Notes from Windward: #69



Opalyn brings a new resource on line


     Several months ago, on a trip into The Dalles, we drove past a consignment and resale lot for farm equipment, and spotted a lonely crawler/loader in need of a good home.

Wall*E arrives at Windward

     After several more trips into town to learn more about the crawler, including its abilities to work with our existing equipment, we decided that it would make a positive addition to our existing capabilities not only in the area of construction where it will help with projects such as excavating the dirt needed to turn out compressed earth bricks, but also as a way to move the quantities of wood chips that we'll be handling when we get bring the conversion of woody biomass into methanol on line.

     About the time we started looking into purchasing the crawler, I visited a friend in Portland and we watched the Disney/Pixar animation WALL*E. The movie quickly became a hit here at Windward, and so it was natural to start calling the crawler Wall*E. Andrew is even working on a stencil as part of the crawler's new paint job.

     Wall*E had some minor damage and was in need of a lube job. Before we decided to purchase the crawler we checked it over carefully and found a small crack in the shoulder area that supports the Loader arms. So, one of the first things we did was to grind out the crack, fill in the channel with a fresh weld, then ground the repair smooth. The final step will be to weld on another layer of steel to reinforce that area.

Wall*E's rewelded shoulder

     Before putting Wall*E to work, it was important to strip down, clean and relube some critical bearing points such as the eight track bearing housings that Lindsay helped me remove.

Lindsay helps me break loose a stubborn bolt

     Stripped down, Wall*E is a loader assembly mounted on an Oliver crawler. One reason we bought Wall*E was that we already had an Oliver crawler in our bone yard that we could scavenge for parts. Here are two different grease housings one from Wall*E and the other from Olie.

the yellow bearing housing on the right was salvaged off of Olie

     We're sorting through the various parts, cleaning them up and will remount the better housings. This is an example of why we don't take everything that does not immediately appear useful off to the dump we now have lots of spare parts for our new crawler, and what we can't use "as is" will eventually be melted down and cast into some other useful thing.

one of Wall*E's many zerk grease fittings

     Patrick pitched in and helped me locate more of Wall*E's zerk grease fittings and lubricate each of them. Together, we found 27 fittings--some in hard to reach places plus one that is broken--but they all need to be loaded with fresh grease before Wall*E gets to work.

     For a detailed listing on Wall*E zerk fitting locations, Click Here.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 69