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  1. #1
    Veteran Member pclausen's Avatar
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    May 2008
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    Nelson County, VA
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    JD 5085M, JD 1445, JD GT235, JD LT166

    Default Catastrophic hydraulic top link failure

    I was driving down a blacktop road and then I hit a transition to gravel and there was a little bump (I have driven across this transition dozens of times with various implements). This time I happened to have my stump grinder attached. I was going maybe 10 mph.

    Here's what happened to the top link:



    Not sure if you can make out the letters, but is was a forged eye.

    The stump grinder dropped to the ground and was coasting on the cutting wheel until I came to a stop to investigate what happened. After pulling over, I walked back to the shop and got my manually adjustable top link and was back in business and the stump grinder still works fine. Whew.

    If I had had my 2200 lbs chipper mounted on the back when it let go going down the road at speed, that could have been really bad.

    Was this likely due to metal fatigue of some sort, and would it be likely to happen again if I replace with the exact same make hydraulic top link?
    JD 5085M w/ H260 MSL Loader, Frontier AV20G Grapple, Frontier AP13G Pallet Forks, Woods BH1050 Backhoe, Woods SG100 Stump Grinder, Woods RM990 Finish Mower, Woods RB850 3 Way Hydraulic Blade, Woods LR108-2 Rake, Maschio H205 Tiller, Bush Hog 3209 Cutter, Vermeer 906 Chipper, Valby SGR76 3pt Grapple, Shaver 601H Post Digger, Tufline 8' Disc Harrow, Vicon Vari-Spreader MK-II 400, JD 45 16-3 Bottom Plow
    2002 Silverado Duramax 3500 Crew Cab LT 4x4
    BigTex 22.5K 25' Gooseneck Trailer

  2. #2
    Super Star Member
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    Feb 2008
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    11,506
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    somewhere usa
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    Deere 110tlb, 4520, x749, L130

    Default Re: Catastrophic hydraulic top link failure

    I suspect it was a fluke, I would get the replacement and move on. If it happened a second time I would change cylinder brands.

  3. #3
    Super Member radioman's Avatar
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    Ontario, NY
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    Kubota BX24

    Default Re: Catastrophic hydraulic top link failure

    I agree with jeninsph. It could be pot metal they used or it was under stress developing a stress fracture when stump grinding. Either way - it may not be strong enough for your uses/needs. Perhaps you can weld on a new eye of a different brand and call it a day. If it happens again with a new stronger welded on eye - I'd start upgrading the unit.

  4. #4
    Gold Member
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    May 2010
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    275
    Location
    N.E. Arkansas (transplant)

    Default Re: Catastrophic hydraulic top link failure

    looking at that eye, i'm thinking its simply not heavy enough even for a cat 1 toplink. I use both cat 1 and 2 toplinks depending on the tool attached and the cat 1 link looks to be way heavier than that. as for being pot metal, thats rubbish. the mfgr would be leaving themselves open for all kinds of lawsuits.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
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    Nov 2011
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    2,310
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    Central NH
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    John Deere 4300

    Default Re: Catastrophic hydraulic top link failure

    Looks flimsy to me. I'd suggest a different brand.

  6. #6
    Elite Member
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    Mar 2009
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    3,588
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    Lee, IL
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    John Deere 1070

    Default Re: Catastrophic hydraulic top link failure

    sucks you would have to replace the whole piston rod since it isn't a threaded on eye, are they all like that?

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
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    Dec 2012
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    Williamstown Ontario Canada
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    Kubota M7040 Nuffield 465

    Default Re: Catastrophic hydraulic top link failure

    Can you post a closeup of the fracture surfaces on the top link.
    Dave M7040

  8. #8
    Super Star Member
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    Northern Fingerlakes region of NY, USA
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    Kubota L3830GST, B7500HST, BX2660

    Default Re: Catastrophic hydraulic top link failure

    Quote Originally Posted by mikehaugen View Post
    sucks you would have to replace the whole piston rod since it isn't a threaded on eye, are they all like that?
    Not a big deal to weld on a new one, just run it all the way out and cover the whole rod with wet rags to keep the seals cool and the rod spatter free.

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  9. #9
    Platinum Member JD 4520's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
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    Brinnon, WA
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    John Deere 4520

    Default Re: Catastrophic hydraulic top link failure

    I would say it could be a fluke, it is likely from a stress fracture and it is definitely light weight for a 2200 lb implement. I would try to find someone that can weld a new eye on as long as they know what they are doing and you get a cat2 eye otherwise look to upgrade when you replace it. That is a lot of weight when you took a bounce and likely previously fractured slightly.

    Let us know what you decided on.
    Gary

    JD 4520, 400X FEL, Frontier Front Blade, Box Blade, Rotary Cutter, Landscape Rake, 48" Wildkat Grapple and PHD

  10. #10
    Elite Member Baby Grand's Avatar
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    Windsor, CT.
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    Kubotas: L3240GST B2320HST B5100D & G5200H

    Default Re: Catastrophic hydraulic top link failure

    Quote Originally Posted by radioman View Post
    I agree with jeninsph. It could be pot metal they used or it was under stress developing a stress fracture when stump grinding. Either way - it may not be strong enough for your uses/needs. Perhaps you can weld on a new eye of a different brand and call it a day. If it happens again with a new stronger welded on eye - I'd start upgrading the unit.
    Quote Originally Posted by aczlan View Post
    Not a big deal to weld on a new one, just run it all the way out and cover the whole rod with wet rags to keep the seals cool and the rod spatter free.

    Aaron Z
    I'd consider the above advice as the path to follow. Get a beefier rod end and take it to a good weld shop if you're not comfortable doing a multipass weld without porosities or cold shuts in your own shop. That rod end looks a bit delicate for going over bumps at speed with a 2200# implement dangling off the top link. Is that a class 1 or 2 top link?
    That's the problem with trouble.
    It always starts out as such fun."
    - Randall Brown

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