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 01-24-2004, 16:37 Post: 74955
HuckMeat

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 Post Hole Digger Ineffective

So I took delivery of my 4330 and goodies yeaterday, and have had a chance to test everything out. Box blade works great, backhoe is fantastic, and the loader is strong. But the post hole digger is woefully ineffective. It's a rhino, RPHD with a 9" auger. In the softer soil at one end of my property, it will start and I'm able to go down about 8-10". On a rockier area, I start it, and it bounces and groans and mostly losens the dirt and swirls it around. Pulling the tractor out and shutting it down, I can go in by hand with a thin shovel and dig the dirt out - It's packed/compressed, hard but diggable.
(No deeper than 8" or so).

The auger has two replaceable cutting edges (brand new) with a fish flute point in the center. I can see how people get all jacked up with these things - When they don't dig, I imagine people want to jump on the back and push them in. (My neighbor is an ER doc and has told me horror stories about 3pt post hole diggers).

So at this point, I'm thinking that I picked the wrong kind of digger for what I need to do. Obviously, my ground is a lot harder than normal 3pt diggers typically work in.

My dealer said if the 3pt didn't work out, he'd help me out if I wanted to trade up to something else. I have the quick tach on the front of my 853 loader, and I have the BH90 backhoe.

With all the rocks in my area, I'm thinking now having a hydraulic drive would be smart, since I can back it out if needed with power.

So do I mount a hydraulic PHD on the bucket, on the quick tach (skid steer mount) or off of the backhoe? Which options are going to cost what. I guess I need to add a hydraulic circuit to drive it too. My dealer is quoting ~2500 to get it plumbed and attached to the quick tach, but I see quick tach units on Fleabay for ~1200, and I'd only need to add a hyd circuit.

Guidance here? I'm going to be doing a lot of PHD work, so I think I overestimated the capabilities of the typical 3 pt PHD. Any recommendations on cutting heads, flutes, sizes, and prices? 2500 seems like a lot, but if that is what it's going to take to work....

I'll post pictures soon. The BH90 dug my septic profile pit in 15 minutes in the same rocky soil. If I can get my perc holes drilled with the PHD, I'll save $500 off the bat in perc truck, only having to hire the engineer to come on site.






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 01-25-2004, 09:11 Post: 74995
TomG

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 Post Hole Digger Ineffective

Don't know something doesn't sound quite right here. My very ordinary $900CDN 12" auger will dig 3'+ holes in about 5 minutes or less. The soil here is very sandy with some rock. I did get into something like you describe when digging on grass. It would cut a plug of turf that would just spin around. I had to start the holes and then clean off the auger before continuing. Occasionally it'd want to take off at an angle and wouldn't dig very well. I dig in the loader bucket and use the curl to reposition the tractor slightly and keep the hole vertical.

They do dig better if the auger is pulled up a bit periodically to clear some dirt out of the hole. It also straightens out the hole because 3ph's lower in arcs and it's possible to get one stuck. I do break shear pins on rocks and I've had to break rocks up with a tempered prybar and pull out the pieces with a hand clam-shell digger. Specialty bits might drill through some rock but I'd be in trouble if I needed a hole where there was a big rock. I couldn't get several holes through some old highway bed and had to resort to rock cairns around the posts above ground.

Top-end augers do have down-pressure kit options but I haven't needed anything like that. If I really needed it I'd strap a sandbag on somewhere. Like your friend says, nobody should be anywhere near an auger when it's working. Lots of injuries happen taking them on and off 3ph's too.






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 01-25-2004, 09:37 Post: 74999
harvey



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 Post Hole Digger Ineffective

TomG has hit all the nails on the head. Mine does not like sod very good. I have a longer point built onto mine and I have some nubs on the cutters.

I have some clay by the pond and have to be real careful about letting PHD hog into soil. I carry a big pipe wrench to back it out if it gets stuck.

By the creek I have hard gravel and shear a fair number of bolts in that. Patience is the key here.

HYD driven PHD's are more top of the line and very pricey.

I guess I'd be more inclined to use the BH for any structural posts or fence line work etc. I've helped build several large dairy barns and sheds only using a TLB to dig post holes.






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 01-25-2004, 10:09 Post: 75001
DRankin



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A small backhoe with a 10 inch bucket is a marvelous tool.






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 01-25-2004, 17:03 Post: 75028
HuckMeat

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 Post Hole Digger Ineffective

Update:

My current project is pre-drilling perc holes for soils tests. I can't dig it up with a backhoe - The integrity of the soil around the hole has to be kept for a reasonable perc test.

