December 28, 2013

Living The Shop Life

Its that time of year again in the northern plains to settle in and find something to do indoors for the winter.  December has been a brutally cold month, and with plenty of snow on the ground to go with it, Andy and I have made some significant progress on some shop work.

We were able to get all the reel grinding and setup done by the early part of December.  For the last 3 weeks, we have been tearing deep into some of the older pieces of equipment that are in need of some serious work.

Our two heavy duty Toro Workmans are model years 1997 and 1999 respectively, meaning they have both seen about 15 years of harsh conditions on the golf course.  Both of these units take a beating daily by hauling all of the heavy loads of gravel, sand, and soil that we need to move around.  One of the units also had an unfortunate collision with a bridge this fall, meaning it was in need of some body work as well.

Between the two units, beyond all the normal fluid, filter, and lube service, we replaced a set of collapsed leaf springs, replaced steering linkage bearings, built a new front bumper, repaired four broken fenders, replaced a leaking seal in a power steering pump, and repainted a bunch of chipped and rusted body parts.

Lots of torch heat was used in the removal and disassembly of all the
rusted and seized bolts on this 15 year old power steering pump. 
Next on the list was the 2007 sandpro.  While it is not one of our older units, it still needed some extra attention. It took almost 2 full days in the shop to trace and find a broken wire in the starting circuit that wouldn't allow the unit to start with the key switch.  We spent the last month of the season this year arcing the starter soleniod with a screwdriver to start the unit.  After the wire was found, we replaced a few worn bearings and bushings in the steering column that were making the unit steer very erratically.

Front steering of the Sandpro completely disassembled.

Lastly, our two 13 year old Toro 325D rough mowers have been in the shop for the last week.  With 5,000 hours on them, these units have the equivalent of about 200,000 miles on them if they were cars.  Needless to say, they are in rough shape.  Both of these mowers are old and slow, and worse, with a 6' wide fixed deck, do a terrible job mowing any of the undulations on the golf course.  These two mowers are top on the list of equipment that needs to be replaced.

In the meantime, they have been torn down pretty extensively this week to replace leaking seals, replace bad bearings, both units got new brakes (neither unit has had a functional parking brake for the last year), replace torn seats, replace leaking and cracked hydraulic hoses, replace worn out belts, and lastly, painting some of the badly chipped and rusted body parts.

The 325s are so torn apart they almost look ready for the junkyard...
Both of these units have already been in the shop for about a week, and still need another week to get them completely put back together.  All told about $1,000 worth of parts have already gone into them just so that they can hopefully make it through another season.  However, with every part we dissassembled to remove and replace, we would find 3 or 4 more associated parts that were worn out and on their last leg.  Realistically, every part on these mowers have outlived their lifespan and are on borrowed time.

I can almost guarantee that both of these mowers, regardless of our best repair efforts this winter, will still be spending some significant down time in the shop next summer replacing a seized bearings, broken belt, sheared off shaft, leaking seal, broken hydraulic hose, etc, etc, etc....

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