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Seeking Advice - Road Repair and Tractor purchase


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#1 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 13, 2020 - 08:35 PM

This issue was brought about by some recent clear cut logging on some property I own up in Virginia.  The land will be planted down to Pine trees again, and we'll see what the next 20-40 years bring.  The immediate problem is the access roads.

 

The logger did ensure the roads used were left flat and un-rutted, which is the usual conditions for a logging contract around here.  However, the lack of tree cover, and the fact the logger paid little attention to water control has resulted in a road that is eroding badly.  Pic below

IMG_20191129_161410014.jpg

 

The picture does not clearly show this is a downgrade between 8-13 % in spots, and the natural flow of the water is from left to right.  My goal is to work the road up and put in clear ditches on either side, place a drainage culvert in the lowest part of the road, and probably put in shallow water bars or dips frequently to encourage water to move off the road before running down hill.  Total length of this road is about 1300 yards.  There is another road, more of a luxury, which accesses a different part of the farm which also has issues with water handling, perhaps another 800 yards.

 

Primary Reason:  At the end of this road my family has a camp-site where we "truck camp" ( throw every imaginable piece of luggage in the truck and go :bounce:  ) and have been doing so for a number of years.  My family states they wish to continue the tradition.  Further, a cousin owns land behind us with his own family campsite, and our road is his access also.

 

So the question I'm facing is, how best to tackle this?  I worked with Dad on our dirt roads using a Massey 150 and scrape blade a number of years while growing up .  While the tractor and blade did the job after we learned how to use it properly, we didn't have the kind of old growth forest with 15-25 inch stumps like those left on the Virginia farm.  My current plan after watching a number of Youtube videos is to rent an modest size excavator (12-20K pounds) to create the ditches, deal with stumps found, and use the dozer/stabilizer blade to smooth and shape the road as well as ditching and placing the culvert.  I don't know how well the excavator blade will work to smooth and shape the road.  Ideally, I would like to use this situation to possess a full size farm tractor (insert Gollum "My Precious" noises here) and only spend a minimal amount on the rental.  

 

Can anyone guess how long it might take to ditch and smooth this road?  My estimate is a full week, but I have very little experience running an excavator - which also means it will take me longer than it takes an experienced operator.

 

I'm going to start a second post with the tractor questions I meant to ask.

IMG_20191129_161958386.jpg


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#2 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 13, 2020 - 09:17 PM

Part Two:

Of course, choosing a tractor can end up very confusing.  I'd like to use a 6 ft scrape blade and possibly a 5 or 6 ft box blade for continued maintenance grading, and probably an 5-6 foot bushhog to ensure the road stays "tree-free".  I wouldn't expect to use the tractor but once or twice a year, and would need to build a shelter of some sort as well as probably placing a solar charger/maintainer on the battery - Might be able to haul that back and forth from main residence. A limitation is a lack of a hauling trailer (thinking about using a UHaul auto transporter).  The other question would be whether Gas or Diesel would survive the lack of use better.

 

For sentimental reasons, since Grandmother had a Ford Jubilee on the farm when I was growing up, I have been looking at Jubilees (pricey due to limited availability) and the 6-800 series as well as the X01 series tractors.  These tractors generally appear stable for use on slopes if wider wheel spacings are used.  As far as transmissions, I've had a chance to try a good crisp 5 speed and a worn 5 speed.  I haven't found anything to dislike about a nice 5 speed, and understand it is best to stay away from the Select-O-Speed tractors.  

 

The other tractor brand I would consider would of course be the Masseys I grew up with.  Here, model numbers confuse me a bit and I'm uncertain which model might serve me best.  Ideal would be a 150, but those appear scarce and are expensive when they show up.   The 35 and 135 models are plentiful in this area, generally run from $3000 to $6000 depending on options and paint quality but I'm unsure of their ability to handle tough scraping and earth-moving chores and think they would be light in front.  65 and 165 models show up in the area from time to time, but they would push the limits of my ability to self-haul, even though I quite sure they would have plenty of power for the job.  I've heard the 4 cylinder Continentals might be difficult to fully rebuild, but the Perkins both gas and diesel I've heard are easy.


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#3 propane1 ONLINE  

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Posted May 14, 2020 - 04:30 AM

What about hiring or renting a small road grader. It could cut the sides of the road and bring that material to the centre to make a crown. That way the water would run on the sides like a ditch. Then a ford tractor that you mentioned with a 7 foot rear blade for continuing to keep the road shaped with a crown. I’m not sure about the stumps. But a small grader should move them. Hard to say. I have a 7 foot rear blade on my 1951 ferguson tractor to use. And it works good on my sons driveway. Just a thought. Sounds like a nice place.

