and the crew to run them, we went from a 6 person crew down to three and got twice as much done per day and nobody was sick of chopping after the first day of doing it either. I used to put on over 500 hours on the chopper tractor every year and when we quit we were chopping more tons per year and only putting on 150 hours a year on the chopper, the rest was wasted time as far as I was concerned, mostly spent switching wagons and idling while switching them.
     
  13. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    I'm gathering from what you said you must have had a lot of rock on your farm.........were you V-raking the hay as well? For my operation I don't mind the v-rakes, but from what I'm told they are very notorious for gathering rocks only to be picked up by the hay heads.

    I guess every person's opinion of the fox's and field queens will differ, and I agree with you on most points in that certain things like the knife sharpening is a pita. And as for setting them up to the shear bar I believe each person's approach to the situation was different, some loosened the knife and set it that way, some would simply sharpen the same number of strokes on each knife and in doing so kept the knives relatively close to the same. I think that the electric knife sharpener did a real good job on getting the angle on each knife right, but getting them the same is an art form.

    I believe that Fox was for it's time a true inovator, but as for it's demise as a company it is my belief that it was a victim of the farm crisis of the early 80's compounded by a lawsuit that put the company's already shaky finances over the edge. Fox had many good inventions later picked up by Deere and New Holland, one of which comes to mind was the last models that were sporting metalert technology. On other points yes I agree they could have strenghen things here and there as well, but for it's time it was the machine to own in my opinion.
     
  14. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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    Yea we had a lot of rocks, mostly limestone, one farm we ran I called the "gravel pit" due to the amount of rocks far outnumbered the dirt. We did a lot of rock picking over the years but you never get them all no matter how much effort you put in, even a rock the size of an egg if run through the cutter head can total the entire head, spiders, knives, shear bar the whole deal.

    As for v-raking in front of the chopper, we never raked anything in front of any chopper I ever ran, but we did own a v-rake and used it in front of my round baler, which in turn loosened up rocks to be picked up in later crops with the chopper to a certain extent. For a while we did some raking with regular bar rake but gave that up as well, mainly because we didn't have enough help to do everything but also because I could pick it up one windrow at a time with the chopper faster than we could rake it.

    I ran all kinds of knife sharpeners over the years, I know all about the same number of strokes on each knife thing, but in the end with rock chips in some knives, it was far faster and simpler to do it with what I had set up, from start to finish I could sharpen the knives and set the shear bar in less than five minutes and be back in the seat of the chopper running full bore again and never shut down the cutter head once, we had quick set knife adjustments which sped up the process considerably. I liked all my knives to nick the bar in at least two spots and then tighten the bar down which allowed a few thousands clearance or less on the knife. With the same number of strokes using that particular sharpener it was almost impossible to get all the knives sharpened to have two spots nick on each knife and do it less than five minutes, I know I've done that several hundreds times before scraping the system and looking for a faster better method. I'd also use new knives with older ones to get as much life out of them as possible and sharpen out rock pits in some knives and reset them up to allow this to be done, we did it all the time and still could sharpen the knives in a matter of minutes after resetting some knives. I also carried spare knives in the cab and would replace and reset, re-sharpen right in the field between loads while waiting for a semi to come back, every once in a while I knew when they had to stop to check or feed cattle or eat or grab lunch and I used that time to do knife swapping in the field and touch up the cutter head so I had it down to minutes not hours, but new holland cutterheads were still nicer for any of that type of work as well, that and they were a lot tougher as far as spiders were concerned. I never ruined any spider on any new holland chopper I ever owned but ruined a lot of spiders in the queen over the years.

    There were a lot of factors that sank both queens and fox, not just the 80"s, that just sped it along, the largest one in my area was dealer support and parts availability, which was way beyond terrible, that and they didn't have a full line up of things to sell like deere and new holland did, they only basically had choppers. When I quit and sold my queen they had the best source of parts of any chopper made, it came right from the company and I had it in less than a day, if I called before 5pm I had it in my hand by 9am the next day, every single time and the parts came out of kansas, an excellent bunch of guys to work with out there, I've been there many times myself, but in the day they didn't sell direct to the owner you had to go through a dealer, so if the dealer was worthless so was the parts availability, something they solved too late in the game, fox was worse and everyone knew it, that's why they didn't sell machines later in the game, their dealers put them under long before their products did and once the market share was lost the game was over, coupled with many other problems that got covered up by blaming the farm crisis instead.

