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A Big Thank You to Loremaster72 & edkedk for posting this Information:thanku: :thThumbsU

Your question is not silly at all. A lot of this has to do with the history of these machines. Either a three point or sleeve hitch provides a means of attaching an implement to the tractor that is both solid while allowing the attachment to be lifted and lowered.

A three point hitch has two lower arms and a single, more centered upper link, forming a triangle of links to support your attachment. All of these have horizontal pins to connect the implement to the hitch, usually pins fixed to the implement at the lower point, and a removable pin at the upper (third) point, or centerlink. Implement angle is controlled by adjusting the length of the centerlink.

The sleeve hitch (sometimes called a Brinly hitch, after the originating company) uses a single U-shaped bar mounted on the tractor, with the base of the "U" sticking out at the rear of the tractor. The attachment for a sleeve hitch will have a C-shaped socket that fits around the "U" bar, with several holes in it. The attachment is secured by vertical pins through the holes in both the hitch and attachment. Implement angle is fixed unless some sort of angle control is provided on the implement itself.

The three point hitch design was originated by Harry Ferguson on larger tractors, and has evolved into several different standardized sizes, based on the horsepower and size of the tractor and implement involved. The one most applicable to lawn and garden tractors is Category 0, or Cat 0. This is the smallest of the 3-point hitches, and is found on some small garden tractors, with a spacing of 20" between the two main lift arms at the bottom of the hitch. The sleeve hitch is a later design for use on garden tractors only. It allows attachments to be somewhat smaller due to the smaller geometry at the coupler, but because of this is limited in the power that it can handle. The elimination of the third point also makes it easier to adapt this design around various tractor rear end configurations, as the centerlink has to be similar in length to the lower lift arms to function properly.

In garden tractor applications, the power of the tractor is small enough that either design can handle what's available. Use is often determined by the availability of a given design on a given tractor, or the availability of the attachment you want to use. Personal preference also comes into play. It seems that the sleeve hitch is more available on smaller machines, while the three point design is used on bigger machines, or anything aspiring to be considered a compact utility tractor. Just because you can attach something to a tractor doesn't mean that the machine can make it work, and a lot is based on the individual application. The same tractor may or may not be able to pull a plow at the same depth in two different patches of ground, based on differences in the type of soil being worked. You can also bend or break a small attachment if you couple it to too big a machine. I wouldn't try using a sleeve hitch plow behind a compact utility tractor unless I was very sure the ground was VERY soft.

While there are adapters to allow sleeve hitch attachments to be connected to three point hitches, I am not aware of any adapters to go the other way. Some attachments have been designed with features to allow attachment to both designs of hitches.

Ground engaging equipment typically refers to anything that would dig into the ground. This includes plows, discs, harrows, or similar equipment designed to dig in and move the earth. This is opposed to towed or trailing equipment, such as carts, spreaders, and other attachments which typically have wheels. Towed attachments are mounted to the drawbar, which is often just a hole in the rear plate of the tractor on small garden tractors. When describing the hitches earlier, I mentioned controlling the implement angle. This is important for ground engaging equipment, as it allow you to affect how the implement behaves, such as how deep a plow will dig.

I hope that this clears things up for you. I know that this is kind of a quick overview, so please ask for clarifications on anything I didn't explain clearly enough, or anything you want a more extensive explanation of.

Here are a few pictures of the two hitch systems. I have found that the 3 point system is more versatile and controllable.

SLEEVE HITCHES and some available implements. The lifting capability and the rotational stability of the implement is dependent on the channel iron piece on the end of the implement fitting properly onto the hitch center point configuration.

THREE POINT HITCH structure. The Cat 0 size hitch is available for the garden/yard/lawn size tractor. The lifting is accomplished by the 2 outer arms, and stabilized by the third connection point, centered above the 2 arms. The third point is normally equipped with an adjustable length link and gives angular control of the implement.

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