This season, it seems Gold Rush star Tony Beets and his team are spending more time repairing their equipment than they are actually using it.
Each week, Beets seems to slip further and further from his season goal of 9,000 ounces, and every moment he has to shut down production to fix a new issue, he’s losing money. Recently, his team had to repair problems with the water pump, engine, trommel and small yet essential pieces of machinery. Unfortunately, the situation almost never calls for a quick fix, often needing extra hands and new equipment. And this week was no different.
Ahead of Friday’s new episode, Gold Rush dropped a sneak preview clip of the struggle that Tony and his family will face this week. The feeder that pushes rocks into the wash plant is struggling to do its job, stopping and starting as the belt runs over the sprocket. While the gears screech in the background, Gold Rush excavator operator Brad alerts Tony, who calls for his oldest son and in-house mechanic, Kevin, to take a look.
Once he gets to the site, he discovers the problem is nothing short of detrimental to the wash plant’s efficiency.
‘Gold Rush’ Mechanic Uncovers the Root of the Problem
Thankfully, for Tony, his oldest son is no stranger around machines and was able to figure out the issue with the feeder fairly quickly. Upon inspection, Kevin found that the sprocket, the gear-shaped device with teeth located underneath the belt’s bend, has been worn smooth. Without teeth to help grip the rail, the feeder can’t gain enough traction to push the rocks into the wash plant.
Unfortunately, for the Gold Rush team, identifying the problem was the easy part. Now, they had to disassemble the feeder and replace the worn sprocket with a fresh one. This meant that Tony needed all hands on deck, once again halting their operation.
“I mean I’d rather be sluicing, but you gotta do your maintenance,” Tony said once he arrived on the scene.
Once the team banded together at the feeder, they began removing the sprocket from the hopper. Not only was this tedious, but it was also quite dangerous. When the Gold Rush crew spliced all the welded portions, younger son Michael Beets had to use a crane to remove the heavy machinery. While Michael got in the driver’s seat, the rest of the crew took a big step back from the site. And it’s a good thing they did.
As Michael raised the crane’s arm, the sprocket banged against the feeder and swung precariously in its chains. Hopefully, he was able to remove it before the equipment sustained any more damage.