    I'll agree in their day both machines were ones to buy and run, they had their day in the sun but management mainly lost it for them both and sank them. Queen still has an excellent parts availability and support team behind them for what machines are left, they are now making aftermarket parts for deere and some others but last I knew it was limited but growing. I often told them they needed to make another run of self propelled choppers and make the updates needed and they told me they had considered it but no, there wasn't the numbers to compete with deere, clause,new holland, and krone, that and they needed a larger chopper than the biggest one they ever made, in todays market it was just too small and outdated, they even told me the same story I just wrote you about being slow to update and not a large enough product line to survive, they told me they had their day in the sun and now are content to make and sell parts to those last few machines left and some others that the parent companies have long forgot about as they are not current models anymore.

    I sold my queen about 4 years ago and it was the hardest thing I ever had to part with, but sitting in the back of the shed collecting dust wasn't the answer either, I sold it to a young guy who I thought would take care of it and run it for many years by last year he went broke and sold out, I don't know where it went from there, my wife made me stay home from the sale because she knew I'd buy it back and bring it home again to stick in the shed, she was right, so I let it go. Every fall I think about chopping corn silage and how much fun I had doing it but now its just memories of years gone by and changes that needed to come to our lives. Now I've swapped out choppers for dozers and excavators and dozens of other toys to play with instead but its nice to sit back and remember how things were though, as you might have imagined I'd chat for days on choppers and what to do and not to do, what I've tried and what worked and what didn't work and how I should have done things instead of how I did do things.
     
  15. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    I bet you don't really miss all those nights staying up till midnight getting ready for the next days chopping though....lol that knife sharpening was a very time consuming thing to be doing and fifteen minutes before you head to the field is not the time to be rushing through it.....

    one thing that I was glad that Fox did (as did other machines of the time) was to install grease banks, I think there is a million zerks on the machine and many would have been next to impossible to grease if it wern't for those banks. the ones I hate the worst personally are the ones on the bottom of the infeed chains where the crop is carried up to the feed rolls. With any of the heads installed on the chopper it's self you simply cannot see the fittings and most times one has to crawl under the head and have someone roll the head over slowly until you find it. When I'm chopping with it I usually set up a stack of blocks to drive up to and rest the head on so that there is no danger collapse if a hyd line should break, then crawl under to grease.

    Needless to say that machine is so ugly it's cute and it's got a "neat factor" you can only appreciate when you've done the restoration.

    maybe in a few weeks if yer up in this neck of the woods Randy, and if you listen real carefully, you can hear that ole grunt talking smart!!!! lol we're going to be using it to chop stocks after combining again and puttin it through it's paces.
     
  16. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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    Gave up on the getting ready for the next days chopping thing, went away from self unloading wagons and to a semi with an end dump, so maintenance there was about none, and the sharpening thing was down to a few minutes with my sharpening setup I had rigged up, my machine had grease banks on it as well and only took a few minutes to grease and all my corn heads I put grease banks on those as well, my lower sprockets were sealed, like what was on the lower end of a combine head, another improvement I had installed and the whole rest of the head was done with two grease banks I had put on as well, about a 10 minute service, so while I fueled up I greased the whole machine, blew out filters and checked oil and then fired it up, sharpened the knives and set the shear bar and we were off and running, about a half hour total start to finish, unless we needed to replace some knives or something then maybe an hour. My semi was checked over and fueled up, along with the packing tractor and we were up and going for the day, never crawled under the head for anything, no sharpening one knife at a time thing or needing electricity to do it or another tractor to run the hydraulic sharpener like what was on some of those machines, no fighting with self unloading boxes or aprons or webs or flat tires or pto shafts or greasing each wagon one at a time and packing wheel bearings several times a year or replacing bearings and hubs when they went bad, nobody got out to hook and unhook pto shafts anymore or put hitch pins in, none of that time consuming headaches after we switched to bunkers and a dump wagon behind the chopper or loaded directly onto the truck.

    I remember well the days of using six unloading wagons and doing the service thing all night long and repairs that never ended or stopping during the day to work on or fix wagons or tires or gear boxes that went out or webs that broke and wagons that needed pitching off so you could fix the webs, or the cross conveyors that broke and went into the blower and blew that up as well, to wagons that rolled away and got smashed up, to lining up a half dozen people to help with chopping and most never showed up so you were short on help, to having them leave part way through the day because they needed to take their wife out to dinner or something, or someone would leave a pto hooked up and turn a corner with the wagon and it would come apart and twist it into a pretzel, to someone would pull the string on a wagon pin while still moving and the wagon would roll away and down into a ravine or flip onto its side, one guy even pulled the string by accident with a full load and that rolled away down a hill then flipped onto its side, had rims break on wagons and lay over a few times, don't forget plugging the blower at the silo so bad it took hours to get it cleaned out and we took the pipes apart to do it. Can't forget getting tractors stuck in the bunker and the wagons sinking and pulling the tongues off the wagons trying to pull them out or using a skid steer to dig a hole so the wagon could be unloaded because it sank so deep in the conveyor was below the silage level.

