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skunkhome

Trailer towing safety

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skunkhome
I have not noticed anything like this on your tractors but I see many pictures on e-bay of Allis and Simplicity tractors with hitch risers attached to tractors to allow them to tow trailers designed to be towed by motor vehicles. Today I saw the result of the use of such a hitch setup on a John Deere lawn tractor. There is a young man who cuts lawns in the neighborhood in front of the school where I work. His father had built a hitch point with ball that was about 10 inches off the ground so that the trailer would be level behind the tractor. He was towing a full sized utility trailer with a "new" JD LA130 when he hung the right wheel of the trailer on a gate post. The tractor immediately rolled over backwards because the hitch point was about 5-6 inches above the axle. Fortunately the teenager escaped with minor bruises but the tractor sustained quite a bit of damage when it rolled back over the tongue of the trailer like a closing jack knife and snapping the make shift hitch clean off the tractor. Neighbors quickly notified the boys father who came running to find his tractor wrecked. He was obviously bewildered at the sight and quickly condemned the tractor as being unstable, then his son for hitting the gate post. He could not seem to grasp the fact that his rigged up hitch above the axle was the probable cause of the accident. The trailer is a 5x12 utility with 2 ft high 2x12 sides and probably outweighs the tractor by 400 pounds an. He could have had the same accident just by pulling it up a steep grade. I too, pull an old utility trailer but I am able to attach directly to the draw-bar because the trailer does not have a tongue jack. I got to thinking... why not make an adapter that essentially turns the utility trailer into a goose-neck trailer allowing it to be be towed safely, directly from the draw-bar without upsetting the tractor's stability. The adapter could be removed when the trailer is used behind a motor vehicle. I drew a sketch of my idea... What do ya'll think?


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cwm1276
Like the idea, but I think the moral of the story is to pay closer attention when pulling something bigger than yourself. I've pulled 23-30' travel trailers with the stock drawbar of a 716H. The key is to watch what you are doing, have someone watching for you as you can't see around trailer and do it slow. We parked trailer for years in the shed like this as no truck could fit in front of trailer while positioning the trailer tight into the shed.

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skunkhome
Well, I think that the weight of what you are pulling is a factor but more importantly your hitch point on the tractor is the key. I have successfully pulled objects many times heavier than my tractor towing off the drawbar. Some years ago we were moving some short sections of a large tree trunk that probably weighted 800# each. We were using a 15' snatch cable and my brother simply hooked one end of the cable over the pivot point of implement lift sleeve on our B-1. The tractor had standard turf tires with no ballast or wheel weights. He eased forward until the cable was taught them let out on the clutch. The load did not even move but the front of the tractor immediately raised up with no wheel spin. He immediately clutched and braked then cut off the motor. The tractor just hung there with the front wheels about 12 inches off the ground. My father, who was near by cutting limbs, saw what happened and quickly ran over and gave us a stern warning about towing from above the Axle. I am sure we had heard the lecture before but till then we had never realized how important it was. It was a funny site that tractor suspended there with the motor quite and the front wheels way off the ground. Strangely enough there wasn't really that much tension on the cable... you could press down with both hands on the cable and actually lift the front wheels further off the ground. My brother eased back up on the tractor and clutched, easing the front wheels back down on the ground. We then hooked the snatch cable to the drawbar and successfully dragged the load with only a little wheel spin.

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rsnik
I have this set up on one Baron...


It's just like what you said, a receiver way above the axle. I use this Master Lock adjustable 8 inch drop hitch....


I am a fan of big veggie gardens so I tow a landscaper trailer out to the furthest garden because you can haul everything out there and all the produce and weeds etc. back in one trip. I have never had a problem, but I a very careful. Before Simplicity I had (still have) a Murray garden tractor and towing the RubberMaid cart heavily loaded with weeds, 3 times the cart dragged the tractor (it has a feeble brake) over the embankment where I dump the weeds (never hurt the tractor, used the Trailblazer to tow it out). A savvy club member suggested I install a backstop for the tires of the cart to hit to stop the problem. However, with the Baron I move this boat around the yard...


