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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an older john deere 336 baler that I have had for 4 seasons now and this season its struggling to make a nice tight bale in dry grass hay. The bales are real loose because I keep loosening the cranks on the bale tension to see if that is the problem (as it usually is but thats in wet hay). It will make 20-30 and then it will break the knot (or the knot pulls thru). This issue is compounded as I have an old Hoeschler accumulator behind it and it doesn't want to cycle as well because the lighter bales don't feed the same. I have been tightening the bale tension now that my bales are so light and it will bale 20-30 and then miss 2-3 in a row. I have a JD manual but the knotters are still voodoo mystery to me.
 

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I'm doing some upgrades on my 24T right now, because of a similar reason.

I upgraded the tucker fingers to the Green Baler Parts kit, and found while setting things up that one of the twine fingers was broken off. Of I think more importance the hay needles were not adjusted properly and were dragging heavily on the knotter frame. It should just lightly touch. Aligning the hay needles is a pain in the ass, and seems more art than science to me - I think I have it set up right.

I haven't tested it yet, so perhaps it's too early to tell but I think upgrading the tucker fingers, replacing the broken twine finger, and adjusting the hay needles will solve my problem.
 

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Sort out the needles first. Check twine tension. Check tucker position. Sharpen knives, polish bill hooks. Check wiper clearance. Also check the twine discs for bits of busted twine wound into them. A bit of twine stuck in there causes issues and can be hard to spot.

If your needles were run hard against the knotter too long the twine discs get messed up, either wearing the notch quite large or mushrooms the disc in the area by the notch. Can dress the peened material around the notches or replace them. May need the discs retimed too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry I should have mentioned that last year I replaced the tucker finger kit with one from greenbalerparts.com and spent alot of time getting things back in time. I believe that the needles are coming up in time and in the correct position. To answer the other question, I was loosening tension as that usually fixes my knotting issues. In this case, I was adding tension throughout the day to get back to making good bales and I am not convinced bale tension was why my knots were no holding.

I will check all of the items slowzuki mentioned as those could be the items added to the trouble. Usually those items get sorted out within the first 10-20 bales and then everything is fine but I made 350-400 bales and were still sorting out troubles.
 

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I’m wondering if you’ve got some haydogs with broken springs and/or just missing allowing the hay to push rear and foul-up the knotter operation. That 336 should pound out a rock solid bale easy peazy. Next I’m thinking is the tucker finger working correctly. What kind of twine do you have, sisal or plastic? I switched to plastic (9600/210) and we don’t have broken bales and the only knot that comes loose is the one I tie between balls of twine. Are you running at full 540 PTO RPMs? IMHO a John Deere, especially 336 to new are not fussy balers and are very tolerant making for consistent bricks.
 

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IMHO loosening bale tension in an attempt to get knotter to tie isn't the correct procedure. I set tension for bale weight that I desire(50-60#) then if knotter doesn't knot correctly then address the knotter problems
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have actually been working down to lighter twine and have been using some 130lb knot strength plastic stuff from the local farm store and maybe I should go back up to 170. The baler came with some stuff that looked like 100-120 knot strength stuff that could have been who knows how old (baler was bought at an auction 4 summers ago) and it worked fine so I have been experimenting with smaller knot strength plastic twines. I think the knot itself is good but at times it seems to pull apart not break. I also have a few bales that were way too wet (35-40% moisture) that we did at first and those bales weigh 70-85lbs and those knots are fine, so I am not sure why it the knots wont stay consistent on bales only weighing 25-35 lbs (which are too loose and will most likely get rebaled). Later in the day I was cranking down on the bale tension and the knots would hold most of the time but randomly I would loose 2-3 in a row for some reason.

