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  1. #1
    Elite Member
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    May 2012
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    2,962
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    Knoxville, TN
    Tractor
    Bobcat CT225

    Default Pucker-factor

    Had two pucker moments today. I was brush-hogging an unfamiliar lot. There was a tree I was going under, so I put the ROPS down. Before putting it back up again, the terrain changed unexpectedly, and I found myself at an uncomfortable side angle. I turned the wheels down-hill, but the lay of the land was such that going further downhill actually tilted the tractor a bit more.

    I'm new to tractors, but I'm not new to situations like this, and I can't reiterate how important it is in situations like this to just STOP. Stop doing things. You are going to make it worse if you just start flailing around. The vehicle is currently stable. It is not going anywhere. Just stop and get your head around the situation.

    There's a difference between an emergency that requires immediate response and one that does not. If the tractor is tipping forward, it may be time to drop the bucket RIGHT NOW. For situations like this, where something bad might happen soon, but nothing bad has happened yet, the most important thing you can do, IMO, is not make it any worse.

    The first thing I did was set the parking brake and lower the FEL 'til it was just touching the ground, giving some extra support. Then I cut off the PTO and let it come to a stop. Then I shut down the engine so I wouldn't feel rushed.

    The next thing I did was put up the ROPS. I really should have done that as soon as I was done working under the tree, especially given that I was on unfamiliar ground. Then, I walked around the tractor and eyeballed the terrain, looking for the lay of the ground and anything that might further upset the tractor. The tractor was about 45 degrees facing downhill. I considered whether the better thing to do might be to cut the wheels "uphill" (actually side-hill) and back up, which might bring the nose back in line, while moving the tractor back towards the less-steep part of the hill. Going forward would move the tractor towards a more-steep part of the hill. I just couldn't bring myself to cut the wheels any way except down-hill, though, so what I ended up doing was getting back on, putting the seat belt on (of course) and slowly creeping it with the wheels cut as hard downhill as they would go, until the tractor came into line. Then I backed it up the hill and drove out on a more level line.

    My ROPS has locking pins, but it's also got bolts that tighten down. The manual says the bolts are to reduce vibration. They're really tight, and a PITA to adjust. They have hand-grips, but they're so tight you really can't move them except with a wrench. In think what I'm going to do from now on is leave the bolts backed out so the ROPS can be raised and lowered with just the locking pins. That'll encourage me to put it up again ASAP when I'm done working in tight situations.

    So, I finished mowing and then did a little work on my driveway with the FEL, and then I dropped the mower and went to put the tractor away. The barn stall where I park the tractor has a fence running relatively close across the front of it. The best way to get in is to raise the FEL all the way up so it clears the fence, then back the tractor into the stall, then lower the FEL when it's clear of the fence. On top of all this, the driving line into the stall faces down-hill. To keep things going nice and easy, I like to put the tractor into low gear when performing this maneuver. So I was lined up to start backing in, with the FEL in the full up position, and I hit the clutch and brake and shifted into low. I take my foot off the brake and press the HST pedal and nothing happens except that I start rolling forward. Whoops. I didn't quite make it into gear. So I hit the brakes, of course. Boing. Rear wheels come up... just a smidge, then settle back down again. I was really surprised at how easy that happened, given how slow I was going forward. The high FEL really will toss you given half a chance! That situation honestly could have gotten much worse. Rear wheels off the ground, in neutral, rolling downhill... no way to stop except to drop the FEL and hope it gets there before you go through the fence

  2. #2
    Elite Member
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    May 2012
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    2,962
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    Knoxville, TN
    Tractor
    Bobcat CT225

    Default Re: Pucker-factor

    I would like to add that I was surprisingly hesitant to put the ROPS up in my first example. The thinking was something like this. "No... I'm not going to roll it. Everything is fine." It was like, if I put the ROPS up, I was acknowledging that rolling it is a real possibility, and I didn't want to do that. Situations like this, that kind of thinking will get you in trouble. It's time to face facts and start asking, "If I do roll, what kind of situation would I like to be in. PTO off. ROPS up. Seatbelt on." Ok. Go.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member cartod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    694
    Location
    Northern, West Virginia
    Tractor
    JD 3320, 820,400,255

    Default Re: Pucker-factor

    I wonder what flat landers do for excitement. Stay safe my friend!

  4. #4
    Banned
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    1,129
    Tractor
    L5450

    Default

    Wow. You are lucky you were not hurt. My loader tractor is new enough to have ROPS but old enough to have ROPS that don't fold down. I think I will keep it that way. With my luck I would be like you and leave them down.

