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  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    24
    Location
    Howell, Michigan
    Tractor
    JD 4115

    Default Gravel Driveway vs Box Blade

    Hello,

    I am trying to use my JD 4115 to repair and level my 400' long gravel driveway. Since the driveway is on an incline, everytime it rains really hard a little river forms and washes part of the driveway out.

    I used my FEL to recover some of my driveway from the ditch along the road and fill in the holes. Then I distributed 10 yards of crushed limestone.

    Afterwards I tried to use my TSC 5' box blade to level everything off.

    Here lies the problem. Since I can only go back and forth along the driveway, some little hills built up. My wife says it like ridding a roller coaster.

    When the front wheels start to climb one of the hills the box blade digs in more. And where it is digging in is where there is already a low spot. Then as the tractor crest the hill and starts down the other side, the box blade raises up and dumps it load on top of the hill.

    The more I try to grade it the bigger these hills get. I have tires getting tricky with the draft control and clipping the tops of the hills and dumping it in the low parts but I am not tricky enough. I have also tired to use my FEL to redistribute it hills. That works to some degree but when I go to level everything back out I end up with the hills again.

    I can imagine that if I were leveling a larger area where I could come in from different directions that this would be less of a problem but grading my driveway restricts me to driving only along it's length.

    Does any one have any suggestions? Is there another attachment which might work better? On the farm where I grew up we used to use a rear grader blade on a 105 HP tractor to grade about 1000 FT of driveway and I don't remember having this problem. Of course the driveway started out a little more level and the tractor had a much longer wheel base.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    39
    Location
    Southwest Georgia
    Tractor
    John Deere 670 and John Deere 140

    Default Re: Gravel Driveway vs Box Blade

    Practice! The first time I used the box blade on my drive, I pretty much ruined it (the drive that is). The top link length is key on using the box blade, and you will get pretty good at using the draft control to keep from gouging. I now usually use a landscape rake on my drive, but when you've got some potholes or a wash, the boxblade is the tool for the job. It is just a matter of getting the hang of it.

  3. #3
    Elite Member Tractors4u's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    2,542
    Location
    Athens Alabama
    Tractor
    Deere 4310, Kubota L355, John Deere SST18 Spin Steer, 2006 Polaris Ranger

    Default Re: Gravel Driveway vs Box Blade

    How high off of the drive do you have the box? Try just knocking the tops off of the little hills. As they get short lower the box. Also try weaving, not a basket, but weaving side to side some. Attacking the little hills from a slight angle will help.

  4. #4
    Silver Member RHughes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    169
    Location
    Autauga County, AL
    Tractor
    New Holland TN65

    Default Re: Gravel Driveway vs Box Blade

    I've run into the same problem with my driveway in the past. It's not quite half a mile long and I am constantly dealing with drainage issues. I've found three ways to tack the "washboard" effect, depending on the equipment you have.

    1. If you can afford it, buy a rear grader blade with a good angle adjustment. Set the blade at fairly steep angle to pull gravel from the high spots into the low spots, working from the edges of the road toward the center. This will help offset the "hill and valley" problem a bit. Go slow and be prepared to make several passes.

    2. If you tractor is equipped with automatic draft control, use it. This will help keep you rear implement running the same depth and prevent it from digging in too bad. This is normally used in cultivating and plowing, but I've found it works just as well for grading.

    3. Try making a first pass over bad sections of the driveway in reverse. In some cases, this will allow the blade to cut the high spot down before your wheels hit it.

    I hope this helps!
    Best of luck!

  5. #5
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    11,496
    Location
    Upper Midwest USA
    Tractor
    JD 4300, JD X485 JD 4x2 Gator, JD 425, JD455

    Default Re: Gravel Driveway vs Box Blade

    Near impossible with a box blade. As RHughes pointed out, you need to have something with an angle to it, such as a rear blade. Even dragging a wood (or steel) beam at an angle to the drive will help fill in and level off the lows and highs. Care must also be taken to keep the fines mixed in with the larger stone, and packing well (I drive the vehicle up and down many times to pack), before drying out, is very important.

    Keep a good crown to the drive, making the water run to the sides (ditches) ASAP when it rains is the only way to keep the gravel from washing away.

    I find that my front 7' snow plow blade, that will angle, dragged backward works the best at getting a good leveling job. Regardless, it takes time, practice, and patience - but eventually you will learn the tricks. Good luck (and let your wife try it a few times, as she needs some understanding too. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] But that comes with a risk that you won't get your 4115 back.)

  6. #6
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    462
    Location
    western NY
    Tractor
    MF GC2300

    Default Re: Gravel Driveway vs Box Blade

    Beenthere has a good point about fixing the problem (water running down the drive) rather than the symptom (ruts). I used to work in Seattle's ~90,000 acre municipal watershed inventorying culverts, particularly for sediment concerns.

    It takes very little slope for water to start "working" (eroding). Once it gains momentum, there's no stopping it! This past weekend, we had numerous torrential rains and my gravel drive started rutting too. I tried installing (w/ FEL and rear blade) a couple "getaways" to improve drainage and get water off to the grassed sides where it would spread out rather than channelize. I was only partially successful and I have some cleanup to do, but I'd rather keep after it and clean up a little gravel off the sides than deal with ever deepening ruts in the driveway.

  7. #7
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Posts
    36,983
    Location
    Texas

    Default Re: Gravel Driveway vs Box Blade

    DepthCharge, I had the same problem when I was learning to use a box blade. And in my opinion you'll continue to have the problem as long as you are trying to raise and lower the box blade with the 3-point hitch (at least I did). For me, the correct way to use it was to lower it all the way (float) and then regulate how much or how little it cut into the material by tilting it forward or backwards by shortening or lengthening the top link. That can certainly be done manually, and I've watched a couple of guy who were very good at it, but it is much easier and faster if you have a hydraulic top link. To me, the box blade is the best tool for the job, but it did take me some time and practice to get reasonably proficient with it.

  8. #8
    New Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    14
    Location
    StL Co/Macon Co, Mo.
    Tractor
    JD1070 MFWD

    Default Re: Gravel Driveway vs Box Blade

    Tell your wife to slowdown! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  9. #9
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    238
    Location
    Connecticut
    Tractor
    Kioti LK2554

    Default Re: Gravel Driveway vs Box Blade

    I have experienced the same problem. My driveway is level and about 400' long, but it will wash board after awhile. I have found that "fluffing up" the gravel by putting the scarifiers down deeper lets me start fresh without humps and valleys. I then level it by raising the scarifiers with the box blade or landscape rake. (seems to work pretty well)

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    255
    Location
    Athens, Georgia
    Tractor
    B2410HSD

    Default Re: Gravel Driveway vs Box Blade

    I'm not sure if this will help you, but this was one of the most useful things I've learned here. To use a box blade for grading, you have to go slowly. I've found that if I try to smooth out an area at a snail's pace, I can adjust the 3-point hitch so that it will knock off the high points, and not drag the soft stuff that's accumulated in the low spots from the first pass.

    I hope this helps.

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