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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got some areas where I need to put some grass seed down, and on occasion spread some lime or fertilizer. The 3 pt hitch spreaders are nice, but $$. So I'm looking for a pull behind for the JD 318 garden tractor. My Deere dealer had a one for $300, but it had a plastic gear case. At TSC I saw a Precision Products TBS6000RD for $150. It had metal gears and gear case, a grease fitting, it could take 80# of stuff in the hopper. Made in the USA! SOLD !

I get it home, load it up with seed, and take off! Pull the lever!

Nothing. :nunu:

Turns out the holes in the bottom are too small and the grass seed just piles up there and doesn't go through. It's OK for pelatized lime and fertilizer, just not grass seed. See the 1st picture.

So I dig out my old Greenlee Chassis Punches, and found one about the same size as the hole (13/16"). I put it in one of the holes such that it would elongate the hole radially (so the rate adjustment flap would still work). The hopper and flap are plastic, and I just use the chassis punch to take a bite out of both of them at the same time. Good thing nothing was metal, because I don't have a welder.

Gave it a try, and seed came out, but not at a good rate. So did a 2nd hole, and the rate is fine. See the 2nd picture.

Well, that's it. Not even sure if this little device rates as an attachment or not :laugh:. But for $150 it beats the heck out of using a "drywall bucket & hand spreader" and is better than the little "over your shoulder hand cranked bag spreader" that got bunged up when I loaned it out in a moment of cranial flatulence.

I'm also going to beef up the holder for the hopper. It's on a bent pipe frame and adding two little aluminum bars will really stiffen it up.

Made in the USA- Fixed in Efland.

Pete
 

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Wow, those holes look huge for grass! I might try to mess with your agitator a bit to try to get more even flow. It looks like it is a bit high for grass and could be longer?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I looked at making the agitator longer, but the bottom "bowl" in the hopper is rectangular, not square. Might be able to get another 3/8 of length. I think part of the fix was the elongated holes got closer to the agitator. The hairpin agitator is wimpy, and I need to figure something out there. This was plain 'ol Kentucky 31 Fescue grass.

:soapbox: I'm seeing this problem all over the place. Companies are going to molded plastics to get production cost down. But the tooling is very expensive. So they take their best shot, and even if it's got problems it goes to production because it cost too much to fix. There is no way these guys couldn't see a problem with this product. They could have gone up another 1/8" on the hole size, found a better agitator, and then realized that the depression that the agitator sits in needs to be at least square, and better yet round.

I have a coffee maker with a molded pour spout. It always drips. My old coffee maker had a glass container with a perfect glass spout that curled around and it never dripped. But you can't mold that shape, and it take a human to put that finishing touch on. So we have a lot more products now that are cheap, but don't really work. If they blow the design, there's not enough money to do the mold again. All they can do is see if the volume is good, and then maybee make changes in a year or two.

Overseas companies with lower tooling cost (due to both lower labor and a larger investment in front end CAD and tooling) can afford to do it over if it's not right. It's a hidden way that we're losing to overseas competition.

As for this spreader, silly me thinking they would test a product before selling it.

Much more ranting and I'll have to take this to politics...

/:soapbox:

Pete
 

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Pete,
I hear you on all accounts.:nunu:

I took a file to the coffee pot spout, it doesn't drip near as bad now, it makes a much smaller mess everytime you pour a cup.

Question, how do you adjust the feed rate on your spreader?

I used my small Deere tow behind spreader today and the adjuster lever broke off as I was trying to set it.:thumbsdown: Used a pair of ViseGrip needle nose to set it and put out 100 lbs of Fescue seed afterwards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There is a lever and a cable that come up to the front of the unit, you can reach it from the seat. That rotates a disk with matching holes. The lever is flimsy plastic, but that's OK and gets back to my low use / low cost goals for the spreader.

Only about 1/3 of the range works for adjusting the spread rate with grass seed. I tend to overseed, so thus far I've run it WAO. For lime pellets or fertilizer, I take it back a little bit, but not much.

In the next few days, I'll plane, till, landscape rake rocks, and then seed the area next to the garage where the geothermal field trenches were. This will be the first real test of, well, everything. Close to the building, I did everything by hand (after box blade and landplane for course grading). I've also got about 1/10 acre of hay field that had too much top soil removed when filling the geo trenches and I need to put some topsoil on that and clean it up.

Pete
 

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Pete,

Sounds like you have some seat time coming, the more you get the better.:good2: Sounds like a great project.
 

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I guess I am really confused as to why grass seed needs a larger hole that lime or fertilizer:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Beats me why grass needs a larger hole, but, it did. The fescue just plugged up in the hole and the agitator didn't shake it loose. Maybee round vs. rice-shaped ?

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
:gaah:

So I planed and tilled a 40 x 50 foot area, picked up all the rocks, and am ready to put down seed. I take the seed spreader and fill it up. Drive on, engage the lever.

Nothing comes out. :unknown:

I've got 2 hours of light left, rain is coming. So I drive the 318 pulling the spreader while reaching back and grabbing a fist full of grass seed and throwing it out. With each throw, I shout out a commentary of my opinion of the spreader, the company, the engineers, the management, and their mothers. :banghead::banghead:

I was not able to get the hay down, it's raining now :rain:, I'll have to put the hay down in the mud tomorrow.

