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  1. #1
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    194
    Location
    Red Hook NY
    Tractor
    JD 4310

    Default Slope...what is safe?? Anyone here ever roll over?

    One week to go till my tractor is delivered, and it hos got me thinking about safety (I would have posted this in the "safety" category, but something tells me more people read this one). What is a safe uphill slope for a tractor? Downhill the same as uphill? How about horizontally, what is a comfortable slope to traverse hills.

    Has anyone here ever rolled their tractor (hopefully buckled with ROPS up). How bad was the damage, to you and the tractor?

    Just wondering...

    Anthony

  2. #2
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    204

    Default Re: Slope...what is safe?? Anyone here ever roll over?

    Knock on wood, I haven't ever rolled a tractor and hope I never do. There are a lot of variables when determining how steep a slope you can traverse. Things like ground roughness, implement weight, load weights, speed and traction are just a few of the variables that can influence the ability to run on a slope. I think the best advice is to get to know your tractor before you start working on anything but the flatter slopes. When you start working on slopes, keep implements and loads low to the ground. If you're unsure about the slope, work perpendicular to the slope. As you get to know your tractor, you'll develop the knack to determine what is and isn't a safe slope to work on. One last thing, don't be afraid to listen to your body. Many times your body will tell you when the slope is just too steep [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]

  3. #3
    Super Member Henro's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
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    5,294
    Location
    Few miles north of Pgh, PA
    Tractor
    Kubota B2910, BX2200, Yardman 20HP pos...

    Default Re: Slope...what is safe?? Anyone here ever roll over?

    Hi,

    I think the best mind set is to believe there is no safe slope for a tractor!.

    Now I personally believe that you could park your cut on a 30 degree slope and it would just sit there. BUT when using your tractor you are moving mostly and that brings dynamics into play.

    My advice would be not to fear slopes, but to keep in mind that a moving tractor, expecially with a full loader bucket, has a greater tendency to roll than a stationary tractor, all things being equal. All you have to do is hit a rock, or drop a wheel in a hole...

    People here have reported rolling their tractors. You might find some of those posts if you search the archives...

    Henro aka Bill in Pgh, PA

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Posts
    1,591
    Location
    Western Connecticut
    Tractor
    2003 Kubota L3430

    Default Re: Slope...what is safe?? Anyone here ever roll over?

    There is no absolute answer to the question as to what is a safe slope in terms of degrees. There are lots of variables and factors to take into consideration.

    1. Up and Down Hills. Going up and down hills safely depends upon an awareness not only of the degree of incline, but the front-to-back center of gravity ("horizontal COG" or "weight balance") of your tractor plus attached implements, the vertical COG ("topheaviness") of your tractor+implements, the type of surface you are on (wet, dry, sandy, vegetated), and the type of tires (contact traction) you have.

    Just guessing, but I doubt many would try a 40 or even a 35 degree slope under any condition. The lack of traction of the surface or your tires, or both, may limit your ability to climb a steep hill even if you could otherwise do so. You really don't want to try to climb steep hills with slippery traction because you may end up slipping and sliding into a sideways position--and the sideways position is where the roll potential dramatically increases.

    Ideally, if driving hills, the horizontal COG of your tractor+implements should always be midway between your front and rear axles--i.e., an even weight balance from front-to-rear. That way, you can drive up hills or down hills in a forward direction without having to worry about which end of your tractor is heavier and hence tippier. On a hill, the horizontal COG will always shift further to the downhill side of the tractor, thereby increasing the tendency of the uphill wheels to lift off the ground as you get on the hill. Therefore, if you are imbalanced and heavy on one end, you should face the heavy end of the tractor uphill when you go up or down hills (meaning you drive backwards if necessary). By doing this, you shift the COG away from the heavier uphill end, and reduce the likelihood that the uphill wheels come off the ground.

    You should also lower your vertical COG as much as possible by lowering your implements as low as possible whenever you are on a hill. Wheel weights or loaded tires will also lower your vertical COG permanently and give you more stability.

    2. Sideways on Hills. In general, not a good idea, physicsically or mentally. Dangerous slide and roll potential. You will get nervous at 15 degrees, and that's a good thing. I have been at about 23 degrees on my tiltmeter, but not intentionally. At 23 degrees I backed carefully out of the situation (wheels falling into a little hole or gully while on a hill), and was seriously considering unbuckling and jumping off the tractor (on the uphill side). The width and ballast of your tractor makes a big difference in this uncomfortable situation. The wider and farther apart your wheels are, the more stable you will be. Same rules re implements: lower them. Again, wheel weights or tire ballast will permanently lower the base tractor's vertical COG and increase stability.

    Common sense rule: go slow, be very careful, and pay attention to gut fear and feel. Consider buying a tiltmeter--not because it can provide absolute safety or unsafety rules, but because it can add visually to your gut feel as you develop more experience.