If I tow up any significant hill the boat will try to pull the tractor over backwards. However, there is only 5 or 6 inches of clearance under the tongue and the front wheels can only come a very few inches off the ground before the tongue hits the ground, pinning the back end of the tractor to the ground. You can't tow the boat up much of a slope but the boat can't pull the front wheels up much either. I always have someone with wheel chocks ready to stuff under a boat wheel anytime I am near a slope.

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skunkhome
quote:
Originally posted by rsnik
It's just like what you said, a receiver way above the axle. I use this Master Lock adjustable 8 inch drop hitch....
[img]/club2/attach/rsnik/DSCN1572.JPG[/img]

Rsnik, are you using the 8" drop hitch with the receiver you have on the tractor? If so you are in effect hitched to a point approx 1.5" below the axle since your receiver is about 6+ inches above the axle. It appears and I assume that your receiver mount is rigid. If it were a swinging mount you would be towing from a point 6 inches above the axle. The goose neck I propose keeps the attachment point 3"(+/-)under the axle while maintaining enough clearance on the trailer tongue. With a "gooseneck" attached to the trailer tongue the tug on the trailer helps off set the tendency of the tractor to wheelie when pulling a heavy load. Issues with ineffective brakes and such are another matter all together. I am aware that since the brake on the my tractor and other of the same design operate through the transmission they are ineffective unless both rear tires are firmly on the ground. I have witnessed two near tragedies and have read other accounts of tractors large and small turning over backwards with horrifying results and in each case, towing from a high point on the tractor was sited as the root cause.

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rsnik
The time the Baron's front wheels came off the ground I was towing the boat up a hard packed gravel, gentle slope from the parking area up to the paved driveway. The tires had chains with plenty of traction and I think it was just easier for the tractor to wind up on the rear axle and pull the front end off the ground than to move the boat forward. I have never even seen a garden tractor pulling event but I wonder what keeps pulling tractors from simply wheel standing instead of pulling the load.

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DMedal
quote:
Originally posted by rsnik
....and I think it was just easier for the tractor to wind up on the rear axle and pull the front end off the ground than to move the boat forward. I have never even seen a garden tractor pulling event but I wonder what keeps pulling tractors from simply wheel standing instead of pulling the load.
If the connection between the tractor and the load is below the axle, force applied to the trailer will tend to pull the front end down.

If the connection point is above the axle then force applied to the load will tend to pull the front end up, perhaps violently.

In the story this thread started with the trailer became virtually immoble meaning all the torque of the rear wheels is applied to lifting the front wheels. Of all the ways to interact with your tractor, upside down with tractor on top is one of the least fun. Since pullers want to put as much weight as possible on the rear wheels I bet they hook up slightly above the axle and use wheelie bars to prevent roll over. But I'm assuming, others here will be able to speak with experience. Apologies for the lame drawings. With more time I'd use a tractor pic. Maybe a little stickman too. With the force pulling the tractor up and over the little stickman has to be redrawn once the tractor flips. You don't want to be the stick man. Really. Pull low. You'll note that the drawbar on all big tractors is under the axle. There's a reason the Simpl engineers put it low. -Don

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rsnik
Hi Don, Good illustration. Gets the point across. How about if the tractor is going up a hill? Seems like if you rotate your tractor drawing around clockwise to simulate going up a hill the connection point effectively gets higher with relation to the axle even though it is still physically connected below the axle. The front end of the Baron came off the ground while towing up a slight grade even though the connection point was physically below the axle.

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skunkhome
Don, The drawings are great.... I did a drawing myself to explain the dynamics of towing from a high point but I didn't want to sound too much like I was trying to lecture. I have modified it>>> How's This


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skunkhome
quote:
Originally posted by rsnik
Hi Don, Good illustration. Gets the point across. How about if the tractor is going up a hill? Seems like if you rotate your tractor drawing around clockwise to simulate going up a hill the connection point effectively gets higher with relation to the axle even though it is still physically connected below the axle. The front end of the Baron came off the ground while towing up a slight grade even though the connection point was physically below the axle.
When going up hill the entire center of gravity of your tractor shifts to the rear (down hill). If the hill is steep enough you will roll over backwards regardless of what or how you are pulling. Sounds like a great argument for ROP.

