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Looking For Ideas For Front Mount Hitch On Lawn Machine

front hitch quick hitch broyhill m4100 dethathcher snow plow mower deck

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#1 Utah Smitty OFFLINE  

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Posted March 23, 2014 - 01:03 AM

So, I got my Broyhill M4100 Lawn Machine going and the though occurred to me that it would be ideal for doing lawn maintenance tasks---duhhhh!!! that's what it was built for!!!

 

Anyway, my lawn badly needed de-thatching. Broyhill makes a dethatcher for my machine.-- it's 48" wide, and mounts in the middle of the machine, and--- it costs $400.

 

I needed to get it done, so I bought an inexpensive Agri-Fab towing dethatcher from the local farm store (Cal-Ranch) for $90. It's very similar to the Brinly-Hardy dethatcher that's sold at Home Depot for $80, but Cal-Ranch had 9 in stock and gave me an assembled model, while I would have had to drive 15 miles with a lot of congested traffic, to the Home Depot in Ogden to get one.

 

So I bought the (slightly) more expensive model  It worked good dethatching the lawn with only two cinder brick-sized pavers for weight

 

-- only problem was if you needed to back up...it IS possible, but takes a bit of maneuvering, and what would normally be a 3 point turn, works out to be a 30-point turn.

 

I knew I wanted to mount the dethatcher on the machine.  Problem was where to do it and how.  I pondered the pros and cons of 3 available options  Rear mount, mid mount, front mount. The rear and mid mount locations have hydraulic lift, the front doesn't

 

The disadvantage of a rear mount unit is it would be hard to see how it was working, plus I would have the whole length of the machine that wouldn't be dethatched if I used that location--ditto for the center (mid-) mount location.

 

There is a tool bar of sorts on the front that is manually raised and lowered.  It's kind of like the lift mechanism on a sleeve hitch without the actual hitch.

 

 

IMG_20140319_115753_426.jpg IMG_20140319_115813_848.jpg

 

I started out by making a couple of arms from 2" channel that went from the pivot point on the tool bar up to the front of the machine.

 

I tried raising and lowering the de thatcher and what was pretty stout.

 

IMG_20140319_144706_357.jpg

 

I decided to make a hitch plate that would slip down over the top of the tool bar and bolt front to rear at the bottom kind of like the mounting point for a sleeve hitch. However, I can't put vertical tubes through the tool bar, so it pushes the hitch out farther if I try a sleeve-type hitch.  Not saying I won't do it, it's just more effective weight on the front.

 

I got the hitch plate made up,

 

IMG_20140322_133230_171.jpg

 

but I'm a little stymied as how to hook attachments up.  I'd like to do something like the JD QA mount for the snowplows, but need to use a lighter attachment due to the manual lift and only one tire at the front end of the machine. Obviously I'd want something that I could use to quickly install and remove attachments like a snow plow, de- thathcher and a front mount mower.

 

The dethatcher also has to have a provision for leveling it out so all the times are even and working in the lawn.  I made some brackets and bolted them in, then made slotted tabs that will be used at the back of the dethatcher to permit leveling.

 

IMG_20140319_162230_806.jpg

 

Because of the curves in the tool bar, the hitch plate is limited to 16" overall width.  The one I fabricated is 16"wide by 3 1/4" high... it hangs 1" below the tool bar to permit bolting it through the two plates below the bar to hold it on.

 

So, if anyone has done something like this on a GT or other piece of landscape equipment, please chime in.

 

Thanks,

 

Smitty


Edited by Utah Smitty, March 23, 2014 - 01:07 AM.

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#2 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted March 23, 2014 - 04:55 AM

Just don't get it too far out front as it will be harder to lift!


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#3 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted March 23, 2014 - 06:36 AM

In order to keep the weight down try not to over build. It's a tendency we all have when DIY.  The other thing that comes to mind is the use of a helper spring to reduce the lift effort. I'm not sure if you could gear one up but it's something to consider. Keeping the weight in close is important  but you also may be able to reduce effort if you are now getting more lift than you need. In other words if you can rejig the ratios of the lift mechanism to produce less lift for the same operator lever movement you will need less force to lift it. Alternately you could increase the length of the lift lever to make it easier. 


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#4 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted March 23, 2014 - 08:18 AM

I am wondering if you could make multiple hitch points across the bar. Kind of like several sleeve hitch holes on that one bar.

Then, your attachment could use two, but give you room to shift it also. Sometimes it would be nice to have something like the dethatcher a couple of inches over one way (how would it affect steering tho?) so you can get in close to things.
Think edger on a sweeper for getting close to walls.

The c bein on the implement would keep it back pretty far, it's always been a compact hitch design.

That's a nice piece US, good luck on the attachment.
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#5 Utah Smitty OFFLINE  

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Posted March 23, 2014 - 08:52 AM

Just don't get it too far out front as it will be harder to lift!


Yeah, I know... plus the machine is essentially a Zero Turn--it will pivot on either rear wheel, so I don't want to lose maneuverability.

Broyhill makes an optional hydraulic front lift so I could rig up front hydraulics, but the front frame is just 1/8" thick 2" sq tubing so I don't want to bend anything.

Smitty

#6 DH1 ONLINE  

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Posted March 23, 2014 - 09:01 AM

If you could put 2 caster wheels on it something like this it would follow the terrain and go forward backward.

 

http://www.walkermow...-dethatcher.php

 

A10-large.jpg

 


Edited by DH1, March 23, 2014 - 09:27 AM.

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#7 Utah Smitty OFFLINE  

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Posted March 23, 2014 - 09:19 AM

I am wondering if you could make multiple hitch points across the bar. Kind of like several sleeve hitch holes on that one bar.

Then, your attachment could use two, but give you room to shift it also. Sometimes it would be nice to have something like the dethatcher a couple of inches over one way (how would it affect steering tho?) so you can get in close to things.
Think edger on a sweeper for getting close to walls.

The c bein on the implement would keep it back pretty far, it's always been a compact hitch design.

That's a nice piece US, good luck on the attachment.

Thanks for your suggestion. I've thought of making like a sleeve hitch, only problem is there's less than 1/2" clearance between the front tire and the inside edge of the tool bar, so the tubes for the hitch would have to be at the outside of the hitch--might still be a viable system, will have to think on it.

 

Smitty


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#8 Utah Smitty OFFLINE  

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Posted March 23, 2014 - 09:20 AM

In order to keep the weight down try not to over build. It's a tendency we all have when DIY.  The other thing that comes to mind is the use of a helper spring to reduce the lift effort. I'm not sure if you could gear one up but it's something to consider. Keeping the weight in close is important  but you also may be able to reduce effort if you are now getting more lift than you need. In other words if you can rejig the ratios of the lift mechanism to produce less lift for the same operator lever movement you will need less force to lift it. Alternately you could increase the length of the lift lever to make it easier. 

I hadn't thought of a helper spring... that's a good idea. A lot cheaper than a hydraulic cylinder....Thanks..

 

Smitty



#9 KC9KAS OFFLINE  

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Posted March 23, 2014 - 10:25 AM

Looks like you are fabbing up a nice alternate to the pull-behind dethacher. I know what you mean about backing these things. Not always as easy as it should be!


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: front hitch, quick hitch, broyhill m4100, dethathcher, snow plow, mower deck

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