Sunday, 8 January 2012

All the Machinery has taken a wobble at the same time

We seem to have run into a period in life when all the machinery seems to have taken a wobble at the same time and cannot shake it off. All attempts to put thing right have been thwarted and mechanics who are working on them cannot just put their finger on the particular problem.

Take the Agrotron tractor for instance, for a long while it had difficulty in drawing its fuel from its own fuel tank, while working its was no trouble but left over night and its fuel in the tank low, you would have to wind the engine for a little while until it had pumped its fuel back up to the engine.  

The Agrotron has done well over ten thousand hours, here its got the post knocker on, mounted on the front, this gives it more reach into difficult corners or  on hedge banks and ditches, and its more convenient to see whats happening

Over the months this got worse, the fuel must drop back to the tank and drawing air into the system. It has a rubber pipe from the tank over the transmition housing to the fuel pump, and this we replaced, but its still getting air into the fuel pipe.

I need to fill the fuel tank to the top each night before I stop it, in order for it to start properly the next day; the problem is more of an air leak in the fuel lift pump I suspect.

Later we found it was the injector bleed off pipe that had fractured and causing the air to get into the fuel system, the main trouble was when running fuel was leaking into the sump, 'watering' down the engine oil.
The bleed off pipes are run along inside the rocker cover, and cannot be seen unless that cover is removed, however we found the trouble after months of trial and error, and it runs and starts well now.

The Land Rover Discovery has a mystery fault that is defying all attempts to diagnose, travelling home from town last Friday one corner of the vehicle started sagging, and thought I had a puncture, I pulled onto the side of the road only to find all the tyres were okay it was the air suspension had dropped on one rear wheel, so I drove it home steadily with the rear mud flap just touching the road and the wheel way up in the top of the wheel arch. Took it round to my local garage who does the work on it for me and by the time I got there, in the next village it had pumped itself back up, and stayed up.

This was when I first had it second hand, right now its in its "working cloths" and looking a bit more rural

He put the diagnostic computer on it and found nothing amiss and physically looked around the air bags and found no leaks.

 So I fetched it back home and went down counting the cattle, then parked it up on the yard, and within the next few minuets it had gone down again.

The following day I backed it round pointing towards the road, with the suspention still down at the bottom and turned Eileen’s car round for her and we set off to take it back to the garage. Before I had done twenty yards to the road it had pumped itself up to normal height, but we still took it to be looked at again.

More and closer inspections of the air bags and pipes, still no leaks, and onto the diagnostic computer revealed no electrical faults, so next day fetched it back yet again.

It did it again, and got it to the garage with it “on its arse” and left it there, he found that these air bags on these vehicles should be changed every  so many thousand miles, and fitted new air bags, that seems to had ironed out the Discovery problems, (until the rear door lock/latch jammed) even that has been mended now.

 And also the JCB Fastrac, I came home after hedge cutting one day, and it had got no brakes, I contacted the lad who does my spanner work on the tractors and machinery ( I do do the big hammer and welding repairs myself but internal work I leave to them’s that should know) .

A low air red warning light was on, on the dash board which suggested low air to the brake, or so you would think.

On looking round it said he knew nothing about air brakes that the Fastrac should have. So I rang the chap who does my mowing and big baling, he has had two Fastrac’s and he recommended the chap who had done worked on his.

 First thing he went for was an air valve in the cab behind the right hand door, he removed it and opened it with all the bits flying all over the place, the aluminium casing was slightly corroded and we ordered a new one, which was fitted a few days later. It did no good it was not that and it did not need a new one but it cost me £110.00.

We found out then it does NOT have air brakes.

This tractor has ahd an easy life overall, it had spent most of its time with a mounted sprayer permanently fitted, and now spent the last few year since I have had it with a hedge cutter mounted on it, to my knowledge its never done a hard days work in its life, (about 8,000 hours on the clock)

Next we/he looked round the slave cylinders on the brake discs, for this we had got to jack it up and take a wheel off. With all the wheel nut off the wheel would not move, it was froze onto the hub, so he hit a few heavy blows with the sledge hammer and still did not move, but one blow had grazed the tyre air valve and started it leaking. Then with a jack between the chassis and the wheel rim we moved it and the wheel came off with a flat tyre.

We/he found nothing wrong with the cylinders or the brake pads, but it cost me £40.00 to have the new valve fitted and the tyre blown up.

