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  1. #11
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    128
    Location
    NE Connecticut
    Tractor
    Branson 3820i

    Default Re: Broken Branson

    Just a quick reply, as I'm rushing out the door. Go back about twelve pages in the Branson forums and you will find a thread on Branson 4WD problems. It happened to me and it was a simple fix. There are steel ball bearings that are at both ends of the driveshaft to the front axle. If you use 4WD on a hard surface the balls are designed to come out so nothing breaks internally. You must remove the shaft and put the balls back in. Be careful when taking it apart not to lose the balls as they are still inside. I don't believe they can come out on their own. Hope that's what it is. Read the entire thread. Good luck.

  2. #12
    Reg
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    Nov 2005
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    2,917

    Default Re: Broken Branson

    Quote Originally Posted by Tchara View Post
    My Branson 3520R 4WD went out yesterday. The tractor has 25 hours on it. Anyone have any ideas what I could check before hauling it 100 miles to the dealership? I crawled under it, and removed the shaft housing, and the shaft seems to be tight and intact. The oil level is full in the front axle and transmission.
    By "went out" you meant WHAT is no longer working ?

    Looking at the drive shaft for WHAT ?
    OK, now I've read some of the other replies - I don't quite know where they got their ideas from, but THEY seem to be following your mention of the driveshaft.

    I'm still bit confused, but at a guess a linkage may be off, or SERIOUSLY out of adjustment (new tractor syndrome, lock nuts not tightened on adjustable length linkage shafts, etc.) i.e. you have an unexpected neutral.
    Unfastened lock nuts, 20 or 25 hours of vibration - as I said a GUESS.

    As you know there are (at least) three places for that; fwd/reverse, range and gears - plus clutch.
    I would get someone to work the three levers for these while you watch the linkages - from the side, NOT underneath with the tractor running.
    A disconnect should be obvious, check the lock nuts for tightness as a clue to adjustment problems.
    If you find a loose one don't just tighten it up, follow the manual's adjustment procedure.

    Sorry, that is all I have for you, I hope it helps and I do understand your reluctance to haul it 100 miles.

  3. #13
    Reg
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    Default Re: Broken Branson

    Ahh, on CAREFUL re-reading and liberal interpretation.
    I think it means your 3520R's 4WD doesn't engage (punctuation, the possessive apostrophe) not trying to be a grammar geek - others got it (-:

    I can generally engage 4WD while rolling at idle speed and I "FEEL" it go in.
    Trying to disengage it on a hard surface is tough until I turn into a slight curve, i.e. get the front wheel lead (pronounced "leed") out.
    This may help your diagnosis (or not).
    Again, it COULD be a linkage disconnect or WAY out of adjustment.
    I have forgotten exactly where it is for MFWD on these, but have shop manuals if you need me to look it up.

    FORTUNATELY (I think) mine has never had the ball pop out symptom that Bob Misi described and I often turn on hard dry pavement when clearing snow.
    Not sure if this is good or bad, kinda like blow out preventer preventer preventers, something in the chain SHOULD "fail" (by design).
    I just get tire hop (-:

  4. #14
    Elite Member
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    Sep 2002
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    2,900
    Location
    Red Bluff, CA
    Tractor
    Changes often!

    Default Re: Broken Branson

    The most common Branson "4wd not working" issue is the driveshaft ball bearing couplers as suggested already. It works as a spring loaded coupler, and can be a bit of a "fuse" if a guy is using a really big loader with a really big load and has the back end of the tractor nearly lifted and then pops the clutch. At that point, all the forward momentum that is supposed to be supplied primarily by the rear axle is shifted to the front axle and either the shaft coupler gives up (hopefully) or the ring and pinion break. The ring and pinion and the axle shafts in the rear of the tractor are easily double the size of the fronts. They are hard to break.

    We have seen this on numerous brands of mechanical front wheel assist tractors. The front axle on MFWD tractors are just to assist and not to take all the load. If a person has the front loaded really heavy or perhaps stuck under a big old honkin' stump and lifting and pushing (none of you would do such a thing) and then drops the clutch, the front axle has fantastic traction and the rear none and something has to give. Sometimes it's the stump, sometimes a tire will spin, and sometimes something breaks.

    BTW, not trying to say this is the case for this operator, be may have been going to town with no load in the bucket to get an ice cream cone as far as I know!

    Are you running the factory loader, or something spec'd higher?
    Dave
    Red Bluff, California

  5. #15
    Super Member 94BULLITT's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
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    6,528
    Location
    Frederick County, VA
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2360 & L4240 HSTC

    Default Re: Broken Branson

    Quote Originally Posted by DavesTractor View Post
    The most common Branson "4wd not working" issue is the driveshaft ball bearing couplers as suggested already. It works as a spring loaded coupler, and can be a bit of a "fuse" if a guy is using a really big loader with a really big load and has the back end of the tractor nearly lifted and then pops the clutch. At that point, all the forward momentum that is supposed to be supplied primarily by the rear axle is shifted to the front axle and either the shaft coupler gives up (hopefully) or the ring and pinion break. The ring and pinion and the axle shafts in the rear of the tractor are easily double the size of the fronts. They are hard to break.

