Pallet forks and rear ballast
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Thread: Pallet forks and rear ballast

  1. Top | #1

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    Pallet forks and rear ballast

    So, here's my story...

    I had 19 bags of lime (40 lbs each) in the back of my pickup. I positioned my 1025r with the pallet forks holding a pallet over the bed to unload the bags onto. The tractor was on a slight grade so that the left side was about 1 inch lower than the right side. Barely enough for water to run down. Front to back was dead level.

    Once loaded, I slowly back the tractor away from the truck, and when all was clear, I lowered the forks. The speed at which the loader dropped startled me, and I reacted by stopping it. Mistake! And almost a very big one! At about 2 1/2 feet off the ground, the loader stopped dead. I felt the machine buck a little, and then the right rear wheel slowly started to raise up off of the ground. I instinctively hit the stick to lower the payload some more. This time, the knee-jerk reaction was in my favor, and the tractor settled back down on all fours.

    I ain't gonna do that again!

    My mistakes and near mistakes:

    • I initially forgot to attach the ballast box, but then remembered how much and how often the importance of rear ballast has been emphasized on this forum, so I headed back to the machine shed to get it. The outcome would not have been good had I not done that. Thanks everybody!
    • The last two bags of sand for the ballast box have been leaning against the wall in the shed for almost a year. Anybody want to guess how long it took me to find the time to add them to the box after this incident?


    Lessons learned:

    • Always make sure that you have sufficient rear ballast. And then, operate the machine like you don't! Two or three small trips are a lot safer than one large one.
    • If you buy a rear implement that will be used with the loader, like a landscape rake, opt for a heavier one. A 300 lb unit may do the job of raking, but the 400 lb unit will give you an extra hundred lbs to help counterbalance a full bucket on the FEL.
    • Pallet forks push the weight further out front than the bucket. Be extra careful if you load up a set of forks, especially if you have the longer ones.
    • You can load a LOT more weight onto forks than you could ever get into a bucket. At most, half of those 19 bags of lime would fit into the bucket.
    • Don't get in a hurry. I should have done this in two steps.
    • You need to respect even the slightest grade when you have a lot of weight on the loader. I almost got toppled by a one inch rise over a 4 foot run!
    • Luck was on my side, or the tractor would have been!
    Last edited by KeyboardJungle; 09-17-2018 at 01:43 PM.
    Kennyd, Gizmo2, fdmars and 13 others like this.
    Dave

    1025r FILB: iMatch / JD 647 Tiller / JD LP 33814 60 Gallon Sprayer with 150" boom / LandPride CA1548 Core Aerator / Woods LR72 Landscape Rake with Titan wheel kit / King Kutter S-400-P Spreader / King Kutter Carry All / Frontier Pallet Forks / JD Ballast Box / ZTrak 915B Zero Turn / Heavy Hitch tooth bar / Frontier BB5048L Box Blade / Woods RB60 Scraper Blade

  2. The Following 8 Users Say Thank You to KeyboardJungle For This Useful Post:

    Auguste (09-18-2018), bmichael (09-17-2018), danthoman (09-19-2018), dieselshadow (09-17-2018), Gizmo2 (09-18-2018), JustinHEMI (09-21-2018), keane (09-17-2018), Kennyd (09-17-2018)

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  4. Top | #2
    Marlin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeyboardJungle View Post
    So, here's my story...

    I had 19 bags of lime (40 lbs each) in the back of my pickup. I positioned my 1025r with the pallet forks holding a pallet over the bed to unload the bags onto. The tractor was on a slight grade so that the left side was about 1 inch lower than the right side. Barely enough for water to run down. Front to back was dead level.

    Once loaded, I slowly back the tractor away from the truck, and when all was clear, I lowered the forks. The speed at which the loader dropped startled me, and I reacted by stopping it. Mistake! And almost a very big one! At about 2 1/2 feet off the ground, the loader stopped dead. I felt the machine buck a little, and then the right rear wheel slowly started to raise up off of the ground. I instinctively hit the stick to lower the payload some more. This time, the knee-jerk reaction was in my favor, and the tractor settled back down on all fours.

