February 28, 2011

ATV
Photo by Jim Ruen
We’re knee-deep in snow, and of course, my ATV’s hydraulic-powered loader, which I use to shovel snow, is broken.

Hydraulic power is one of the greatest of on-farm labor savers. The problem with a labor saver is when they don’t work, you hate to go back to doing without. I have a hydraulic-powered loader on my Honda Foreman ATV. It’s great for all kinds of jobs, but it really shines at moving snow. So of course, with a snow fall coming and a stiff north wind promising drifts, the loader stopped working.

Unlike a tractor’s integrated hydraulic system, my loader runs off a 12-volt pump. What I didn’t realize when I bought the loader four years ago was that the pump accounted for roughly 25 percent of the total cost. That became apparent when I started pricing replacements.

Of course, there is a chance that my local mechanic may offer a lower cost solution. It wouldn’t be the first time he saved me money. If he does suggest replacing the unit, I’ll be a slightly more informed buyer, thanks to a recent conversation I had at the Sioux Falls Farm Show.

While visiting with a hydraulic-equipment supplier, I mentioned looking for a larger pump for my loader. He advised me to make sure it had a high temperature override. It seems that 12-volt pumps have a tendency to burn out if heavily used. The override kicks in to protect the pump from overheating. It may be that this is the reason my pump failed. We’ll see shortly.

Meanwhile, I’m reminded of the importance of incidental conversations at trade shows and elsewhere. You never know when you’ll learn something that will save you money or make you money down the road. As Socrates is credited with saying, “The more I learn, the more I learn how little I know.” Like him, I’ll just keep asking.

<< More Shop Talk >>



Next Up