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Hi guys -

Money is not an object here with this question. It's really a configuration question. I don't want to configure this swiss army knife with this one mowing problem so it's not easily usable for all the other things I plan for it.

Problem - I'm mowing a 25% grade with my 1025R with 60"MMM. I can go up the grade and back down the grade and feel safe - but it's slow and a pain. I have successfully cross grade cut the area by going really SLOW and CAREFUL with just the MMM and in 4WD. But is is a pucker exercise. I want to get back to cross grade cutting and not be totally stressed.. I used to cross grade cut on my old mower a JD D140 mower, I would sit on the uphill side of the mower (I bypassed the seat disconnect) and used extensive weight shifting. But that is not really possible on this beast. I don't see me cutting with the back hoe on and doing anything fancy with the bucket. Let's keep it SIMPLE and as operator proof as possible. You can see in my signature I already have a lot of gear. I don't mind buying more. For instance - should I buy:

1. Wheel spacers (how wide?, front rear?)
2. Starter wheel weights and more wheel weights
3. Rim guard (dealer said he would do this free but advised against it initially)
4. Ballast box
5. Heavy hitch
6. More suitcase weights

If you had to rank from "most value for the stability dollar" for cross grade cutting? What would it be? How would you configure the tractor? And if you want to punt and tell me to go buy a mower for this one section - that's OK too.

Thank you valuable friends!!!!
 

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I mow some steep side slopes and I haven't found a way to feel totally comfortable in this style tractor either. Feels too top heavy. I have loaded tires, wheel weights front and rear. I also mow with the loader on, bucket low nearly dragging to prevent roll overs. Still had some close calls, not sure on the grade I mow. I don't normally use a ballast box while mowing but that might help if kept low enough but I find I end up tearing up sections of lawn with it on by it hitting the ground and reduced weight on the front causing under steer.


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Can't believe your dealer advised against rim guard:dunno:

Anyway I bought my wheel spacers from Motorsport Technology (775) 351-1000
Email: [email protected]
Fax: (775) 351-1600
Lenny was contact.
Smallest thickness is 1 1/4" I think he could make. I only have the spacers and rear wheel weights. They made a big difference IMO .Others have rim guard and wheel weights. :dunno: I can mow my back yard across and on slope. A few places I will only mow up and down if it is 25% probably safer with up and down and maybe a slight angle instead of what you had been mowing.
The time I mowed mine drove out across the yard ,stopped tractor got off on the upper side and pushed the side of the tractor to see if it would rock. Nope felt fine no movement, got back on, mowed the yard at a slow speed. Over the years the speed has increased but still not as fast as mowing on level by no means but not a slow craw. Better to be safe than sorry, never know when a rock or tree root will make the tractor tip.
Also hoping you are using L mowing up and down the grade and 4WD, my back yard is all slope some areas steeper than others.

Noticed you mentioned ballast box but I didn't read if you had a FEL. If you have a FEL by all means you need a ballast box.

Me I do not leave my FEL on while mowing, have tried it with and without the bucket on . IMO not worth the hassle of leaving it on and didn't feel as comfortable .
 

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When I had my 1025R I added 2" wheel spacer's and wheel weights with loaded tires. Then I added a Inclinometer
https://www.amazon.com/Company-201-F-gage-Inclinometer-Gauge/dp/B00042K694

I never went over 30 to 35 degrees . Yes it felt like it was going to tip over but after a few time you get use to it. Please go slow. sometimes it's not the angle
but the sudden drop on the ground that will cause the tractor to roll over.
Once you know your ground you my go a little faster but again look out for the dips.

I now mow the hill with my 3033R with 4" wheel spacer , loaded tires and wheel weights. The key is to have weight low to the ground and a wide wheel base.

I live in N.Y and the town garage is only one mile from my house. I ask them how they set up there tractor for mowing steep hills. They cut hill I wouldn't walk on.
They told me what to do. The wider the wheel base and as much low weigh as you can.
 

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I also mow with the loader on, bucket low nearly dragging to prevent roll overs. Still had some close calls, not sure on the grade I mow.
Having the loader on actually increases your the height of your center of gravity unless you have a lot of weight in the bucket.
 

