A square baler works by means of a number of complex mechanisms that all function in concert with one another. If these mechanisms are not properly synchronized, it can lead to improperly formed bales, broken twine or even damage to the baler itself. Therefore, properly timing the baler is a key part of the setup process. Fortunately, the timing process for the John Deere 336 baler is clearly set out in the operator's manual.
Insert the feeder pivot pin into the bottom hole of the feeder fingers.
Turn the flywheel by hand in a counterclockwise direction until the face of the plunger head is centered in the front feeder slot. The plunger head should just be starting a downward stroke when it reaches this point.
Measure the distance between the left-hand corner of the front feeder finger and the left-hand corner of the front feeder slot. The distance should be between 9-1/2 and 11-1/2 inches. If the distance does not fall within this range, disconnect the feeder drive chain and manually set the front feeder finger at a point 10-1/2 inches from the left-hand corner of the front feeder slot. Reconnect the feeder drive chain and turn the flywheel clockwise to tighten it.
Move the plunger head manually to the center of the slot. If this causes the front feeder finger to move out of the 9-1/2 to 11-1/2 inch range, reset the finger at 10-1/2 inches, this time disconnecting the main drive chain instead of the feeder drive chain. This will allow for a finer degree of adjustment.
Turn the flywheel counterclockwise manually, until the plunger head moves through a complete tying cycle, to ensure that the feeder fingers and the plunger head do not come into contact at any point.
Trip the bale measuring arm. Turn the flywheel counterclockwise until the tip of the highest tying needle is flush with the top edge of the bale groover. The plunger head face should appear in the slot next to the bale measuring arm. If it does not, remove the cluster gear and manually position the needles until the tip of the highest needle is flush with the top edge of the bale groover. Turn the flywheel counterclockwise until the plunger head appears in the slot on a downward stroke. Rotate the clutch ring counterclockwise until it contacts the trip dog roller then reinstall the cluster gear.
Turn the flywheel clockwise to back the plunger head out of the slot then manually pull the needles out of the bale case. Rotate the flywheel counterclockwise until the tip of the highest needle is flush with the top edge of the bale case groover. Confirm that the plunger head appears in the slot next to the bale measuring arm. If it does not, repeat the timing adjustment by removing the cluster gear.
The timing of your baler should be checked and adjusted, as necessary, at the beginning of each operating shift. When operating in bumpy fields, it should be checked every few hours.
Improper timing can cause the plunger head and feeder fingers to collide, damaging the baler. Carefully follow all steps when timing the baler and check the timing often.
Never attempt to adjust the timing when the tractor's engine is running.