Tuesday 17 August 2021

Mechanical Thinking

 It's funny, my dad always sees me as non mechanical, mainly because I chose to work with wood rather than metal. But, looking back, I'm always fixing machines or maintaining them, changing batteries or topping stuff up, there is always something breaking and although I do phone dad for advice I quite often get things going again myself. 

My little old blue digger is a good case in this one, I've bled it numerous times when there has been problems with the fuel line, replaced pipes, and now dealt with the track coming off. 

When it happens it is never in a convenient time or place and this was no exception. I was trying to level an area for our earth oven and wanted to bring the digger to the bottom of the orchard to create a space for the "waste" soil. As I got to the narrowest bit the track went slack and I lost traction. 

Whoever designed the access to the tensioner grease nipple (grease keeps the track tight on this old digger) must have hands like a kittens paws. My hands struggled to get in there to slacken off the nut to let the grease out to get the track back on. The spanner would only do a fraction of a turn. 

It was a hot day and with the heat of the digger I was sweating buckets. I managed to get it slack, (release the pressure then use the digger bucket to push against the wheel), manhandle the track back on (with a bit of swearing) and then tighten it back up. I moved the digger down and out the way then before realising it wasn't keeping tight and I needed to take it apart again. 

Looks like it's missing a tiny bearing (which I probably lost when I slackened off the tension the first time) so won't hold pressure. I took the track off and took out the offending piece which I will now take to the farm as they have all the piece I'll need to fix it (hopefully), the seals might get redone as well. 

I've also borrowed a tractor for a few months over the summer as well. It has grass tyres on (which is fine) but they're quite low profile and the one has a slow puncture. I decided while I was in the right frame of mine to get this off as well. Of course none of my sockets have a big enough bar to crack the lug nuts, so I had to improvise. I found a bit of rebar and used it with the socket set, it just fit and provided plenty of leverage for me to get the wheel off! 

Anyone else always fixing things?


  1. You've taught me something as I never knew that twisted metal thing was called a rebar!

  2. For years I have had a strong suspicion that the people designing things are not the people repairing them in the field - nor do they have any idea what that might entail. Some designs are more clearly for the ease of manufacturing than for how they will be used or maintained.

  3. My husband has large hands and often calls me to get into tight spaces.

  4. I have a 1952 Ford 8N and a 2009 Polaris Ranger. The Ford tractor was designed by Henry Ford to be "long lasting and easily repaired by a farmer with limited tools." It is a joy to use, seldom needs repairs, and is easy and cheap to fix when it needs it. The Ranger, on the other hand.... You're supposed to take it to a dealer to have the oil changed! It is nearly impossible to get to the radiator to wash it off. Engineers!!!!! They work for who pays 'em...... Cheers


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