A Brief Word

| March/April 1997

After enjoying a very nice Christmas Holiday, along comes January 7, our customary deadline for this month's column. Even after writing this column for quite a few years, the 7th day of the month seems to come up very quickly, and quite unannounced that is, unless we miss our deadline and get a pleading call from the home office at Lancaster. We must confess that one month last fall, the 7th came and went without our even thinking about it. In order to keep things on schedule with mechanicals, printing, and mailing, that required us to get busy and burn the midnight oil. However, we admit that we enjoy putting all your mail in a stack and then going through each letter. Hopefully, we can continue for some time to come with this forum.

As a reminder to older subscribers and as a bit of information for the newer ones, this column is intended solely as an informational forum. We don't have all the answers to your questions, and the truth is that even after 25 years of study, plus 30-some books on engines and tractors, we are continually amazed at the new discoveries and new information that appears. Many times we call upon other readers for answers, and in the vast majority of the questions, someone has some data or some. answers.

A new subscriber recently wrote us asking how to go about lining up the belt for a small engine to another machine, such as a corn sheller. At first we were taken aback, since this writer has been doing this sort of thing from a kid onward. In fact, it was with considerable pride that we could unhook from the threshing machine, make a loop with the tractor, and be lined up the first shot. That bit of nearly useless information aside, we thought about the letter we received, and it dawned on us that lots of people of our time were never around this equipment, never operated it, and perhaps never saw any of it until becoming interested in our hobby. Then we started to put our thoughts on paper, and we found it challenging to pass along something that we've always taken for granted. Here's our stab at it:

 In aligning anything, it's a given that the two shafts, that of the engine and that of the driven machine have to be parallel. We always called this 'squaring up' or 'lining up.' With a good eye and a bit of experience, it's relatively easy to roll out the drivebelt square to the driven machine. Then all that's necessary is to square up the engine or tractor to the drivebelt. If the belt is running in or out on the drive pulley, shifting the front end of the machine one way or another usually will suffice. Of course it is essential that the driven machine be staked down so that it can't shift or move. This usually doesn't require a whole lot, especially on a small corn sheller or feed grinder.

With a tractor, backing into the belt, getting it tight, and setting the brake is all that's required. Steam engines and a few tractors require someone to drop a block in front of the pulley side drive-wheel when the belt is tight. Gas engines, especially the larger ones, are a bit different.

For small engines, driving a stake and using a small cable comealong to tighten the belt is probably the easiest way. It will still be necessary to drive a stake or two alongside the truck wheels to keep the engine from shifting out of position.


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