    We have seen this on numerous brands of mechanical front wheel assist tractors. The front axle on MFWD tractors are just to assist and not to take all the load. If a person has the front loaded really heavy or perhaps stuck under a big old honkin' stump and lifting and pushing (none of you would do such a thing) and then drops the clutch, the front axle has fantastic traction and the rear none and something has to give. Sometimes it's the stump, sometimes a tire will spin, and sometimes something breaks.

    BTW, not trying to say this is the case for this operator, be may have been going to town with no load in the bucket to get an ice cream cone as far as I know!

    Are you running the factory loader, or something spec'd higher?
    and that is why chains on the front tires is not a good idea.
    Roger

    Kubota BX2360 & Kubota L4240 with paddle shifter, suicide doors and 24's
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  6. #16
    Bronze Member Tchara's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    77
    Location
    Temple, TX
    Tractor
    Branson 3520R

    Default Re: Broken Branson

    I'm running a higher spec loader Westendorf 170), but not for capacity. I needed a higher reach for the dump truck. As far as my activities at the time I believe it went out (not sure) I was using the box blade. If it hung on a rock or something the front would spin a little before I could get the box raised. Other then that, it's just used for church on Sunday....LOL.

    How hard is it to remove the drive shaft, and are there any special tools required?

  7. #17
    Elite Member
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    Red Bluff, CA
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    Default Re: Broken Branson

    Quote Originally Posted by Tchara View Post
    I'm running a higher spec loader Westendorf 170), but not for capacity. I needed a higher reach for the dump truck. As far as my activities at the time I believe it went out (not sure) I was using the box blade. If it hung on a rock or something the front would spin a little before I could get the box raised. Other then that, it's just used for church on Sunday....LOL.

    How hard is it to remove the drive shaft, and are there any special tools required?
    I bet you just have a coupler issue based on just driving slowly to church on Sunday and such!

    It is not hard to do, and no special tools needed. The front axle has a coupler on it that has notches for steel balls to fit into, and they are held in the notches by a compression spring that is on the driveshaft that pushes another coupler forward on the splined shaft to mate with the steel balls and other coupler. The trick is that one of the steel balls can get between the couplers if the spring jumps back for a moment while in use. Then the coupler is not engaged. Generally there is no damage and you just put it back together and you might go years before it happens again, if ever.

    It is a good system in that it works like a fuse, protecting expensive parts. Many would tell you to go to the dealer, and that is proper advice, but if you are handy you can fix it and then you will know exactly how it works and that is good if it ever breaks on you on the way home from church when you dealer is closed.

    You might call the dealer first and get his OK to mess with it, just in case it is something worse he will be on notice.

    I looked at the loader specs, it is higher spec weight and lift, but not ridiculously so. Of course if it is higher lift that means the arms are longer which means it sticks out further. Combine that leverage issue with a 10-20% gain in lift capacity and your axle is loaded pretty heavy at full capacity. I'd be gentle if you are lifting max weight.
    Dave
    Red Bluff, California

  8. #18
    Elite Member
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    Red Bluff, CA
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    Default Re: Broken Branson

    Tchara, I just saw your thread on the huge boulder you pulled out with your front bucket. Must've been on the way home from church?

    Pushing into the earth vigorously while lifting to the max with an oversized loader can bust a front ring gear and pinion. There are design limitations. Hopefully it is just your coupler, but I am guessing now that you have a 50/50 chance of some busted parts in the front end based on this scenario. I hope I am wrong.
    Dave
    Red Bluff, California

  9. #19
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    128
    Location
    NE Connecticut
    Tractor
    Branson 3820i

    Default Re: Broken Branson

    After looking at your posts and pictures I have to agree with Dave. I agree Branson tractors are built very well and are heavy, but doing that kind of work with a 35 hp tractor seems a little much. You probably should have considered a larger tractor for that kind of work. Just one mans opinion.....

  10. #20
    Bronze Member Tchara's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    77
    Location
    Temple, TX
    Tractor
    Branson 3520R

    Default Re: Broken Branson

    Took the tractor to the dealer yesterday. It was raining and couldn't work. It was the coupler. Took them about an hour to fix. That boulder I dug up was just below the surface, and did not require a lot of force to uproot it. I do realize it's not a bulldozer, and have been careful not to push it over it's limitations.

    The dealer I took it to was not the dealer from whom I purchased the tractor and installed the Westendorf loader. I spoke to them about the issue of the joystick sticking in the raise position when the system warms up. They suggested I call Westendorf and ask them if the loader is designed for a open center hydraulic system, or closed center hydraulic system. The Branson is a open system, If the WL is designed for a closed system it may be getting the hydraulic fluid to hot, and causing the o rings to swell. He also told me to check with the dealer to see if a "power beyond" port was installed. Gonna call the purchasing dealer today and discuss it with them.

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