Fine-tuning the Fusion - the six key service points on the popular McHale Fusion baler wrapper
Silage season isn't far away and this is the time of year to start thinking about baler repairs. Doing the simple things right should keep you out of trouble for the most part.
The basics include checking the drive chains for correct tension, giving the machine a good clean inside and out, and making sure the baler is lubricated with the correct fill of the right oils and greases.
Here I take a look at the main points of care around a McHale Fusion baler wrapper.
This is a baler that tends to last if looked after and there are plenty around the country with tens of thousands of bales on the clock.
Remember: safety is the number one priority.
Before starting any maintenance or repairs, the PTO drive should be disengaged - preferably disconnected altogether - and the tractor engine stopped.
Have someone with you. If doing bale chamber repairs, be extra careful to secure the open tailgate by closing the hydraulic tap on the lift circuit.
Cam bearings on the feed intake rotor need to be replaced every season. A cam bearing costs around €25 plus VAT. It is also important to check the pickup chain; while this won't need to be replaced every season, it still needs to be checked for wear. If it looks worn, go ahead and replace it to avoid downtime midseason. A new pickup chain costs around €150 plus VAT.
In this picture you can see the feed auger just above the intake rotor. This baler has about 16,000 bales made and, though some wear is now visible on the auger, it doesn't need replacing this season. You can also see some pickup tines - replacement tines cost about €3 plus VAT.
One thing that must be changed each season is the gearbox oil.
As can be seen from the picture, the bung on the gearbox on the Fusion 2 is more accessible than it was on the original Fusion. No check in this area is complete without mentioning safety - if the PTO shaft cover is anything but perfect, it should be replaced.
The knives need to be taken out and sharpened, while any cracked or broken knives should be replaced.
A new knife costs about €25 plus VAT. Roll pins on knives also need to be checked as they too can break (though McHale made an improvement on the Fusion 2 by increasing roll pin diameter from 10mm to 12mm). A replacement roll pin costs about €1.
Check the chamber rollers and bearings for movement. Run the baler for 10-15 minutes before servicing. This will help to clarify what needs to be replaced (as opposed to maybe just having a rattling stone stuck in the chamber).
It is a bad sign if rollers are screeching for long periods as they rotate. An automatically greasing baler costs a bit more, but tends to prolong roller bearing life because dirt is pushed out of the bearings by the incoming grease.
Keep a spare cartridge of grease in the tractor at all times. A cartridge will do for about 300 bales and costs €2.50.
A good supply of grease will act as a preventative measure for the likes of roller bearings as the grease pushes out dirt and grime from inside the bearings.
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