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 09-02-2004, 01:20 Post: 95333

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 Roll over advice

I was doing some fairly light dirt work today with my 2210. I didn't have any ballast on the rear 'cus it was pretty light work and I had my sub-soiler on.

A half full bucket of dirt on a slight left side decline as I backed up with the bucket a waist level. The right rear tire rolled up on a rock and she started to go. I leaned out the right side and punched the forward pedal as I hit the bucket lever to drop it. She came back up promptly but this was a real eye opener!

I HATE side hill slopes and always carry the bucket LOW!!..except for this time. Even when it's a slight may roll over a damned rock's a problem. Also..ALWAYS have rear ballast on...period!



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 09-02-2004, 19:31 Post: 95411

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 Roll over advice

Seat belts with rops up! "None with rops down jump in the opposite direction of the roll. Your life is more important than a tractor.

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 09-03-2004, 12:00 Post: 95483

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 Roll over advice

I did a similar trick with my old Oliver. I took too big of a scoup of dirt with the FEL. The right front tire was on a soft patch of ground and sunk when I raised the bucket up. I had the left rear up a good 2 feet before I get the laod dumped and the tractor down. Afterward, I kept looking around to make sure the wife didn't see. I don't know if I could have jumped, the pucker factor was holding me in the seat pretty good.

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 09-27-2004, 20:16 Post: 97297

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 Roll over advice


I too did almost exactly what you describe the first day I had my 2210. I had a pretty full bucket of topsoil and had the York rake on the back thinking it was enough. Well it wasn't and luckily the tractor landed on the bucket (rear wheel high in the air) and didn't tip over. By lowering the bucket I put the tractor safely back on the ground. The very next day I filled the ballast box full of concrete and now don't even think of using the FEL as anything other than a wheelbarrow without it.


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 09-28-2004, 07:52 Post: 97308

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 Roll over advice

About 2 months ago same happened to me with the 4310. Slight decline to left, raised bucket with dirt and I started going over. I thought it was too late - I dropped the bucket and fortunately recovered. I might have had the york rake on - not the backhoe as usual. But I think a lot had to do with raising that bucket up high. I think I forget how much the bucket shifts the center of gravity as it is raised up high when the ground is not perfectly level.

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 09-29-2004, 07:28 Post: 97369

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 Roll over advice

Sometime back somebody conceptualized the tipping thing in a way I thought was pretty good.

He imagined a 'support plan' and said the tractor is relatively stable as long as the CG remained over plane. The plane was a triangle with the base at the rear wheels at ground level and the apex at the front axle pivot point, which is above ground level and adds stability. Loader weight moves the CG forward toward the narrower part and a hill tilts the triangle off vertical. Some sort of pyramid might be a more complete way of thinking about it, and of course a moving tractor changes thing a lot. However, he was mostly illustrating why a 4wd with a pivot point is more stable than an old tricycle front end.

All well and good I suppose but the main object is to gain enough experience to recognize hazardous situations without thinking about them because there's no time for thought when you're in one. I did have one front wheel come off the ground once when a rear wheel when up one hill and the opposite front wheel went up another. Well, I created my own problem by boxing myself in due to poorly considered dumping of spoilings from my backhoe.

Then there was the time I was trenching between buildings for electrical. I dug a work pit at one building and started the trench toward the other. I got about halfway and realized I was going to leave a bunch of shovel work when I ran out of room against the other building. So, I dug a pit at the other building and started trenching from that end. I almost connected the trenches when I realized that if I did so then I'd have a trench running underneath the tractor with buildings at both ends--so I didn't do that. Almost another duh.

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 09-29-2004, 09:35 Post: 97375

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 Roll over advice

I employed a semi-retired machine operator a few years back, he had spent MANY years on a dozer doing highway construction.

He said that way back when they had a very crude 'tilt-meter' on the dozer for doing the embankments and slopes along the road. It was a piece of heavy copper wire in the form of an oval hanging from the canopy, in the center a heavy brass plumb-bob hung from another copper wire. The loop and plumb-bob were a crude switch which sent power to a truck backup alarm over the operators head in the canopy. When the dozer got too close to it's balance point the plumb-bob swung over far enough to touch the loop and set off the alarm.

Problem was he claimed it gave the operators so much confidence that they pushed the limits too far. Apparently one operator was killed when he tried to work a hill that was very steep, the alarm didn't go off, so he kept working, except he hit a soft spot and the machine started to slide, when enough dirt built up under the bottom side and the machine started to roll.