    I ain't gonna do that again!

    My mistakes and near mistakes:

    • I initially forgot to attach the ballast box, but then remembered how much and how often the importance of rear ballast has been emphasized on this forum, so I headed back to the machine shed to get it. The outcome would not have been good had I not done that. Thanks everybody!
    • The last two bags of sand for the ballast box have been leaning against the wall in the shed for almost a year. Anybody want to guess how long it took me to find the time to add them to the box after this incident?


    Lessons learned:

    • Always make sure that you have sufficient rear ballast. And then, operate the machine like you don't! Two or three small trips are a lot safer than one large one.
    • If you buy a rear implement that will be used with the loader, like a landscape rake, opt for a heavier one. A 300 lb unit may do the job of raking, but the 400 lb unit will give you an extra hundred lbs to help counterbalance a full bucket on the FEL.
    • Pallet forks push the weight further out front than the bucket. Be extra careful if you load up a set of forks, especially if you have the longer ones.
    • You can load a LOT more weight onto forks than you could ever get into a bucket. At most, half of those 19 bags of lime would fit into the bucket.
    • Don't get in a hurry. I should have done this in two steps.
    • You need to respect even the slightest grade when you have a lot of weight on the loader. I almost got toppled by a one inch rise over a 4 foot run!
    • Luck was on my side, or the tractor would have been!


    Congratulations . . . you learned a very valuable lesson the 'hard way', thankfully not the 'really hard way'. You're safe and okay, and so is your Deere .

    For what it's worth I offer the following:

    I live on the side of a mountain. Our property slopes two directions, downhill to the North and West. With everything I set about to do I have to consider the possibility of a rollover. Like you, it took a significant event before I got the message.

    The Dodge is loaded with a little lumber and parked in the driveway which slopes both directions. No ballast on the back, it's only 'a few sticks of lumber'.

    I specifically bought 36" forks knowing it would be easy enough to exceed the tractors limits with an extended lift and 36" forks, why waste money.

    Standing on the ground at the front of the 1026R I'm loading one stick at a time off the truck bed . . . That's until I notice the uphill front wheel lifting off the ground. Ahh, stopped loading and pushed what I had on the forks towards the uphill side (left) shifting the center of gravity enough to set the tire down flat on the ground. I was lucky, very lucky.

    I now have a ballast box, loaded with pea gravel. Calculated weight is 682 lbs.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    And rear wheel weights, 176 lbs/wheel.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I also know the limits of tractor's hydraulic and the loss in capacity with the weight of the 36" forks and an extended height lift.

    500 lbs is generally my limit. I buy livestock feed by the ton. Forty 50 lb sacks and I get four extra for paying ca$h. I load 11 sacks on a pallet on the forks and make four trips.

    I got 70-75 lbs hay bales this year. I load four bales on a pallet on the forks since I have to lift them to the max to add them to the stack over the inside partition.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This is just what I've learned and offer to all . . .

    Be Safe Out There!!
    Last edited by Marlin; 09-17-2018 at 03:03 PM.
    fdmars, BigJim55, keane and 7 others like this.
    Marlin

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  5. Top | #3
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    Was the tractor capable of lifting that much weight? Meaning you could raise the loader once the pallet was on the ground?

    This is problem with any light tractor that is not inherently safe, meaning the loader is capable of lifting more than a properly ballasted tractor can handle. IMO, if you can lift the rear wheels off the ground with the loader, you have a problem waiting to happen since there might be no feedback (until you're underway!) that you are overloaded. As I just noted in another thread, my 3038E with filled tires and a cab without any additional ballast is incapable of lifting anything with the loader that would bring the rear wheels off the ground.

