Tractors in Trouble

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Sunk Tractor 3

40_acre_mule and his Kubota encountered a mud puddle and things didn’t go according to plan.

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  • I can see where this will yield a bunch of interesting photos. While I do not keep a camera with me, I have been called to rescue people using what I had at the time. Once I pulled a Ford Bronco from a wet field with my little Case 446 Garden Tractor and used it to rescue another Case Agri-King 1270 that could not get traction on ice. My 446 had chains, and I was on firm ground and was able to give just enough pull that we got the bigger tractor to solid ground. Now that I purchased my Kubota B7300, I seem to be the go to person for stuck vehicles in the neighborhood, pulling 4x4s out that have gotten into deep trouble, and other cars/trucks that get just a bit off the beaten path. I now keep the clevis and chain handy all the time.

  • When I was a kid we went riding on an old logging road around the farm with my dad. As we went across the creek it started to dig into the mud and we were stuck. Dad was trying everything to free us and I asked if he wanted me to get the old Scout and try it. He said that with the slipping clutch and only being two wheel drive it probably wouldn’t help. The clutch was so bad that if the pasture got too steep, we’d have to turn across to get up the hill. After several more tries and being out of options he finally told me to go get it. Long story short, sometimes it doesn’t take much… just enough. A little tension on the chain and it walked itself right out. Good memory.

  • I got my kubota stuck clearing brush on a downhill slope. Couldnt back up! My neighbor worked at local bobcat dealership and had a small excavator on his vacant lot he was clearing. He told me i could use it anytime so i did to pull out my tractor! He just happened to show up after i pulled it out. A few years later at local farm show the bobcat booth guys reminded me of the incident! Guess he went back and told his coworkers my mishap!

  • My picture isn’t there. But it sure could be, I mow a wet meadow and get my Kobota stuck often.

  • I have done this hogging 4 times,,as soon as I loose traction I remove hog, pull ahead to good ground wrap a chain to hog and pull it to dry,,then reattach and go,,pain in the ass but it sure saves time i/2 mile from the homestead

  • Great pictures. Embarrassing situations but “tractors to the rescue.” Thanks for sharing.

  • while watching these rescue images I thought how lucky I am to have two virtually unstuckable vehicles, a Goldoni Universal 224 and, even more unstuckable, a Kobelco SK30UR which can unstuck itself despite old rubber tracks from anywhere.

  • I’m glad to see I am not the only one. I have had my 60 year old Ford 850 stuck, or bottomed out, on multiple occasions over the past 40 years. My 85 year old neighbor used to get a kick out of telling me how he always had to use his Massey Ferguson to pull out my Ford. I bought a new JD 3038D this year and yep, you guessed it, got stuck twice with 4WD. I managed to get unstuck both times with a little ingenuity. I love both tractors. There is one thing certain, the old Ford will still be running in 60 more years. I am not sure about the JD.

  • Looks like I’m not the only one, happens late winter and spring around here, will put a counterweight behind the 165’s rear wheels for next season’s hay.

  • My Kabota 4WD got stuck in a mud bath! I extracted it using my Volkswagen Touarag AWD which also serves as a very able (7700lbs) tow vehicle for my tractor on its flat bed trailer. Hardly aware that it’s towing anything!

  • In 1948, my Uncle Hank, tiring of farming with horses & having been an acft. mechanic in WW-II, came back from town with a Farmall H (still had it in 2009). Bragging it up to Grandpa, he was pretty full of himself until it got STUCK… then my ol’ Czech grandpa had to get the “team” to pull it out. Grandpa NEVER let him forget it. So much for the industrial revolution.


  • what happens when my only kubota get stuck? well you better have a good front end loader or nice walking boots

  • I see a clean bucket !!
    I got into a similar situation once and I used the front end loader bucket to push me out of a very sticky situation. It was slow progress but it worked!

  • Great article. We’ve all been there. I flipped my B7200 compact tractor on its side on a rut filled hill after working all day on tornado cleanup. The group of women that I was working with were tired and wanted to go home. They said do you think we can flip it back up? I started thinking about the weight, but before I could they grabbed it and flipped it back on its wheels. Moral of the story if they want to go you should go. LOL.

  • When mine starts to go down in mush, I stop, unhook the box blade or culivator… before it is impossible to unhook, then I can usually drive it out without assistance. But the other day I needed assistance from my 25 hp mower even after unhooking. Talking about liquification of soil from to much water.

  • If you have not stuck your tractor, you are not working hard enough…

  • Oh how I wish I had pictures of my efforts to get a rogue round bale from the swamp.