Bottom line, the 'pucker meter' is probably your best safety device, when it feels uncomfortable, STOP.

Best of luck.

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 03-20-2005, 19:41 Post: 108407

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 Roll over advice

In this story there is a guy who said he developed a engine cut off switch. Whether or not it is a good idea to have no power when in trouble may be debateable but it is a good read anyway.

Tractor troubles
Families lobby for rollover protection
Sunday, March 20, 2005
By Robert Snell

Recent area rollover tractor deaths include:
Feb. 13, 2005: Richard Serrels, 32, of Forest Township died after the 1951 Ford tractor he was operating flipped while hauling a tree from the woods behind his house.

April 21, 2002: Daniel Shepp, 31, of Flushing was killed and his 2-year-old son injured when their tractor flipped backward as the father tried to pull out a large bush in Clayton Township.

Oct. 10, 1998: Charles Eldred, 48, of Linden died when a log he was pulling became entangled, causing the 1950 Ford tractor he was driving to flip on top of him.

How tractor fatalities happen

Tractors can roll sideways when riding along ditches or flip backward when trying to pull heavy loads or if they are stuck on something. Newer tractors have roll bars, seat belts and cabs that cradle drivers during rollovers.

Where to get help
The National Farm Medicine Center has an Internet guide that lets farmers see if rollover systems are available for various tractors. Visit www2.marshfieldclinic.
All tractors sold today are required to have safety equipment installed.

Safety tips

To reduce rollover risks:
Avoid sharp turns and reduce speed when turning.

Avoid driving on steep embankments, near ditches and holes.

Hitch loads to a drawbar. Many rollovers happen when loads are hitched to axles.

FOREST TWP. - Relatives stashed the old red tractor deep in the woods, deep enough so that Gretchen Serrels couldn't see it.

Serrels wanted it destroyed - retribution, really, against a machine that killed her husband, Richard, 32, in a Feb. 13 rollover accident.

Spurred by Richard Serrels' death, three families linked by the tragic bond of surviving loved ones who were killed in tractor rollovers are uniting to raise safety standards and awareness of old tractors and rollover accidents.

All three men died while riding old tractors that flipped over on them. The tractors are common because they are durable and inexpensive - costing about $1,400, compared to new tractors that can run $15,000 and up.

But old tractors that lack seat belts and rollbars are taking a toll on farmers who are dying in preventable rollover accidents, experts say.

Reports indicate tractor accidents kill more than 300 farmers annually, more than half due to rollovers,. More than 34 people have died in Michigan from tractor accidents since 2001.

But only about a third of the tractors in the U.S. have rollover protection, according to a 2002 Iowa State University study.

"If nothing is done, you'll be writing about someone else (dying)," said Steve Dawes of Flushing, whose brother-in-law, Daniel Shepp, was killed in 2002.

The solution is a rollbar system that comes standard on tractors built since the mid-1970s. Many older tractors can be retrofitted with seat belts and rollbars, but doing so can cost up to $1,000 - in some cases, an option more expensive than the tractor itself.

State Rep. John Gleason, D-Flushing, spurred by a promise to the late father of one victim, is drafting legislation that would mandate rollbars for every tractor made before the 1970s. The bill could be introduced next month.

"It's incredibly frustrating," said Marc Schenker, chairman of the Public Health Sciences Department at the University of California-Davis. "Unlike so many other things where we don't have a solution, here we have one."

Dying words

Daniel Shepp was conscious after the tractor flipped and pinned him to the ground.

"Get my boy," he told the first people to reach him.

His 2-year-old son, Austin, had been riding in his lap after Shepp hitched a chain tied to the back of an old tractor to a lilac bush at his in-laws' property in Clayton Township.

As the tractor pulled, the bush didn't budge and lifted the tractor's nose in the air.

It was already too late.

Relatives believe Shepp, 31, a pipefitter from Flushing, had time to hurl his son free from the tractor, saving the boy's life.

Shepp's relatives want to return the favor by alerting farmers and rural residents who use old tractors as all-purpose vehicles.

"If we can save one family from going through losing their high school sweetheart, someone whose two boys will grow up without a father," said Dawes, 45.

Through the grief and heartache of Shepp's death, his relatives refused to sit idly by while people continued to die.

"Tell people how dangerous they are," said Shepp's widow, Larissa, 32. "People need to be educated."

Shepp's sister, Sue Dawes of Flushing, has been removed from stores that sell old tractors after asking salespeople if they told potential buyers about the safety risks. She often knocks, uninvited, on doors leading from driveways where farmers peddle antique tractors.

