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Newbee Farmer
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2003-05-02          54194


You'll probably all laugh at this but I've never driven a tractor before. I recently purchased some property but am somewhat concerned about cutting on a few of the steeper hills. I'm considering purchasing a NH 4WD CT33D but wonder about the overall width (JD is wider). How stable (or tippy) is the 4wd CT33D when going across a hill? How do you tell the limitations of a tractor without having it tip over on you?

Thanks,


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plots1
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2003-05-02          54195


Ive read lots of post that state IF IT FEELS UNSAFE IT MOST LIKELY IS. you should go up and down hills enstead across when ever possible. ....

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Billy
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2003-05-02          54200


You can also invest in a tiltmeter for your tractor. You can watch the tiltmeter on the hills and get a 'feel' of what is safe. Like plots1 says, up and down is safer.

Billy ....

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TomG
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2003-05-03          54209


I don't think any single measure like wheel-width is adequate to access a tractor's stability, and it may not be a great reason for selecting a particular tractor. Centre of gravity, which is affected by ground clearance and ballast also affect stability. Some manufacturers have made max-slope recommendations for some of their tractors and dealers would know of any.

You might want to measure the grade of your steepest slope and convert that into degrees. That and a description of the terrain and soil type might give a dealer a rough idea of how you are interested in using the tractor. I would read as much about safety as you can find and pay particular attention to ballast.

The idea that if it feels unsafe then it probably is a good guide but it limited. It's not adequate if bumps are hit, implements snag, soil gives away or the grass is wet. But a bit of experience develops a sense of what can be done with reasonable safety. You should be aware that many over-turns happen for reasons not directly related to steep slopes. Turning at excessive ground speeds, loader bucket carried high, snagged implements and inadequate traction are a few causes.
....

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Mrwurm
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2003-05-03          54213


Recently, I had that funny feeling that my tractor was about to tip. I stopped and kinda froze, did'nt quite know what to do. It's a strange feeling when you realize you are delicately balanced about your center of gravity and realize you could go either way. Eventually, I recovered from the surreal moment and turned downhill. Another brush with disaster averted. I live to tractor again.

Jerry ....

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marklugo
Join Date: Jul 2003
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2003-05-03          54215


Newbee,

There is a multitude of tractor saftey courses taught at night at High School campuses all of this great nation courtesy of the FFA. Also there are regional ones as well. Consult the Progressive Farmer Magazine for details. They are youth oriented but could save your life.

Here is a general recomedation though: Never drive across a steep hillside. Only go up and down. A tractor is immensly more stable end to end. Also spread your tractor to its fullest dimension if possible.
Never disable any shields guards or covers no matter how inconveincing. Keep tractor serviced and greased. Never override any saftey switches to crank a tractor and most of all if in doubt, don't! ....

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TomG
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2003-05-04          54260


This idea of turning up hill or downhill comes up from time to time. I believe the consensus has been that there are exceptions but generally it's better to turn into a hill. I think the main reason for turning into a hill is that it slows you down.

Either way, the main thing is get the tractor into a more stable up or down position. The person in the seat has to have confidence that they're going to do the right thing. ....

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Eric M
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2003-05-04          54307


I used to own a TC33D 4Wd with R4 tires. The tractor (in my opinion) was very stable. Mine was equiped with a N/H loader and as long as I used the coorect amount of rear ballast the tractor was very stable and predictable. I took the loader off to mow and found no big change in handling. The center of gravity is more important then tractor width is when talking about just a few inches. ....

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marklugo
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2003-05-05          54320


A few inches makes a huge difference in center of gravity and stability. Front end loaders do affect this as well. Particulary traveling with the bucket raised any significant distance above the ground is a saftey no-no. ....

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Chief
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2003-05-05          54351


Newbee, be VERY conservative as to what you attempt to do on slopes until you get a good feel for the handling characteristics of the tractor. Take things SLOW. Cut what you can on the slopes and cut the rest with a brush clearing saw or cutter. I have a Stihl FS450K I use for this. Try to keep the tractor as perpendicular to the slope as you can within reason. When you get side ways on a slope is when you get in the most trouble. ....

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Murf
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2003-05-06          54384


Unless you have a lot of 'seat time' under your belt it is FAR safer to turn DOWNHILL. If the machine starts to skid that is not the time to discover that your reverse steering skills need a little practice. Also, in most cases people are way more comfortable driving forwards than back and so are less likely to jab at the brakes and create a skid. Not to mention that normally that 'tippy' feeling happens when you are moving forwards, to try to shift into reverse while stopped halfway up a hill is a dangerous thing, the tendency is to let the machine sart to roll, and once rolling away downhill even dropping the clutch can cause a skid by locking the rear (or all if 4wd) wheels, not a good thing.

