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  1. #1
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    368
    Location
    North Bennington, Vermont
    Tractor
    JD 4110 w/HST

    Default Operating on slopes - the pucker factor

    I've been doing a fair amount of tilling this week, 9 good-sized jobs so far. My set-up is a JD 4110 w/filled turf tires, a FEL, and a CCM tiller. 4 of the jobs have been on sloping terrain where the customer wants a long 8-10ft wide slash across the slope for wildflowers or whatever. Walking the area, even just standing there looking at it, and the grade appears to be minimal - 3-5 degrees? But once on the tractor and tilling along the slope it 'feels' like I'm way over extended & disaster is imminent. There's not an inkling that I will go over & the tractor is grounded but my PPF (Personal Pucker Factor) seems to have a very low threshold. So, rather than making one nice long pass against the slope I end up postioning the tractor up/down slope and making a bunch of short connected tills (end-to-end) to achieve the same finished look. A huge PITA that takes much longer to finish.

    I've seen the highway crew mowing sideways on insanely steep grades, seemingly without a problem.

    My questions: Are the tilt meters a useful tool or more of a gimmick? Is my PPF something I'll just need to work thru as I gain more experience (my 4110 is a new set-up)? I'd rather be safe than sorry, I work on my own in very rural areas, if something does happen I'm basically screwed.

    -Norm

  2. #2
    Veteran Member bdog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,510
    Location
    Texas
    Tractor
    John Deere 4440

    Default Re: Operating on slopes - the pucker factor

    I agree with you. I did some shredding for a guy that had a house on a hill and while it did not look that steep once I started going sideways across it it scared me pretty good. I know some of you are going to say this is bad and I agree but I had never even tried on my seatbelt since I bought the tractor, it was still in a knot under the seat. When I started mowing this I put it on in a hurry and I finished up by backing up the hill instead of crossing it sideways. I too thought about a tilt meter as I felt really uneasy doing this.

  3. #3
    Elite Member RalphVa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    4,523
    Location
    Charlottesville, VA, USA
    Tractor
    JD 2025R, previously Gravely 5650 & JD 4010 & JD 1025R

    Default Re: Operating on slopes - the pucker factor

    All it takes is a quick pass over something with an uphill rear wheel, and you could go over. With the FEL loaded that risk more than doubles. My 4010 with a full bucket load with gravel gets rather tippy with even the LX4 on the back.

    For constant work sideways on a slope, it's VERY slow and easy to be sure of not hitting something with that uphill rear tire. My 4010 feels confortable on my nearly 30% back hill with the LX4 back there, but I take it very slow. I mow the majority of that slope going up and down hill.

    Ralph

  4. #4
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    1,927
    Location
    Home-1+ acres New Hope, TX / 24 acres-Fannin County
    Tractor
    JD 950

    Default Re: Operating on slopes - the pucker factor

    I put a tilt meter on mine. I still go more by my personal pucker factor, but the meter lets me see just where that is. Above 15 I begin to feel it. Above 20 I really slow down to a crawl. I don't go above 25 sideways.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member bdog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,510
    Location
    Texas
    Tractor
    John Deere 4440

    Default Re: Operating on slopes - the pucker factor

    I just found this. Tractor by net sells a tilt meter. https://www.imcuniverse.com/store/tiltmeter.htm

  6. #6
    Super Member Henro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    5,364
    Location
    Few miles north of Pgh, PA
    Tractor
    Kubota B2910, BX2200, Yardman 20HP pos...

    Default Re: Operating on slopes - the pucker factor

    <font color="blue">My questions: Are the tilt meters a useful tool or more of a gimmick? </font>

    I don't have one but I believe they most certainly are a useful tool when one is venturing onto unknown slopes.

    If you are only on your own land, and even more if the amount of land is limited, to me it seems they have less value. That is why I don't have one myself. I know my little piece of property, and what the angles are, and where the steepest are, and so on.

    If I were to be doing work on different property, especially if it frequently was the first time there, I would want a tilt meter. Side to side worries me more than front to back. I could probably live with just a side-to-side tilt meter.

    Lots of people here at TBN have tilt meters and lots don't.

    It sounds like one could be useful in your case. Both to make you feel comfortable when you are on a minimal slope that feels dangerous, and also to warn you if you are on a slope that is steeper than it feels (if that is possible).

    From the sounds of it, if I were in your shoes I probably would buy one.

    Tilt meters don't keep something bad from happening themselves, but they can help one to keep his common sense calibrated. In my opinion anyway...

  7. #7
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Posts
    39,497
    Location
    Texas

    Default Re: Operating on slopes - the pucker factor

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( Are the tilt meters a useful tool )</font>

    The way I see it:

    A fuel gauge won't keep you from running out of fuel, but if you look at it, it'll tell you when you're close.
    A temperature gauge won't keep you from overheating the engine, but it provides useful information.
    A tachometer isn't necessary; diesels have an overrev limiter so you won't overrev the engine, but I prefer a tachometer.
    A tiltmeter won't keep you from turning over, but it tells you how steep that slope is.

    I had one tiltmeter for side to side, and another for front to rear. They were worth it to me.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    1,467
    Location
    Olathe, Ks
    Tractor
    Yanmar 1602D

    Default Re: Operating on slopes - the pucker factor

    I can relate! My property is sloped in places and the first time I mowed it was a real challenge, I wouldn't even try some areas till I became more comfortable. I always drive with the FEL as low as possible, just skimming the ground and if I feel too tippy, I can always put it down to help stabilize things.
    I later bought a ZTR to mow, it can get into places comfortably that the tractor &amp; mower can't even access.
    The other "PPF" moments come when using the FEL. I was trying to lift some junk onto a guys trailer and as I moved forward with only a couple of hundred pounds hanging by a chain off the bucket, one of the rear tires went into a small pot hole - only about 2" deep, but it was enough that the tractor started to go over. The only thing that saved it was a quick drop of the bucket onto the trailer.
    I think I'll put a tilt meter on mine, now that I'm familiar with the comfort zone, it would be good to quantify so that I know where I'm at when on unfamiliar land.

  9. #9
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    368
    Location
    North Bennington, Vermont
    Tractor
    JD 4110 w/HST

    Default Re: Operating on slopes - the pucker factor

    Ok, the tilt meter is on order; $35 is short money. As Bird says - it won't prevent a tip over - but it will help me better understand &amp; gauge what's going on.

    As always, thanks for the feedback. -Norm

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    799
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Tractor
    JD 2440/4440/4020/4955

    Default Re: Operating on slopes - the pucker factor

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( &lt;/font&gt;<font color="blueclass=small">( Are the tilt meters a useful tool )&lt;/font&gt;

    The way I see it:

    A fuel gauge won't keep you from running out of fuel, but if you look at it, it'll tell you when you're close.
    A temperature gauge won't keep you from overheating the engine, but it provides useful information.
    A tachometer isn't necessary; diesels have an overrev limiter so you won't overrev the engine, but I prefer a tachometer.
    A tiltmeter won't keep you from turning over, but it tells you how steep that slope is.

    I had one tiltmeter for side to side, and another for front to rear. They were worth it to me.
    )</font>

    Unless you know at what angle the tractor is "going over", a tilt meter is relatively useless. There's a better form of "meter". It's called COMMON SENSE.

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