Ask the Mechanic

It's the Fountain Design

(Steve Thompson)

READER: We have an older Massey Ferguson 550 combine that has a chronic problem. It seems that almost every year, we have to change the bottom bearing on the fountain auger. We remove the cleanout for that auger and clean out the grain in that area at the bottom of the auger, but it still seems to gather moisture and lock up the bearing even though the combine is seldom outside the barn. Do you have any ideas on how to prevent this bearing from locking up?

STEVE: The fountain auger likes to be a problem because of the upright "fountain" position on the combine, which allows the grain to move up to the grain tank. This engineering design also makes a great place for grain and dust to settle right in the bottom of the auger, which creates a problem for a bearing. The photo above shows the bottom of a fountain auger on a Case IH combine. I have found that the best way to eliminate this problem is to soak the bottom of the auger with a 50-50 mix of diesel and motor oil. I even spray our combines during the winter a couple of times. This mix is also a good way to keep the areas on a dry fertilizer spreader that are not stainless steel or aluminum from rusting, including all chains. Mix up a new batch in a pump sprayer and give it a try. The diesel will penetrate, and the oil will not evaporate.


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


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