Dawes, 46, wants to give people the information her brother never had about the vehicle's dangers.

"He didn't know," she said. "That's what he was guilty of."

Before Shepp's father, Robert, died in May, a day after he was diagnosed with lung cancer, Gleason promised that he would push for a law mandating rollbars on old tractors.

"They just roll over too easy," Gleason said. "The most important thing is to make sure if they roll over, that the driver is protected."

He acknowledged the law might be tough to enforce, but it would be similar to helmet and seat belt laws.

"I'm going to push this as absolutely hard as I can," Gleason said.

One tractor safety expert said Gleason's campaign is a welcome but misguided attempt to make tractors safer. Instead, he said, victims' families should push for greater public awareness.

"The problem is not necessarily the equipment," said Howard Doss, a retired Michigan State University farm-safety specialist. "The problem has to do with the casual buyer-operator."

Many risks, one solution

There are many ways to die on a tractor.

Holes and stumps can hobble tractors traveling at higher speeds. Sudden turns and steep inclines kill, and sideways rollovers are common when riding along ditches. Hitching loads to the rear of a tractor can pull it backwards, crushing farmers underneath.

A combination of lax safety rules and a farm culture in which risk is accepted as much as rain and sun is leading to more deaths, safety experts said.

"There is a tradition of assuming risk," Schenker said. "This is a hazard, and it's the way my father and grandfather did it."

Rollover risks have been minimized on most new tractors that feature so-called rollover protective structures. The safety equipment includes two- and four-post frames, seat belts and cabs that cradle drivers during rollovers.

In 1976, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration required all new tractors be equipped with rollover devices. But the requirement only covers farms with more than 11 employees.

Overseas, Sweden has nearly eliminated rollover deaths. From 1984-90, less than one farmer a year died after the government instituted regulations mandating rollover protection, according to the country's Center for Product Safety.

About 93 percent of Swedish tractors have some type of rollover protection. Schenker wants to see the United States follow suit, suggesting farmers could receive tax credits for adding rollbars to tractors.

The Michigan Farm Bureau encourages rollover protection, but it does not believe the devices should become mandatory, said Legislative Counsel Jim Miller.

"We feel people can evaluate their own situations," he said.

Victims' families disagree.

Two of the three men who died - Serrels and Shepp - had little experience operating the machines and were driving borrowed tractors.

Both made fatal mistakes, experts said, when they hitched loads to the back of the tractor.

Charles Eldred of Linden made the same mistake, though he had considerably more experience operating his 1950 Ford tractor. This man's death illustrates how a fluke can prove fatal.

A General Motors technician and father of three, Eldred was pulling a tree out of some woods on Oct. 10, 1998. While dragging the log across a meadow near Silver Lake and South Seymour roads in Argentine Township, it snagged on a root the size of a thumb.

The tractor flipped and pinned Eldred, 48, to the ground. The crash broke his back, and Eldred, a safety-conscious man who relatives said knew the tractor's limits, died alone in the field.

"There was no getting away from that one," said son Brad Eldred, 34, who found his father's body.

Spurred by his father's death, Brad Eldred and a Mott Community College professor invented a kill switch that shorts a tractor's ignition if the front end lifts off the ground or approaches a steep incline.

"I just didn't want to see it happen to anyone else," he said.

He hoped the inexpensive device would be added to old Ford tractors, but he was rebuffed after approaching the company, he said.

Like Shepp's family, the Eldreds were repulsed when they learned of the Forest Township fatality. If nothing more, they want to reach at least one family and prevent future deaths.

"We see it again and again and again," said Diane Eldred. "We have a problem. If we can just get the word out and some of these people just listen ..."

Coming homeAs with the other families, Richard Serrels' death provided a grim introduction to the dangers of tractors.

"I had no clue that was even a possibility," wife Gretchen Serrels said. "I don't think he even had a clue there were dangers like that."

Police found the General Motors senior product engineer pinned to the ground on private property along N. Henderson Road, south of Willard Road.

The 1951 Ford tractor flipped backward while Serrels, 32, was hauling a tree from the woods behind his house. Serrels had hitched a rope around the tree to the back of the tractor.

The tractor flipped, and the steering wheel pinned him to the ground, suffocating him, police said.

The tractor is no longer hidden in the woods behind the Serrels home. It was returned to the relatives who loaned it to her husband, although Gretchen had other plans for it.

"I wanted to pay for it and have it destroyed," she said. "I didn't want anybody to have it."

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