Caution is definetely the first priority here, start by slowly reversing up the hill, at the top, shift into forward and drive straight back down, move over and repeat.

Best of luck. ....

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DRankin
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2003-05-06          54387


Always turn into the direction of the skid. The goal is to get/keep the tires rolling so you have some control. A tire that is not turning will not steer and makes a lousy brake.

Also, always engage the 4wd on tricky terrain. That is the only way to transfer braking power to the front wheels.

If I leave my tractors in 2wd and drive down a 35 degree slope the tractors skid down the slope faster than the rear wheels are turning. If I try to use the brake it just skids to the bottom of the slope.

Putting it in 4wd keeps it in perfect control going up and down steep slopes. ....

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Chief
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2003-05-06          54391


Good call Mark on the 4WD. I too have joined the "Man of Steel " club after an uncontrolled skid down a steep hill. I have the "rust stains" in my drawers to prove it! ;-) ....

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TomG
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2003-05-07          54447


Turning downhill is more intuitive to me and that's likely what I'd do in a crunch. However, my intuition is to back rather than drive down steep hills and that is counter-intuitive for many people. To me it just feels more secure but I also reason that there is a weight shift to the rear when pointing uphill that increases traction on the larger rear tires. I don't worry too much about sliding backwards because it's likely to be a wild ride to the bottom either way. If you're already sliding there is virtually no braking or steering anyway so there's little reason to look at anything. I might have the presence of mind to drop the loader and back dragging it might be better.

Some theory rather than intuition for traversing hills is that turning into a hill may result in fewer overturns in fairly controlled situations. The idea is back to the weight-shift thing. Support for a tractor is the width of the rear tires on the ground at the back but it is the pivot point at the front. If a tractor is turned downhill that should shift the centre of gravity forward to a narrower part of the support. There's an old discussion where a person talked about a triangle of support that's worth reading. A pyramid of support would be the 3-dimensional version, and the concept is that a tractor shouldn't tip as long as it's CG remains within the pyramid.

The whole thing is undoubtedly more complex then this theory, and I'm not even sure the idea is right, but it's good to think about.
....

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Murf
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2003-05-07          54448


Mark, your point about the 2wd versus 4wd is well taken, however, you missed my point a couple of ways, 1) if the tractor won't stay on a hill in 2wd, maybe it's not the best place to be, and 2) if the tractor is in 2wd and starts to slide you will still have front wheels rolling and therefore at least a chance at steering, kind of like truckers used to do by permanently restricting front brakes so that in an emergency they would always have steering because the front wheels could not lock.

Best of luck. ....

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DRankin
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2003-05-07          54455


I guess it was all of that high speed pursuit training, and I didn't relate a couple of salient points.

Tom: If you are traversing a side hill and the rear end starts to slip downhill, you would turn into the skid uphill to correct the situation.

If the front end starts down hill first then you would steer downhill. The goal is to not stay sideways while skidding, but to get as much wheel rotation, and therefore control, as possible. Brakes and steering only work if the wheels are turning.

Murf: if you lock the wheels up trying to stop, then you are inducing another skid and have lost control, again.

My properly ballasted tractors will climb 95 percent of the steep terrain on my lot in two wheel drive if I am careful and select the correct gearing.

However they cannot always be brought to a safe stop going back down the same hill in 2wd because any pressure on the brake pedal or release of the hydro pedal starts the rear wheels skidding.

Keep in mind (I will too when dispensing advise) that I am operating on dry sandy soils. Murfs advice is relevant to operating on wet grassy slopes or maybe slick clay soils. And that is probably everywhere in North America but here.

If I followed Murfs prohibition I would have to park the tractors because some of you would even deem my driveway unsafe.

The department I worked for liked to do its driver training in the dead of winter on what amounted to ice rinks. If you could handle the car there you could handle it anywhere. I guess running a tractor in an environment like mine where the least slopes are a 1 foot rise in 10 feet induces similar reactions. ....

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slowrev
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2003-05-07          54456


Mark,
1 foot rise in 10 feet...that is flat compared to here in KY :)
I haven't measured but I am quite often dealing with 4 ft rise in 10 feet. ....

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Murf
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2003-05-07          54458


Mark, I meant no offence, I was trying to point out that for a Newbie, it would be prudent to err on the side of safety until experience dictates otherwise. After all the opening line of the original post was "You'll probably all laugh at this but I've never driven a tractor before."

