>> Oct 1, 2015
Farm tractors are designed to be tough. Farmers and ranchers who purchase a tractor expect them to withstand constant, rough use and last for generations. It’s very common to see old tractors still going strong decades after automobiles of the same vintage are in the scrapyard. Part of the reason for that is that farmers are very handy at fixing their tractors when they break down.
Tractors are simpler to run and to repair than most cars. They’re used to produce income, so farmers can’t afford to wait when their tractors require maintenance or repairs. That encourages farmers to become their own mechanics. Many farmers have tools that are more commonly found in a machine shop or a mechanic’s garage, like welders and sheet metal presses. They also buy nuts bolts and washers in bulk packages from suppliers like Marafast.com to make sure they have exactly what they need on hand when a repair is necessary.
Watch Out for Vibration
One aspect of the operation of a tractor that poses a unique problem for farmers is vibration. The nature of farm vehicles and the unpaved surfaces they drive over increases the amount of vibration for every part. A regular mechanic might buy nuts bolts and washers in large assortments, with the majority being used in combination to hold components together. That’s not always possible for farm equipment. For example, a large amount of a tractor’s parts are made from stamped sheet metal, and the fastener of choice for holding them together is the sheet metal screw.
Sheet metal screws are much less susceptible to coming loose due to vibration. By their nature, sheet metal parts will vibrate more than solid steel parts like the chassis of a tractor. Sheet metal screws are very convenient for after-market work as well. If you need to mount something to a sheet metal cowling on a tractor, you can pre-drill a hole and send a sheet metal screw in to finish the job. They produce their own threads as they’re being driven home, and they hold tight under a lot of vibration. They’re not nearly as strong as assemblies held together with nuts bolts and washers, however.
Buy Nuts Bolts and Washers When Strength Is the Key
Whenever large assemblies need to be attached to the chassis of a farm implement, farmers buy nuts bolts and washers to do the job. Because they go clear through the assembly and the frame, they are much sturdier. The force that is necessary to shear a common bolt is many magnitudes greater than the amount needed to overcome the friction in a sheet metal screw assembly. The trick is to buy nuts bolts and washers that won’t vibrate loose under heavy use. Choose assortments that feature lock washers and locking nuts to better withstand the shaking that a farm tractor will see during use. Try liquid fasteners to further avoid problems with vibration. If the components on the tractor are made from a softer metal like aluminum, make sure to use a fender washer underneath a lock washer that might cut into the aluminum under heavy use.