Terrified of tipping - how about an inclinometer?

   / Terrified of tipping - how about an inclinometer? #71  
A google for "tractor rolled killed" finds several million hits. ROPS (Roll Over Protection System, which is a big metal frame over the tractor seat) and a buckled seatbelt are a requirement if on anything but dead flat flat and no load in the FEL (Front End Loader). You can flip a tractor on flat ground real quick if the FEL is high with a load and you take a corner in anything but one of the lowest gears. I can't imagine an inclinometer would be of any use at all, just a distraction that gives a false sense of security.

We live on the bench of a steep canyon wall. Got a Branson 3510i here, use it on uneven and occasionally steep terrain. I once had two wheels off the ground, moving very slowly when taking a 1500 lb pallet off a high truck bed with the FEL, on flat ground. A front wheel found a gopher hole. You want your hand near the FEL hydraulics whenever lifting something heavy, ready to drop it. Move slowly when you have a load. On steep terrain, you want to be going straight up or down, not sideways. If on loose material, be aware that you might slip to a sideways orientation.

After years of nearly killing myself, I finally figured out that the wheels were configured for flatlanders, going for minimum tractor width. On the rears of this Branson, I can place the inner steel wheel on either side of the outer steel wheel, and I can spin the inner wheel 180 degrees This gives four different possible widths across the two rear tires when mounted on the tractor to choose from. In some configurations you will need to swap the left and right tires to get the tread oriented for maximum traction when going forward, and the schrader air valve will then be on the inside of the tire, not an issue. I went for maximum width and have yet to catch air again, far far more stable than the stock configuration. You can buy spacers to fit between the hub and the wheel to get the front tires back in the same tracks as the rears, though I haven't bothered yet.

Turf tires might give a slightly wider stance than ag tires, be able to carry a heavier load because of the greater area in contact with the dirt, less soil compaction. I use ag (agricultural tread) tires because I need that traction in snow and mud, but am considering going to wider tires and using chains when I need the traction.

Edit: Some people think they are better off without a buckled seatbelt, planning to somehow jump clear when things go south. If they did manage to jump in the split second when a tractor rolls, they would most likely be jumping right into the spot that the tractor will be rolling over the top of.
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   / Terrified of tipping - how about an inclinometer? #72  
   / Terrified of tipping - how about an inclinometer? #73  
Alright, I admit it! I'm a crybaby when it comes to running any of my tractors on an incline. I'm terrified of tipping the machine on its side (or worse!). I know, fear is a good thing, but I get the heeby-jeebies whenever one of the rear wheels goes over a rock and the machine lifts up just a little on one side. On the 4600, if there's a little incline I'll often put down the stabilizers so if it does begin to tip, it will have something to rest on before it goes all the way over. Also, I'll turn the backoe over to the high side to add counter weight. Tires can be loaded, wheels weights added, and the wheels set for a wider track. All these things can, and should be done. But what about a way to measure how much the machine is leaning?

I find it odd that I have never seen any references to putting an inclinometer on the tractor dash. Has anybody done this? What about something like this? Amazon.com: Sun Company 201-F Lev-o-gage Inclinometer | USA-Made Level for Off-Road Vehicle, Jeep, Truck, RV, Camper, Trailer, or Boat: Industrial & Scientific

(I have no interest or involvement with promoting a product. I'm just asking.)
The problem is unless you know what the tipping point is this isn't going to do much good.

We had them on the Destroyer I served on and we knew what the point of no return was.

You have stabilizers so I suppose you could do some empirical testing to determine where the danger zone is, mark your gauge, and then do what's needed to mitigate the danger should you approach the line.
   / Terrified of tipping - how about an inclinometer? #74  
I'd shop for one with a smaller range of measurement. A smaller measuring range would give you better accuracy within the range you will actually be working in.

The one shown goes to 45 degrees. At 45 degrees you had already tipped the tractor. I won't do 30 degrees of slope with my Ventrac-- even though it is rated for that. I'd bet you have a high pucker factor on your tractor even at 15 degrees.
15° is my personal "tipping point"! I go very slowly.
   / Terrified of tipping - how about an inclinometer? #75  
Once you become in tune with your equipment, you are going to know when it gets tire light. Keep the clutch covered.

once the rear tire lifts it will loose traction and the machine will tilt until it reaches the stop block on the front end or the bucket touches down.

probably a job for tracked skid steer with low center of gravity.

I had to hook my truck to my ROP yesterday at a 90 degree angle to my travel path to get my 5105 out of the pond. Sometimes you don’t get second chances though. Be familiar with your controls essential .
   / Terrified of tipping - how about an inclinometer? #76  
I think the use inclinometer would be better used to find when you might be safe (sometimes). Some questions come to mind. Have you been using your tractor on the slope a long time, or just occasionally, was that the only time. I ask this because what you are feeling is what we all feel until we experience the way our tractor reacts to different situations. Do I know exactly when my tractor will overturn. No. Do I know when enough is enough. Yes. It feels light to me. There is a danger in using a inclinometer if you assume there is a actual safe point of recovery. The worse thing that could happen is if using an inclinometer made you feel secure when you are not. As you know, many things can happen to change the status of this in only a second. Hole, wet grass or leaves, flat tire, rock, etc.
I would like having one and may add one. But that feeling we get that we are at risk is really a safety measure for all of us. I am in the Ozarks. There is not a flat place ANYWHERE on my property. I have operated my tractor safely 4 years. Do I get that feeling ----every damn time I roll over a rock I did not see going faster that I should. Interesting subject. Just don't let it make you feel safe when you are not. That feeling is not a bad thing. In retrospect, it may have already saved many of us from our own actions. Best wishes, Larry
   / Terrified of tipping - how about an inclinometer? #78  
No 30 or 45 degree meters for me. If I get one, it will be more like this.


It would be useful for grading and leveling.

   / Terrified of tipping - how about an inclinometer? #79  
As per what joecdeere alluded to, maybe the best solution is a ROPS.
   / Terrified of tipping - how about an inclinometer? #80  
To reiterate what I previously said...it's all about the center of gravity...the higher the COG the more tippy the tractor...

Anyone else seem to notice a large number of pictures of tractors on TBN have their loader buckets fully raised for no apparent reason ?...(posing for pics I guess)...?

IMO unless you are loading a truck or dumpster etc over a high sideboard etc...there is no reason to ever raise a bucket that high...even to get to some zerks etc...