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torinwalker

Stabilzed tractor for steep hill grass cutting

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torinwalker
I have a small property, 1 acre, but some of the inclines are a bitch to cut with a push mower, and impossible with the tractor. While "testing" whether the tractor could negotiate a steep hill in 1st gear (to see whether it could cut the grass in that difficult area), I nearly flipped it over backwards. Good thing I hit the clutch in time! Now the notion of stabilizing the tractor occurs to me. I imagine that doubling the rear tires or installing some lateral arms with small wheel (akin to training wheels for a bicycle, but low profile across the length of the lawn deck) would provide enough lateral stability to permit slight angles on hills, and a "wheelie-bar" for the rear. The wheely bar could potentially run off the rear lift group in case you wanted to lift it up and out of the way. Any thoughts on this? Torin...

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RickS
Torin, Do a search for dual wheels. The topic of dual wheels has come up several times. Several members have made their own adaptors. Some members have the original adaptors. On another note, while using a hand held mower is difficult, and potentially dangerous, as least you can let the mower go and stay safe. On a tractor the best you can do is try and jump free. Jumping free is a long shot, many people have died when the tractor rolled over and crushed them. I would strongly suggest you plant something on the hill side to remove the need to mow. Another option would be to level the area out. Either by filling in or removing / regrading the area. Good Luck and be careful. Rick..........

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Chris727
I just use a weedwacker for the part of my yard thats too steep for the tractor, but it is a lot of work. -Chris

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UCD
I have a friend that has a high steep bank over 50° incline and about 30' high in front of his house that was impossible to mow with a tractor and very hard with a push mower. What he did was get a small 12V electric powered winch and mounted it on his mower deck. He then took a push mower and put an eye bolt on the back of the push mower deck. He then went across the top with the tractor letting the winch out when the mower got to the bottom he would drive ahead a little and pull the push mower back up with the electric winch when it got to the top he moved ahead starting the process over again. It took him less time this way than pushing the mower by hand. Now all he does is sit on his tractor drinking his drink and pushing 2 buttons, mower out mower in.

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torinwalker
Thanks for the advice. That hill was approximately thirty degrees, and quite frankly, a stupid test. Nearly flipping the tractor scared the bejesus out of me, and I'm far too intelligent to let it happen to me twice. Now I take the scenic route around the property, every time. I still have slight inclines (5 to 10 degrees) that normally wouldn't present a problem, but because they curve in most cases, and because I'm a little more shy from recent experience, the discussion is still of great importance and interest. The term "steep" just takes on a new meaning for me. What I once thought of as steep, is now incredibly steep. What once I considered a trivial grade, is now not so trivial. I guess I've grown a little gunshy, and I'm much better off as a result. There are areas on the property that I will continue to mow with the push mower (or plant maintenance free plants), but for those areas of 10 degrees or so that cannot be cut perpendicularly, I want to stabilize with the wider wheels. I'll have a look around for the other discussions. Torin...

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Boney
Just today they were talking about a man in Worcester that died due to a runnaway mower. I know of a person that has a similar problem and got a old walk behind mower. Tied a rope to the mower and lower it and pulls it back up the hill. Rope is tied to the mower deck. Also wears golf shoes as to not slip.

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MPH
Wheelie bars would be simple to built and I'd think make going up the hill safe to do, it be the coming down and run-away cuz the brakes on these tractors don't impress me that much. Sideway mowing, I don't think duals would do that much for. Could get a johnny bucket, a Plow, lots of rocks, and terrece the whole bank, then have flat areas to mow..That be good for lots of tractor time.MPH

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RickS
Marty, Yes you have the best soluction. He needs more toys, the Johnny bucket, and more tractor time. Rick.......

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Agricola
I gave up trying to mow the bank along the highway with my rotary mower on the tractor. Now my 700 with a sickle mower does the job without any problems and lets me have a tractor for a specific purpose. Toys...Toys and more Toys.

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torinwalker
You're absolutely right. I do need more tractor time, and tractor time just isn't tractor time without toys. What do you guys suppose the safest maximum angle (assume perpendicular to slope) would be for a 200lb rider on a landlord 101 with single turf wheels? I honestly don't think it's much more than eight degrees. Maybe ten or twelve with duals? Torin...

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torinwalker
The trouble with a sickle mower is that it only cuts 42 inches. My 30 degree embankment (imagine a large, flat front lawn, with a seven foot high causeway) is about 12 feet wide, and 75 feet long. A sickle mower can't be angled downward, can it? One could then tackle some of the lawn from the bottom of the hill, and some from the top, leaving only a small stripe in the middle.

