Friday, March 12, 2010

In the Long Run

I've been thinking about last night.

At shift change I asked "How's my little cow? Is she ready to jump over the moon?" "She's good to go" was the short answer...then came the rest of the story. The tiller is rattling something fierce! They put some new parts in, they're waiting for more parts to it a work in progress.

I fired up my trusty steed, and got organized while she warmed up...after some radio chatter, I released the E-Brake and coaxed the sticks forward, and launched the tiller. Holy Jesus! It was shaking like a paint mixer at the Paint Store! I did some nanosecond figuring in my head and lifted the tiller...I parked her, plugged her in and grabbed a Bison.

This season has been all about the tiller on my favorite BR350. We had about a month of electronic gremlins that kept our attention while the tiller's cutter bars got more and more out of true. When they get untrue, they start to shake, and slowly they get worse and worse. Left to their own devices, eventually they'll shake the tiller clean apart. This is where my cat is today. The electrical gremlins were traced to an ECU that was starting to fail. That problem is history.

The Bombardier Flex Tiller is the state of the art. It's a perfectly balanced piece made from aluminum and steel. As long as you treat it right, it will make acres of the most beautiful corduroy without complaint. Let the thing start vibrating too much, and it will self destruct in no time. All that shaking fatigues the aluminum bits until cracks form and failure is at hand.

Alas, lots of stuff is broken back there now. The Head Mechanic said they'd have her all fixed in time for Swing Shift Thursday. I have my fingers crossed.

Here's the deal...short term fixes keep the fleet on the snow, but the damage continues to mount. These cutter bars are like tumors...they just keep damaging the tillers...keep adding to the list of broken parts...and keep sapping the fleet's productivity. Worse, they make more work for the Vehicle Mechanics. Nobody on my Mountain suffers from lack of work...there's more than enough already.

I guess it's hard to see the Long View when you're just trying to get enough cats ready to roll by Swing Shift.

Last night we had Hero Snow, and we made tons of sweet corduroy. It was supposed to be warm today, but looking at the temps assures me it wasn't exactly Spring-Like. Should be good grooming again tonight. Cold temps and the next winter storm are on tap for Friday.

Good gravy! Winter-style grooming is good.


  1. The Head Mechanic didn't lie! Lots of new bits went in, and she doesn't feel like the Magic Fingers in a cheap 50's-style motel!

    The cutter bars are still out of true, and I think he's gonna mount a spare tiller, that hopefully has better cutter bars.

    I'm getting used to my new role: Bison Pilot.

    One Bison plus: AM Radio comes in long as you don't run the Xenon driving lights!

  2. Now I finally get it. It's not the pants.