    I had just gotten done custom baling for my neighbor down the road when I found out that he lost one of the bales in the swamp. A 1200 lbs bale on a tractor that weighs about 3000 lbs isn’t a good thing, and he nearly lost everything when it started to tip sideways So, figuring I could get it out with the hoe, I went down the very steep embankment towards the swamp. Plucked out the bale with the spears on the front of my Case 580B hoe, and down went the front end. Up until that time, the past 24 years never saw the hoe stuck, even when I had to crawl it through swamps, I never got her stuck where I needed help… I broke the streak. That thing was so damned buried!

    Ended up calling a buddy of mine to help me out. I brought the old Deere 4020 and he had a tow rope that was about 2″ thick. Ended up stuffing logs under the tires, and with the 4020 high on the hill (about a 50 foot embankment at a 50% slope) we were able to snatch it out.

    And I would be damned if I was going to leave that round bale down there after all of that, so we snatched it up too. Oh what a mess it was!!!

  • I have gotten my Mahindra 6000 FWD stuck a number of times. I carry enough chains so that I can wrap a chain around the loader bucket, hook the other end to a tree, curl the bucket, move forward, re-curl the bucket, take the slack out of the chains, and do it again. IT SEEMS TO WORKS, BUT BE SAFE IN WHATEVER YOU DO

  • And this is why I don’t do any mowing until the ground is dry…like in July. And I also stay off my septic leech field.

  • That sinking feeling then spending hours getting it out memories good to see pictures of others,,,in front of our cosy fire thank you for pictures, Last time I got stuck used a winch it was brilliant, sadly forgot to photo! to busy!!!!

  • WWII era. Camp Blanding, Florida. Much work being done with anything that would move. My dad saw a Caterpillar track dozer parked on “solid” ground after a day of hard work. The next morning the only thing that could be seen was the exhaust pipe. Within an hour that was gone too. It had slowly sunk in what turned out to be very deep and very soft mud under a hard crust. They never got that one out.

  • Remember burying a Ford 400 and having to cut a tree to chain across the rear chevrons and back it down into the dirt to climb out on. Dangerous proposition, but it works.

  • I have a Case IH 24D compact tractor. A couple of years ago I was moving dirt and using the bucket to flatten the weeds on the irrigation ditch behind my back fence. I got too close to the fence and the wheels dropped off the berm which was two feet above the yard level. The tractor rolled over but a 4×4 post was leaned against the fence and the bucket arm wedged against it. A friend came over and we used his truck and two come-alongs to level the tractor and then pull it up on level ground. I’ve got a picture of the wedged tractor which I use to remind myself to watch the edges.

  • Using any tool or piece of equipment , one needs to be able to anticipate so many possibilities. That is why so many people get injured when not using their brain . That’s why so many young adults lose their lives , not realizing the consequences of their actions .

  • These guys spent a bundle needlessly. Best to hire someone who know what he is doing.

  • Got my Mahindra stuck this winter while using it to plow snow. I was using the bucket and the back blade to move snow toward the dead end of our driveway. I ended up collecting too much snow under the back blade and the tractor ended up high centered on a mound of slush. It took about an hour of shoveling to the point where I was able to rock it back and forth about a hundred times before it finally got enough traction to clear itself. Hard to do with a gear drive tractor.

  • I stuck my MF 235 to the belly bush hogging in a swampy spot. Dug out enough to chain a 4X4 to the tires wrapping the chain through the slots in the wheel. Moved forward a foot or so and hopped off to move the 4X4. I was happy until I was sprayed with fluid from one wheel. In the haste and mud, I had put the chain through the slot that had the valve stem and sheared it off flush with the wheel. I quickly cut a small tree branch and jammed it into the leaking wheel and was able to get the tractor out and to solid ground to take the wheel off. I have not bush hogged that spot in 20 years…

  • Heckuva photo lineup. I have way too much pride to get myself caught in a trap like that. It would never happen, no how, no way!
    I would never take a picture of myself getting stuck and then it must mean I never got stuck?
    Anyhow, that is my position, officially!
    Thanks for your pic’s guys. I guess the lesser tractoring abilities you have the more you are willing to flame yourself. I think I would rather have some nude pics of myself floating around the web than I would have a photo putting my tractor drivin’ ineptitude on full display.

  • Seeing this urges me to tell everyone to be careful! My 80 year old neighbor lost his life last week while working on one of his antique tractors. We don’t (and never will) know exactly how it took place, but he wound up under the rear wheel while the tractor was in gear……

    The tractor’s rear wheel was in contact with a very dry stack of firewood & also caught the wood, attached garage, as well as the tractor on fire. Neil died pinned under that tractor that was on fire…..

