Monday, July 20, 2009

Tractor antics

Yesterday, I decided to do some small tree removal... lots of little scrub Alder has been growing into my hay field for 20 or 30 years. Now that we have hayed the parts that the guy was willing to do, I can clear out some of the parasites and make the field more hay friendly.
As soon as I decided to do that, it became evident that there would be at least some useable lengths of timber from the trunks. 8" at the base, 6 to 4" 14 feet higher up the trunk. Lots of trash and stuff that couldn't be used.
Took the machete out and cut away all the blackberries and brush at the base of the trees, so I could get close enough with the chain saw to cut them down.... Multiple lacerations to the hands and fore arms later, I can cut down some trees. Took down about a dozen..... stopped when I managed to have a trunk 'pinch' the bar of the chain saw. The trunk weighs more than my motorcycle..... that's a contest I am not going to win.

So I went to get my tractor, so I could use the bucket and a chain to lift the trunk off my saw. Had to unhitch the brush hog from the 3 point hitch on the back, and I noticed that the right lower arm is not really attached to the tractor as it should be..... the pin that holds the arm to the tractor is backed all the way out and is about to fall out.

I had observed this before; the part in use is not the OEM part, due to someone in the past breaking the mount, and having had to repair it.
The mount itself (attached to the tractor frame) consists of two 'ears' with holes in it to pass the pin through like an axle. Once the pin is inserted all the way, a lynch pin retains it. Except THIS pin doesn't go far enough through the hole to allow that. The end of the arm rides in a socket, on that pin.

No retainer, eventually the pin comes out, and the 3 point hitch becomes a 2 point hitch. Now that I have ample proof that this is not good enough, I am obliged to fix the issue.
I take the pin all the way out and examine it, and the mount. Someone has welded a big nasty blob of steel onto the outside of the ear, and it now interferes with the pin.... it can't go deep enough due to hitting that weld.
I grabbed a file, and proceeded to reduce the size of that bead of weld. For about an hour. After almost 2 hours, I had it reduced enough to allow the pin to go 'home'......... only it would still not do so.

I finally look at where the pin slides to, and realize it is hitting an obstruction on an adjoining piece of the tractor. (!) "Why would anyone design something like this? Why doesn't fixing the ear, solve the problem?"

That led me to remove the pin on the other side of the tractor for comparison.... the left arm mount should have been identical to the right side, after all.... I should be able to swap pins, and have it work just fine. Except the pins are different lengths, and due to the damage, the spacing on the ears is not the same. The left pin is too short to span the right ears...... and the right (replacement) pin is too long for the available space. The end of the pin that has the hole for the retaining device has the hole farther 'in' from the end of the pin.
A hack saw and file job on the pin ensued..... 30 minutes later, I have removed a notch from the pin that allows it clearance to seat in the 'ear', and I can finally add a cotter pin to keep this from happening to me again.

After 4 hours of tractor 'adjustment' I could finally go rescue my chain saw.

Some of the trees DH cut down and cleaned up.

Massive brush pile.

Story is written by DH. ;O)