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  1. #1
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    Default Moving backhoe over ditch

    So I am in the process of installing a new septic drainfield. I have a ditch 8 feet deep, 2 feet wide and 60 feet long.

    I need to fill 6 feet with stone. The stone is about baseball size, not the easiest to move. I need to get the backhoe over the ditch to spread and level the stone. The soil is a little sandy so if the tires get close, the sides cave in and in a couple of spots I had to remove tree stumps to the trench is a little wider.

    I can swing the machine over the hole in places but at others the soil is too soft. Any ideas?

    I have thought of using railroad ties to make a bridge but I do not know their strength or where to get some quick.

    I have an old Ford 550 backhoe and I am worried about too much pressure on the swing chains moving the machine back and forth over the ditch.

  2. #2
    Super Member
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    Default Re: Moving backhoe over ditch

    If you have a Lowe's in your area, check them for the railroad cross ties.

  3. #3
    Elite Member Sodo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Moving backhoe over ditch

    Boy I hope you have someone with heavy eqpt experience around when you do this. Careful using posts for beams, if there's a knot in the post it might not hold weight. You don't really know about RRties, they were made to sit in a gravel bed, and may have been out in the weather for 30 years.

    Better think the ditch as 3 feet wide. Maybe go at an angle, can your stabilizer and backhoe bucket reach across to the other side and hold some of the weight? Consider to put a vertical post 8 feet down from the middle of your beam to the bottom of the trench (if its a firm bottom).
    Last edited by Sodo; 10-27-2013 at 09:18 PM.
    Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
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    john deere

    Default Re: Moving backhoe over ditch

    Can you straddle the ditch

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Moving backhoe over ditch

    For a ditch 60 feet long to level I would use a rake or cultivator hoe to level it by hand. Probably could level it out by hand in less time than it takes to explain how to do it with the backhoe. I hope you have some smaller rock covering the perforated pipe as the larger rock you mentioned could damage it.

  6. #6
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    John Deere 2320

    Default Re: Moving backhoe over ditch

    You have a potentially dangerous situation here. First and foremost DO NOT go in the trench as it could cave in unexpectedly with no warning trapping or burying a person. Additionally, an 8 foot deep trench has a possible slip line at least 8 feet horizontally from the top of the trench. Therefore, a RR tie is not long enough to safely support you over the trench. A somewhat safe method might be to buy extra stone so you can completely fill the trench with stone. Then straddle the trench and excavate the top 2 feet and discard the 2 foot of stone you dig out. However, without knowing your soil conditions one could not be sure this is entirely safe. Not trying to be the safety police but trench cave-ins are serious accidents and quite often fatal.
    Texas42
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Moving backhoe over ditch

    An experienced installer would dump the stone in with a fel carefully enough that there would be little work left to smooth it out. Once you have the stone filled in the six feet mentioned in the first post I don't see a problem with working it by hand to finish it off.

    I would not go in the trench while empty as that would be unsafe.

  8. #8
    Elite Member CurlyDave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Moving backhoe over ditch

    I agree with the idea of not entering the trench. Even a 4 foot trench can kill you if it collapses on your legs and causes deep vein thrombosis, which is very common in this situation. And 8 footer can do a lot worse damage, possibly just bury you outright. Especially if the sides are sandy as you mention.

    I think that the trench can be filled with stone with the FEL alone, working from the sides to all the accuracy required. This is a septic field, not a precise foundation. +/- 6" is probably good enough. The higher you fill the trench, the more safe this becomes. Top it off with the dirt you took from the top of the trench and back drag to smooth it out.

    P.S. Around here, we would use much smaller stone for filling the trench around the pipe. How do you avoid damaging the pipe dropping baseball sized rock onto it from 8' above?
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  9. #9
    Elite Member dragoneggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Moving backhoe over ditch

    Yep... danger, Will Robinson. Depending on soil type the 'slip' could be minimal but to be very conservative, figure 45deg a natural shear angle. That is very unstable soil. But it really is also a function of weight. For many soils this would be a very conservative . I know I have been cheating this in my rocky/sandy/loam soil. Slow, careful, and focused around that ditch! I think this is a pretty good guide. If you are 8ft deep then stay 4ft back with medium weight equipment.

    Moving backhoe over ditch-otm_v_2fig01-gif

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Moving backhoe over ditch

    Claytonfarms,
    Can you provide a little more details? What depth is the perforated pipe? I am a little curious how you are placing the the pipe in the hole? Why is the rock so large?

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