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 12-12-2001, 19:39 Post: 33778
Bob in PA



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 Post hole diggers

I'm considering the purchase of a 3-point hitch style post hole digger (PTO driven most likely). I'm wondering if anyone can tell me how well the ones with the hydraulic cylinder for down pressure work. I have used the standard ones which rely only on their weight, and have watched them sit and spin to no effect on hard ground. Also, what particular brand(s) would be recommended. I don't intend to put in miles of fencing, but I would like to buy a reliable one.






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 12-13-2001, 06:38 Post: 33790
TomG

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I haven't seen one that has it's own cylinder, and I'm just thinking through how something like that would work. Unless I’ve got it wrong, I don't think there would be any down-pressure if the 3ph could float upward as normal. In that case, the auger cylinder would handle all lifting and lowering and the 3ph would be redundant. My auger goes a little over 4' deep if I bury the gear box in the hole, so a lift cylinder for such an auger would have to be quite long.

I suppose a 'down-pressure' auger could be designed to apply force when the 3ph was full up at the top of it's mechanical travel, and the 3ph would then handle most raising and lowering. Something like that could be handy for starting holes but wouldn’t be available after the 3ph started lowering. However, I've always heard that load shocks against the mechanical limits of hydraulic systems are not good. Maybe there's an 'on/off' 3ph lock down that could be controlled from the tractor seat, but I can't think how something like that would be designed--might be useful though.

I guess down-pressure could be an advantage, but here's how I think about it. When the auger does spin on top of the hole for me, it's because it cut a plug of meadow sod and the point is clogged. I just have to pull the sod plug off the auger point. The soil is very sandy here and starting holes hasn't been a problem. I think there are auger points available for different soils.

I guess an auger with its own cylinder and maybe a hydraulic-top link to adjust the vertical could help dig more precise holes, and that might help sometimes. I guess it's fair to say that 3ph augers dig pretty sloppy holes that could give some types of contracting work problems. It's pretty easy to get holes that are poorly located or take off on slants. A fancy auger might be helpful to some people, but unless I used one a lot, my solution for sloppy holes is just bigger ones. You don’t have to real accurate using a 12” auger to put in 4” posts, and I wasn’t either—missed the fence line completely here and there.






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 12-13-2001, 16:13 Post: 33800
PWG



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 Post hole diggers

I recently bought a $500 cat 1 post hole digger. I ending up modifying it to make it work better with my 4400. The boom needed to be off-set by 3" to clear the top link mount and it needed to be reinforced with a 36" rib. These weld mods were done in a few hours for $50. The JD digger was close to $1500.

I have dug nearly 100 holes for posts and for trees. If the auger has good cutters, adding down force should not be necessary for your post hole work at home.






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 12-14-2001, 06:14 Post: 33808
TomG

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I see the edited version I posted yesterday didn't make one idea very clear. Down-pressure applied by a cylinder attached to an ordinary 3ph wouldn't apply down-pressure unless the 3ph is locked down similar to a 3ph backhoe mount.

I think PWG's issue was ground clearance. The entire up/down motion of an auger is done by the 3ph. Augers don’t have top-links, they have a boom that attach to the top-link bracket. Compacts often have low ground clearances, and the booms on some augers are so long that the auger doesn't clear the ground when mounted.

I also have a $500 flavour auger, and it works just fine. It has three mounting positions on the boom to raise or lower the auger's ground clearance. Fortunately, the auger on my Ford 1710 is OK on fairly level ground in the centre mounting position. If I had to drive up hills, I'd probably have to move to the higher position, but then the auger wouldn't dig as deep.

