Keeping ahead of the work

header bearings

“Prevention is better than cure, when it comes to header bearings,” says Shaun Thorneycroft, Director of Precise Header & Ag Repairs. He has been in the header repair business for more than 18 years, before starting a joint business venture with his wife in 2017, servicing and repairing John Deere headers. 

“Since we started out, we have expanded in a good way. We have been getting busier with every year. Right now, we have about 72 headers on our books,” he explains. “I start repairing my first header mid-December and it takes me right back through the middle of the following October. I travel about 250km in all directions for work.  It’s a year-round gig.”

According to Shaun, the biggest challenge he faces is getting parts, which is where he relies on BSC Swan Hill on the supply side. To meet his customer’s needs, he requires a quick turn-around time on receiving the right parts. 

“BSC is unreal at providing fast service and having stock on hand. Usually, if I need a part, the guys at Swan Hill can get it on a courier to me the same day,” he stresses. “A header takes a full day to pull apart and then it takes at minimum another day to put back together. We go over it with a fine-tooth comb. We go in and pull out every belt, every chain, all the bearings, all the augers, and run over it with a torch and crowbar.” 

For the bearings on the John Deere machines, Shaun uses NTN bearings supplied by BSC. 

“The NTN bearings go on the shaker pans on the header. The shakers are two big pans that separate your grain,” he explains. “If these bearings fail, they can cost thousands of dollars in repair damage to the farmer.”

Moreover, Shaun says he typically replaces a bearing every two years, if not once per year. “I grease the bearing once and then replace it next time,” he says. 

Elaborating on the bearing maintenance process, he says, “For example if I replace the bearing this season, next year, I will drill and make a small hole in it and regrease it. The year after that, I will replace it. Risking any further wear is not worth the risk of a bearing failure.”

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