Killing innocent creatures, destroying heavy equiptment

That’s how I spent my day off.

I got up at 7:15 grabbed the pellet gun, went down to the barn, and one by one I murdered all of the innocent pigeons that had come to roost, build their nests, raise their young, and crap on my hay. I put them all in a wheelbarrow (about 40 or so,) and planted them in my garden as fertilizer. I even said a few words of eulogy. “Die skyrats, die.”

Then I took my daughter out to breakfast so the Mrs. could have a break and play tennis.

About noon I settled into the heavy chore.

I have a 1948 super A Farmall Internataional Harvester Tractor with a belly mower on it. All the front gaskets are leaking, and I picked up replacements this week, as well as a new crankshaft pulley, since the guy at the Farm Store told me I’d probably break the old one trying to get it off.

I jacked up the tractor, removed the radiator, unlimbered the whole front end, and used the powerwasher to remove 50 years worth of goop.

Carefully I put the gear puller on the main pulley and started cranking it down.

Snap! The lips of the pulley broke.

Damn. Oh well the mechanic said this would happen. I guess I’d have to use that new $89 cast-iron pulley after all. So much for returning it.

I got the torch and carefully cut the pulley off. Then I took all the plates off, cleaned them of goop and old gasket, carefully sanded them, applied new form-a-gasket to make a good seal, carefully installed all 3 new gaskets and replaced the cover plates one by one.

Elsapsed time so far, 4 hours.

Carefully I sanded and cleaned the crankshaft, and gave it a light coating of liquid wrench. THen, I cleaned the inside of the new pulley, installed the key, carefully filed it, and fitted the pulley on.

The pulley has a hole in the middle. The crankshfat that potrudes is a round steel bar.

Damn, that was a tight fit.

How tight?

Take a coffee can, and try shoveing it up your ass. That’s how tight.

I tapped it with a rubber mallet and it quickly got locked on their solid. I can’t hit it with a hammer, the pulley’s cast-iron, and it’ll break.

I call the far-shop.

“How do you get those things on there all the way?”

“Pound on it with a brass hammer.”

I don’t have a brass hammer. I took a piece of wood, and fit it into the center of of the pulley. I pounded the hammer on the wood.

Once I got at it, the wood, splintered.

Crap. I went and cut myself a dozen pieces of wood to fit.

One by one they split as I made slow but inexorable progress pounding that pulley on.

Finally it got tight again. About 1/2 inch to go.

I cut some more wood and broke out the sledgehammer.

Carefully, I kept wacking it with the sledge. It got tight again.


Cut more wood.

A couple more good wacks oughtta do it.

I wound up.

Slam! The wood splinters, and the sledgehammer keeps going, breaking both lips of the pulley. It keeps going, and slams into the front cover that I just put a gasket on. It drives a piece of the shattered pulley right through the thin metal.

I sit down. I’m about to cry.

Another pulley $89.00, new front cover $220.00, new gaskets, $18.00, a whole day off wasted, priceless.

The parts won’t come 'till midweek. If I want to mow next weekend, I’ll have to spend a night after work, redoing all this.


That is a mighty harsh ending to a day off and $327.00. You sure are handy for a guy who moved from the city though. Are you going to buy a brass hammer as well next time so you don’t have to chop anymore wood?

[sub]But what we really want to know is… What the hell are those groundhogs up to and when does this years war start?[/sub]

Get some sheep – or llamas. They’ll eat the grass and convert it into highly efficient fertilizer. Plus, they’re cute, so Mrs. Scylla and the kids will forgive you the pigeon murders.

In the long run, they might be cheaper than keeping the machinery going.

Just a thought. :slight_smile:

Try heating the new sheave on its inside diameter with your cutting torch,Scylla.And some Copperkote(or a reasonable facsimile)would probably work much better than WD40.

Yeah, heat it, Scylla. Heat it to about 800 degrees – then grab it to put it on.

Actually, I baked some Harley parts in my oven for a few hours one day, so I really shouldn’t laugh too hard. Mrs. Danalan was not amused when she found out. It didn’t help that I used her best oven mitts.

Can’t. The pulley fits over the metal and into a rubber gasket. I’d cook the gasket. I thought about boiling it though.

I was certain, when I read this thread title, that you were once again alluding to the threat to your testicles, perhaps having been–alas–realized by a safety pin gone awry after all.

Much relieved to learn the “innocent creatures” and “heavy equipment” were not, in fact, your jewels.

BTW, Roger Welsch has a book out called “Old Tractors and the Men Who Love Them.” Oprah may never feature your plight on her show, but you are not forgotten.

Bummer, Scylla.

Sounds like you were the on the receiving end of some bad pigeon karma. Maybe you should have fixed the tractor first and then whacked the birdies.

Them pigeons have wicked scary powers.

That’s why I used the oven on the Harley parts – didn’t want to melt anything. Just set the oven to 250 or so. Will the part fit in the oven?

I don’t love my tractor. I don’t even like it all that much. It came with the farm, and it has a 60" mower on it. That sucker cuts high grass to a landscaped finish in 3rd gear!

That’s why I keep it.


I might be worried about your seals if the metal was in contact with them when it was hot. 250 degrees will probably melt of weaken a gasket, I’d think. But yeah, it would fit in an oven. No problem.

It took me a brief second then I laughed. For some reason that just gets me. One I’ve never seen before, bravo good sir.
Any other nominations?

Well shit and damn… that was supposed to be a new thread!

Could you chill the shaft? Dry ice or a mixture with alcohol might work. Keep in mind that cold makes rubber brittle, but does not cause permanent damage unless you stress the material. A good machinist can look up how much warming the pulley and chilling the shaft will get you. Machinery’s Handbook has some charts for this if you can scrounge a copy. Don’t know your exact situation. Hope this helps.

If you have a metal pail you could put a quart of oil in it and heat it with your torch,then put the pulley in there.And if you want to cool the shaft,and have a tiger torch,direct a stream of liquid propane at it for several seconds.
And thanks,Whammo.

You don’t have to get it that hot,Dan,and gloves are an option.I am assuming Scylla knows what he is doing with a torch,since he managed to cut off a cast iron sheave.

Got a new pulley today. Boiled it, after careful filing and got that sumbitch on.

Put tractor back together.

It runs fine, and doesn’t leak!

Tomorrow I mow.

No one can stop me!

Congratulations on your repair.

Now let’s just hope those killer groundhogs haven’t left any holes out there to swallow up your newly fixed machine!



Try liquid nitrogen on the shaft, this is common engineering practice and it is readily available.

I’ve seen CO[sub]2[/sub] used but you need to be in open air, it can be toxic.

My SO lives on an old hippie farm (son and I have joined him out there in the past couple of years). He bought a lawn tractor many years ago to deal with the expanse (and well, it’s not really grass like you’d think but it’s semi green etc.) well, the damned thing kept on breaking down. He’d take it in to get fixed, bring it back, something else would break. Multiply this by 6 or 7, and you get the idea of why it’s still sitting near the ga-rage.

So, what we’ve done is “go natural”. We’re thinking of becoming an official ‘prarie’ site. The only real problem we’ve faced is that in summer sometimes the longer pieces of whatever we have growing there, kinda goose me when I’m wearing a dress.