    Yea I remember all those days and finally sat down one day and said enough was enough, I'd had it with hired help, beyond tired of wagons and tractors hauling silage, the maintenance thing took half a day each day, the silo thing was another time and patience killer and held nothing per silo and don't forget the unloader fighting each day to feed cattle, something would always go wrong when I'd be on the back end of another farm and I'd have to come home and fix that while everyone stood around waiting for me to get back and chop again. So as they say I steam lined the operation in one fell swoop, sold all the wagons, bought an end dump, packed with a dozer instead of a tractor and nobody drove anything on the bunker but a dozer or packing tractor, bought a dump cart and then went to work on the chopper to stream line the maintenance on that and when I was done we ended up needing on three people to chop silage and got more done per day, like about twice as much and got rid of all hired help, I chopped, my wife hauled with a semi, and one of my kids, then 10 years old leveled and packed with a dozer in the pit, we abandoned the uprights completely and cut hours spent chopping in less than half and chopped even more silage than before................................ and everyone was happy but saying why didn't we do that 15 years earlier instead.
     
  17. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    we went to bunkers about 6 years ago, and have not looked back either. Also like you one of things we started doing was packing with my track loader. One thing that I do not miss is coming up to the load of silage that has been dumped on the ground on the end of the bunker and trying to push with a tractor loader or skid steer. I don't have a tractor big enough to haul that 10 to 15 tons of feed up over the pile or down from the top for that matter so all the feed needs to get pushed in from one end or the other, and when trying to push with a skid steer, well lets just say if it gets a bit greasy I'd be doing a lot of bouncing right back off the pile and sitting there not accomplishing a whole lot. When the cat arrived on the farm it was night and day difference fer sure. Just two pushes and the whole load is up and distributed on top in about 3 to 4 inch layers/lifts. With the thin layer it was very easily packed and I'm also a firm believer that I can pack with the cat and do a better job than any wheeled tractor due to the vibration of the tracks and the shape of the grousers. LOL I even had a few feed reps come out and tell me that "hey your not getting a good enough pack with that cat" and I says well go see for yourself. One guy even tested the density and was amazed to see it come out at around 15.5 lbs for final packed density. About the same density as a bagger. He says well whats your footprint and I had figured around 7.5lbs per square inch. he says how in the heck did you get the density that you had with that light of a footprint. I says I think it's from the vibration and the fact that I'm spreading the silage out in thinner layers than most farmers. It must have satisfied him because he never gave me any grief about it again.

    As for labor savings.............yeah I'm 100% in agreement with you, those bunkers are about the best way to put up a lot of feed fast with half the labor. Now All I have to do is can the wagons and work towards a more efficient system of feed transport. All in due time I think.......can't risk loosing the farm over something that is too costly all at once.
     
  18. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

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    I spent 700 bucks on a dump wagon and another 2k on an end dump trailer and I already had my 2k semi anyhow, sold all the wagons and pocketed the rest after I spent a bunch on the chopper to speed up the service end and doing some other things, if I recall I was about 2 or 3k ahead after the dust settled, not to mention the labor savings and the fuel savings each year by not running about 4 or five tractors to haul with each day. For a lot of years we packed and leveled with a jd 450 crawler loader along with a big jd tractor strictly for packing when the leveling got done, we eventually ended up packing less because the silage at the bottom of the bunker was packed so much you couldn't dig it out with just a skid steer.

    For years we pulled both ways over the top of the pile and unloaded as we went, that way it saved spreading out the silage, three wagons had wide terra tires on them along with tandems and three were single axles, the three tandems went up hill unloading in the bunker and the three single axles went down hill unloading, the problem came with the help that didn't pay attention to which wagon they had and tried to unload a single axle pulling up hill in the bunker and then they usually sank to china, which wasn't all that bad but no matter how much you'd tell them to just stop the instance the tractor tires started to spin, they'd always end up digging the tractor down till it was hung up, gosh I don't miss hired help, they'd usually make more work than the work they'd do about every day.

    As for packing with a dozer we found the same thing, it would level and pack better than any tractor we had, so we eventually ended up just using the dozer for everything, later on we had more than one dozer we used two in the bunker at one time if we had enough help. As for upright silo's I enjoy knocking them down every time I get the chance, there's some sense of getting even somehow from all the grief they gave me over the years I think is why I enjoy it so much even if they aren't my own we knock down.
     