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Agricola
My Haban can go from vertical to about 30degrees below the horizontal. Don't quote me on the down angle. What I like is the weight of the sicle on the up side of the hill while I am mowing. It makes it feel less likely to tip.

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torinwalker
I've been thinking... With the mower deck attached to the front wheel hitch, the tractor can lean only as far as the front wheels will pivot. Beyond that, the tractor is leaned against the mower deck's rollers, correct? What kind of stability would be gained by putting a wheel on either side of the mower deck, and stiffening the deck with a crossmember? Torin...

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KenK
I have found on about 2 of my tractors where there is a hole drilled in the front axle.Going through the block behind the axel.That way your axle can be pinned solid .A 48 deck would also help in this situation because of the extra width.This of course would be for side tipping and not flipping over backwards.Add lots of weight up front if its a must.I like the landscaping idea better though.

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hufhouse
My father-in-law mows a steep bank with an old second hand push mower hooked up to a rope. I'll have to tell him about the winch idea! He's a tool-and-die maker. I'm sure he could probably rig something like that up just for the fun of it!

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rokon2813
We have a large local cemetary with several acres of 45 degree slopes. They have their push mowers set up with a rope front and rear so they can walk along the top pulling it forward (sideways on the hill) then backward letting out more rope each time so all the hills are mowed sideways and noone ever goes up or down with the mower. If you dont want to walk back and forth you could do it I guess from the seat of a tractor but they get paid by the hour.

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stormy2163
Now Thats a good idea:D:)
quote:
Originally posted by UCD
I have a friend that has a high steep bank over 50° incline and about 30' high in front of his house that was impossible to mow with a tractor and very hard with a push mower. What he did was get a small 12V electric powered winch and mounted it on his mower deck. He then took a push mower and put an eye bolt on the back of the push mower deck. He then went across the top with the tractor letting the winch out when the mower got to the bottom he would drive ahead a little and pull the push mower back up with the electric winch when it got to the top he moved ahead starting the process over again. It took him less time this way than pushing the mower by hand. Now all he does is sit on his tractor drinking his drink and pushing 2 buttons, mower out mower in.

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torinwalker
Naw, I'm convinced there's no safe way to cut the bank on this tractor. I think I'll stick with either planting zero-maintenance foliage, or re-grade the area. Fill can be had for free given the massive developments around here. I think it would be great fun to greade the entire land with the Landlord. Futile, but fun. What's the name of the stuff I should plant to keep it short and clean? I saw it on the small tractor FAQ, but can't find it now. It's some weird name like wedgewood, or hogsdown or some such thing. I have this very short round-petaled, clover-but-not-clover like substance in the back yard I could transplant...it seems to spread like wildfire... Torin...

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Robert_Rainwater
I have a lawn service business, I also mow a very long steep hill. My brother and I put 12" spacers on his 317 JD tractor with 10.50 duel wheels, mow the hill no problem. Mow the hill sideways, sit on upper fender. Rear wheels are 67" wide. Bob R.

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gretsch
Many have also died from slipping while using a push mower on a steep grade and getting caught by the push mower while it is still running. The newer pushmowers are a lot safer but people have a tendency to "hold on" and possibly having the running mower still get them.

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stinkie
I wouldnt count on the deck as a prevention for turnover. You might end up bending it slightly and screwing up that perfect cut it provides.

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torinwalker
Heavens no, you don't stress the deck. A lateral arm affixed to the frame extending across the deck and down (with wheels) on either side. Torin...

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torinwalker
As Robert pointed out, I believe the extended wheels will do the trick. By extending the rear wheelbase by two or more feet, small inclines are no longer worrisome. Time to start fabricating (or buying) a set. Torin...

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DaleC
One of the problems is sliding. Farm tractors will climb hills they cannot go down because they lose traction and slide away. I have made a far to rapid desent on more than one occasion. SCAREY!! Put chains on the rear wheels and weight on the front, extended out if you can. This will help you not slide or rear up. Also, If you have a good access for going up the hill, then just mow down.

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HubbardRA
Torin, As a kid we wanted to mow a bank behind our home with a Gravely walk behind that we owned. My Grandpa and I designed an extra-wide spaced set of dual wheels for this machine. This allowed use of the Gravely with a sickle bar instead of a scythe for mowing banks up to about 45 degrees. In fact we found quite a bit of use for this machine in steep areas. If wide enough they will slide before turning over. I have two sets of 26x12x12 AG tires. If these were set up as duals with about six inches between the tires, you could mow nearly any bank that the tractor wouldn't slide off of.

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