 Then looked at the hydraulic pumps, thinking that the smaller one was not putting out enough pressure to activate the brake, by the way we/he did find out that the tractor only had two air tanks and that the brakes did NOT work with the assistance of air, they are oil only. So I priced up a new hydraulic pump, £870.00. (that was the problem in the end)

 At this point I got the impression that he was way out of his depth on tracing this braked problem, so did what I should have done in the first place, I called out the JCB dealers mechanic, who, went round everything that looked as though it had been disturbed and tested the pressures of various pipes and valves only to find a pressure maintenance valve on the side of a hydraulic block was not doing it job.

The mechanic said he would go back to the depot and order the new valve, and it would be ready for me to pick up the following day (the JCB factory where all JCB’s are made is only ten miles away at Rochester).

 I had been given instructions that when I had got the valve, a valve only as big as my thumb, to unscrew the old one out and screw the new one in its place, the valve being all pre- set and ready to do its job. It did not make the brakes work, but it turned out that swarf from the worn out hydraulic pump was jamming up the working of the hydraulic block, this cleaned out (with another call out) the brakes worked at last after almost two months out of commission.

And right now it’s the chain saw, it will not start. Gradually over the last few months when I have used it, it has got worse and worse to start, pulling and pulling on the cord until ya fingers ready to drop off.

The saw is a relatively new one , not done muck work, and still looks brand new, so I spoke to the chap who sold it to me, and he said “how old is the fuel in its tank” and in the drum I’m using it from, it could be six months old unleaded  petrol (gas) fuel.

He suggested I tip the old fuel out and get some fresh fuel, this I did and it still will not start. Pulled (screwed) the spark plug out and found that there was no spark, no wonder it wonna start, so now I’m at the point of a new spark plug, although the “old” one was dry and clean and still looked like new.

When new it started on the third pull and it should do now, do you have any suggestions as to why this critter won’t start?   

All this has happened in the lasty two  months of the old year (2011) were starting the new year with just the chain saw to sort out, thank goodness.

I’ve got a Little Breakdown,

I’ve got a little breakdown and its needs attention now,
Take it to the workshop, to bodge it up somehow,
Need to clear the work bench, with scrap its piled high,
Things that needed mending, I failed but had a try.

Spanners come in sets, they’re spread all round about,
The very one your wanting, one you conner do without,
Spend all morning searching, and you end up with a wrench,
Round the corner off the nut, then find its on the bench.

The metals rusty, flaking off, got it to weld somehow,
Clean the edge and got some gaps, must be done right now,
Spitter spatter stop and start, resembles pigeon siht,
Grind it off and fill the holes, and hope it wunna split.

Drill bits with the edge knocked off, the saw it that hit a nail,
Hammer’s got a headache, and it needs a brand new stale,
Screwdriver hit with hammer, when the chisel conna find,
And the spirit level lost its bubble, ta guess work I’m resigned.

Have a dam good clear up, and throw the rubbish out,
Then look for where you’ve chucked it, that little bit of spout,
Ventualy it all comes back, n’ builds up on the floor,
Praps a bigger workshop, cus I conna shut the door.

I’m really tidy in my mind, but sometimes I forget,
When I’m in a hurry, and black clouds and rain a threat,
Job is done, tools chucked in, the workshop miss the bench,
It happens all the while, but I stick with a big old wrench.

But on the whole I’m not alone, but people don’t admit,
They pretend to be so perfect, spanners back in tool box fit,
A breakdown always happens, when you least expect it could,
Then back to get the job done, as quick as ever should.

(Owd Fred)

A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.

Spanish proverb.


  1. Ouch ! I've been down that road seems like too many times to count and it's never any fun when it's happening that's for sure.

    What brand of saw is it, Fred ? I just replaced a Stihl that I've had since 1989 and it's seen some incredibly heavy use in it's day. I gave it to the junk man and he's using it yet; he's got more patience and time than I do to tinker with it to keep it going.

    Could be a defective plug...have had our share of those over the years for sure.

  2. Just about to test the plug Jason, may put a new one in anyway.
    It is a Stihl, I had a bigger one for years (medium size)it stood some rough treatment, and with age (my age) I found it was getting a bit heavy, so I sold it and bought a smaller one just for general use.

    Theres an old Staffordshire saying Jason,
    (Staffordshire is a county where I live in the centre of England)
    Staffordshire born and Staffordshire bred,
    Strong in the arm and weak in the yed (head)

    Well I think I am now going weak in the arm!