  5. #5
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    2,962
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Bobcat CT225

    Default Re: Pucker-factor

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeBuyer View Post
    Wow. You are lucky you were not hurt.
    Well, I don't think it was quite that close, but I've got nothing to prove by living on the edge.

  6. #6
    Super Star Member k0ua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    14,264
    Location
    Branson, Mo.
    Tractor
    Kioti DK35se Hydrostat

    Default Re: Pucker-factor

    Quote Originally Posted by joshuabardwell View Post
    Had two pucker moments today. I was brush-hogging an unfamiliar lot. There was a tree I was going under, so I put the ROPS down. Before putting it back up again, the terrain changed unexpectedly, and I found myself at an uncomfortable side angle. I turned the wheels down-hill, but the lay of the land was such that going further downhill actually tilted the tractor a bit more.

    I'm new to tractors, but I'm not new to situations like this, and I can't reiterate how important it is in situations like this to just STOP. Stop doing things. You are going to make it worse if you just start flailing around. The vehicle is currently stable. It is not going anywhere. Just stop and get your head around the situation.

    There's a difference between an emergency that requires immediate response and one that does not. If the tractor is tipping forward, it may be time to drop the bucket RIGHT NOW. For situations like this, where something bad might happen soon, but nothing bad has happened yet, the most important thing you can do, IMO, is not make it any worse.

    The first thing I did was set the parking brake and lower the FEL 'til it was just touching the ground, giving some extra support. Then I cut off the PTO and let it come to a stop. Then I shut down the engine so I wouldn't feel rushed.

    The next thing I did was put up the ROPS. I really should have done that as soon as I was done working under the tree, especially given that I was on unfamiliar ground. Then, I walked around the tractor and eyeballed the terrain, looking for the lay of the ground and anything that might further upset the tractor. The tractor was about 45 degrees facing downhill. I considered whether the better thing to do might be to cut the wheels "uphill" (actually side-hill) and back up, which might bring the nose back in line, while moving the tractor back towards the less-steep part of the hill. Going forward would move the tractor towards a more-steep part of the hill. I just couldn't bring myself to cut the wheels any way except down-hill, though, so what I ended up doing was getting back on, putting the seat belt on (of course) and slowly creeping it with the wheels cut as hard downhill as they would go, until the tractor came into line. Then I backed it up the hill and drove out on a more level line.

    My ROPS has locking pins, but it's also got bolts that tighten down. The manual says the bolts are to reduce vibration. They're really tight, and a PITA to adjust. They have hand-grips, but they're so tight you really can't move them except with a wrench. In think what I'm going to do from now on is leave the bolts backed out so the ROPS can be raised and lowered with just the locking pins. That'll encourage me to put it up again ASAP when I'm done working in tight situations.

    So, I finished mowing and then did a little work on my driveway with the FEL, and then I dropped the mower and went to put the tractor away. The barn stall where I park the tractor has a fence running relatively close across the front of it. The best way to get in is to raise the FEL all the way up so it clears the fence, then back the tractor into the stall, then lower the FEL when it's clear of the fence. On top of all this, the driving line into the stall faces down-hill. To keep things going nice and easy, I like to put the tractor into low gear when performing this maneuver. So I was lined up to start backing in, with the FEL in the full up position, and I hit the clutch and brake and shifted into low. I take my foot off the brake and press the HST pedal and nothing happens except that I start rolling forward. Whoops. I didn't quite make it into gear. So I hit the brakes, of course. Boing. Rear wheels come up... just a smidge, then settle back down again. I was really surprised at how easy that happened, given how slow I was going forward. The high FEL really will toss you given half a chance! That situation honestly could have gotten much worse. Rear wheels off the ground, in neutral, rolling downhill... no way to stop except to drop the FEL and hope it gets there before you go through the fence
    Joshua everyone misses the range control shift every once in a while. Ok now you have learned about that and the High bucket. I am wondering what you had on the rear for weight? If you did a stoppie by just hitting the brakes. Do you have filled tires?