If I sink it in, and let it work, it will do a nice job going about 8 or 10 inches, and then "stop". It's spinning fine, but just quits digging. Pulling the PHD out, moving the tractor, and shutting everything down, I find a nicely polished circle of clay. The auger is simply not digging into the clay. (Goes well through the topsoil). Should I play with different cutting edges? The edges on the auger, like the rest of the setup, are brand new.I can take a spade and dig the clay out by hand. It seems like the downforce is probably needed. I expect I'll be putting in 300+ posts, so I'd like to have this work, or have the dealer take it back.






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 01-25-2004, 20:19 Post: 75054
DRankin



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 Post Hole Digger Ineffective

I think you have just learned what to expect from a PHD on your piece of land.

I can't get mine to work reliably either. In some places I have 2 feet of fine sand that just falls back into the hole resulting in a 1 foot deep cone shaped depression. Below the sand layer is hardpan that you would swear would break a pick.

The PHD is useless in either layer.






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 01-25-2004, 23:20 Post: 75066
JParker

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 Post Hole Digger Ineffective

I don't have a PHD yet, but a friend helped me set a 6x6 about 5' into the ground about 2 years ago during the drought. Very hard, dry clay most of the way down.

He had a 3ph mounted digger on a 20hp Deere CUT.

We needed more down pressure most of the hole. His trick was to use a "Digging Pole" wedged into the top of the PHD. I think it was above the gear box. As I remember it, the "Digging Pole" was a 6' steel pole with what looks like a splitting wedge on one end and a large head for striking on the other end. Used for cutting roots...

That let us put a little leverage on the rig to keep it cutting, but kept us about 4' away from the auger.

It went kind of slowly, but I think we had the hole dug in about 30 minutes. Compared to hand digging, there was no contest. The tractor won hands down.

There seemed to be a space just the size of the wedge on his PHD. The pole just stayed there like it was made for it, even when we weren't holding it. Maybe he welded a pocked in for it himself? Don't know.

Just stay back and respect that auger. I just saw a show on PAX TV about a farmer & wife. She was on tractor, he was "working" the auger. He lost an arm, and almost his life.

- JParker






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 01-26-2004, 04:18 Post: 75069
blizzard



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 Post Hole Digger Ineffective

I agree with TomG that something sounds wrong! Is it possible that being so new, the 3PH is 'tight' and hanging up. Do you have a knob to control the speed that the 3PH lowers? Is it set too slow? If you can dig it with a shovel, the PHD should zip right through. Are the cutting edges free of paint? Is the rotation correct? Is it possible that when the backhoe was mounted, the 3PH was locked in position, and needs to be released? Is the PTO driveshaft the proper length? Does it dig at SLOW speeds?
Sorry for all the questions, I don't have a Deere but my 24 PTO-HP 9" auger digs in clay-gravel that a pick-axe will only peck away at (but it does eat shear-pins), so I'm thinking there is a simple solution....

bliz






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 01-26-2004, 07:55 Post: 75083
TomG

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 Post Hole Digger Ineffective

I had some thoughts similar to Blizzard's overnight--especially the flow control and rpm. Sort of reminds me of a big wood auger I bought. The slow speed of my 2-speed 1/2" motor is too fast for it. It pulls the screw out of the wood and then the auger just spins around and scorches the wood--real frustrating.

I never looked for specialty bits since mine digs OK. Maybe somebody else has experience with similar soil and knows about various bit types. I might slow down on the hydraulic auger idea a little since that in itself may not solve the digging problem--reverse sure might be handy though.






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 01-26-2004, 09:06 Post: 75092
HuckMeat

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Thanks for the points to check. I'm going to go give it a whirl again, and check these to make sure. I think things are working well, because it does the first 8-12 inches just fine (depositing the dirt on the side of the hole). Then it hits the clay, and just spins. If I shut it all down and go in with a skinny shovel, I can jump down and "pop" small pieces of clay off myself, then grab the clay chunks out by hand. I tried digging out 1/2 the hole with the shovel, then running the auger. seems like this gets me a little bit, but I soon have a smooth, polished, hard clay bottom again. So Sad

I talked to a local excavator, and he said they don't even try without hydraulic downfornce. I guess calling this area "dirt" would be pushing it. Smile






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Kubota Review Forum

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17ACRES 1 | blizzard 2 | brokenarrow 1 | Chief 1 | DRankin 5 | harvey 1 | HuckMeat 5 | JParker 1 | Murf 2 | shortmagnum 1 | TomG 4 |




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