Combine Fire Responses
Kiowa County, Colo.
Combine: John Deere 9760 and 9860

Recommendations: These later models of these combines have the engine cooling air intake shroud that pulls air from the top. We have had no fires on these combines. I think it is a great improvement to help keep the fines out of the engine area. I would like to see someone make an update for the 9600 combine to do the same. Our 9600's are the worst for fires. Cutting the ‘flowers at above 10 moisture really helps to reduce fires.
Kit Carson County, Colo.
Combine: 1997 AGCO R72 and 2007 AGCO R75

Recommendations: Blow off frame and deposit areas and engine compartment daily, especially exhaust manifold area.

Weld County, Colo.
Combine: 2000 Case IH 2388

Recommendations: After every 60 acres harvested, we blow the entire combine off with compressed air. We pay special attention to the engine exhaust manifold, radiators, and engine compartment. In fact, we have blown charred pieces of sunflower dust almost an eighth of an inch thick off the manifold. It takes about half an hour to clean the entire combine off as we try to do a good job at it.

Smith County, Kan.
Combine: 2003 John Deere 9650

Recommendations: Drag a chain; blow engine compartment at 2 p.m.; carry water and fire extinguisher; learn hot spots -- under turbo is bad

Deuel County, Neb.
Combine: JD 9660 STS

Recommendations: Blow the combine down mid-afternoon and pay special attention to the motor, the main gear case attached to the motor and also lift the chopper and clean inside the discharge beater. The several inches of dust that builds up on the beater has been the source of several smolders. Once they come out the back of the chopper they can be spread everywhere on the combine. Also keep hydraulic hoses clean; the oil flowing through can get very hot and create a problem with the dust stuck on the hoses.

Phelps County, Neb.
Combine: 2010 John Deere 9670

Recommendations: Blow clean as needed. Harvest when temps are lower and humidity is higher. Double crop flowers are harvested in late November.

Richardson County, Neb.
Combine: 2010 Case IH 9120

Recommendations: We had 16 fires this year on our new combine! Case IH has not responded to our complaints at all! We believe that the dust is falling off the muffler then down by the chopper drive. We are hoping they get their act together and help us out.
-- Tim Rist

Barnes County, ND
Combine: 1994 and 1992 JD 9600

Recommendations: Keep combines as clean as you can (granted you also have to get the crop off) Also, a chain from combine frame to ground seems to help static build up. Running the combine over dry sunflower stalks at 5 mph+ tends to build up static which can cause fires when dry conditions occur.

Bottineau County, ND
Combine: New Holland CR9080

Recommendations: Regular removal of dust with forced air is a must with special care of including areas that have hidden ledges and crevices.

Emmons County, ND
Combine: 1988 John Deere 7720

Recommendations/Issues: Just started having trouble the last couple years! Trying to find out why…

Traill County, ND
Combine: 1987 Case IH 1680

Recommendations: I start by blowing the entire combine clear of all chaff and dust from previous crops and make sure the radiator and oil coolers are clean before starting our sunflowers. Then it's best to blow off the engine and oil cooler periodically throughout the day using our portable air compressor.

I carry a one-gallon, hand-pump sprayer (full of water) with me in the cab. When it's convenient on the end of the field, I'll face the combine with the wind and even the tiniest spots of smoldering are easily smelled in the cab. Just a small squirt from the sprayer is usually all it takes and I'm on my way again.

I've done this dozens of times over the last few years and have never had an actual fire.

Walsh County, ND
Combine: 1986 Case IH 1680

Recommendations: We start with an extremely clean combine. We make sure there are no oil or fuel leaks at all. We remove the strawchopper stationary knives and also have the strawchopper run at the slower speed. We also remove the shields for the straw spreader drive gears, so we can easily remove the buildup under the fuel tank. We also made sure to plug all the holes between the engine compartment and strawchopper below. If we are having problems with smoldering, we regularly blow out around the batteries and the top of the engine where the fuel return lines are, and also around the rotor gearbox and on top of the rotor cage and the sides of the strawchopper. We seem to have the most trouble from 5:00 PM to about 1:00 AM. So we try and get going as early as possible in the morning even if it is tough, because we never seem to have any smoldering before 5 PM unless they are under 8%.

McPherson County, SD
Combine: 1980 New Holland TR75 and 1990 Case IH 1680

Recommendations: (1) a piece of log chain bolted to the main frame and allowed to drag on the ground (about 2 ft. on ground) - This releases the static caused by the rotating parts. Also, less dust seems to stick to the machine. (2) a leaf blower - Each time I bring that truck back to the field after unloading, the combine gets a thorough blow off. Emphasis is placed on hot areas such as exhaust manifold, muffler and rotor gear boxes. But all ledges and corners where dust likes to settle are cleaned. (3) fire extinquishers - A 10 lb. unit is placed on the rear deck near the engine and on front near door/ladder. (4) water - a 2 1/2 gal. jug is also placed on the rear deck and near door.

Sully County, SD
Combine: 2009 John Deere 9770 STS

Recommendations: Blow the combine off twice a day.

Hanford County, Texas
Combine: 1999 John Deere 9610

Recommendations: One needs keep the machine clean. Fires usually start on top exhaust manifold and fall down under the engine. I usually take cover off inside of the bin so I can make sure surface under the engine is very clean. It is only six bolts to take the cover of bin off. You can also use a temp gun to see if you have any bearings going out which can also start fires.

Moore County, Texas
Combine: 2005 Case IH 2388

Recommendations: CLEAN MACHINE! Keep a nurse trailer with large hose to keep machine clean at all times. We watch the weather inputs on our smart phones and have developed a perimeter of humidity/wind speed/temperature. But we still have a few fires.

Wood County, Wis.
Combine: 1998 New Holland TR98

Recommendations: Blow out all areas of combine before beginning each day. Keep dust off and keep machine as clean as possible. Carry a fire extinguisher, just in case.

Souris, Manitoba, Canada
Combine: John Deere 9860

Recommendations: Each combine has a gas-powered leaf blower on it and every few hours the combines are blown off to remove build up of dry dust. We have removed the floor pans over the fuel tank to allow proper cleaning. Wash engine compartment before sunflower harvest to remove oil spots around valve covers, etc. where dust might build up. Try to harvest sunflower before they get too dry.

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