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    148
    Location
    Central California Foothills
    Tractor
    Kubota 3410

    Default Re: Slope...what is safe?? Anyone here ever roll over?

    Embarassed to say so but I rolled a small Bobcat. To this day I do not know precisely how it happened, but when it does, it is so fast that its over before you figure out what happened. I was on level ground working an area which had a railroad tie (one rr tie high = 9" !) retainer for a flower bed. Somehow one of the wheels went up on the tie, and that coupled with the forward movement and I was over on the side. I was in the cage and belted - so no harm there and no harm to the Bobcat. But it gave me immense respect for how quickly things can happen. A part of the reason it went over, I would guess would be the very narrow wheel base on the small Bobcat - that increased the angle - slope. I got it back up by levers and a jack - blocking, jacking, more blocking and so on and it eventually popped back upright. A valuable lesson. Befor that happened I just would not have ever predicted that what I was doing had any risk whatsoever of a roll.

  6. #6
    Elite Member Gary_in_Indiana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    3,388
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Tractor
    John Deere 4200 MFWD HST w/ JD 420 FEL w/ 61" loader bucket & toothbar & JD 37 BH w/ 12" bucket

    Default Re: Slope...what is safe?? Anyone here ever roll over?

    I've never rolled my tractor but I sure thought I was going to once. I don't know what the angle was, but I know it was steep enough I was even afraid to push off on the high side to jump free for fear that would push my machine on over.

    Fortunately, I had someone with me who hooked a chain to me and his 4x4 PU. He kept tension while I drove it out. Sure scared me. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  7. #7
    Platinum Member Trev's Avatar
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    May 2002
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    913
    Location
    Williamson, NY (near Rochester)
    Tractor
    Currently tractor-less

    Default Re: Slope...what is safe?? Anyone here ever roll over?

    We were on vacation once, and our neighbor was mowing the front of our yard (we didn't ask him to.. he's just a really nice guy.) He had done this area at least 100 times, he said. This time, with the weather this Spring, something had changed and the ground simply collapsed under him tipping him and his tractor right into the ditch. Fortunately it was only a little Wheel Horse 12 HP garden tractor, and he managed to get it off him without more than a few black and blues. But it sure put the fear of God into him, and into us when we got home.

    Now I don't use the tractor at all without the ROPS and belt.

    I don't think I answered your question, except to perhaps point out that the slope can change *suddenly* and what was a safe situation becomes a dangerous one instantly. Wheel goes in a hole, over a rock, or, as in my buddy's case, the ground simply collapses under you.

    Best,
    Bob

  8. #8
    Elite Member Gary_in_Indiana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    3,388
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Tractor
    John Deere 4200 MFWD HST w/ JD 420 FEL w/ 61" loader bucket & toothbar & JD 37 BH w/ 12" bucket

    Default Re: Slope...what is safe?? Anyone here ever roll over?

    That's pretty much what happened to me, Trev. I wasn't too close to the edge until I slid sideways about a foot.

    A friend of mine had a semi tractor and 53' reefer slide sideways down a little embankment in West Virginia last month. The driver had pulled off the road onto a soft shoulder and the ground just moved on him. The driver said it was so slow to happen he couldn't believe it. The only damage to his truck was right side mirrors and a little paint and plastic. It can happen.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Posts
    501
    Location
    South Weber Utah
    Tractor
    Kubota B2710

    Default Re: Slope...what is safe?? Anyone here ever roll over?

    Never rolled it, but came close a time or two or eight or ten. Usually happens when I'm dumping a load side ways on a hill and the load shifts in the bucket, dirt hits the down hill side of the bucket, uphill side of the bucket lightens, up hill side of the tractor comes off the ground, I drop bucket quickly and pucker a lot.
    Another time I was attempting to dislodge a piece of fence in the ground. Hooked it to the FEL bucket hooks, pulled back and curled the bucket and the rear end of the tractor came off the ground.
    A friend of mine rolled his new Case skid steer once, put his bucket down and it popped it upright and off he went for another load of dirt. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/ooo.gif[/img] His works watched it happen and called him, "loco".
    Another friend was not so lucky. Had a large farm tractor that he rolled in a ditch. He was inside the cab and got pinned. The diesel engine kept running and it caught fire before he could get out. He burned to death inside the cab.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Slamfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    1,494
    Location
    Coker Creek, TN
    Tractor
    Mitsubishi D 1800

    Default Re: Slope...what is safe?? Anyone here ever roll over?

    I have rolled a tractor that had no rops or seat belt. I was backing up on a narrow road, watching where I was going. I didn't notice that the front wheel was going off the edge, over she went nice and slow. Steering wheel caught my right leg and the muffler kept the tractor from rolling on over on me. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]

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