    Neil grew up on the farm & had been around tractors all his 80 years…. Sorry to throw a wet blanket over a little light hearted fun, but please be careful out there!

  • When I first started my own business back in 1972 I was digging test holes for a septic design out in the woods, with an old 1958 case back-hoe in the early Spring. I was doing fine, digging 10′ -12′ test holes & then the engineer (who failed to tell me they had dug in the same area the preceding Fall) asked me to move the machine to dig one more hole. Well, that machine went down in what was like quicksand. I never thought you could get a Back-hoe stuck like that, the floor of the machine was buried. Every time I tried to dig myself out, the machine sank more. Luckily there was a big oak tree about 20′ away, so I hooked up a chain that I always carried with me (for this reason) & slowly pulled myself out with the back-hoe attachment. I swear, that machine would have sat there till summer if it weren’t for that mighty oak. Now I have a big JD Excavator that could just pick up that old back-hoe.

  • I hd a 69 f800 Ford with a 22 foot tilt and slide body with a weak vane, not gear powered winch. It was hot as hades on a sunday afternoon when a local cranberry grower, who had borrowed a 644 john deere loader came to my house in distress. He had sunk this guy”s loader in the mud and it was high centered. I told him no way could I do any thing for him but he was desperate! so we went to my shop and got a chainsaw, 8 pulleys or so, and lotsa chains. I had 140 foot of cable on the winch so I set up from the truck to the machine to pulleys to trees on either side of the truck using most of the cable, then we cut logs and wrestled them under the bucket and lifted up the loader so we could get more logs uder the center of the machine then we put logs long way to the base of a concrete flume to the bucket, as I winced he curled the bucket inch by inch keeping pressure on the bucket it moved maybe 6 inches a minute and I kept resetting the pulleys and moving the truck and eventually made miracles happen right after that I got a gear pump off a td 20 international and made brackets to mount it to power the winch. I”ll tell you any Egyptian would have been proud of us to move a sunk 26000 lb. loader with a 14000 lb gas job truck but every pully doubled the strength of the winch and reduced the speed by 50% a slow winch is a powerful winch and invention is the mother of necessity!

  • You’ll notice that none of them was a TYM tractor. You can’t get a TYM stuck

  • All excellent excuses to give your significant other that you need a bigger tractor!

  • And the manufacturers continue to put R4 industrial lug tires on the front end loader tractors, instead of good R1 Ag lug tires, for some stupid reason.

  • Dad had his M6800 Kubota stuck in deep mud on a very cold night. All 4 wheels were spinning. I put 2 sets of chain falls to a big spruce tree and slowly pulled it out. It was 20 below but I was sweating by the time we got it out.

  • All I see is a bunch of people using the wrong tires, ag tires are for tractors turf tires are for lawn mowers and industrial tires are for pavement, full stop.

  • Anyone who’s ever operated a tractor for any length of time, has been there done that. Sometimes twice or 3 times.

  • Hi guys.
    It has been a few years since this photo thread was last up, but I remembered it this past spring when early ‘lawn mowing’ began. I was knocking down the earliest growth, when as I approached the road (ditch) I noticed it was still extremely wet and soft. I immediately stopped and backed away, knowing full well that if I had continued, I might be posting a like or similar set of photos. Thanks to this thread for keeping me honest. I remember my dad telling me: 4WD and chains only will get you into worse trouble sooner.

  • Definitely don’t recommend this method, but it’s worked for me on a MM-U, a MF85 and a MF275. If rear tires are not sunk, chain a long, large timber across both the rear tires, immediately behind the drivers seat. (Attempt to) back tractor up until timber has rotated to just under tractor frame at driver’s feet. Repeat as needed.

  • A 4 wd tractor with a front bucket, is almost unstickable. If it also has a backhoe attachment on the rear, it IS impossible top stick.A long time operator is also required. Lol.

  • Recently, I got my CaseIH 24DXe stuck again. I was removing a large stump from the ground by digging out all around it with the bucket. I had been working on getting it out by using an axe but after about a year, I was tired of working on it. I had finally got all the roots I could find cut but then getting the stump out of the ground was the challenge. I worked at it for a couple of hours and finally got the stump to split into three parts. Two of the parts were easy to load in the bucket and take to my trailer, but the third part just wasn’t coming out. I finally dug down under it and got it to flip over onto solid ground. The bad part was my little tractor slid into the hole the stump came out from. The soil, or maybe I should say sandy clay, was pulverized to the point it was like flour. All of the tires would spin and the bucket wouldn’t lower enough for me to move it backwards. After spinning my wheels, I drove my Jeep into the backyard, hooked up the winch and pulled it out of the hole, which was deep enough the seat was level with the ground. Lesson learned. I’m selling the tractor after I do the summer maintenance. All my “big” chores are done now except for installing a new six foot fence and the tractor won’t dig the holes I need.

