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  1. #1
    Gold Member tuolumne's Avatar
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    Default Top N Tilt for creating drainage swales?

    I need to create a few hundred yards of drainage swales on our new property along the road. The tractor I have coming is a 3520 with loader and hoe. It seems that the easiest way to do this job would be with a box blade that could be easily tilted. In addtion to the massive amounts of money already spent, I would need to invest in the hydraulic diverter kit...$1000, top-n-tilt cylinders....$800, box blade...$1000? for a good one with scarifiers. Is there another way to accomplish this? It seems like this will go very slow with the backhoe. I could have it done when I hire out or rent a dozer to push stumps. Ideally this would be a gently swale that is easy to mow.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
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    Nov 2005
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    Guildhall, VT
    Tractor
    JD 2305/JD 4720 cab

    Default Re: Top N Tilt for creating drainage swales?

    Hi:

    I'm sure you probably know this and it's a pain to adjust frequently but you can tilt the box blade without the TNT by just using the adjustment turnbuckle to lower or raise a side. It is a pain but a lot cheaper than a TNT. I've done this with my Box Blade (72" on a 3320). One thing that might be cheaper and work easier if the soil isn't too hard is a landscape blade. I have a 72" blade and it'll dig pretty good in fairly tough soil. The blade will also let you push soil to the side whereas the BB won't. If you were 'digging' to the side with a BB I would imagine you'd fill the box pretty quickly and it would just spill over the back/side whereas a blade you could direct the downslope material upslope working even faster.

    One other thing also is that the landscape blades come with the ability to tilt the blade (in -preset holes) up and down on the left or right so you can get a compound angle. I used a blade like this for making an angle slope level - Just the opposite of what you want to do. There is no fine adjustment for the right/left tilt on the blade but then you have the 3pt turnbuckle.
    "I'd rather be on my Tractor"

  3. #3
    Gold Member tuolumne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Top N Tilt for creating drainage swales?

    Thanks for the advice. This is certainly a much cheaper option. I just looked at a few landscape blades and I can see that the adjustments would be much quicker than the 3ph turnbuckles. In fact, the picture in my woods catalog shows this blade being used to create a swale.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member jeffinsgf's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
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    Springfield, MO
    Tractor
    JD 4410

    Default Re: Top N Tilt for creating drainage swales?

    Timely post. I just did the same on about 600 feet of driveway this weekend.

    I don't think the box blade by itself is the answer. I tried it, and the box fills up and all cutting efficiency is lost.

    I took my front end loader, angled the blade down at a steep angle, set the edge just off the drive, applied enough pressure to just lift the front wheels off the ground, drove forward just a bit, reduced the angle of the bucket, forward just a bit, angled the bucket up and drove through until the bucket came out of the ground. This cut a ditch that was about 4 feet wide, gently sloping on one side and coming back up to the road abrubtly about 8 to 10 inches. When I started, I thought it would take forever, working 5 feet at a time. In reality, I had one side done in under an hour. I then tilted the box blade (manually -- I have a hydraulic top cylinder, but not a tilt cylinder) and graded the ditch a couple of times each direction , placing the lower edge of the blade on the same line both directions. Then, I leveled the box blade and graded the long slope a few times.

    All in all, I did the 600 feet from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm. Now I just need to spread a couple loads of gravel on the road, sow some grass and spread some straw on the ditch, and watch the water run down the ditch instead of down the middle of my drive.
    4410 ePR, 3rd SCV, Skid Plates, TuffTop Canopy
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  5. #5
    Super Member AKfish's Avatar
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    Oct 2004
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    Kasilof, Alaska
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    JD 5075M; JD 110 TLB; JD 4720; Ford 9N; JD X300R

    Default Re: Top N Tilt for creating drainage swales?

    I use my back blade to "crown" my driveway. By tilting it at a downward angle and then angled rearward, I can cut the shoulder and the dirt peels off the bottom edge of the blade.

    I think that in the short term --- the landscape blade would do what you need to get down --- and not break the bank.

    In the long term --- you're probably gonna want that top n tilt.

    That's the next addition to my tractor!!

    AKfish

  6. #6
    Super Member JerryG's Avatar
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    Northwest Arkansas
    Tractor
    MF 1440-4 PowerShuttle

    Default Re: Top N Tilt for creating drainage swales?

    I have made the type of swale that you are wanting up to about 400' and 3-4' deep with a box blade and loader. Rip it really well and then scoop up a bucket full with the loader and drag a box blade full at the same time. That way you can take out about twice the amount of dirt that you would be with just the box. Having said all of that. Given the amount (few hundred yards) that you need to move, I know that I would have the dozer do it when you have it out. Do a rough estimate of the cubic yards of dirt that you have to move and compare that to the cubic yards that the box and loader can haul at once. It will be an enormous number. That is why I suggest using the dozer.

  7. #7
    Gold Member tuolumne's Avatar
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    Danby Vermont (soon)

    Default Re: Top N Tilt for creating drainage swales?

    Cubic yards don't apply much, as I will be moving material from the ditch and replacing along the lower edge, not taking it anywhere. It sounds like a heavy duty rear blade should do the job.

    As far as TNT later; I can't imagine paying the installation fees down the road for a diverter etc. Are there other options? Can I add something to the power beyond, perhaps with some levers behind the seat? I'm picturing a little box with a pair of levers on top that can get plugged into the PB ports with implement hoses going to that, but I'm truly ignorant of most things tractor.

  8. #8
    Super Member AKfish's Avatar
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    Kasilof, Alaska
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    JD 5075M; JD 110 TLB; JD 4720; Ford 9N; JD X300R

    Default Re: Top N Tilt for creating drainage swales?

    Yup, there many folk's on TBN that have used the PB circuit and plumbed in TNT from that using an open center valve body, etc.

    That is the route that I've have to take with my tractor. I already have the tilt function with a single spool, open center valve. That's how I can tilt my back blade when I grade my road.

    AKfish

  9. #9
    Gold Member tuolumne's Avatar
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    Danby Vermont (soon)

    Default Re: Top N Tilt for creating drainage swales?

    Bringing my old thread back to life...whoever said I would want TNT in the long run was right. What is the cheapest way to add it at this point? I have the 3rd scv, and at the very least I want to add a hydraulic side link that I could plug into the rear remotes. To control top and tilt I would need additional remotes. Adding two pairs off the primary scv with a diverter is too expensive. Again, can I use the power beyond? If I tap into this will I use the lifting function of the 3ph? I've read of some clearance issues with the 448 backhoe mounting bracket. What should I watch for. I'll be doing this myself since the dealer only speaks JD, and only promotes the addition of diverter kit and JD tnt kit.

  10. #10
    Super Member AKfish's Avatar
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    Kasilof, Alaska
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    JD 5075M; JD 110 TLB; JD 4720; Ford 9N; JD X300R

    Default Re: Top N Tilt for creating drainage swales?

    It's been a spell since we kicked this around....

    Here's a few pics from a fellow TBNer from Alaska that used his Power-Beyond circuit to plumb an open center 4-way valve body mounted on the rear fender.

    He's able to put some real angle to his box-blade!!

    AKfish
    Attached Images Attached Images

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