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DMedal
quote:
Originally posted by rsnik
Hi Don, How about if the tractor is going up a hill? Seems like if you rotate your tractor drawing around clockwise to simulate going up a hill the connection point effectively gets higher with relation to the axle even though it is still physically connected below the axle. The front end of the Baron came off the ground while towing up a slight grade even though the connection point was physically below the axle.
While the basic force diagram stays the same going up the hill, some other factors get worse. The diagram shows the force as the tractor pivots around the axle, that stays the same. But going up a hill the force applied to the trailer is larger making your engine work harder (and all the forces larger) and the down force on the front wheels is less, making it much easier to flip. -Don

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D-17_Dave
One thing to remember about pulling any trailer is the factor of tongue weight. With loads being applied down on the rear end of these axles you create an unstable situation before you even crank the tractor.

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rsnik
Hi Dave, Aha! I think you answered the question as to why pulling competition garden tractors don't simply do wheel stands. I bet the hitch point is well below the axle and I bet the load has very little tongue weight.

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JoeK
Pullers,at least all I've seen have a low/short(within rules)hitch point and connect to sled with chain to near skid level on sled to negate download leverage and load "lift" by tractor.After all the idea is what the tractor can pull,not carry.A good mechanical sled operator can/could stop about any tractor in class if he were dishonest,instead of properly working up thru the levels after establishing a base level for the tractor class. As to physics,NEVER hitching above axle on ANY tractor is a good rule to follow.The majority of deaths,injuries using tractors is a result of such improper use.Beside the leverage issue shown above,use of weights,lug tires,chains,cleats increases this danger by not allowing tire slippage,so when front end liefts and ALL weight is transferred to the driving wheels,the tractor rotates around the axle,INSTANTLY backflipping if power is adequate.The key here is LOW,Low hitch,Low RPMs,Low Speed and or countering the physical forces by using front hitches,front weights,chicken(wheelie)skids/bars or even running tow chain under the tractor to front axle for skidding loads, Sorry for the length,but lost one friend to farm tractor backflip and another is parapalegic due to ATV towing backflip.

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plastikosmd
some good info here... http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/kb13/gbrown_safety.htm i prefer using my 3point hitch on my other machines when moving the boat or the lift trailer around the yard. faster hookup and safer scott

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skunkhome
quote:
Originally posted by plastikosmd
some good info here... http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/kb13/gbrown_safety.htm i prefer using my 3point hitch on my other machines when moving the boat or the lift trailer around the yard. faster hookup and safer scott
Scott, it is certainly easier and can be safe, but you have to be very careful of the loading that far out behind the axle.

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plastikosmd
it does move the point rearward and decreases your overall tongue capacity but if overloaded and carried at the proper height (below your axles) you will just look like you are at a tractor pull..yer hitch will just be on the ground,(been there) if you overload your short hitch you will be lookin at a lot more of the sky..:)

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skunkhome
quote:
Originally posted by plastikosmd
it does move the point rearward and decreases your overall tongue capacity but if overloaded and carried at the proper height (below your axles) you will just look like you are at a tractor pull..yer hitch will just be on the ground,(been there) if you overload your short hitch you will be lookin at a lot more of the sky..:)
I guess the truth is, you need to keep your wits about you when operation machinery of any size.

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MikeES
Most garden tractor pulling, the hitch is no more than 12 or 13" off the ground and can't extend past the face of the rear tires. We use front weights to keep the front down. The best balance is having the front tires just touching and barely lifting off the ground. We do use the pull down weight of the chain to the sled for weight, and thus slightly lift the front of the sled with forward movement. And wheelie bars are required for all classes except "off the lawn" and they are flagged as soon as the front end comes up. In 10 years of pulling I have seen just 1 flip over. I have also seen several tractors standing on end. Every time it has been at the start when the clutch was let out, the tractor never got the sled moving.

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