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Keep Mice Out Of Air Intake

Be like Ed Curry. Email us.

We at Grainews would like to hear about your quick fix tips, no matter how simple they may seem. Send a description of your fixes along with a photo if possible to the editor, Jay Whetter. His contact information is on page 2. If you have ideas for articles, send them along, too. Scott Garvey is working on a new series of articles on “Important repairs you can do yourself.” The series starts in November. Send your ideas to Jay and he’ll forward them to Scott.

In the meantime, here’s a great letter from Ed Curry, who farms about 100 miles north of Medicine Hat, Alta. Ed writes:

I agree that being able to keep machinery going is an important skill for the farm operator. Having a service call from a professional mechanic can often add 1,000 per cent to the cost of the repair so must be avoided if possible. The most important skill in a machine operator is that they pay attention to the machine and notice changes before there is major damage. Otherwise welding ability is essential as is a basic understanding of electronics.

Cleaning up a part really well will help in discovering what is wrong with it and make it easier to fix. Also talking to a dealer service manager or mechanic can be productive.

Sometimes a lower pressure hose can be fixed with duct tape and a screw clamp. A rechargeable battery booster is a handy item especially for engines that get only sporatic use. I don’t even bother keeping a battery in some grain augers. I just use the booster when I need it.

That is a little sample of the type of approach I use to keep machinery going. The main thing is to not despair and to remember that you aren’t beat until you give up. There are lots of ways to skin a cat, but it will take a bit of trial and error.

Keep up the good work. Ed Curry.

Some years ago Ford Motor Company had a slogan declaring Ford had “ a better idea” or something like that. This is not to dispute their claim. I’m fairly confident they still have it.

One of their less better ideas was to design an air intake on their 1995 F150 half ton models that is just a simple gaping, unobstructed, unfiltered oblong slot — not precisely an engineering marvel. The unfortunate aspect this basic design is that white-bellied deer mice also have “a better idea” every autumn — and that’s to find a secure place to build their winter nest.

I was introduced to this problem when our truck motor began heaving and snuffling at every reasonable opportunity and generating less and less power. The mechanic kindly pointed out the quart of miscellaneous seeds and nesting material solidly lodged in the filter box and showed where these mice had chewed large holes into the hard plastic pipe and filter itself. It was a mess.

The bill, he solemnly assured me at the time, would be in excess of $140 to replace both the pipe and filter.

Spending money on vehicle repairs has to rate at the very low end of the scale of things I like to do, particularly when such repairs are necessitated by conditions having nothing to do with me. Inherent design flaws such as this are the most galling.

So I made my own change and it works remarkably well. The solution is admirably simple. Block entrance to mice while maintaining air flow. A handful of finely coiled light wire inserted into the draw opening (see the photo) is all that’s needed.

This change was made some years ago and not a mouse has dropped a kernel into the reservoir or chewed any pipe since. I offer this solution for free to the folks from Ford reading this article.

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