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?
- 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!