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Old 08-31-2011, 06:33 PM   post #1 of 60
calvet
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Default safe slope angle for hills

Hi,

We'll be creating some low hills during a pond excavation and would like to be able to mow them. We can choose the slope angle within limits. However, because the volume of dirt is fixed, a lower slope angle means the hills will consume more cropland.

So, what angle would you suggest for:
1. traveling perpendicular to the contour lines (i.e. up and down), and
2. traveling parallel to the contour lines (i.e. sideways).

I realize that 1. can be steeper than 2. Ideally, we would like to be able to travel parallel just to keep our options open and for added safety (someone might forget that they are supposed to go only perpendicular). I also realize that soil conditions (ours is clay) are a factor, and localized items like pot holes, small gullies, wet spots, etc. can be dangerous. The tractors will be Kubotas (G or L series) with belly or trailing mowers. We need to decide now on maximum slope angle so the design can be finalized.

I searches the archives, and there was some indication that 20 plus degrees might be OK for traveling parallel, but it wasn't solid (how much plus?).

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:04 PM   post #2 of 60
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Default Re: safe slope angle for hills

You should contact Kubota and ask them what the maximum safe angles are for each model tractor you intend to use. I seem to remember seeing that kind of information on John Deere's web site, but I can't find similar information on Kubota's. It may be in the owner's manual.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:44 PM   post #3 of 60
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Default Re: safe slope angle for hills

Loading the tires and adding wheel weights will improve the tractor's stability on side slopes.

I believe Massey recommends a max of 15* for side slopes, but I won't swear to it.
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Last edited by TUDOR; 08-31-2011 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:33 AM   post #4 of 60
calvet
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Default Re: safe slope angle for hills

Kubota is not forthcoming about slopes on their website or in their manuals. They just say to be careful. Besides I may not be using a Kubota in the future.

Mike
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Old 09-01-2011, 11:07 AM   post #5 of 60
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Default Re: safe slope angle for hills

If I were a tractor manufacturer in this lawsuit-riddled country, I would tell the user not to take the tractor out of a parking lot. The rollover angle depends on speed, turn rate, implements, load, holes, roots, operator skill, etc...

That being said: Most people seem to get anxious around 18 degrees and post "holy crap look at my hill" pictures around 20-22. 15 is a nice conservative number.
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Old 09-01-2011, 11:55 AM   post #6 of 60
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Default Re: safe slope angle for hills

I've continued to research the question on the net. The steepest angle mentioned by a manufacturer or dealer is 15 degrees; some recommend no more than 10 degrees. These limits would be for slow, straight travel parallel to contour lines with firm, dry soil and no local hazards (pot holes, rocks, etc.) and any side implements on the uphill side. A few degrees could probably be added if travel was limited to perpendicular to the contour lines, but then you're depending on people to remember not to travel parallel to contour lines.

Most manufacturers take the CYA approach of simply saying avoid traveling on "steep slopes" without defining "steep."

I've found a record on the net of one roll-over that occurred on a 25 degree slope where there was no obvious local hazard or operator error beyond driving on the slope in the first place.

Of course, with sufficient operator incompetence, a tractor can be rolled on flat ground. I remember an incident about 9 years ago where one of my workers filled the front bucket with sand, kept it high, took off at top speed on level ground, and made a sharp turn. One of the front wheels lifted off the ground. After I calmed down, the worker received a couple of training sessions and was never unsafe again.

Mike
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:24 PM   post #7 of 60
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Default Re: safe slope angle for hills

Mike,

Do you currently own the equipment that will be mowing the slopes?
You mentioned a couple pieces, or are you going to buy them to mow the area?
Are we sure we are ( the manufaturers ) talking the same thing-> degrees?
Some equipment makers express slope capability in % , not degrees.

Ventrac is one that comes to mind for some serious slope capabilty especially with the dual wheel option.

http://ventrac.com/

M
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:09 PM   post #8 of 60
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Default Re: safe slope angle for hills

Quote:
Originally Posted by North Country View Post
If I were a tractor manufacturer in this lawsuit-riddled country, I would tell the user not to take the tractor out of a parking lot. The rollover angle depends on speed, turn rate, implements, load, holes, roots, operator skill, etc...

That being said: Most people seem to get anxious around 18 degrees and post "holy crap look at my hill" pictures around 20-22. 15 is a nice conservative number.
I use the pucker and clench factor to know when is enough and that will vary from person to person slkpk
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:51 PM   post #9 of 60
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Default Re: safe slope angle for hills

One other thing to consider, especially for extended use on side slopes, is that some engines can suffer from oil starvation when held at too severe an angle. It's been a while since I had to spec out an OEM diesel engine, but I recall that the "same" base engine could have radically different slope capability, I believe primarily based on the oil pan configuration. It may be hard to get this info for CUT engines ( I was dealing with 4 and 6 cylinder diesels 80-200 Hp) but keep this in mind when looking at your equipment.

You may want to look into adding duals to your mowing machine for side slope use, as this can have a great effect on the sideways stability of the machine. There are also some tractors, primarily configured as golf-course or mowing tractors, with lower clearance and wider machines. I know I've seen Fords like this, and THINK I've seen a Kubota like this, but I could be wrong.
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Old 09-01-2011, 02:11 PM   post #10 of 60
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Default Re: safe slope angle for hills

You could just get yourself One of these and not worry about the slope.
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Old 09-01-2011, 05:32 PM   post #11 of 60
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Default Re: safe slope angle for hills

I live on a hill and could have sworn it was steeper then it was. So I bought an inclinometer on average I cut on a 15-20 degree angle which sometime in scary. I one section where I go just at 25 and it's scary the first few times of the year then I just go.
http://www.mytractorforum.com/showthread.php?t=200796
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Old 09-01-2011, 07:19 PM   post #12 of 60
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Default Re: safe slope angle for hills

A pile of gravel off of a conveyor has a slope of approximately 39* or 81%. Dirt slumps at about the same angle. You're not likely going to have to mow steeper.
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Old 09-02-2011, 09:46 AM   post #13 of 60
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Default Re: safe slope angle for hills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nouveau Redneck View Post
You could just get yourself One of these and not worry about the slope.
Okay, I'm impressed! I wonder if they have cleats on their shoes too.
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Old 09-02-2011, 10:43 AM   post #14 of 60
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Default Re: safe slope angle for hills

That was some steep slopes there.....WOW
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Old 09-02-2011, 11:28 AM   post #15 of 60
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Default Re: safe slope angle for hills

So much of your ability to mow on an angle will depend on the skill of the driver. That doesn't mean its any safer, just means that some people can accomplish a lot more with the same piece of equipment than an unskilled driver. This probably falls into the the area of bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.
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