Noel
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#4 coldone OFFLINE  

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Posted May 14, 2020 - 06:50 AM

That might be one of those things where it is better to hire someone to do the initial grading and clearing, then you do the continued maintenance.

I dont know the price difference in renting the excavator for a week or two as compared to hiring it out and getting it done
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#5 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted May 14, 2020 - 07:53 AM

That might be one of those things where it is better to hire someone to do the initial grading and clearing, then you do the continued maintenance.

I dont know the price difference in renting the excavator for a week or two as compared to hiring it out and getting it done

That would be my thoughts. Let the folks that know this kind of work do the job.


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#6 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted May 14, 2020 - 08:01 AM

It sounds like a big project and you need to do a lot of thinking about it. Are there stumps in the road? Excavators are best at stump removal. For initial road grading and ditch forming a bulldozer is often the best machine. A road grader is for final grading. Your soil type is a very important factor in the design of the road, ditches, and drains. If the soil is easily eroded and the slope is steep, you have to do something to reduce the amount of peak water flow erosion. Sometimes this can be done with a layer of stone and more frequent leakoffs to prevent a big water flow. Does your local Agricultural Extension Office offer help on this? Most will offer advice for free. Your Soil Conservation Service may help too.
I agree with the idea of getting your own equipment. When I bilt our house 30+ years ago I bought a shovel dozer,a tractor-loader-backhoe, a farm tractor with FEL and 3 ph, and a dump truck. They all paid for themselves when building the house and I still have them. The two wheeled tractors still work but the track machine needs work. All of them have required many hours and dollars of repair but it was a good decision. I do all of my own repairs and maintenance so the hours are just my hobby. Keep shopping around for what is available locally. Be patient and figure out what you really want to try. Also look for pipes that you can use to move water away from the road. Pipes under the road need to be deep enough that vehicles don't crush them and big enough to handle the water and clean out easily. I figure that prices will start to drop by mid summer.
If you have a big old truck and are handy with a welder you could rig up a grader blade on the back of the truck to clean up the road but it probably couldn't do too much. Please let us know how you make out. Ask questions whenever you like. Good Luck, Rick
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#7 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 14, 2020 - 08:29 AM

Pricing- Rental on the larger 10 ton excavator is $1500.00 for a "week" or 40 hours. The 6 ton excavator is $1050 for a "week". Both have multiple bucket choices from 18 to 36 inch. Larger machine has a quick attach feature, smaller one doesn't.

The rental place does offer an experienced operator option at $80+ per hour. So the trade off there is "Does the operator cost up front lower the total time and cost of the job?"
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#8 EricFromPa OFFLINE  

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Posted May 14, 2020 - 02:02 PM

Best option is a Dozer with a 4 way blade. You can cut in ditches and put a crown on it with a grader but a dozer can move more dirt faster. You'll be there for weeks trying to straighten out that mess with a excavator.

 

With as low as that road is in that 1 section and no ditches or crown to keep the water going where you want it, It is going to continue to wash out even if you haul in a bunch of crushed stone base. You are definitely going to need to have Alot of Base material hauled in if you plan on actually using that road. 


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#9 Leonard VanCamp OFFLINE  

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Posted May 14, 2020 - 06:14 PM

Another option to think about, skid steer. You can get the base machine and buy/rent the attachments you need for the different tasks.


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#10 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 17, 2020 - 08:17 PM

I wanted to provide an update on this topic.  I was able to put together 5 consecutive days from June 5th to Jun 10th and rented both a 12K lb excavator and a compact tractor with 5 foot grader blade and a box blade.  Here we are the first night:

IMG_20200605_184534005.jpg IMG_20200606_104630878.jpg IMG_20200606_104450290.jpg

 

We started getting to know the capabilities of our machines.  My first concern was to put in a new road and bypass the nightmare the loggers had put in:

 

IMG_20200605_202344597.jpg

 

By angling slightly right at the entrance, we were able to circle along a ridge in a roughly level fashion without driving down into the dip and back up the other side.  We'll abandon this section and plant grasses etc. to stabilize it.

 

Here is my son making the first pass to clear it and using the thumb to move branches out of the way.

