It has been some time since the state of the Farm’s heavy machinery has been discussed. When last mentioned, the Farm featured a Kubota tractor that had been purchased new, but then heavily used for X-Games tractor stunt driving practice sessions. Where to start? The years of tractor stunt driving finally took their toll. When both front wheels were seen to be wobbling eight inches side to side while the tractor was in motion, it was hypothesized that the Kubota may have performed one too many front-wheel wheelies. The sound of crunching metal from within the front axle also gave the hint that there might possibly be a problem.
As haying season was fast approaching, something needed to be done about this mechanical issue. Calls were placed to the local dealer, where an estimate was given of $900 just to tear the front axle apart to see what might be amiss. The good news was that, worst-case scenario, the parts bill wouldn’t exceed $10,457, which was the cost of an entirely new front end.
Farm funds were checked, and it was decided that George’s son J.D. could pull apart the front end, with a neighboring farmer providing adult supervision. The two tinkerers of all things mechanical drove the tractor to a spot inside the steel barn that had been cleared away by making seven dump runs and doubling the height of the piles of junk for ten feet behind the work area.
J.D. started by popping the grease seal on the bottom of the axle to remove all of the fluid and the first problem was discovered: no seal and no lubricating fluid. The two took a wild guess that this may have been the cause of all of the crunching and grinding noises from within. The neighbor made the folly of inquiring as to when the last scheduled service had been performed on the tractor. J.D. just stared at him blankly, and so it was assumed that that probably meant never.
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