3-Point Hitch, Sway Chains. How much variance in sway?
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    Boonie's Avatar
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    3-Point Hitch, Sway Chains. How much variance in sway?

    I just rebuilt (beefed up) my sway chains on my hitch. That got me to thinking (I know, Google it.) How tight, or loose should the chains be?
    Currently (thinking anti-sway bar and towing travel trailers) I have the chains set to about 1/2" to 3/4" inch of side-to-side.
    I figured the less the implement moves, the less stress there is everywhere else on the frame as a whole.

    Class is in. I need educated.

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    It probably depends on whether or not you are using a QuckHitch (like the iMatch). I have my iMatch on all the time and tightened up so that I only have about 1/2: of sway. If I wasn't using the iMatch there might be times when I'd want a little more slop in the system to make it easier to connect implements.

    When I first got my machine it had about 1.5" of slop in the sway setup and I found it unnerving when the ballast box would shift from side to side and the whole machine would lurch with it. I kept thinking I was running over something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimR View Post
    It probably depends on whether or not you are using a QuckHitch (like the iMatch). I have my iMatch on all the time and tightened up so that I only have about 1/2: of sway. If I wasn't using the iMatch there might be times when I'd want a little more slop in the system to make it easier to connect implements.

    When I first got my machine it had about 1.5" of slop in the sway setup and I found it unnerving when the ballast box would shift from side to side and the whole machine would lurch with it. I kept thinking I was running over something.
    What he said
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    For most implements you want the chains as tight as you can get them without causing any binding in the hitch when it raises and lowers. The last thing you want is a heavy implement floppy side to side and slamming the chains. This usually means that when changing implements you have to first loosen the chains, swap implements and then re-tighten as necessary.

    Just another reason why a Quick Hitch is so convenient as you never have to readjust your sway chains.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimR View Post
    It probably depends on whether or not you are using a QuckHitch (like the iMatch). I have my iMatch on all the time and tightened up so that I only have about 1/2: of sway. If I wasn't using the iMatch there might be times when I'd want a little more slop in the system to make it easier to connect implements.

    When I first got my machine it had about 1.5" of slop in the sway setup and I found it unnerving when the ballast box would shift from side to side and the whole machine would lurch with it. I kept thinking I was running over something.
    I do have the iMatch. I never thought about factoring this into the equation. Currently (as mentioned in my OP) I have the chains about 1/2"-3/4" as you suggest. To me it just made the most sense.
    As for not having the iMatch in place with odd implements, mental note taken.

    Thank You, JimR
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgayman View Post
    For most implements you want the chains as tight as you can get them without causing any binding in the hitch when it raises and lowers. The last thing you want is a heavy implement floppy side to side and slamming the chains. This usually means that when changing implements you have to first loosen the chains, swap implements and then re-tighten as necessary.

    Just another reason why a Quick Hitch is so convenient as you never have to readjust your sway chains.
    Some say, ignorance is bliss. I won't claim the 5th, because honestly, I didn't have the sense enough to ask. And this was prior to having the iMatch.
    I had piles of rock to move. Once I found a LS rake I hooked that hummer up and went to town. I was backing up to the piles, grabbing rock..using the rake. The tractor was canted. When I dropped the tines into the pile, it grabbed a large amount of materials. It was going well...dragging to where I needed. Then I must have gotten cocky. Grabbed to much. That cant I mentioned, when I grabbed a big fistfull in the tines, it snapped the loop that was welded to the arm. This is why I rebuilt the chains. LOL, OOPS.

    Thanks for the input.
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    Why would one want slack in the chains?

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    You really have to read the operators manuals for each implement. Unfortunately they all require different slack or tightness in the chains, for instance my rotary cutter requires at least a 1/2 inch slack, but my box blade and tiller need to tight.
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    That defeats the purpose of an iMatch....nobody is doing that.

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    Slight slack

    Quote Originally Posted by mopeman View Post
    You really have to read the operators manuals for each implement. Unfortunately they all require different slack or tightness in the chains, for instance my rotary cutter requires at least a 1/2 inch slack, but my box blade and tiller need to tight.
    I prefer a slight bit of slack in the chains, not much but just enough to allow an implement to slide over slightly if it bumps something hard. For example, if I'm running the bushhog and want to get close to a tree stump but miss by a half inch, I'd rather the mower be able to slightly move and slide by the stump than be absolutely tight and break a chain or worse.

    Too much slack isn't good as others have stated. Having a heavy implement hit the end of the chain after a long sway is hard on everything, including me. It doesn't take much slack to allow an implement to move over an inch or two when needed.

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