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  1. #1

    Default Rotary cutter, slip clutch or shear pin??

    Considering buying a RC for residential use, it will not be used alot, maybe a few times a year for mostly brush grasses/weeds and 1/4 - 1/2 saplings.

    Which is the preferred route, slip clutch or shear pin? pro's and cons?

    Any input on the brush bull series?


  2. #2
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Omaha, NE
    Allis Chalmers 180

    Default Re: Rotary cutter, slip clutch or shear pin??

    Slip clutch, when adjusted properly is more forgiving when you hit the unseen stump, rock, etc. hiding in the weeds. Better for your tractor and your cutter. Shear pin can work, but when it does, you are done until you replace it. Shear them a couple of times in one mowing session and you will wish for a slip clutch.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Lower Michigan
    Kioti DK40SE

    Default Re: Rotary cutter, slip clutch or shear pin??

    Brush Bull is quality, and you will pay for it. Quite a bit.

    Slip clutch is better if you're going to hit a lot of rocks or other resistant solid objects, but it also requires annual maintenance to keep working. If you don't maintain it, it freezes solid, and that's no good. Maintenance is simple but a lot of people don't do it, out of forgetfulness or laziness.

    Shear bolt is simpler, cheaper, and requires no maintenance. It is a hassle if you break them much, but probably better for a lot of casual users like what you describe.

    If you're willing to spend the money for a quality RC like a Woods, be sure to consider a Caroni flail. I made the switch and am 100% happy, and you can find dozens of others on here who have done the same.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    ck30 kioti

    Default Re: Rotary cutter, slip clutch or shear pin??

    I cut mostly grass and weeds,very little brush,shear bolt is the way to go in that case,now if I was cutting brush,maybe a slip clutch would be better,but they are a pain if you don't need one,cause I got one on a tiller[where you need one],but you got to see if its rusted shut every year,you don't want it to tight,but you can't have it too loose or you'll burn it up....

  5. #5
    Veteran Member buck12's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    NW Mississippi
    Mahindra 2615

    Default Re: Rotary cutter, slip clutch or shear pin??

    I have shear pin on my rotary cutter and slip clutch on my tiller. I have found the slip clutch to be more trouble. I have put 130 hours on my tractor with over a 100 of those hours using the RC and have yet to break a shear bolt. Much of this is in heavy brush/sapplings. There are no rocks where I mow. If I mowed in a rocky area I would likely prefer the slip clutch.

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    north Mississippi
    NH 3040

    Default Re: Rotary cutter, slip clutch or shear pin??

    Only problem I've seen with slip clutches is people not servicing them and breaking shafts because they are locked up over the winter. but I really hate changing bolts in mine.
    NH 3040 fel 6' cutter
    JD 737 zero turn
    polaris ranger xp
    99 honda 300
    trek 5900 nobody knows what that is.

  7. #7
    Super Member greg_g's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Western Kentucky
    JD3720 Cab, 300X loader with 4-in-1 bucket

    Default Re: Rotary cutter, slip clutch or shear pin??

    You don't say where you live or what you're going to be cutting QHorse. So I'll just say that I don't find maintaining my slip clutch to be a bother. Considering that I've got a tidy sum tied up in my mowers, I consider the minor maintenance requirement as simply protecting my investment. Then when I mow through a stubborn patch of thigh high crabgrass, I know I have equipment I can rely on. Granted, a slip clutch costs a bit more up front. But it saves down time, AND the bother of carrying along shear bolts and the tools to remove/install them.

    USN (Ret)
    Former Chinese tractor owner (x4)
    Current John Deere owner

  8. #8
    Veteran Member johnrex62's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Bastrop County, Texas
    Kubota L3700SUHST

    Default Re: Rotary cutter, slip clutch or shear pin??

    I have a shear pin on my rotary cutter and on my very first cutting venture backed up over a big wad of grass and took out the pin. I put it down to a combination of bad height adjustment on the 3pt, backing, and the dense thatch buildup in the field at the time. Not even a full hour on the machine yet. Fortunately the cutter mfg or dealer, not sure which, foresaw that and had included three spares with the cutter. 5 minutes later I am cutting again. Gave me a chance to get a closer peek at the cutter and took away a lot of my fear about damaging my tractor or gearbox.

    I have done a few more days of brush clearing and even accidently took down a 3+ inch tree hidden in a thicket of smaller saplings with no more shear pin incidents.

    The maintenance on the slip clutch would always leave me wondering if it was working correctly or not. The confidence that a bolt will have generally the same range of shearing resistance is much more comfortable for me.
    Kubota L3700SUHST, AG-Meier Mohawk 5' Rotary Cutter, Armstrong AG 5' Boxblade, Armstrong AG 5' Landscape Rake
    Scotts 50560x8 50" Riding Mower

  9. #9
    Platinum Member CBW1999's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Northern Vermont on the 45th parallel
    Kubota 7510, Toro Groundsmaster 217D

    Default Re: Rotary cutter, slip clutch or shear pin??

    This thread has caused me to re- think the slip clutch on the roatry cutter I am rebuilding.

    The slip clutch on my tiller was adjusted this spring by trial and error. Following the instructions, I tightened the bolts a certain number of turns- then tested in the soil conditions. I kept tightening half turns until it was functioning properly. The slip clutch has worked fine all season.

    Now- how does that work with a Rotary Cutter? Obviously you wouldn't keep running into objects to see if it slips.... Is there a method to tighten without over doing it? Does it come factory set? If I rebuild it, How do I know what the correct torque is?

    Never really thought about it.

    Now the truly interesting thing on the cutter I am rebuilding- It has the slip clutch to go on a smooth input shaft. Would I be able to put a shear bolt in as a backup?

  10. #10
    Advertiser sweettractors's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Central Kentucky
    JD 6403 CHA-JD 3130 CHA

    Default Re: Rotary cutter, slip clutch or shear pin??

    Shear bolt cutters are less expensive the clutch models. If you don't mind getting off the tractor occasionally to replace the bolt, that would be the way to go. In addition, I think older operators or operators with health issues or operators with a short fuse should use a slip clutch model. Ken Sweet

    Sweet Farm Equipment LLC (Internet Sales, Shipping All States)
    Shipping Facility
    1815 Defries Rd., Canmer, Ky 42722 Toll Free 1-866-528-3323
    Ken Sweet

    Shipping Example: Can ship 800 lbs from Ky. to Dallas for $165
    The Northeast shipping corridor is a little more expensive.

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