On July 4th, Bob broke down on rented land about five miles from home and called me for help. His 1968 Massey Ferguson 2135 industrial tractor had overheated because of a broken fan belt. … Now for the rest of that story.
Replacing the fan belt wasn't going to be an easy job. Bob would have to take off the loader's hydraulic pump because it is driven off the front of the engine. This part has been on the tractor since 1968. To get at the belt, he'd be removing half of the front end of the tractor, a fact that did not make my husband happy.
Bob just stood there looking at the tractor in the shop when we got home. All he needed to get going again was the fan belt. Hay was waiting to be picked up in the field and rain was on the horizon.
Bob started thinking creatively. He knew he could run the tractor without a fan belt for about half an hour before it would overheat again. This meant he could actually pick up one load of hay at home before he'd have to stop and cool off the engine, but that wasn't much of a solution.
So how could he replace the belt without taking all that time to get the hydraulic pump off? Make an instant belt, that's how.
Bob's first hand-made fan belt consisted of four nylon cable ties. He put the four ties together, looping and finally fastening them around the alternator, water pump and crankshaft. When he pulled the ties tight, he had a nylon fan belt.
I was in the shop when Bob turned the engine over for the first time with his cable tie fan belt in place. Just in case it flew off, I stepped back out of range. To my surprise, the makeshift belt held.
Bob hurried out to the field with his 'fixed' tractor, ready to start spearing the 500-pound round bales on to a hay wagon. He drove to the field, about a mile from home, before the nylon fan belt broke, but he still managed to load one wagon and get home before the tractor steamed again.
A new trick was needed. Bob thought and rummaged around the shop. The nylon setup had worked, some. He was sure he could come up with something else that would last a bit longer. You're not going to believe this - his next fan belt was crafted out of leather shoe laces!
By the time the shoe lace belt was in place, the tractor had cooled down so he raced to the field again. Bob got another load picked up before the shoelace belt broke.
Bob tried plastic baler twine next. That didn't work at all. Bob said he didn't even get to the field with that twine in place, but he was still trying.
His next remedy was lengths of clothesline. This actually worked the best of all his home-made fan belts. Each clothesline fan belt held up for two trips to the field before wearing out. Of course, when it wore out Bob just tied a new one on, tightened everything up again, and then went out to the field. Eventually, Bob managed to haul all the bales to the buildings and put them away before the rain arrived.
Of course, using the clothesline was only a short-term solution. Bob checked with a local farm equipment dealer to find out their answer. They estimated that to get a regular belt in place, removing the front mounted hydraulic pump, would be about five hours labor. That was too costly for my husband to pay for his 1968 machine.
Bob did some more checking. This time he went online and found a V-belt that could be put on without taking anything apart on his tractor. He found a Browning AP Griptwist belt that would work. It wasn't cheap, but he had no other choice.
Days later, when this specialty belt arrived in the mail I was skeptical that it would work any better than the clothesline. It was a length of interlocking pieces and hardly even looked like a fan belt.
Bob managed to take off the correct number of Griptwist pieces and got it to the needed length. The hardest part was reweaving the two ends together when putting it on the tractor.
To my surprise he accomplished that and fit it to that MF 2135 and its working great. Another happy ending to a Bob story.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net;