Gear box sludged on baler

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Dec 27, 2008
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Kingman, Arizona
I just bought an MF 224 square baler. What it is probably doesn't matter for my question though. Baling with it the first time yesterday, my son called to say the gear box was dripping oil. Tightening bolts did not help and part of the gasket/shim was sticking out the side of the gear box. Today we drained the gear box (really thick, black oil) and then removed the cover. Inside we found tannish sludge and some water. I want to clean this sludge out as well as possible, so I am looking for suggestions on what to use. Is it as easy as just kerosene and a clean rag? Or, should I go to greater lengths? I am also wondering if I should fill it with motor oil, run it a short while, drain and refill with the proper gear oil? Of course, it is Sunday and I still need to get the proper gaskets/shims. Fortunately, this is baler number 3, so I am not out of action, providing the rain stops. The other two, for those who care, are Gehl 3210s. MF sold the line the Gehl in about 1992 and the Gehls are the same baler. This one is a little older, but got very little use and some abuse. It tied pretty darn well though.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Dualie
If it were mine I would just say kerosene and a parts cleaning brush followed by a final solvent rinse with something like a carb or brake cleaner.
YEP!
 
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Hi, Boatowner - If it was mine I would clean out what you can then fill (a little over full) with a 50/50 mixture of engine oil and kero. Run with no load until warm to touch. Drain. Refill - same again - then: Refill with the correct lubricant and change after about six weeks or so Keeping some form of lubricant in there during the "flush" is a good practice considering the bearings, their cost and placement
 
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sweden
I would use a "kerosene mix" just ordinary THF or STOU (or whatever gearbox oil i have) and do a flush (fill/run/drain) a couple of times until its clean, then fill with proper lubricant. By the way- im rich (well sort of) my hay is in the barn, happy harvesting!
 

Boatowner

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I make hay for others, mostly. We also put away a few hundred for ourselves and to sell during the winter. It is interesting how the gear box is put together, a bearing actually turns in the cover and the cover has to be shimmed just right for that fit. (Did that make any sense?) So, I can't just get a gasket and put it back on. I got the cover good and clean, but a flush looks like the only way to get the sludge out of the inside. It calls for 80w-90 gear oil. I have been thinking of filling it with gear oil, running it a while, draining and refilling. Maybe it will make more sense to fill it, run it, put in the cleaner (kerosene, seafoam, whatever), run it a little more, and drain and refill. My baler mechanic doesn't seem at all concerned about that part. It is a little bit of a mystery how the water got in there, but maybe just condensation from sitting around. We are also going to check the breather. Thank you for the replies.
 
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I am waiting for 3 squeezes of hay for my wifes and daughters horsies. I wouldn't run anything but 100% oil in the box with load. Do you own one of those thingies that pick up the bales from the field? Those are really nice.
 

Boatowner

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I have 9 kids, I don't need one of those thingies to pick up bales, yet. Now, does anyone know anything about the shims that also work as gaskets for the gear box cover? There were 5 of them. It looks like .035 is the correct spacing for the cover. Is less better or more?
 
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"I have 9 kids, I don't need one of those thingies to pick up bales, yet." Dont you have a TV?
 

Boatowner

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Since they come in two thicknesses, .007 and .010, we can't really tell what was there. It looks like a gap of .035 takes the slack out. I have been told the tolerance for too loose is only .001 to .002 while the tolerance for two tight is as much as .010. This means too few shims may be better than too many. I ended up ordering 3 .010s and 2 .007s so I can work with it to get it tight. It could be as little as .020 is the correct thickness, but it is going to take trial and error to find out. Thank you for the replies.
 
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'Stralia
Tell us what sort of gear set is in there. If it's parallel shafts, and either straight cut or helical, the shim is needed to set total end float. Depending on the coupling design and gear set design, you may have a big margin, or not much. Too loose, and they'll "flog", as the internals get a good runup. Too tight, and they'll overheat and fail that way.
 
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I'd clean the gear box manually as good as possible, then refill with the correct gear oil and Auto-Rx Contact them for recommended running hours, then drain and refill. Auto-Rx is pricey, but it actually works as it claims, and it's safe. Running with any solvent or lighter oil is always risky, even when running with no load.
 

BRD

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I grew up on a farm and a lot of times farmers would put some grease in leaky gear boxes to try and seal them up, sometimes even fill them completely. Possible what you are seeing is grease, not sludge.
 

MolaKule

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Quote:
Possible what you are seeing is grease, not sludge.
True, but a gearbox wih a leaky gasket can also pick up a lot of chaff and dirt and transfer it to the oil, making it look like grease.
 
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Yes Kerosine a puty knife and some rags will do just fine as long you supply the elbow grease so to speak! Once you get it clean refill with gear lube and I would put a bottle 1/2 bottle of Auto-Rx in it. This will finish any cleaning you cannot get too and it will prevent future issues in terms of lubricating failure and sludge. It obviosuly will not stop stuff from getting in that is the job of the seals. You never want water getting into anything that is lubed with gear oil or motor oil or atf!
 

BRD

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Well I personally watched my grandpa fill some with grease and heard all his friends tell him that they filled all theirs with grease as well. Good or bad farmers did what they had to to keep things working. But to answer your question, no I would not use motor oil, but think filling it with gear lube and possibly a cleaning additive, run it for a while and then draining it would be a good idea.
 
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