August 31, 2015 by phicks2012
Okay, so I have pastures that need to be maintained. Despite grazing animals with healthy appetites, the fields have to be mown, or else they are going to get covered eventually with weeds, burs, and trees, and it doesn’t take long for a nice clear field to start looking like a post-apocalyptic wasteland — minus the bombed-out shells of buildings, rusted-out car skeletons, and zombies.
Horses refuse to eat “just anything” — picky buggers. They’ll pretty much eat only grass and clover, and almost overnight small fast-growing saplings can take root and start looking like precursors to a rain forest.
A regular push mower is just NOT going to work to get things cleared. I mean REALLY? Even a riding mower/lawn tractor isn’t really the best option, because they aren’t made to take down thick brush or to whack through the trunks of small trees. Can you say “broken blades”?
Nope, when you have pastures to keep clear, an unpaved driveway to scrape periodically (to keep it passable for vehicles smaller and lower-set than a Monster Truck), earth to move, fields to plow up and to re-seed, and post-holes to dig you really need a “real tractor”. It’s a necessity, so either you have to have a friendly and generous neighbor who owns one, or you have to get your own.
I did, years ago, and her name is LouLou. Machines surviving past a certain age deserve names. So There!
Fortunately, tractors last a long time if properly maintained, and are intended for heavy-duty use. There are some really ancient, practically paleolithic, tractors out there that are still being used, and as long as you can get parts for them they can keep going practically forever, but it’s not always easy –or inexpensive — to get those parts. Trust me on this one.
When there were only a few types of tractor it was easier, but nowadays tractor companies seem to come and go, and after relatively few years (at least in the scale of geologic time) they sell out to other companies, thereafter making the parts considerably harder to come by.
LouLou one of those tractors, produced by a company that later sold out to — depending upon who you ask — Mitsubishi, or Ford, or some other company in Montana, or maybe India. The facts aren’t at all clear. I’ve managed to find a company on-line that reputedly sells the parts, but I waited for over a month for them to ship a spring, a bolt, and two nuts (still haven’t gotten the bolt and the nuts, by the way), so I’d be hard pressed at this point to vouch for their reliability. On the other hand, you “can” get “some” of the parts locally if you can get a tractor place to order them and are willing to drive 20+ miles to pick them up.
So, the when LouLou stopped working, we realized we were either going to have to pay to have her hauled or towed to a tractor repair place (I don’t have a trailer big enough), and I figured the towing would set me back at least $150 even BEFORE they checked the old girl out, got parts, and tacked on labor costs. That meant that even a SIMPLE fix was going to drain my checking account (if I went that way), or that we had to figure out what was wrong with her and do a home repair — easier said than done.
Jason figured out that the Fuel Injector pump had died, but finding the (small and very simple) part for less than the gross national product of China was another matter. We finally found one and replaced that — it took all of five minutes and an IQ of 25 to swap it out — but while LouLou then cranked she wouldn’t STAY cranked. As soon as the key was back in the default RUN position the engine cut off. Wonderful!!
We thought it was the ignition switch, so we ordered and got one of those. Now we have an extra, because that wasn’t the problem. Finally, someone suggested the timing relay, and Jason checked all of the relays and changed all of the fuses, and suddenly VOILA!! LouLou cranked and STAYED cranked. Hallelujah!!
So on that day a grateful Jason gave the old girl a bath, and a grateful ME looked on with delight as she cranked up and ran! It meant the fields were finally going to get bushhogged (we had to get parts for the Bushhog, too), the driveway (where the run-off from the church next door was washing out virtual “canyons”) could be scraped smooth (okay, smooth-ER), and the lower pasture could finally be plowed.
The next plan is to get her a seat cover so that after a rain her driver doesn’t wind up sitting on a wet sponge, and to get her some dental work (teeth for the bucket). Jason thinks it would give her a more winning smile, and that she’d be better able to eat dirt! Bon Apetit! 😉