Honeeey? Do these tires make my butt look big?!? - BCS 853 with BIG rubber

   / Honeeey? Do these tires make my butt look big?!? - BCS 853 with BIG rubber #1  


Platinum Member
Mar 4, 2008
Southwestern Wisconsin
BCS 850 diesel and 735 diesel
Hey All,

Gonna go help a friend cut some hay tonight and wanted to get the ol' gal dressed up for the occasion. He has an 853 Lombardini diesel with 40 inch drum mower, Molon rake, and Caeb baler, so he doesn't actually NEED my help. Still, two mowers will drop 8 acres nearly twice as fast, right? And one machine raking while the other is baling should really speed it up, too.

This is a recently acquired 2004 BCS 852. I still have the old early 80's 735 that's gonna meet a NOS Acme diesel courtesy of Paul Sullivan Jr, and the 850 Diesel of course, but this is the newest BCS I've had the pleasure of owning. I bought it to resell it, but now have too much money in it to sell it right away. I figure I'll get a summer of use out of it and sell it next spring rush. It had a hard life being married to a sweeper in the Twin Cities since new and required more than I expected to at least get it all working again. The fellow who sold it to me wants me to buy his other 7 machines as well, but I think I'll do it one at a time...

The tires are off a four wheeler. I can't remember the exact size and can't read it off the pic, but they're 14 inch rims, 27 inches total height, and 7 inches wide. Unfortunately, they don't clear the muffler without three 5 inch extensions. I plan on making up extensions that will keep it exactly as much as needed - about 6 inches.


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   / Honeeey? Do these tires make my butt look big?!? - BCS 853 with BIG rubber #2  
Talk about ground clearance! It looks mean... :thumbsup:
   / Honeeey? Do these tires make my butt look big?!? - BCS 853 with BIG rubber
  • Thread Starter

Well, I cut for 4 hours and 10 minutes last night - or until 10:20 pm. the last hour 20 was by headlight - yeah a light usually used for coon hunting on my head. If my calculations hold true, I cut 1.08 acres an hour and Eric cut 1.25 acres an hour. That makes a little over 9 acres cut. He already had 2 or 3 on the ground. I'll be going back up in a couple days to help rake and bale.

So, a little of what I learned when it comes to mowing larger areas for hay -

1. Take those worthless end guards off and throw them into the scrap pile. I cut about an acre and then took 'em off. They reduce your cutting width and plug up a LOT. Once they were gone, it went a little better.

2. Even with the tall tires, the ground speed was a little slow. I have little more than a guess on how fast I was walking, but Eric was easily lapping me with his 853 with 6.5-12 tires at full throttle - about 3.3 mph.

3. The tall tires increased my ground speed, but also changed the angle of the mower. This would have been fine if the mower didn't have the most useless pieces of scrap metal known to man for skid shoes. I'm gonna need to make more robust ones or find a set off an older mower. I can get the heavy old style mower skids from Earth Tools, but they're $90 apiece. Earth Tools also offers a pair of rollers they make themselves for 90 a pair. I'm thinking about trying them out.

4. If you're doing large areas it might be best to skip the single action sickle mower altogether. I haven't had the pleasure of trying a duplex mower yet, but the reduced vibration alone might be worth it. I seldom went over 1/3 throttle and it was still exhausting to run it for four hours. I can't imagine an entire day behind it. The duplex mower is supposed to be virtually vibration free due to the two blades going equal and opposite directions at all times. They're also supposed to be clog free.

5. Until I run a duplex mower, I'm not quite willing to completely write sickle mowers off, but that drum mower was impressive. He could mow through about anything and he said he has laid down 5 foot tall material with it (limiting factor is gonna be tire size as you straddle everything you cut...) It doesn't like viney material as Eric just bought a sickle mower from me to cut the areas of his fields that has vetch growing in it.

In the end, I would say a 45 inch single action sickle mower is a good tool for cleaning up rough areas and under low trees where you gotta go slow for safety once or twice a year. For larger areas in hay production, there are better tools available. Hopefully, i can get ahold of a duplex mower and try to outwork Eric and his drum mower one second crop...
   / Honeeey? Do these tires make my butt look big?!? - BCS 853 with BIG rubber #4  

Enjoyed reading your sickle experience.

I've never ran a single action sickle, but FWIW, I love my 5' duplex that I run with an 852 (stock tires). Pleasure to run, no discomfort issues at all. I mow/hay about a 2-acre pasture. Never really timed it, but I'd say it takes me about an hour and a bit. I run closer to half throttle since vibration is minimal with the duplex.

