We've had a pretty wet spring and early summer so I waited until last weekend to mow our 20 acres of hay. I checked out the baler including running it without load to listen for any bad signs and i checked the bearing housing temperatures with an infra red thermometer. All was well.
I had the raked and started to bale on Tuesday evening. The windrows were very full because of the late cut and I ran in a lower gear with higher engine rpms so as not to force too much hay into the pick up. I made 4 beautiful net wrapped bale and as I was about to wrap the fifth bale I heard a squeal that sounded like the Bale Command II beeper that says kick out the bale.
Now i know it wasn't the beeper that I heard . It was the failure of the pivot roll bearing because the bale came out unwrapped. I saw some smoke in the front of the baler and when i climbed up to look, there was a wisp of hay smoldering on the left hand side of middle roll. I had some bottled water in the cab so I pulled the wisp of hay out and poured water on the smoldering hay and the obvious warm left end of the middle roll. I got the thermometer out and recorded 260°F on the right side end of the pivot roll and the left end was warm to the touch
The left end of the middle roll was discolored from the heat but i didn't record the temp. Looking at the gears from the opening between the guard and the middle roll, the gears looked misaligned. I think the bearing failure allowed the gear to come out of alignment but I not sure if it was the right side bearing that failed first and that caused a failure of the left bearing or vice versa.
This baler had 22,000 bales on it five years ago andIi have made some minor repairs ( tailgate cylinder, pickup teeth, bale shape sensor, etc) that I would have expected from a baler with this type of usage. the local dealer ran it before delivery for four hours and checked the bearing temperatures and they were all consider normal (~`100°F) and said if they get above 130°F that would not be good. I don't think a bearing failure especially with this usage is abnormal. It's just normal wear and tear.
I worked my way through college as and equipment repair mechanic in a steel mill so I'm not afraid of attempting a repair and I reviewed Mike10's excellent repair post but at age 77 I'm not sure that I could physically do it. I put up under 100 bales a year so the question I have, it it worth doing on a old, but otherwise good running baler? Any idea what a dealer would charge to do the repair? You more experienced hay baler have always given me good advice so I'd appreciate some more of that for this situation.
Thanks in advance.