  • Many years ago I drug a snowmobile bridge with my Ford 8N about 3/4 miles to put across a small run on a warm morning during a thawing day. On the way we crossed a run which had a nice ice shelf tapering down to the water on both sides and got the job done. As we worked in a steady rain half the day the run became a rolling stream and when I drove out on the ice shelf to cross on the way back it broke off behind me and washed away. When I attempted to drive up the other side, as soon as the front wheels hit the shelf it did the same thing. Boxed in a rising creek up to the the belly in soft sand and facing 4 to 5 foot bank on both sides. I turned to go down the creek to a less steep spot and was up to the foot boards. The rest of the day was spent with a come along pulling a few inches at a time until we winched it up and over the bank, thank goodness there were some good trees to hook up to. Very scary and uncomfortable situation. Way before cell phone or digital cameras so no photos.

  • I have 10 acres of swamp and my 2 tractors are both 2 wheel drive.
    I get stuck all the time.
    A couple planks and a come-along is your best friends when really stuck.
    One key to avoid getting REALLY stuck with 2 wheel drive is, if you’re unsure, back in. These tractors do much better climbing out of the mud going forward.

  • This photo thread keeps repeating. So, while I never seem to have a camera with me all the time, I had a chance to use my B7300 this past summer. My wife and son decided to have a lawn sale, and I cautioned them about letting anyone drive on the lawn where they were set up. Of course, someone did and got stuck. Luckily only the rear wheels broke the sod, but they were stuck. I walked over, and even under my weight, the sod was spongy. I refused to put my tractor in peril, so I got my 3- 25ft lengths of chain, and borrowed another from a neighbor. I had my son and a couple others block traffic on the highway, and using the lengths of chain, the firm ground of the highway, and my B7300, I was able to inch the car to firmer ground where they were finally able to drive out. While tractors can do many things, these photos, and I am sure hundreds of others, prove that tractors are not completely unstoppable, especially where water and soil have mixed! However, a tractor, or other piece of equipment, set on firm ground will win most times.

  • Interesting reading all the ingenuity used to free equipment. Probably most of us have been stuck at one time. No such thing as an unstuckable machine.

  • Going back to my earlier days in the excavation business I remember a surprise event. I was digging a swimming pool hole, it was a common thing. This was a preferred one know as a shallow end dig. Meaning my entrance and exit was the shallow end of the pool. Still the exit ramp is steep but only about 3’ deep. When I got to to about 6’ with three to go on the deep end water came rushing in and I couldn’t get out fast enough. I finally had to chain railroad ties to the tracks and when one would come out the back I move it to the front and keep going. Slow hard task but it worked. The stuck tractor is always because steel is heavier than water.

  • Some very interesting comments, lucky for them they have a tractor owning neighbour. I live in the Yukon and often get stuck hours from anybody. One trick I’ve used is falling a tree to extend the reach of the winch. Just extend the winch, tie to the top of the tree and tie the butt to something solid and winch away. Works well even though the first time I just had a jack all as the winch. Have many other interesting stories of getting unstuck by myself.

  • My neighbor who is 83 years old and a former logger when he was very young shared this idea with me. It has worked at least 3 different times for me. Start with 2 six to eight foot long 6” posts or 4×4’s or anything similar. Lay them down on each side of the tractor with the center in front of the rear wheels. Run a chain underneath the tractor and loop around the poles on each side. DO NOT ATTACH THE CHAIN TO THE TRACTOR. Put the tractor in low and the lugs on the rear wheels will grip the chain and as you pull forward, the tractor rides up on top of the chain. This may have to be done more than one time, but so far I’ve only had to do it once to get unstuck.

  • Stuck three times in 200+/- hours. First time was sandy soil, pulled out by another tractor. Took three minutes. Second time was high center on some roots, again, another tractor and three minutes. Last time was high center on a hidden stump. I had put hooks on the bucket, chained the bucket to a tree, curled the bucket two or three times and extricated myself.

    Old time trick as told to me – go in with 2WD, if you get stuck, you can get unstuck by going to 4WD and locking the rear diff (lever on floor). If you go in with 4WD and get stuck, well, you’ve already used up your options and you get to yell for help.

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