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support your tractor properly

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#1 backyardtinker OFFLINE  

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Posted August 10, 2015 - 09:12 PM

Just wanted to mention the need to make sure your tractor is fully and safely supported when working under it if it is jacked up/wheels off,etc. ( this goes for anything you're working on but I'll keep it to tractors). Recently, when I had to jack up my Craftsman GT6000 high enough to get the steering shaft out the bottom, I was reminded of this in a way that literally will leave a lasting impression on you. I thought it was supported in a decent way. Had the front tires on the flat of my car ramps and the back was supported by two heavy duty jack stands that I actually welded to the tractor frame. Where I went wrong was with not making sure it was totally immobilized not only from downward movement, but fore and aft as well. Fortunately, there was something in my gut that kept making me leary of it all so I proceeded with caution and stayed extremely vigilant when I got under it to put the steering shaft back in. I kept watching the tractor for any signs of movement, just in case. Sure enough, I pushed hard enough in the wrong direction and caught it starting to drift forward and scrambled out from under it as fast as I could move. I made it out with only a few cuts and bruises, mostly due to the stuff I had put in place to hold it up acting as a partial support and also slowing its movement. Now I have been working under stuff all my  life and am very careful when supporting vehicles I am getting under. In fact, I spend a lot of time under forklifts every day I am at work. The reason I mention this is that even a careful, experienced person like myself is capable of getting it wrong if you miss a critical point in the act of planning your supporting points and structures. My nearly thirty years of experience in doing similar things, did not fully prepare me for the nuances of supporting a garden tractor properly.

  during my "debrief" of the situation I came to realize a few key differences.

 1), Garden tractors have few places to place supports that aren't in your way when working.

 2) GT's are heavy enough to hurt or possibly kill you, but some are light enough that they do not impose enough down force on supports like jack stands, etc. to where you can't move them by your brute force when pushing or pulling on things. To the contrary, you can and will be able to knock them off the jack stands if enough force is applied.

3) If you have one end of the tractor supported by resting on its wheels, make sure the wheels cannot role in either direction, no matter what is pushed or pulled.

 What happened in my case was this. I did not put the tires in an immoveable state, relied only on the well of the flat of my car ramp under the front tires. Two, the weld I made when welding the jack stands to the tractor frame were not great, due to the maximum capacity of my welder being exceeded. The weld joint at the frame was good with decent penetration, but the top of the jack stand was so thick and flat that there was little penetration at all, causing both of those joints to break when the force of the tractor tipped the stands forward as it started to role forward down the ramps, tilting the stands and placing a stressor on the weld joints they were never intended to support.

  My fix to the problem was to construct two heavy duty front tire cradles made out of 2x4's and to place an 8' 4x4PT timber across the two jack stands, at the rear, placed approx 6' apart, and bolting the tractor trailer hitch hole to the 4x4 with a 1/4x3" lag bolt and then using a ratchet strap to cinch the tractor and jack stands together so the entire rear support structure was inseparable under any foreseeable force being applied in any direction. This set up gave me all the lift height and stability I needed and greatly improved my safety and peice of mind.  It would have taken an Earth quake to knock this thing down at this point. That is how I plan to approach all such things in the future. 

Edited by backyardtinker, August 10, 2015 - 09:41 PM.

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#2 boyscout862 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 10, 2015 - 09:42 PM

We learn from mistakes. I had my GMC Savana Van up on jack stands for the past 12 days while working on it. I also cribbed up under the Reese hitch and used a truck jack to lift the rear bumper a few inches for extra safety. I've bolted blocks to my ramps to hold wheels. Thanks for sharing your experience. Good Luck, Rick

Edited by boyscout862, August 10, 2015 - 09:42 PM.