    That being said, at 50 lbs at a time, I can easily stack enough weight onto almost anything to flip it over, given enough time! A good rule of thumb is that unless you are absolutely sure that the weight is comfortably within the tractors limits, don't do what you did. Put the pallet on the rear of the truck, stack your load on it and only then try to lift it with the loader. If it was my tractor and the load was too heavy, I wouldn't be able to lift it. With a small machine where the loader is capable of lifting the rear wheels, you'll have feedback right away that you are in trouble.

    Al

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    Having myself recently bought, loaded, unloaded, and spread 4,000 pounds (100 bags) of lime with a 1025R I really appreciate your write-up. Rear ballast is critical with the pallet forks, as are front weights with the lime-filled spreader hanging off the back.
    BigJim55, keane, Marlin and 4 others like this.
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  8. Top | #5

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    Sobering well thought out posts.

    Thanks for the reminders
    BigJim55, keane, Marlin and 4 others like this.
    Auguste . . . a blue collar guy working in a white collar world
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  9. Top | #6

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    This is why I always try to keep my hand on the joy stick. Dumping a load is usually a more preferred option then letting the load dictate things. I have been here before when I had my 2210 even with ballast. Going very slow with heavy weight (for the equipment you are using, it's all relative) is the key to being able to use the tractor another day.

    I have a 3025e with ballast (not enough but better than none) and I have had loads start to raise the read end as well. It happens, you just have to be ready for it. Always assess your load, carry as much as you can safely but don't be afraid to make one more trip. It only costs you diesel and little bit of time, far cheaper than a trashed tractor and body.

    Multiple loads are why I keep about 15-20 pallets around the property. Far easier to just grab another pallet than to try and overload one and "make it work".


    Glad the free lesson in physics worked out!
    3025e, D160 loader, Artillian Grapple, Forks, Hoe Bucket, Frontier Land Plane, Rotomec PDH300, Redline Systems 54 inch rock bucket, Heavy Hitch
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    Thanks for the post KeyboardJungle You learned a valuable lesson the not so painful way.

    We've all been there, let me throw a couple more bags on the pallet just to see if it can still pick it, I'll be there aren't many of us that haven't tried purposely to test the limits. To have a FEL that can pick up half the weight or more of the total weight of tractor is a bad thing in the wrong hands, glad those weren't your hands.
    Pat
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  11. Top | #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by PJR832 View Post
    ...We've all been there, let me throw a couple more bags on the pallet just to see if it can still pick it, I'll be there aren't many of us that haven't tried purposely to test the limits...
    Exactly - subconsciously I think that I was testing the limits and ignoring that voice in the back of my head that was saying "this isn't such a good idea".

    I need to add one more bullet to my list of lessons learned:

    • If it doesn't seem like a good idea, it probably isn't, so don't do it!
    fdmars, BigJim55, mark02tj and 2 others like this.
    Dave

    1025r FILB: iMatch / JD 647 Tiller / JD LP 33814 60 Gallon Sprayer with 150" boom / LandPride CA1548 Core Aerator / Woods LR72 Landscape Rake with Titan wheel kit / King Kutter S-400-P Spreader / King Kutter Carry All / Frontier Pallet Forks / JD Ballast Box / ZTrak 915B Zero Turn / Heavy Hitch tooth bar / Frontier BB5048L Box Blade / Woods RB60 Scraper Blade

  12. Top | #9

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    Don't forget your center of gravity changes as you raise a lower the load. The loader arms don't lift straight up and down but in an arc. I found this the hard way once when lifting a heavy pallet off my flatbed truck. I had no problem lifting the pallet but when I went to lower it as the loader arms came down the center of gravity moved forward enough to lift the rear wheels off the ground. I quickly lowered the load the rest of the way to the ground to prevent going over on my face. I did have the ballast box on but clearly I need a bit more.
    BigJim55, wentonbrown and PJR832 like this.
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