Never had any balance/angle issues until recently when I raised the bar to the maximum height- now it tends to be a bit bouncy on bumpy terrain. Really, not too big of a deal, but I might lower it back down to where I had it before to reduce that. Also, with the skids at the maximum bar height setting, you have to lift the sickle higher when going in reverse to avoid the skids digging into the ground. This can be a bit of a pain especially when I'm mowing under the fence line and I do a lot of back and forth. Not to mention the higher I lift the sickle bar in reverse the more likely I am to catch that bottom strand of high tensile.

For cutting large areas relatively quickly on a 2-wheeler, it seems the 5-foot duplex is hard to beat. Now what I'd really like to get is the Molon rake, but just can't justify the cost, so it's hand raking for now. Have also been looking for an old dump rake that I might modify to pull behind the ATV.

   / Honeeey? Do these tires make my butt look big?!? - BCS 853 with BIG rubber
  • Thread Starter
Hey Jomifo and all,

Here's a couple pics from last night baling. Two fields were road banks and the weather wasn't conducive to growing good hay - very warm in March, very cold in April, and not enough rain - so our yield was very poor for first crop. I figure we shoulda got 200 or so bales off 4 or so acres, but got 75. Still, being roadbank hay, it's free for the labor.... The other 8 acres was a field behind his barn and yielded 171 bales when we shoulda got 400 or so.


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   / Honeeey? Do these tires make my butt look big?!? - BCS 853 with BIG rubber #6  
Like the water bottle holder.
   / Honeeey? Do these tires make my butt look big?!? - BCS 853 with BIG rubber #7  
Tested our disk mower out yesterday, much easier and a little faster. But seemed to burn much more diesel than the sickle bar.

EDIT: We had to use a pto extension on our diesel 852 to correct the balance and angle on our sickle bar.
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   / Honeeey? Do these tires make my butt look big?!? - BCS 853 with BIG rubber
  • Thread Starter
A little more about the powered wagon, rake, and baler -

The Molon rake takes a 5 foot swath and makes a 1 foot windrow. With a poor yield, you can rake in twice and out once to cover 15 feet of hay in one shot with the baler. The handle you see me holding as I am raking controls a pair of steering wheels up front - the tractor becomes a drive unit only and you don't have to hold the handlebars at all (OPC is unplugged). It's very easy to drive and does a fantastic job of getting all the hay.

The baler is setup much the same way. I haven't run the baler because we were crunched for time to actually get the hay up and didn't need to slow the operation down by learning the baler (As it was, we didn't stop baling 'til considerably after dark). Basically, you drive the baler down the windrow until you see a knob on the side start spinning. Then, you disengage the transmission, walk to the baler, flip a lever to "wrap" and wait 'til the bale gets wrapped and the rear door pops open. The lever automatically goes back to "run". You then pull the bale out, shut the door, walk to the tractor, engage the transmission, and walk forward until the knob starts spinning again. I may not have this exact because I only watched and didn't run.

The trailer is the powered trailer Joel sells for the Grillo 131. This thing can climb a tree. It has a few drawbacks - Huge turning radius, controls aren't user friendly, slower than an ATV, a little hard on the eyes - but it is rated for hauling 2000 lbs can take that ton about ANYWHERE. With the rough terrain I could only reliably haul 17 bales with it, but could have hauled much more if it had sideracks.

Oh, I couldn't resist. My new barn full of chickens that came Wednesday! 4800 little cluckers to make organic eggs for me to sell to Organic Valley....


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   / Honeeey? Do these tires make my butt look big?!? - BCS 853 with BIG rubber #9  
The bailer can also be tripped by the first lever on the steering handle, one of us walks along and pulls the bails while the other is operation it.

We just got about 70 bales put up today. I like the wheel weights on it. Good to see ear protection, it is absolutely needed with that diesel wound up. I like to see the personal protection also. Neighbour asked my last year if I was expecting trouble, I told them if I was I'd be carrying a rifle ;)

I'm curious about a couple things: Does the rake ever throw the hay ahead of the 'fingers' that slide out to stop it? And does his bailer ever get touchy about pulling the wrapping into the chamber? Sometime the wrapper will wad up in the cutter area instead of getting pulled in.

   / Honeeey? Do these tires make my butt look big?!? - BCS 853 with BIG rubber #10  
Any thoughts on how you would you use the Molon rake to gather the hay loose? Would you run it around in circles to get a big pile?