Our ten point guide to complete care and maintenance of your Falcon implement
1. Operators manual
- Every Falcon product is accompanied by an operator’s manual and your success and satisfaction with the product will be greatly improved by you familiarising yourself with its content. It contains important information on the responsible operation, maintenance and most importantly, safe use of the product, and also provides guidance on troubleshooting and what to do if a defect arises.
- Note that failure to observe or comply with the provisions of the operator’s manual can result in unsafe operating conditions as well as damage or injury to equipment, property or people – and in such cases, would not be covered under warranty.
- Be aware that detailed instructions relating to all the points that follow, can be found in the relevant product operator’s manual.
- Never enter the area between the tractor and the implement unless the tractor engine is shut off, the handbrake applied and the key is removed from the ignition.
- Use only hitch pins and linchpins of the correct specification, such as those provided with the implement.
- In the case of 3-point hitch mounted implements, lift the implement to the intended transport height, operate the hitch offset facility, and ensure that there is no contact between the implement and any part of the tractor.
- Adjust the hitch stabiliser arms to control lateral movement of the implement during transportation and working.
3. Bolts, nuts, fasteners
- Bolts, nuts and other fasteners must be checked for tightness BEFORE each use of the implement – usually daily.
- Special attention should be paid to safety-critical fasteners such as blade bolts and nuts, blade disk and beam mounting bolts, gearbox mounting bolts, hitch mounting and pivot bolts, and side panel retaining bolts.
- Bolt torque specifications can be found in the relevant product operators manual, under the section “Maintenance”.
- The transmission system consists of a number of components responsible for transmitting power from the tractor PTO output facility through to the rotating components on the implement. It typically consists of the PTO dive shaft, intermediate drive shafts and gearboxes, and a final drive gearbox. Inspection and lubrication of these areas must be conducted BEFORE each use of the implement.
- Most gearboxes are equipped with a dipstick or oil level control port, and these should be used to check and maintain oil levels.
- Be sure to apply grease to the universal joints and telescopic tubes of the PTO shaft.
5. The PTO shaft
- All PTO drive shafts supplied on Falcon implements are accompanied by a handbook which describes all aspects of installation, operation, maintenance and safety with respect to the PTO drive shaft.
- The PTO shaft will usually need to be cut to an appropriate length, however you should consult the PTO shaft handbook before undertaking this.
- Correct PTO shaft length is a critical consideration and insufficient overlap of the PTO driveshaft tubes can result in separation of the shaft while working, while a PTO shaft which is too long will cause damage to the shaft itself as well as tractor and implement shafts and gearboxes.
- The maximum allowable PTO length should be established while the tractor output and implement input shafts are perfectly aligned. This is the shortest working length of the PTO shaft.
- Once again, lift the implement to the intended transport height and ensure that there is no contact between the PTO shaft and the implement body.
6. Test run
- Run the implement up to operating speed and conduct visual and audible checks for excessive vibration and noise.
- Be sure to eliminate all sources of excessive vibration, as unchecked vibration will result in consequential structural or mechanical failure not covered under warranty.
- Vibration is a result of rotary imbalance and can be a caused by missing or broken blades, bent blade disks or beams, or bent and seized PTO shaft tubes.
Note: Vibration is the primary cause of failure in high-speed rotating agricultural equipment, and it is the responsibility of the owner, in conducting thorough routine checks and maintenance, to continuously prevent it. Damages and failures deemed to be a result of excessive vibration shall not be covered under warranty.
7. The work area
- The intended work area should be thoroughly inspected for hidden obstructions and obstacles before commencing work. In lands which have not been previously maintained, the area should be “walked” before entering the area with an implement.
- Remove any movable obstructions from the work area, particularly any object which may become a projectile.
- Note the presence of ditches, holes, stumps, rocks, or any other obstruction that might destabilise the tractor or cause damage to the implement. Remove these obstacles where possible, otherwise note and avoid these areas during cutting.
- The cutting gear installed on these implements rotates at extremely high speed. Improper supervision, maintenance or repairs can result in failures which might cause serious damage, injury or death.
- Never allow any person to approach the implement unless all rotating parts have come to a complete stop.
- Never approach the rotating PTO shaft and avoid loose-fitting clothing to prevent entanglement.
- Spectators should be actively discouraged and operations should cease if any person approaches or enters the work area.
- Be sure to operate the implement only at the specified PTO input speed, as failure to do so will result in unsafe operating conditions as well as structural and mechanical failure not covered under warranty.
- Where fitted, the PTO friction clutch should also be regularly monitored for evidence of excessive slipping – typically an indication of transmission overload, and will include overheating, discolouration and evidence of smoke.
9. After use
- Clean all debris from the implement, particularly the underside of the deck. If pressurised cleaning is undertaken, care must be taken in areas around seals, breathers, lubrication points and PTO driveshaft components.
- Thoroughly inspect the implement for any damages incurred during use and note these for attention during maintenance and BEFORE next use.
- Inspect all mounting pins, chains, shackles and other load-bearing components for signs of wear. Check that all other securing mechanisms such as linchpins, split-pins and clips are in place.
- Ensure that all safety and warning decals are in place and in a legible condition.
- Use only original Falcon parts of the correct specification and grade for installation of the cutting gear. High-speed failure of rotating parts can result in serious damage, injury or death.
- Before long-term storage (longer than 1 month), check oil levels and thoroughly lubricate all specified lubrication points.
- Always store the implement in a clean, dry, weather-protected area.
- In the case of implements fitted with pneumatic tyres, place the implement on axle stands to prevent tyre deterioration while standing.
- If fitted with suspension, the implement body should be firmly supported on blocks or axle stands to prevent unnecessary, extended loading of the suspension system.