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I agree with Coaltrain. Do not have your loader on. It significantly increases your COG height. The belly mower is some of the best heaviest and lowest ballast you can get. Fill your rear tires, get wheel weights and spacers for maximum hill holding capabilities. Beyond that and you're just asking for too much from it.

Don't forget, ROPS up, seatbelt on. This guy had his seatbelt on and it saved his neck.

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I really hate to say this, but it's my immediate first thought, so I will. My opinion is that if mowing up and down the slope is the safest way, then that's what should be done, even if it's "slow and a pain". Sorry to be the party pooper.
 

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I really hate to say this, but it's my immediate first thought, so I will. My opinion is that if mowing up and down the slope is the safest way, then that's what should be done, even if it's "slow and a pain". Sorry to be the party pooper.
When I thought about this afterwards, this was going to be my exact post.
 

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I mow with a 62" MMM on a 2720. One of my hills is a very steep grade, and I used to cut it up and down. Then I went and built a fence at the toe of the slope. I actually busted the amber lense on the rollbar lights a couple weeks ago mowing next to the fence (tractor leaned over next to posts). Now I only mow the hillside a few times a year, and I nose down to the fence and back up in 4WD.
 

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Having the loader on actually increases your the height of your center of gravity unless you have a lot of weight in the bucket.
The reason I leave the bucket on is not for center of gravity, it is for rollover prevention. The rear wheels are the only solid axle. Running the bucket low as possible, nearly dragging, can stop the tractor from rolling if/when the rear downhill tire goes into a hole etc. I keep one hand on the loader controls at all times, if I feel I'm getting tippy I drop the bucket, it acts as a solid axle in the front so you now have two solid axles on the ground not just one. It's a failsafe and gives you the option to then safely back out. Most of us also have buckets wider than the tractor, it actually works rather well and has saved me from some bad hills that I had no option but to traverse across.


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Angle across

I really hate to say this, but it's my immediate first thought, so I will. My opinion is that if mowing up and down the slope is the safest way, then that's what should be done, even if it's "slow and a pain". Sorry to be the party pooper.
We have some fields with fairly steep slopes. I haven't measured them but the pucker factor is fairly high as I know my Dad rolled a tractor on one of them. When mowing that area, I mow across the slope at the top and bottom where it's flatter. I then angle up the steep part and adjust my angle to remove some of the pucker factor. There's also a utility pole and guy wire to mow around. Admittedly, with a 15' mower, I don't have to make too many runs at an angle but that's the only way I will mow that particular area. Some other areas are straight up and down.

I agree with the posters about rocks/hills and dips. I would go on a lot steeper slope if someone would guarantee no groundhog holes, lumps or dips. If they would also guarantee I won't slip because of loose soil or wet grass, I would go steeper yet. Until that happens, I'll take my time and get it done without stressing too much. I don't want to be on any equipment headed for an overturn, whether its a large tractor with a cab or a small lawnmower. I do wear seatbelts and all our ROPS are fixed, not folding so there's no worries there. I still believe the place for a tractor is on it's wheels, not the side or top.

Treefarmer
 

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The reason I leave the bucket on is not for center of gravity, it is for rollover prevention...
There are two things wrong with having the FEL on.

First, it raises the center of gravity. That means that you will tip sooner with it on than without it.

Second, it moves the center of gravity forward. That means that more of the weight of the tractor is over the pivoting axle than the solid one. Again, you will tip sooner with it than without it.

For maximum stability, you want the center of gravity low and rearward. Fluid filled tires, wheel weights, ballast box and wheel spacers will make for the most stable setup. Weights on the front axle do nothing until you tip far enough for the pivoting front axle to hit the stops. Do not use front weights.

Under inflated tires will also contribute to less stability due to deformation when on an angle.

Oh, and if money is no object here, fabricate a plate steel skid plate under the frame. The heavier the better.
 