IMG_20200606_113811433.jpg

 

I didn't get a picture of the finished product, but we exercised the same technique on another section of road, again to bypass a badly laid out segment of road:

IMG_20200609_165640860.jpg IMG_20200610_102341800.jpg

 

 

 

 


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#11 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 17, 2020 - 08:43 PM

The next priority was to halt the progress of a gully which was moving and about to cross the road and cut it from side to side.  We opened up a semi-circle, put landscape cloth on the bottom, and plugged it with 20 tons of stone:

IMG_20200607_114327731.jpg IMG_20200608_093412776.jpg

 

We also had to fill in the ruts on the steepest part of the hill, and perform water control on the surrounding landscape.  In the following picture, the loggers had put in ditching which ran across the road and ended in giant piles of dirt.  We used the excavator to move the dirt and allow the water to run off into the natural area at the left of the road.  However, looking down the hill, notice that the land slopes down toward the road and must cross it to continue draining.  This also produced washing of the road at the bottom of the hill.

IMG_20200610_140239449.jpg

Therefore, we used the excavator to put in substantial ditches on the left side of the road, including cutting down the protruding hill and used the tractor with scrape blade to pull the dirt down into the lowest point of the road.  

IMG_20200607_135613175.jpg

 

This built the road up in this section by about 2 feet and allowed us to put in a 12 inch culvert pretty much at ground level.  More landscape cloth to help prevent erosion, and rip-rap on top:

IMG_20200608_182926557.jpg IMG_20200610_123939424.jpg

 

 

Future trips will evaluate the effectiveness of our work and we will be planting grassess to help control erosion.

 


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#12 HowardsMF155 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 17, 2020 - 09:05 PM

I didn't pay much attention to the make of the excavator, and in fact didn't operate it much.  My son was on site to take delivery of the excavator on Friday afternoon and received instruction from the delivery driver.  While I was hauling the tractor from the rental place to the farm, he began practicing what he learned.  By the time we halted Friday night, he had 4-5 hours of experience, and from there, time was tight and we had many things to get done.  Rather than take time cross training on the vehicles, I would outline or supervise his operation of the machine and provide guidance on what I thought should be possible.  This really paid off when placing the culvert.  His original attempt ended up dropping about 1 foot from upstream side to downstream side.  I worked with him and we used a laser level with a measuring stick to produce a trench which was surprising even and level from side to side.  We were both quite proud of that accomplishment.

 

The tractor was a Kioti 3510 with a front loader.  It had full time 4 wheel drive, but not much travel on the suspension, meaning that rough ground became difficult to cross as the tractor would lose traction as soon as one wheel came off the ground.  At about 35 HP, the power seemed adequate for the 5 foot box blade except where rough terrain caused a wheel to come off the ground.  The 5 foot scrape blade was too narrow to work well at the most angled setting, which made it more difficult to cut the ditches down and move the dirt up toward the center.  I was forced to use a modest angle and move it to one side of the tractor using the chains to control position.  A "cost-cutting" measure was the use of a simple turnbuckle to adjust arm height.

IMG_20200606_171617706.jpg

 

 

 

One thing we noticed about both pieces of equipment was that the relief valves seemed to be set very low.  The excavator was anemic, and so was the tractor front loader.  I'm not the most experienced loader operator in the world, but trying to fill the bucket in a pile of loose dirt was nearly impossible.  When the bucket went smoothly into the pile, it usually wouldn't curl back to finish the fill.  Anyway, the job is done now.


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#13 EricFromPa OFFLINE  

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Posted June 17, 2020 - 10:10 PM

That bucket is pretty big for that little excavator.

 

The Kubota probably never had the pressure relief valve shimmed after the loader was installed by the dealership. My neighbors 23hp Kubota has a loader and backhoe on it and the loader maxes out rite at 600lbs and it would not curl a Dana 60 axle hanging from a strap which is around 300lbs. Quite pathetic.

 

I checked the line pressure and it was a hair under 1600lbs. I added a .001 and .003 shim to the back side of the relief valve spring and now it's line pressure is a hair over 2100lbs. I didn't want to chance blowing the hoses but the hoses are rated to 3,000psi. I'll tell you what, it's a whole different animal now. It will easily lift over 800lbs and it had no problem curling the same 300lb Dana 60 axle.

 

The gauges are pretty expensive if you have to buy 1 but the shims are only a couple bucks. I had him pick up 6 shims which cost him around $18 total rite from the kubota dealer.             


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#14 Leonard VanCamp OFFLINE  

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Posted June 18, 2020 - 05:11 PM

Rental companies will turn down settings on their machines, don't want the renters tearing up a machine that the company is making money on.






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