The extra weight of a full hopper just wedged up the grass in the hole. My next step is to re-do the auger/spinner. I think the little hairpin clip is just to wimpy. There is no way the company could ever have tested this product.

I got about 50 minutes of time with the landplane. There was some grass on the area I was working in. The grass definitely gums up the works. So it took a few passes to get take and dump the grass in a little pile. After that, they key was many passes taking small bites and different angles. This was different than working the driveway where you find a level and work it in one pass. The gravel pools up and re-distributes no problem. The dirt doesn't always flow so well. I also went in reverse a few times to fill in holes. Soil moister is important, which I guess is not surprising since it's ground engagement work. Tilt, toplink, and 3PH level are all needed and the adjustments made while moving are very slight. Just need about 50 more hours and I'll have it!

The tiller did fine. I am Soooo glad I have a slip clutch. Found lots of rocks that locked it up. I have stalled the tractor with the tiller (slip clutch was adjusted too tight). It's nice to know that I've not stressed anything on the tractor or tiller with the clutch set up right.

Lots of rocks to pick up after either planing or tilling. I'm also working on removing a temporary access path used during the construction of the house. It was made with rail road ballast. I'll post a pix when it stops raining... might be time for a new thread on the ground engagement part of all this...

I'll advise on spreader once I get the agitator/spinner thingie re-worked. Hmmm. Good project for a rainy day?

Pete
 

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It really ticks me off to buy something new and then HAVE to fix it to make it work versus WANTING to modify it for the fun of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Time to work another area. I made the slots longer, and bent the agitator down some. Put the grass in, drove, opened it up and the seed cam out no problem. Shut it down, seed stopped. Things were looking good.

Then it was time for some fertilizer and pelletized lime. Load it up, go, open it up, stuff comes out. But then when I went to shut it down, it didn't. So some areas got a extra dose as I drove around (I was working on three patches that were close to each other).

Once empty, I looked at the hopper. The picture is what things look like in the _closed_ position. turns out the little granules get between the hopper bottom and the rotating disk and it binds. When you pus the lever, the cable mechanism just shifts a bit and nothing happens. This also means that you can't adjust the rate down when putting out pellatized anything. :thumbsdown:

So this spreader made by Precision Products Inc (and made in the USA) needs more design work. I'll have to figure out if I want to take two aluminum plates and make the adjustable dispensing orifice or just call it a day and take the $150 loss. Time and money, it's always time and money.

Pete
 

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I assume the cable is kinking, hence the cable "move"? What about sometype of solid lever on a pivoting mechanism to overcome the binding?

Time to work another area. I made the slots longer, and bent the agitator down some. Put the grass in, drove, opened it up and the seed cam out no problem. Shut it down, seed stopped. Things were looking good.

Then it was time for some fertilizer and pelletized lime. Load it up, go, open it up, stuff comes out. But then when I went to shut it down, it didn't. So some areas got a extra dose as I drove around (I was working on three patches that were close to each other).

Once empty, I looked at the hopper. The picture is what things look like in the _closed_ position. turns out the little granules get between the hopper bottom and the rotating disk and it binds. When you pus the lever, the cable mechanism just shifts a bit and nothing happens. This also means that you can't adjust the rate down when putting out pellatized anything. :thumbsdown:

So this spreader made by Precision Products Inc (and made in the USA) needs more design work. I'll have to figure out if I want to take two aluminum plates and make the adjustable dispensing orifice or just call it a day and take the $150 loss. Time and money, it's always time and money.

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm not sure where the slack is in the system, but suspect it's up in the control lever area. Too much thin injection molded plastic up there... The frame on the unit is a bit flimsy, so I'm not sure if solid linkage would work or not- I'll certainly look at it.

If I attempt to fix it and solid linkage won't work, I'll go with a "Grown man" cable and lever. The lever wants to be where you can reach it easily.

The other style of "holes in the bottom of the bin" I've seen is a 3" square hole. This is on the Deere and more expensive units (read "On stuff that works"). I think if I make some metal plates to do this, and then go to a bigger cable I'll be ok. Problem 1 is new aperture plates, problem 2 is linkage to control it. Just need to find the time....

Pete
 

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Sounds like it will be fun in any case....:mocking:

I'm not sure where the slack is in the system, but suspect it's up in the control lever area. Too much thin injection molded plastic up there... The frame on the unit is a bit flimsy, so I'm not sure if solid linkage would work or not- I'll certainly look at it.

If I attempt to fix it and solid linkage won't work, I'll go with a "Grown man" cable and lever. The lever wants to be where you can reach it easily.

The other style of "holes in the bottom of the bin" I've seen is a 3" square hole. This is on the Deere and more expensive units (read "On stuff that works"). I think if I make some metal plates to do this, and then go to a bigger cable I'll be ok. Problem 1 is new aperture plates, problem 2 is linkage to control it. Just need to find the time....

Pete
 

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Pete,

I have been down this exact same path on a pull behind unit just a couple of years ago. Re-designed and re-worked it to the point it worked perfectly. Replaced the plastic gate and slides with aluminum. Made a new control mechanism, paid $180 new, approx. Then, sold it on Craig's list for $100 and bought a 3pt. Only regret is I should have bought the 3pt first. Only problem is I still have to modify the 3pt unit to be cat 1 from cat 2 to fit my quickhitch. :mocking:
 
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