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Discussion Starter #1
:banghead3 Need a little help with my ford 501 sickle bar, it keeps clogging up at the head where the pitman arm socket fits the blade,jams up solid then spins on the belt, cutting orchard grass mix with clover maybe foot tall, shoe setting about 2 inchs at both ends of the bar, all new blades also, maybe my ground speed to fast? to slow? trying to cut in the early mourning with dew still on ,maybe should try when its dry? any ideas what iam doing wrong?:thanku:
 

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I've not got (nor ever used) a 501... but I've spent MANY hours pulling a JD #5.
I know that at the knife head... the hold-downs for my knife have a tendency to loosen their hold on the knife. You might check that. Also... lubrication is VITAL... keep the whole thing lubed good.

Most importantly (in my experience) with keeping the inside of the bar clear... is to ensure that you're swathboard is keeping about 10"-12" clear... and run that inside shoe in that clear swath.
 

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:ditto: what Steve said :fing32:

It's been quite a few years since I've cut with a sickle bar, but yea, always kept it lubed well, slow down, and cutting it dry always seemed to cause less headaches :).
 

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Oh yeah... :hide:
I wanted to add that about waiting for it to dry, too... That will help.

As to slowing down... I don't know how fast you're going (or what you're pulling the 501 with) but...

I know that with my 8N... 2nd is ALMOST too slow.
3rd works great... until I get into REALLY thick stuff (or really rough ground). You've got to keep a fast enough ground speed for the grass to fall over the bar... but not so fast that you can't keep up with the cut.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My tractor is a ford 3000, ive been running in 2nd gear low range, 3rd seems to fast. my father in law pointed out the rear tires are offset to much and iam runnig over the hay so i compensated a little to run out of it, then the head is piling up the cut hay i just cut,that he thinks is jamming up the bar, going to adjust the rear rims all the way in, and i will check guides for clearance,it did cut alot better when you first get started,with everything oiled good, maybe ill carry some oil with me out in the field, i like the sickle bar over the bushhog, it makes bales of hay better i think. hey thanks for the suggestions,going to look at it this afternoon after work,thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well I got to look at it again last nite, the head clearance, where the pitman arm attaches has alot of up an down plus side to side movement,I removed some shims to tighten it up alittle,also checked the knife guides they to had alot of slop,bent them down alittle with a hammer, lubed the guides real good,some on the knives,and also the pitman arm socket,I think we are good to go an try again, Iam not giving up yet! Ill get back an let you guys know how it goes this evening after work, just needing some info from others with there sickle bar advice, thanks again!:thanku:
 

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What you have done is good but I think your FIL is on to something.Unless you are in very steep hilly country,a 60" center to center wheel spacing is about right for a 3000 with 28" wheels.When you stay over to keep the reasr wheel off the uncut hay,the back tire kicks up the cut hay and the shoe can't ride over it,I think.Be very careful when moving wheels around as they are very heavy especially if you have ballested them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
:fing32:OK I think I got it, dry cutting is a lot easyier than damp or wet cutting,moving the rear wheels in helped alot, I can judge the head of the cutter bar to where the swath board just made a clear path for the next round, I made 3 passes around lubed the bar,knives,an the socket then made 3 more passes did the same thing over again, working alot better now! also the height of the shoes may have been to low? we raised it up 1 inch,also made a difference,have alot of qeens mary lace weeds with some milk weed patches,there stalks are tough to cut.:thanku: all for writing in.
 
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