I just wanted to make sure that this new memeber of our 'community' learned correctly and safely how to operate a tractor. I doubt the '5 tractor' folks here could teach each other anything more than a few nifty tips or tricks, it's the newcomers were directing these comments to, right?

Best of luck. ....

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DRankin
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2003-05-07          54459


Murf, no offense taken. Not today or ever. You are about the coolest head on the board.

I guess I was trying to say that we all have different and unique operating conditions. That is why I am no fan of R1 tires, for instance, while others swear by them.

If I wanted to rototill my lot I would rent a 30 horse CUT with no rear ballast and R1 tires and just drive it around.

I do think that going downhill in 4wd in slippery conditions is safer than the alternative, but I have plenty of room for civilized discussion on the matter. ....

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NewFarmer
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2003-05-07          54481


Thanks for all the advice and support. (I'm currently working with the site admin on my account name change and am pursuing a premium membership so I can read longer messages.) I might then post pictures of the hills that I'm leery of. I don't know how steep they are but they are grass covered with a pond at the very bottom. Tire tracks show where some brave sole went up and down, as well as, across the hills before. It's probably a piece of cake for some but being new at this, it's just hard to judge how safe the conditions really are. Thanks again. ....

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TomG
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2003-05-08          54493


I was making a distinction between sliding and tipping and between controlled and uncontrolled situations.

A slide is by its nature uncontrolled and all bets are off. I suspect that most times if the front wheels break traction on a traverse, the rear diff will counter-rotate and the tractor will point downhill faster than any steering correction can be made. If there's time, steering into a skid is the thing I've always heard to do.

What I've heard about 4wd on hills is that it gets one front wheel into braking even though there are no bakes on the front wheels. 4wd probably also gives more steering and may help keep speed down.

The geometry stuff was about tipping when the situation is fairly controlled. From a way of thinking about it in an earlier discussion, turning downhill may increase the risk of tipping. I don't have a conclusion but I think it's a good thing to think about. Other people have said that turning downhill tend to increase ground speed (since diesels have little engine braking) and that's not a good thing to do if it can be avoided. Again, no conclusions here, just stuff to think about.
....

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AC5ZO
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2003-05-08          54508


4WD generally helps with traction and skid control because the front wheels are powered by the engine and don't have to get their rotation from ground movement. You might notice this most often with FEL work where you have to put the tractor in 4WD to make the front end come out of a rut. But, the same thing will happen in a skid. Wheels rotating in the direction of travel = control.

4WD also couples the front and rear axles together through the transmission so that the rear and front wheels must rotate together. That means that some of the brake power is also transferred to the front wheels because the rear wheels cannot stop without restraining the front wheels. As long as the front wheels have some weight on them, this is going to result in more braking ability overall except when heading down an extreme downhill slope.

Cars skid for different reasons. Front brakes on a car always are set up to generate most of the braking force, so they will lock before the rear brakes in slick conditions. If you have a 4WD car or truck, the front and rear braking are tied together and skidding occurs less often. ABS brakes are a different situation altogether.

Deciding whether to turn uphill or downhill in a skid will almost have to be a split second experience based call. The reason that I say this is that there are so many orientations from which the skid could start. I would say that generally it is best to turn downhill and I will explain that a bit later, but if you were heading uphill at an angle (with the front end above the rear) and the rear broke loose, turning downhill would tend to put you sideways and make things worse. If the front were to break loose in the same situation, it is going downhill no matter what.

On very steep and slippery conditions, I run with the differential locked as well as 4WD. I move straight up and down the hill as others have described. I avoid traversing across the face, because that is the situation where you have the least ability to control and recover from a skid. I do not use the differential lock when traversing a slope, because this could make a skid worse if it started with the rear wheels.

Concerning tipping...I have never personally seen a tipping incident toward the front of a wide front tractor. (I have seen tricycle gear tractors tip toward the front.) I have seen tractors that have turned over backwards going up steep slopes. I can see how tipping over the front could occur if the front dropped down into a deep rut, but I have never seen it happen.

The center of gravity on a tractor is generally closer to the rear axle to enhance traction. This is affected by any implement or ballast that you place on the tractor. Turning downhill places a longer distance between the center of gravity and the lines between the wheel contact patches. (Lines on which tipping occurs.) A longer distance means it is more difficult to tip the tractor over. (Main exception -- FEL which moves the CG forward and up.) When the CG gets over the top of one of those lines of tipping, it is going over. The pyramid analogy that Tom mentioned is good as long as you remember that the CG is at the TOP of the pyramid. Please also remember that this kind of situation is what the ROPS and seatbelt are there for.

Going downhill with the front pointed downhill means that you will probably have a wild ride, but it is better to be in control going faster than you would like than to be skidding sideways with little/no control of direction, speed or your immediate future.
....

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TomG
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2003-05-09          54557


I haven't heard of foreword tips either at least in places where you'd expect to drive. An explanation I heard for why a wide 4wd axle is more stable than tricycle fronts is that the support is the pivot point rather than the wheels at ground level. The pivot point is higher than ground level, which would have a similar effect to lowering the CG. The front wheels don't provide lateral support since the axle pivots, or at least they don't until the axle hits its stops after there's already been some tipping.

I'm trying to figure why another discussion at another place contained some strong opinions why turning into a hill is a good rule of thumb and others said that it's good but with some qualifications. Intuitively, I'd still tend to turn downhill, which in a crunch probably is the quickest and most reliable correction.

The main qualification was that if you have to correct in a hurry, turning down is the fastest and most reliable thing to do. Others said that turning downhill can get you in trouble especially if the tractor is pulling or carrying heavy weight on the rear. What I am trying to figure is if there are any vectors that change at the start of a turn that could turn a near tip into a real one and if so would turning up or down be any better.

Despite my interest in tipping, I think that it's more common for rollovers to start as slides that turn into rollovers. A tractor starts sliding and picks up speed. If it's going straight down a hill, one side catches some traction, which turns the tractor sideways and then it rolls. Most times there's probably a greater risk of a tractor sliding than tipping so it might be better to figure on how to keep from sliding. ....

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AC5ZO
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2003-05-09          54570


Turning up a hill will require forces on the front tire traction points that will be higher than turning downhill in most cases. Exceeding the available traction is the definition of skidding.

Imagine traveling on a side slope. Generally turning downhill will not break the wheels loose from their traction. Turning uphill, especially with 2WD can cause the wheels to break loose and skid straight. Once the wheels are skidding, they may tend to follow the fall line of the hill, whether you want to go that way or not.

Tom, if you had an implement on the 3PH, it seems very remote that you could tip the tractor over backward. Also the CG would be shifted to the rear and the front end would be lighter. It may very well be easier to turn uphill.

Alternatively, if I was pulling something like a 4 wheel wagon from the drawbar, I don't think that I would want that thing following me downhill at uncontrolled speed. I would probably carefully turn uphill in this situation, get off on the uphill side, figure out a solution. I just can't come to any solid conclusion any way that I look at this. For every answer there is an exception. This is probably just the kind of question that keeps the lawyers for the farm equipment manufacturers up at night.

I have done some extreme off-road travel. You can get vehicles through some amazing tracks, but each situation is different. It is amazing what a shovel, heavy ropes, straps, high lift jack, and a winch can do, but there are no hard and fast rules. ....

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TomG
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2003-05-10          54610


AC: That's exactly where I end up. I just don't come up with a clear idea every time I try to think it through. From what I recall most everybody who tries to analyze the situation comes to the same result. However, a drawbar wagon was the example used by somebody who said to turn uphill and he was pretty clear about that. People who said to turn downhill were pretty clear that it wasn't an opinion based on analysis but rather just the quickest most reliable thing to do, and that most any attitude is better than being side-ways and tippy.

Myself, I'd rather be going uphill if sliding seemed a risk; unless I had big weight up high on the 3ph. My reasoning is that the same thing that makes the front lighter increases weight on the rear tires, and that should increase traction. Of course, if the soil is unstable, then maybe more weight isn't a good idea. Always exceptions to this buz it seems.

....

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2011-07-15          179410


Hi---I know this is an old thread, but I had some questions related to it--I am coming up on 2 years and now over 200hrs on my tractor and I thought that I'd review some of the safety issues related to what I have been doing.

We have some significant slopes that I brush hog several times a year, they are horse pasture, so at the top or bottom I am restricted by fence and or a stream. My question is: is it better to BACK UP the hill and go DOWN FORWARD or is it better to go FORWARD UP and BACK DOWN. On several of the pastures there is no good place to turn at the top or bottom--I do not feel confident (that pucker factor!) turning on the slope. I have a T2210 (TC33DA) with FEL and R4 tires, rears are filled, and 5 foot Woods brushhog on the 3PH.

The other situation is when I have moved debris and rocks and am placing top soil on several washed out areas, with a loaded FEL, I feel more stable going rear end facing down the slope. I do not know if that is right or wrong either. I usually have a blade on the back using the FEL.

Thought?

Thanks!
Mike

....

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2011-07-15          179411


Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbasChild | view 179410
is it better to BACK UP the hill and go DOWN FORWARD or is it better to go FORWARD UP and BACK DOWN.
Give that both R1 and R4 tires have directional lugs, you'll realize considerably less traction trying to reverse uphill. Depending upon conditions, you might not even MAKE it all the way to the top. Go forward up the hill, and even then be prepared to engage the diff lock the instant you feel slippage.

//greg// ....

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Murf
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2011-07-15          179412


Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_g | view 179411
Go forward up the hill, and even then be prepared to engage the diff lock the instant you feel slippage.//greg//


That's really bad advice.

According to many sources, including Dr. Jesse LaPrade, an agricultural safety expert with the The Alabama Cooperative Extension System and Auburn University, you should always reverse up a hill.

You want the best control when you're going downhill, not up.

According to Dr. LaPrade;

"Go up hills in reverse and go forward down hills.
Sudden braking or clutching while backing down a hill
can cause an upset. Pulling heavy loads uphill can
result in an upset."

Tractors have a natural tendency to flip over backwards because torque on the rear wheels wants to rotate the tractor around the rear axle. Going up hill forwards increases this tendency.

ALWAYS reverse up a hill and drive downhill.



Best of luck.


....

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2011-07-15          179414


Quote:
Originally Posted by Murf | view 179412
ALWAYS reverse up a hill and drive downhill.Best of luck.
Each to his own Murf. Sounds good on paper, but just outa curiosity - have you ever actually tried to push a rear mounted bush hog uphill in reverse? And once you discover you can't actually make it to the top in reverse - what's your alternative?

I ask, because it's dead simple to back up to a fenceline with the mower - then head uphill ready to engage the diff lock. Mowing uphill backwards necessarily leaves a lot of uncut material between the fenceline and the mower blades.

//greg// ....

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earthwrks
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2011-07-15          179417


I commercially brushhog sometimes in reverse uphill (Tc33 with R4s) with no issues. I even sidehill berms (approx 45 degrees) with no fear of flipping. My KK RC weighs a lot and really lowers the center of gravity allowing sidehilling safe for me. As far as going up hill forward smoothing a pond embankment I pushed the envelope so to say to the point the front wheels barely got traction. There again it was rear weight (a preparator) that allowed that. The angle was so steep acid was leaking from the battery. ....

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AbbasChild
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2011-07-16          179423


Thanks, everyone, for the input and debate.

Murf, I have read exactly what you stated and just recently even watched videos on tractor safety that described always going up a hill backwards. However, I have found that when I do what Greg said I feel much more in control--which was the conflict in my mid I was trying to resolve. I have gone safely up and down these fields without ever losing traction. Going forward,though, perhaps sitting high and forward, with little experience that pucker-factor kicks in.

I am learning to think more of how the tractor is weighted and how that affects handling.

Thanks again!
Mike ....

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auerbach
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2011-07-16          179425


Maybe this was covered in an earlier reply but attachments can matter. A mid-mount mower increases stability, whereas a full front loader carried high when on a slope will pull you over in an eyeblink. ....

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Murf
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2011-07-18          179441


Quote:
Originally Posted by greg_g | view 179414
Each to his own Murf. Sounds good on paper, but just outa curiosity - have you ever actually tried to push a rear mounted bush hog uphill in reverse?


Constantly, me personally, and each of my employees, in fact getting caught doing otherwise is a major no-no in my outfit.

Reversing up a bank steeper than 30 degree incline (1' rise over 1.5' of run) the operator must reverse up the slope if they are not on an approved 'tote road' (a designated travel path or trail).

In the company safety manual failing to do so is what is categorized as a "major safety infraction".

When the employee starts with the company, and every year thereafter they have to sign a form that says they've read (or reread) and understood the safety manual and that the agree that 3 "major safety infractions" in a 1 year period is grounds for dismissal "with cause".

If you think about it from a physics point of view, this sentence alone is a scary thought.



If you can't make it to the top in reverse, your alternative is to drive forwards straight down the hill.

If on the other hand you tried to drive forwards up the hill, and couldn't make it, your only alternative is to back up the whole way down the hill.

Aside from the much increased risk of flipping the tractor over from driving up instead of reversing, I really don't like the thought of having to steer a tractor that's already slipping down a hill backwards.



Best of luck. ....

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