    James K0UA
    James KUA

    Kioti DK35se hydrostat with 2 QA buckets, 48 inch. King Kutter Rotary Cutter. 750 lbs ballast box. Loaded tires, Construction Attachments SSQA Lightweight Pallet forks. EA 50 inch single lid "wicked" Grapple. Satisfied Everlast PA160 welder owner How to add a link to a post . Best way to search TBN


  7. #7
    Elite Member
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Bobcat CT225

    Default Re: Pucker-factor

    Quote Originally Posted by k0ua View Post
    Joshua everyone misses the range control shift every once in a while. Ok now you have learned about that and the High bucket. I am wondering what you had on the rear for weight? If you did a stoppie by just hitting the brakes. Do you have filled tires?
    Good questions, James, and you're not going to be surprised by the answers. There's not enough room in the stall for the tractor and an implement, so I had dropped the mower off and nothing was on the rear. And I don't have filled tires either, although they're on my list.

    I would have said that I know about not riding with the FEL high, but obviously experience doesn't bear that out. I'm usually very conscientious about lowering it when moving, and going very slowly when it's up. I raised it to more easily come through the gate into the field (the bucket can catch on the gate and mess them up if I'm not careful, so I just raise it out of the way) Then it didn't seem necessary to lower it just to shift into low and then back into the stall.

    So there's the cascade of decisions that could have led to an accident. No counterweight on the back. No filled tires. FEL raised and left up. When shifting gears. On a slope. None of them, in and of themselves are a big deal, but all together, they nearly added up to a problem.

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    805
    Location
    Armstrong, BC
    Tractor
    Kioti DK35 SE HST (2011)

    Default

    It's good the situation worked out well and you recognised the hazard before it got out of control.

    Something you might consider to familiarize yourself with the tractor and your land is to spend some time just cruising without doing work. Although familiar with tractors and my terrain, I did that when I got the new tractor a year ago. I spent the first four hours travelling all my walking paths and trails where I harvest wood. I was pleased to find the new tractor far more stable than the previous one. Plus, the HST vs the previous gear is much easier for hilly terrain.

    One thing I did not familiarize myself with quick enough though was the brakes mounted on the left side (where the clutch was on the old tractor). I had parked on a slight incline and instead of using the parking brake simply lowered the bucket to hold the tractor in place. That was fine--I shut off the tractor and did some work piling brush. When I got back on, I put the tractor in neutral and started it. All was still fine. Then I raised the bucket, and the tractor started rolling down the slight incline (since it was still in neutral) with me frantically pushing the right side pedal. Of course that's an HST pedal (that has no effect in neutral) instead of the brake. I finally figured it out and stopped with the left pedal, but not before I'd gone about 15', hitting a barbed wire fence--breaking the top two strands and putting the first crease in my rear fender. We seem to reprogram ourselves and I notice operating the left side brake pedal is now automatic.

  9. #9
    Elite Member
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    Bobcat CT225

    Default Re: Pucker-factor

    I do like that my tractor's controls are laid out just like a car's. Left foot clutch. Right foot brake and gas (HST pedal). In fact, sometimes I find myself feathering the clutch and the HST pedal, just like you do with the gas pedal when driving a manual transmission car. I have to remind myself: clutch out, then go.

  10. #10
    Super Star Member k0ua's Avatar
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    Branson, Mo.
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    Kioti DK35se Hydrostat

    Default Re: Pucker-factor

    Quote Originally Posted by joshuabardwell View Post
    Good questions, James, and you're not going to be surprised by the answers. There's not enough room in the stall for the tractor and an implement, so I had dropped the mower off and nothing was on the rear. And I don't have filled tires either, although they're on my list.

    I would have said that I know about not riding with the FEL high, but obviously experience doesn't bear that out. I'm usually very conscientious about lowering it when moving, and going very slowly when it's up. I raised it to more easily come through the gate into the field (the bucket can catch on the gate and mess them up if I'm not careful, so I just raise it out of the way) Then it didn't seem necessary to lower it just to shift into low and then back into the stall.

    So there's the cascade of decisions that could have led to an accident. No counterweight on the back. No filled tires. FEL raised and left up. When shifting gears. On a slope. None of them, in and of themselves are a big deal, but all together, they nearly added up to a problem.
    Well, Joshua just think of all the things you have learned about tractors recently. You understand how a lot of little things can add up to a big problem. Why dealers let tractors out the door with Front End Loaders and without loaded tires is beyond me. Good luck as you continue your education.

    James K0UA
    James KUA

    Kioti DK35se hydrostat with 2 QA buckets, 48 inch. King Kutter Rotary Cutter. 750 lbs ballast box. Loaded tires, Construction Attachments SSQA Lightweight Pallet forks. EA 50 inch single lid "wicked" Grapple. Satisfied Everlast PA160 welder owner How to add a link to a post . Best way to search TBN


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