  19. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    317
    Occupation:
    Farming/forestry/TSI
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    LMAO!!!!! getting even with silos LOL how does this sound to you like a feed storage solution? blow the feed 75 feet in the air using a 150 hp tractor guzzling 8 gallons an hr. only to have the feed freeze to the side of the walls inside and causing you to have to babysit the unloader for longer periods of time than you are on the ground. followed by the climbing back down only to get to the last rung on the ladder and hear SNAP SNAP SNAP as the slip clutch is going only to have to return to your post before that monstrosity will function (maybe) the next time. heck I think silo climbing could be an olympic sport, and if it were I would at one time been able to bring home the gold!!!!!
     
  20. Randy88

    Randy88 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    2,032
    Location:
    iowa
    I've got a few better than that, how many times did you check over the unloader and do all the maintenance on it before raising it to the top to only have maybe one or two doors fed out and the bearings go out on the blower housing and cause enough damage to have to haul the housing down the silo chute to have it repaired along with all the blower paddles, then haul them back up again and assemble it on the butt coldest day of the year or christmas day would even be better. The every few days religious trek up the silo to try to chisel off a little bit of silage that was frozen to the walls so the unloader would work at all, only to give up and set the chipper wheels closer to the wall to have the unloader chisel it off instead and to get about a foot of silage fed off took at least 10 trips up the silo to achieve that. How about having the silo about one third fed out and the unloader augers rusted in half and broke to have to take the auger over the top and down the outside and back up with the new one over the top from the outside on the windiest and fricken coldest day of the year, snowing during the event sometime would always seem to happen, but in the summer nothing ever bothered, go figure.

    There's a good reason why the arches of my feet hurt now all the time, its from silo rungs digging into them almost every day of the year. The most feet I'd ever climbed in one day was 1800 when you took the number of times by the hight of the silage in the silo's, we had unloader problems in three silo's in one day and by the time we made all the necessary trips up and down that was the footage I'd climbed. I might have been in better shape back then but at the end of every day I"m glad to get off my feet even today

    How about those frosty mornings where the belts would slip and you'd have to trek up and tighten them up so the unloader would start up. Now in order for the slip clutch to snap meant you must have had a ring drive unloader, try those good for nothing surface drive's on for size, I'd died and thought I'd gone to heaven when we got the first ring drive unloader, only to find out that had its own particular set of headaches, that snapping sound is one of them, the bent spring loaded tension arm is another one when the silage was too thick on the walls.

    But the best came the day we got the bunker, after spending hours literally to fill a feeder wagon out of the uprights on most days during the winter we filled that same feeder wagon in a few minutes from the seat of the skid steer inside the cab, and then the true reality sank in how good life was when we broke down with the feeder wagon...................... we drove it inside the shed and sat in front of the space heater to fix it.............. arms length away from my tools and in the warmth of a heater, right then and there I'd died and gone to heaven, to not have to climb the silo in order to fix anything anymore. When we quit feeding out of the uprights we had two doors left in one silo to go and the unloader broke for the last time, I tossed in the cord and closed the door never to look back, I'd had enough.

    This fall already I've done some work for a few farmers with grain leg setups, landscaping and tiling and digging in underground electricity to them and so fourth. One made a comment to me the other day his leg was new and 120 ft to the crows nest that held the drive motor and he was going on and on how great it was, I waited for him to get done and he asked what I thought and I told him, I'll bet you never had many upright silo to contend with over the years, his comment was no, why do you ask? I told him no reason, but I'll be sure to think of him on the coldest day of harvest when its snowing out and he needs to climb that leg to tighten the drive belts and then tell me how great it is, I'll be sitting in my house watching it all take place, my bins are a lot lower to the ground and so are the drive components and when its really cold out my stuff can be taken into the shop where its warm to work on and have fixed, not 120 feet in the air, or 240 round trip to tools and repairs each trip. I did ask him if he's already installed the pulley and cable system with the bucket to carry tools and such up there yet, he gave me kind of a puzzled look and asked why is that needed. I just told him it brought back some memories I'd rather not remember and then I turned to his boys and wished them the best of luck and hoped they were in good shape physically, and if not don't worry they would be before long. They all laughed and then asked if I wanted to climb to the top........ just to see what it looked like up there................... I told them when they come equipped with elevators I'd be sure to take my turn going up until then I"ll pass, I'm not climbing any more ladders than I have to anymore, I got burned out years back climbing silo's so hungry cattle could eat.