Ask the Mechanic

Rake Needs Attitude Adjustment

(Progressive Farmer image by Steve Thompson)

READER: I have a 256 New Holland side-delivery rake that I have a question about. On the left side of the rake at the front is a round bar that loosens a fitting. After being loosened, the operator can move the basket of the rake up or down about 6 inches. What does this adjustment do? Why is it there?

STEVE: The adjustment you are looking at is called the attitude adjustment. When the basket is in the lowest position, the rake will keep the crop lower to the ground as it is being raked and delivered into a windrow. This position will help wind a crop together, and it also will keep a lighter crop closer to the ground in windy conditions in order to keep the crop from "flying." When in the upper position, the teeth will pitch the crop more, allowing the windrow to end up in more of a fluffy condition, allowing more airflow in heavy crops. The attitude adjustment gives the operator a greater range of windrow configuration related to speed of travel and type and moisture content of crop being raked.

READER: I am the owner of a 175 Allis-Chalmers tractor. It has been an excellent tractor that my dad and I bought in the early '80s. It has the hydraulic pump mounted in the front of the engine and runs off the crankshaft. The problem I have is when the oil gets hot. The power steering remains excellent, but the hydraulics are very slow in picking up the header on the haybine -- but it stays up. When the oil is cold, it picks up the header instantly. I have changed the hydraulic oil and filters. Any thoughts?

STEVE: The fact that the hydraulic system will hold up the haybine after it picks it up, even when the oil is hot, tells us that the cylinder on the haybine and the hydraulic valves in the tractor are holding pressure. The header on a haybine is a heavy lift. So, it sounds like your hydraulic pump is getting weak. It pumps thicker oil OK, but when the oil thins from heat, it wants to bypass in the pump. Short of rebuilding and/or replacing the hydraulic pump, you can do what I did on a Farmall M that I used on a haybine. It had the same problem. I put a 4-inch cylinder on the haybine, and that solved the problem.

READER: We decided to do a little winter cleanup in the yard. This project got off to a bad start when my husband pulled the rope out of our Echo line trimmer. "No problem, I'll just rewind it myself," he said. After the starter spring attacked him, and he finally got it off his face, the repair job began. One hour later, he had the spring rewound in the starter, but the rope pulley would not catch the curled inner end of the spring when turned the correct way to rewind. The pulley would only catch the spring in the wrong direction -- which would spit out the rope instead of rewind it. I laughed -- he got mad -- and now you are in the loop. What can we do?

STEVE: What happened is after the spring swarmed him, he installed it backwards in the cup. This left the catch knob on the spring in the wrong position to be caught by the pulley. You can more than likely buy another spring already wound correctly, or you can watch him spend another hour or so rewinding it opposite the way it is wound now. Don't forget to buy him safety glasses!


A portable safety light is a must when working on equipment. However, it can be a safety hazard. Always make sure the bulb is enclosed securely in a cover. That cover, for some reason, always wants to come open. The hot filament of a broken bulb can ignite spilled fuel or oil, quickly setting your clothes on fire.

> Write Steve Thompson at Ask The Mechanic, 2204 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 415, Birmingham, AL 35209, or email


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