As mentioned above I put in the tucker finger kit last year and had pretty good luck with making good bales last year after getting it timed and setup after that. I am still learning about all of the voodoo that is involved in the knotters in general but I have a manual and am trying to work thru some of the items it suggests in the trouble shooting area. I am running the baler on an old farmall 706 and I am usually at 2000-2200 rpm and I believe 2100 is the number to achieve 540 on that tractor. I am also going painfully slow 1.5-2mph and am thinking I should able to go a little faster once everything is tuned and running good, is that just a pipe dream?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I should add that bale tension is usually the item I adjust first to see if that solves my knotter issues and usually it does and I am still usually make good bales, but I should be as you say setting it for the desired bale weight and then addressing the other issues.
 

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I have actually been working down to lighter twine and have been using some 130lb knot strength plastic stuff from the local farm store and maybe I should go back up to 170.
I'd vote this is the reason for a lot (if not almost all) of your problem. That lighter stuff from wherever and a JD, isn't a good mix HERE. The lighter stuff can barely be OK in a different color baler, but not by very much. With my 24T, the only thing that 130# stuff was good for was maybe a wheel chock at best. Get the 170 stuff soon, would be my advice.

A good friend has a 336 and won't use anything less than 210# tensile strength. He claims that he has less than 1-2 bales out of a thousand broken in his throw wagons, with it (he thinks the 1-2 broken bales could be contributed to operator error on tying twine balls together even ;)).

Larry
 

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We run poly 130 lb in a 336 and 348, hundreds of spools. No issues other than had to run 1-2 lb tension of the needles against the knotter (vs leaving a small clearance that works with sisal) so when cycling it would catch the twine reliably. Both balers only miss once per spool after they have run a few bales through at start of season.

We do have a few times a season the cut tails of poly twine get jammed in the twine disc stack and it makes a mess to dig out if you don't catch it asap as more twine gets wound up in there tight. Needle nose pliers and knife.
 

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My old JD Baler hated the thin plastic twine. I used 170 and 210 as Larry mentioned and it seemed to make it happy. I don't think my baler could get a good clean hold of the thin twine with the bill hooks.

Regards, Mike
 

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I would defentley look at your hay dog springs and make sure they are not broken or that the shaft is wollered out. I would also make sure your twine disk are in time and the knifes are sharp. I run 190 plastic on my jd 336 and can pack a super tight bale with not issues if it pulling out or breaking.l knock on wood.
 

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Without seeing your knots or broken strings/knots, and I think you said the knots are pulling thru, I would guess the tension in the twine holders/disks. I would hazard a guess that your twine is pulling out of the twine holder and is being held under the bale enough so that it doesn't come out of the needles; when the needle cycles, you will have a knot only in one of the strings and the other end has no knot; if that is correct, that will also be a shorter string than a fully tied string. Smaller twine could need the twine disks adjusted to hold it properly.

Again, just a guess; the twine and the knots tell the story if we could see some of the missed/broken strings.

Mark

Edit: PS, the twine disks tension is also the reason for having to drive slow and having to make looser bales. Driving slow puts a smaller charge of hay in and doesn't put as sharp of a pull on the string with each charge of hay as a driving faster and hitting the string with a larger charge of hay.
 

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Guys I thank all of you for the info given and I will look at all of the areas mentioned as well as try some heavier twine again. It’s raining here and I am traveling for work but plan to hit it this weekend. One quick question as I cant find my manual, how would I adjust the tension on the stack of disks?
 

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(Don't hold me to accuracy on this, but...) To the right of the twine disks, there should be a 3/8 nut (9/16 wrench) with a flat spring behind the nut. The spring is a flat piece of spring steel that is bent toward the left and is pointing downward. The stud that the flat spring and nut are on are "pointing" toward the right. If I remember correctly, it should take @70 lbs of pull to pull the twine from the disks. I use a fish scale; but be careful because when it comes out, the scale hits you in the piehole and turns your mouth into a temporary pez dispenser.

If you OVERtighten the twine disks, you can also have knot problems in that the disks cut some of the strands in the twine and weaken it.

Turn it clockwise a couple of flats of the nut and you should see a difference if that is your problem, but I like using a fish scale to know if that is/was the problem before adjusting something that may or may not be the problem.
 

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Yep. New Holland says to only adjust the springs 1/8 turn at a time. A little bit of adjustment makes a lot of difference.
 
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