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Deere Forage Harvester
"There are times when I would like to order psychiatric exams for the engineers who designed the Deere 3960 forage harvester," says Doug Robertson, Carstairs, Alberta. "The harvester cuts well and efficiently but the top rear and bottom rear rolls, which do all the work, have nongreasable bearings. We go through 2 or 3 top and 1 or 2 bottom bearings a season cutting custom silage. Also, the gearbox chain idler is placed in such a way that instead of taking up slack from the chain it takes the full force from the feedrolls. To top it off, the standard Deere idler is a sprocket with needle bearings in a plastic race that lasts, at most, two days when cutting 30 ton per hour. We replaced it with a sprocket which has aircraft alternator needle bearings - all metal inside and then we counter-drilled the idler shaft, and put a grease nipple on the end which lubricates the bushings the needles run on.
"With this arrangement we can now go a season without having trouble. The new 3970 has greasable feedroll bearings but the idler remains in the same place, although it's on a bigger shaft. It's too bad they handicapped a good machine with a basic engineering design flaw that will continue to cause trouble."

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #4