Question: Back Hoe  -- Tractor Attachments Implements 3ph Discussion Forum and Review Question: Back Hoe -- Tractor Attachments Implements 3ph Discussion Forum

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 04-25-2001, 07:36 Post: 27213
Arnie



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Installing the Kelley backhoe on my John Deere 855 tommorow. I've heard some stories about people breaking tractors in half. How can that happen, when the relief valve setting is set? Has anyone actually seen this happen? Hard for me to believe that this could be true. Do any of you have a Kelley backhoe, if so how do you like it? I'll post again after I use the backhoe and how I like it. Thanks.






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 04-26-2001, 05:40 Post: 27253
TomG

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I have a Kelley B650 and like it fine. If you're installing the 3ph mount, the instructions may not seem clear in places. There is a mounting bracket for two top-links that are used for stabilizer/3ph lockdowns that is u-bolted to the drawbar. My instructions specified that the bracket must be mounted no further than 1" from the drawbar support. The 1" is important to minimize leverage placed on the drawbar support. Sometimes a hole must be drilled in the drawbar, but I achieved the 1" requirement by removing the drawbar top-bracket and using the rear hole. Installation and adjustment of the stabilizer links and top-link is extremely important. Without all three links installed, the 3ph hitch may inadvertently go into lift mode with somebody in the operator's seat (fatal accidents have been reported). Adjustment of the links is important to keep the hoe from beating up the tractor frame. The mount does loosen with work, and I check adjustment of the links every hour of operation or less, and the u-bolt tightness frequently as well. My hoe is powered from a valve controlled rear outlet. I hold the valve open with a bungee cord to operate the hoe. The hoe has input and output hoses. My input hose had a paper tag marked 'pressure'. The input port on the hoe valve assembly also should be stamped 'IN' or 'P'. It's important not to confuse the hoses and to be certain which hose from the tractor is the pressure hose. If I'm in doubt, my feed is under valve control, so I can grab a hose and operate the valve. The pressure hose is the one that stiffens. Yes, there are first-hand reports about tractors that have been broken by hoes--3ph mounts are more prone, but asub-frame hoes also can do damage. The idea is that the long arms of a hoe can have a large leverage on the tractor frame that can place huge forces on the frame. With the hoe stabilizers and loader bucket dug in, the force travels up the top-link and tries to ‘jack-knife’ the tractor. The amount of leverage a hoe has depends on the distance of the bucket from the tractor. The instructions prohibit digging with while the arms are stretched out, and that is important. Digging fairly close to the tractor (but not too close or the tractor goes into the hole) reduces the stresses applied. Other instructions supply some good safety and operating tips that should be followed irrespective of anything I write. I think it's important to realize that a hoe-equipped tractor is not a dedicated backhoe. They just can't be expected to do the same work. Most any sizable hoe can exceed the engineering design capabilities of most any compact tractor under some conditions. Ultimately, tractor frame safety depends on operator technique, and it's very easy to adopt technique that abuses the tractor without knowing it.






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 04-26-2001, 16:04 Post: 27271
VT Steve



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Wow, thanks for the installation and operation input, TomG - makes me wish I was getting a Kelly hoe instead of a Woods - I don't have a source of such good "stuff" about Woods hoes. One comment re: 3PH vs. Subframe and tractors being broken. I have heard that one of the prime times for this to happen is when transporting "over the road (or non-road)". Many if not most of the stories I have heard about tractors breaking in two - and I have to take it on faith that these are truly honest accounts and not mostly "rural legends" - relate that the break occured while the tractor was moving not while the hoe was putting the tractor/connection under stress. I guess my thinking is that there is an implement that weighs up to #1350 (Woods 9000) that is swinging around on the back of a tractor (approx 2X the weight of a large mower or tiller) when it is being transported. When the hoe is in operation, the stress is #1 controlled (hopefully) by the operator and #2 is substantially absorbed and spread by the stabilizers. Any comments out there both on the legend vs. fact and under what conditions the greatest risk occurs??!






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 04-27-2001, 05:48 Post: 27282
TomG

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I believe Woods makes a very good hoe. I also believe the stories I've heard, and it's my impression that most are related to operator abuse or enthusiasm. Enthusiasm here means putting too big a hoe on too small a tractor. However, there are transportation accidents. A hoe is carried fairly low, and they tend to drag when a tractor starts up a hill, or bottoms out when backing down a hill. Serious damage to a hoe when backing a tractor off a trailer also is fairly common. With 3ph mounts, it's good to remember that the 3ph is locked down. Hitches in normal operation can float upwards. I sometimes remove the links that lock down my 3ph when I trailer the tractor or drive on very uneven ground so I can raise the lift. My hoe also weighs more like 600 lbs., and my 3ph capacity is almost 1,900 lbs. I keep the sway chains snuged up, but I'm not too worried about shocks while I'm moving. The hoe weight is well within the 3ph rating. However, it's like anything else. Operator abuse always is possible. It's a good idea to drive slow enough so things down bounce around when any appreciable load on the 3ph or a sub-frame. Regarding operating stress on the tractor: Digging is what applies the most force on the tractor. The hydraulics place down pressure on the bucket, which tries to pick up the rear of the tractor. The stabilizers are unloaded, rather than loaded, by digging operations. That's why loaders should be on the ground when digging--it increases the wheel-base so it takes more force to lift the rear. A dug in bucket also keeps the tractor from being dragged backwards by digging operations. Trying to dig with the bucket curl while the dipper and boom are stretched out applies the most force to a tractor. The extended arms have the most leverage, and the curl force usually is stronger than either boom or dipper forces. Trying to dig like that really shouldn't be done--sub-frame or not. Like most things on tractors, operator abuse is possible. It takes some experience to be able to judge the capabilities of a machine and recognize tasks that are just too big, and it takes some discipline not to try them. My own discipline does get strained when I'm trenching at more than 3' depth. I know it's easiest on the tractor to dig fairly close, but that means digging jus a few feet of trench before having to move the tractor. I have to force myself not to give into the urge to 'stretch' the moves or forget to check the mount adjustment. Most times my discipline prevails. If I start to get cranky about hopping on and off the tractor all the time, I remind myself that I got a 3ph hoe for convenience and with the notion that the hoe was for occasional projects.






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 04-27-2001, 09:36 Post: 27289
Ted Kennedy



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Arnie, believe what you want to believe. I'm sure that there have been some "whoppers" told relating to tractors breaking in half, but the truth is, it happens far too often with 3pt hitch hoes on compacts and I've seen several. How this happens relates driectly to the design of the tractor and the materials used and the powerful straight-line forces that can be generated by the bucket's cylinder - especially when your boom and dipper are fully extended and all of the force is transmitted to the top link. Aluminum housings are common on compacts, as are "frameless" unit construction designs (this is where the transmission and clutch housing are integral stress carrying members of the design). What I've seen happen is first the connecting bolts either loosen or strip their aluminum threads, this from stretching/shock forces generated when digging. Next a gap forms between the trans and "bell housing", this gap sometimes gradually widens, sometimes it goes all at once, and the result is the tractor sagging in the middle. This can occur during digging, or while driving, but is the result of digging. When this happens you can't drive the machine, its back is broken, and while it may not actually come apart in two pieces, your machine is toast. Figure on about six grand to get the typical compact back together. If you own a compact, regardless of whether you are using a hoe or not, you must be diligent about checking bolt torque in key areas. Your service manual should tell you what requires what. I have never seen this happen on a Cat II hitch or bigger tractor. As for Woods, Vt Steve, they're great machines and if you need to know more, either e-mail them or call them, you won't get "lip service", they'll bend over backwards to help. Woods owners' manuals are excellent as well, with above average illustrated parts breakdowns and well thought out sequential instructions. Kelly's instructions look like they can use some improvement. I know, I own and have helped assemble, both manufacturer's products.






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 05-03-2001, 17:39 Post: 27723
Mark Casteel



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I purchased a Great Bend Backhoe for my TC29D. I too had heard the stories of tractors breaking in half. I was told by my dealer who talked to 3an engineer at Great Bend that it can happen but the only time that he has seen it was under the following circumstance: A tractor with a full load in the loader and a 3PT. hoe. The tractor was being driven and the stress of the weight on front and back broke the tractor in the middle. For this reason I bought the subframe for my hoe.






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 05-04-2001, 07:11 Post: 27743
VT Steve



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Mark's reply was kind of what I was looking for and backs up what I have been told re:3ph backhoes "breaking" tractors. Anyone out there with a "real" story about a machine breaking under normal conditions while actually working and because of the backhoe? How about the same WITH a sunframe?? I am not sure that having a subframe exempts one from the possibility! Another question (probably sure to raise a few hackles). Several years ago, while I was browsing a Cub Cadet yard, the sales person started doing the usual color bashing and was mentioning how some of the other brands (orange in this case) had gone to a cast aluminum gear housing and, that since that was such a vital "structural" element of the tractor (which I believe it is), they thus had a much "weaker tractor in terms of overall strength. What bearing do you folks think that has on whether or not it's a good idea to put a hoe on the back of a compact w/ or w/o a subframe? Or was it all sales hype?






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 05-04-2001, 19:25 Post: 27760
Bird Senter

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VT Steve, I had a Cub Cadet salesman give me the same sales pitch in '95. But after sitting on a Cub Cadet, I bought a Kubota. I think the Cub Cadet is a good tractor, too; just didn't fit me; too uncomfortable. But I sure don't think it's any stronger than a Kubota (or a Deere, or a New Holland).






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 05-05-2001, 12:29 Post: 27778
Mark Casteel



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Just for clarification on my Great Bend Hoe with subframe. Mine is mounted by two very heavy brackets under the rear axle and two heavy brackets just behind and under the front axle. The subframe consists of two "rails" that run the length of the tractor. According to Great Bend these "rails" help to absorb the weight and stress applied to the tractor while working the hoe or while driving the tractor. My hoe is in no way connected to the 3PT hitch, which is exactly what I wanted. I am sure that I could still damage the tractor if I was doing something silly, but I do not plan on doing that. I love this little hoe and I can take it on and off in less than 4-5 minutes!






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