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Posted August 10, 2015 - 10:27 PM

Thank you for the reminder.
It's so easy to get in a hurry and get lax.
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#4 propane1 ONLINE  

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Posted August 11, 2015 - 05:51 AM

Glad your ok. Happens to often to people. My son and his buddies are always under cars, and I am always after them to block it good. Front to back and sides ways. They always grumble at me. I had a car fall on me years ago, just lucky I was able to wiggle out mostly unhurt other than being stupid. I realy don't like getting under any thing any more, even if it's on a hoist. Noel
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#5 Alc OFFLINE  



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Posted August 11, 2015 - 05:54 AM

Glad you didn't get hurt , it doesn't take but a second for something bad to happen . At work the safety rule is once all the jackstands are underneath , try rocking the vehicle in all directions before starting the job

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#6 jimbobbillyray OFFLINE  

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Posted August 11, 2015 - 06:22 AM

Glad u are ok.  Yep, you gotta be careful.  I just use a engine hoist to pick the front end up.  It keeps it from rolling too.

Edited by Delmar, August 11, 2015 - 06:25 AM.

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#7 toppop52 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 11, 2015 - 06:23 AM

If you're wrong about the weather, you get wet, if you're wrong about vehicle supports, you're dead wrong.

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#8 shorty ONLINE  



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Posted August 11, 2015 - 06:29 AM

Its so easy to forget that extra step in setting up to work. Double checking your self is when I find that I made a mistake.

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#9 chieffan ONLINE  

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Posted August 11, 2015 - 07:34 AM

Precisely why I built my work table with removable center planks.  I posted the construction of this a couple months ago..  In a nut shell, the tractor is winched up on the table (6 X 6 legs and and 2X6 construction).  4" angle iron about 6" long are used as wheel chocks on all 4 wheels.  The center plank are removable so if I have to get under the frame to work, I remove the planks and slip under the side stringers and have a wide open area to work.  Table is 36" high which works out just right for sitting on my knees and toes.  Built out of wood stored from a pole building I put up so $0 cost except for the deck screws.

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Posted August 11, 2015 - 07:50 AM

My dad lost an uncle back in 50's cause he didn't support a car. He preached to his kids about proper support, then he needed to lift a car so he just threw the big hook on his wrecker under those old flat steel bumpers on the older cars. As he worked under car, hook slid down bumper and crushed him.
I had to do a motor swap in the Fireturd, talk about scary....

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#11 hamman OFFLINE  


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Posted August 11, 2015 - 09:02 AM

Thanks for reminding us of the importance of being safe when working on our equipment.  Having been a Police Officer, Firefighter, EMT I have been to so many scenes of incidents that resulted in deaths and serious injuries from this very thing. Jacks slipping and a vehicle, tractor or implement falling on the person working on it. Take the time to properly support and make safe the project you are working on. I look forward to hearing from and seeing your posts. Take care and thanks again for sharing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Roger


P.S. I have done this in almost the same manner, what I did was deflated the front tires so they could not roll. I also took two small ratchet straps and strapped around the tires to help insure that the tires would not roll. Stay safe my friends.

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#12 JDBrian OFFLINE  


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Posted August 11, 2015 - 10:27 AM

Thanks for posting! A good sturdy support system is not only safer but a whole lot easier on the back then trying to work on a GT with it's tires on the ground!

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#13 LilysDad ONLINE  


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Posted August 11, 2015 - 11:15 AM

When I read that title, it made me think your wife got custody of the tractor in the divorce settlement.

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#14 backyardtinker OFFLINE  

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Posted August 11, 2015 - 05:08 PM

 So many good replies. Glad I was able to share with everybody and likewise, glad to be able to read the other good ideas mentioned here.


Hope this thread prevents needless injuries to others. Keep the good ideas flowing!

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#15 Jazz OFFLINE  

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Posted August 29, 2015 - 09:04 AM

I drove up on to ramps with front wheels of my pickup..started lifting the rear and truck rolled backwards. I have done this for years and it never rolled off until reading this post. No harm done as I saw the truck start to roll and I moved out of the way to let it roll into my welding cart which will stop a train but now I won't go under unless all four corners are on stands. I use 7 ton NAPA stands which amazingly enough have a warning not to work under vehicle while on stands. I also leave a floor jack or block of wood under vehicles 

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