Needham Ag bushing kits for wheel arms improve longevity without lubrication

The Problem

Abrasive dust often mixes with the grease and causes the factory seals (on newer models) to erode, then dust enters the pivot assembly. This grease and dust mixture often causes “cake lock failure” and results in the closing wheel arm or firming wheel arm locking up. For those of you planting into similar conditions, you understand the severity of this problem.

Factory and aftermarket steel closing wheel arm and firming wheel arm pivot bushings are designed to be greased regularly to reduce friction and extend their life. However in dry, dusty conditions, fine dust is often flung up into the closing and firming wheel arm pivots by the disc blades and gauge wheels, especially in dry, windy conditions.

The Solution

We learned early on that within dusty conditions (as illustrated above), its either necessary to grease the pivot points regularly (daily) to help purge the dust out, or not grease the pivots at all. The latter was further reinforced by the fact that the 60 series (and the later 50 series) openers were shipped from the factory without grease fittings on the closing and firming wheel pivot points. Without any grease, the seizing up problems discussed above disappeared, even on drills and air-seeders that operated in the most severe dry and dusty conditions. However, the service life of the pivot points was reduced without lubrication, even when using the newer John Deere oil impregnated powdered metal bushings, because fine dust enters the housing and dries out the small amount of lubricant they release.

Based on many challenges, including those discussed above, we began looking for a closing and firming wheel arm pivot configuration that provided good service life, ideally without lubrication. We field tested many different combinations for at least 2 years within different operating conditions, especially across the dry, dusty conditions of the Central Plains and the dry regions South East Australia, before settling on the yellow poly outer bushings and hardened plus precision ground pin.

Key Benefits Of The Needham Ag Closing Wheel and Firming Wheel Arm Bushing Kits

  • Our closing and firming wheel arm pins are made from high quality heat treated steel, with the highest hardness value (measured on the Rockwell C scale) of all the factory and aftermarket pins we have tested.
  • Our closing wheel and firming wheel arm pins are precision ground, making their outer surface very smooth, which extends the life of the closing and firming wheel arm bushings.
  • Our yellow poly bushings have been tested for 2 seasons on high acre per row openers. We have found their life matches or exceeds factory closing wheel and firming wheel arm bushings without lubrication.
  • Our yellow poly bushings don’t require greasing because they incorporate teflon, which acts as a lubricant to lower the friction around our smooth, precision ground closing and firming wheel arm bushing pins.
  • Our yellow poly bushings are much easier to install than factory and after-market steel bushings.
  • We supply 2 x seals per row to keep dust and moisture out of the closing and firming pivot assembly.
  • We supply a 1” ID washer to help remove the side to side play which is often present within openers with enough accumulated acres to require the closing and firming wheel arm bushings to be replaced.
  • We supply a new grade 8 – 5/8” flange lock nut, as many existing lock nuts don’t have sufficient torque to hold the assembly tight after the existing bolt has been torqued, re-torqued and removed in the past.


Watch the video to learn more about our Closing and Firming Wheel Arm Bushing.