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I mow sideways on my hills that I have here. My tractor has all 4 tires filled. When I mow the ONLY thing on the tractor is the 60" deck and myself. Don't know why you can't sit on the high side fender when mowing sideways, I do it all the time. Seeing as I go in both directions I use both fenders, always the high side. If it gives you the pucker factor then I would advise against it. It doesn't bother me but it bothers my wife so she won't watch. And I always mow in low gear and 4 wheel drive. Had one hill where I mowed that I got off the tractor and laid across it and operated the foot feed with my hands while walking beside it because sitting anywhere on the tractor would have made it tip over. It is no longer the case. I have gone across my hills with the FEL and rear weights, I wouldn't advise that either. Even an empty bucket will make it tip happy. If you're mowing with the FEL on it's no wonder your getting the pucker factor, you should. My opinion only here but if you add more weights on the 3PH your going to get even more tip happy. If you're going to add weight while mowing, add it to the wheels and tires and maybe some suitcase weights on the front end. I believe my hills are more then 25% grade.
 

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...and maybe some suitcase weights on the front end.
Suitcase weights on the front end will move the tractor's CG forward, towards the pivoting front axle and away from the solid rear axle. The laws of physics say that will decrease stability.
 

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Much good advise here. My two suggestions would be to split the difference and try to mow somewhat diagonally and also give the tires a heavy groove job with a tire grooving tool to try and gain some lateral grip, or do you have R3's?
 

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Much good advise here. My two suggestions would be to split the difference and try to mow somewhat diagonally and also give the tires a heavy groove job with a tire grooving tool to try and gain some lateral grip, or do you have R3's?
Going diagonally uphill sounds like a good idea, but I'm not so sure about downhill. If you go downhill diagonally then I think that will be the least stable, when a tractor tips it does so to the side and slightly forward. So if you present the forward side of the tractor to the downslope you are in the best position to tip.

As for lateral grip, I think if the rear tires are sliding sideways then the slope is too steep. Better to slide than to grab.
 

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Go straight and go slow.

Fluid first

Wheel weights second.

I see sitting on the high side as useless vs the weight of the tractor. It just feels better being upright.

Air pressure at the max, otherwise the downhill will always sag more then the uphill, compounding the hill angle.

If you do diagonal when heading downhill more speed and squaring up are your only controls. That leads to what dieselshadow showed if there is another obstical.

Just go straight on. Mow it lower so you only do it every other time.

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank you for all the responses!!!!!! This is sooooo complicated. I'm a P.E. Mechanical Engineer and it's beyond my ability to reason. I started reading Dynamics of Tractor-implement Combinations on Slopes (Part I) : State-of-the-art Review from Hokkaido University and it's way more complicated than I thought. You can download over the web. It's well done, but basically, the situation is so dynamic, it hard to approach this in a formulaic manner. I now believe on any given day, it's intractable. I encourage all of you to read it. http://eprints.lib.hokudai.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/2115/13138/1/66(2)_p240-262.pdf

Given the above, Its all of your practical advice gained through experience that's valuable. Again, thanks for responding.

What I have read from you so far make me think:

1. Wheel weights and/or filled tires on the rear are the way to go first.
2. Rear wheel spacers are second.
3. Avoid weight far behind the back axle as that may lead to the worst kind of accident - the flip when turning.

A great idea is adding weight in the middle mount mower position very low. Like suitcase weights on the MMM itself toward the rear axle. Have any of you pros done that?

I also must say that now I question any front weight past what is minimally needed for effective steering.

So I now wonder why I bought the front weight bracket with all those suitcase weights. For the most part, they are being used hanging in my box blade!!! I guess when I move a trailer and my front end lifts, they are useful. But so would my front end loader and some gravel. But now, I'm worried about using them. When are you guys needing them? For snow plowing or what?

Please keep the thoughts coming.
 

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Front weights are necessary when you have an implement on the back but no FEL to keep the front end on the ground. Also in a four wheel drive tractor, those front wheels need some weight on them so that they are effectively "pulling their weight".
 

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3. Avoid weight far behind the back axle as that may lead to the worst kind of accident - the flip when turning.
Far behind as a ballast box, or far behind as some implement?

If the former I do not see how a ballast box is going to increase the chances of tipping. The ballast box serves to move the CG rearward toward the solid axle and away from the pivoting front axle. The vertical CG remains essentially the same (maybe slightly lower) if it is carried low. However, a full ballast box may move the CG too far rearward leading to unintended wheelies.
 
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