I wonder if a small cylinder on an auger might help adjust ground clearance, or maybe make locating the point to an exact ground location easier than the 3ph alone. I haven't seen one, but if they're around, maybe the purpose is something other than applying down-pressure. I do find putting the point an exact spot on the ground a little difficult--mostly because I can't see the point on the ground from the tractor, but I suppose an HST would be easier than my gears. I usually end up digging in the loader bucket and moving the tractor short distances by using the loader curl. I frequently move the tractor a short distance mid-way through a hole to keep kep it more vertical. Augers freely swing on heir lower-link pins, and gravity adjusts them to a vertical. It’s not uncommon for a hole to take off at a slant. The 3ph side-leveler can be used to adjust the vertical on side-hills.






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 12-14-2001, 14:49 Post: 33818
Bob in PA



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 Post hole diggers

Gentlemen, Bush Hog model 2103 has an optional down pressure cylinder. It is a single acting, 2" bore / 8" stroke cylinder which is mounted just about midway on top of the boom. Bush Hog says it provides an extra 550 lbs. of down pressure. I'm not sure exactly how it works, since the photo only shows the mounting from one perspective. I have a photo which I could email you (not sure if I can upload a .jpg to this board). Thanks for the responses so far.






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 12-15-2001, 06:21 Post: 33826
TomG

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Bob: Thanks for your note too. Thinking the thing through again, it is true that few 3ph's are held down, and powering an auger into the ground should tend to lift the 3ph. That's what would happen with implements that use a top-link.

However, with a boom rather than a standard top-link mount, there's a chance that the cylinder has a vector that loads the top-link mount more than the lower links are unloaded when the cylinder is lengthened-- something like that anyway. I'm always glad to have a reason to think something through again.

I am curious where the cylinder goes. Maybe then I can visualize the geometry. I seldom send pictures and I don't think I ever have here. I'm not sure if its possible to send pictures, and even if it is, it's probably a good thing if it's not too easy.

To test, I put a jpg file name in the picture field of the post screen. If the picture shows up, it's a safety chain common in Canada but uncommon in the States. The grab hook has a safety bale that prevents a link from falling out of the slot if the chain slacks.






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 12-15-2001, 18:17 Post: 33839
Roger L.



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Bob, a post hole drill is just like any other kind of drill bit. If it is dull it will just sit on the ground and spin. But if the side cutters and particularly the lead-in screw are both sharp you probably won't need any down pressure unless you are in rock or shale. Mine even does old gravel stream beds without any down force. Try it first without the hydraulic top link. You can always add the downforce link if you have the need.






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 12-16-2001, 08:45 Post: 33851
TomG

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Thank you Roger. Short and to the point. I do get carried away with trying to figure out how things work.

I still can't visualize the geometry that would allow a cylinder to generate significant down-pressure when a 3ph could float upwards. Dang, my auger is under wraps for the winter so I can't even mount it and have a look. Finally got some frost in the ground, so no more post-hole digging till spring. Frost, but no snow cover. Maybe I should be thinking about putting straw bales on top of the septic system instead of worrying about visualizing auger geometry.






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 12-16-2001, 09:29 Post: 33854
Roger L.



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3pt geometry is difficult to visualize. To help myself, I finally made a flat cardboard model of one side of a 3pt hitch as viewed from the side. It is mounted on a larger piece of cardboard with pins as the pivots. Changes are easily made with tape and scissors and the whole affair moves up and down with fingertip pressure. My criticism of this cardboard model is that although it does a good job with showing the pivots, it doesn't show the influence of the an implement's weight. I use finger pressure to give the idea of weight, but maybe a soft rubber band would work too.
Post hole drills and 3pt booms are interesting because they have one more hinge joint than a blade or scraper. Maybe there are still some things that could be done to improve the 3 point hitches.






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 12-17-2001, 06:28 Post: 33868
TomG

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Roger: A model sounds like a very good idea. I'll have some time on my hands coming up. There's a period that should already be passed when the season's work is done (we don't have livestock), there's too much snow to walk in the bush but not enough snow for snowshoes. We're overdue for that time when I'm around the house more. Model building might lower my wife's aggravation level, and maybe a model would lower my verbiage here. Well, maybe it would be good for everybody's aggravation.






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Tractor Implements Forum

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