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Student Found His Passion Restoring Oliver Combine
As a teenager walking through a farm auction, Eli Raines spotted an old Oliver 7300 combine and knew right away he wanted to restore one. “Our family had a 1650 Oliver tractor but I had no idea Oliver even made combines until I saw one,” Raines says.
Eli and his father eventually bought an old 7300 from a farmer about 150 miles from their northwest Iowa farm. “We got that one home and I realized it was in really tough shape, almost to the point of not worth saving,” he says. They soon located another one that the farmer hadn’t used for more than a decade.
“The engine was a 318 CID Chrysler that started right up, and the farmer said I could have the machine if I was going to restore it,” Raines says. He drove the 45-year-old machine home, even after he learned that the original owner’s son had removed many belts, pulleys and chains for engineering projects in college.
Raines pulled parts from the first machine to replace those on the other one and eventually assembled a usable combine that was nearly 5 decades old. He painted the machine in the summer of 2019 and received high praise from judges at a local fair for the size and complexity of his project. In the fall he used it to harvest corn and beans on his parent’s farm, even though field conditions were very wet.
“One day I got the machine stuck in a wet field and tore up the transmission trying to get it out,” Raines says, “ Luckily I was able to repair it using replacement parts from my other machine. It works fine and I hope to keep using it.”
Raines is now a college student and plans to continue rebuilding and restoring equipment. He’s narrowing a 36-in. row width planter to 30-in. for use in the spring and recently bought a White 8900 combine to rework.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Elijah Raines, 4656 Kennedy Ave., Alton, Iowa 51003.

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #6