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Storing I-match and 3-Point Hitch on Heavy Hitch Cart -- Improved Solution

3198 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Old_Postman
Almost 6 years ago , I was looking for an easy storage solution for my I-match and 3-point hitch. Of course you have to remove them to install the backhoe. But I also have one implement that's not I-match compatible, so it was needed here, too. And, maintenance of the tractor is much easier when all this stuff is removed.

I needed something mobile because space is limited in my garage. I started looking at using the Heavy Hitch cart and weight rack. The idea was just to leave the I-match connected to the weight rack on the cart. I contacted Heavy Hitch and they assured me that their cart could easily handle the extra weight. So I started experimenting to see how this would work. I posted my initial solution on the Heavy Hitch forum. Since then, this forum was removed when Heavy Hitch ceased to be a site vendor. The original post, along with some improvements, is still available. But, they are pretty hard to find. This post will provide links to make that information easy to find.

From the original post, here's a photo of the initial solution:

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There's an important safety issue with this solution that must be addressed. Without some additional features, the I-match is connected to the weight rack only by the latches on the lower connection points. If somebody inadvertently operates the latch levers, the I-match will be dropped from the rack. The I-match and 3-point arms probably weigh about 120 lbs, but I've added chain boxes with chains, so it could be close to 200 lbs. Besides the equipment damage, somebody's feet could be seriously injured. In my solution, I added the wooden blocks in the photo and used releasable cable ties to keep the levers from being operated. I also designed a block that prevented the I-match from disengaging from the top hook. This completed the double-safety protection on this solution. You can look at the original post if you want to see more details.

Although the safety block does the job, it's a little clunky and time-consuming to use. So later when I was doing some maintenance to the weight rack, I added two holes below the hook point so that an easily-installable pin could replace the block. The photo below shows the additional pin just below the hook that keeps the hook from disengaging when it is present:

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Details of this modification, including a drilling template, can be found at this post.

As I used this storage technique regularly, I noticed another potential improvement. When disconnecting the lower arm on the tractor's right side, the PTO safety cover would just barely interfere with the removal. I would have to remove the arm at the I-match end, then lower it to clear the PTO cover, then reattach it at the I-match end for storage. This was awkward and tedious. So I modified the PTO safety cover to allow for clearance (with no loss of safety function for the PTO safety cover). The photo below shows this mod, and details are in this post.

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I've recently developed a tool to simplify and improve another aspect of this solution. Once you disconnect all the links to the tractor, you have a greasy octopus (okay, only 7 appendages) to try and tie up and control. The joints in these linkages are all very flexible, so everything tends to pile together and scratch paint. I initially solved this by putting plastic bags over each link to both keep the paint intact and the grease isolated. But this approach was time consuming and not really satisfactory. Living in a windy area, I found myself chasing plastic bags far too often. So the tool I created allows me to lift and separate all of the linkage arms. Each side can be handled independently, and when situated, nothing is touching the other parts. The next 3 photos show different angles of the new tool:

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Green Engineering Gas Auto part Machine

This is what the tool looks like when it's not installed:

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The large shaft is sized exactly for the ball joint on the end of the lower arms. It couldn't be painted without over-sizing it, so it's stainless steel. The smaller shaft, used for the ends of the lift arms, is zinc plated. Although the lift arm openings are 5/8 inches, the angles are odd where the connection must be made and so the small shaft is only 1/2 in diameter. The small shaft is necessary to keep the lift arms from falling against the I-match frame when the cart is moving and crossing over expansion joints in the concrete.

The first few times I tried the new tool, I was surprised at how quickly everything falls into a very organized place. Each side can be hooked into the tool separately, so you don't have to deal with everything at once. You can connect into the tool directly as you remove the lower arms from the tractor. Because everything is separated and accessible, I can easily wipe it all down to remove any grease. And, as a a final precaution, I position it in my equipment stack so that the arms aren't easily accessible to rub against and get greasy, as shown below.

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In the photo above, both of these ballast racks are sitting in the dead space of my FEL dolly. (The FEL and backhoe are currently on the tractor.)

I'm pleased with this storage technique. I can very quickly remove the 3-point with I-match and just roll it away to a small-footprint storage space. Re-installation is just as fast.

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Thanks for the updates and post consolidations. Nice to see the progression of the design as it was used. It's that a wooden aerator in the last picture?
This aerator was purchased from Everything Attachments. In the low light of my garage, it looks wooden because they paint it "Caterpillar Yellow". When I first bought it, I thought I might repaint it. I think it might take a week if I did it right and I doubt if it's going to happen. I have bought a can of "Caterpillar Yellow" to touch it up as needed.

The tine wheels are made from stacked steel plates with cutouts to accommodate the tines. Overall, it weighs 650 lbs. My 1025R grunts every time it lifts it. It does a fine job of penetrating my hard soil. I have a lot of rocks in my soil, so I bought spare tines. I've never used them. Those tines are tough.

Here's some photos in the daylight:

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Late last year, it became time to convert the tractor from FEL/Backhoe to snow removal (blade and snowblower). The backhoe came off and the 3-point hitch went on in the back to carry ballast. I was looking for a place to store my new tool. Its large and irregular shape (especially with all the tethered lynch pins) was not bringing any easy storage solutions to mind. It could take up an entire drawer in a tool chest, and mine were all full. So I started looking at storing it in dead space on the HeavyHitch cart. It would always be used in association with the cart, so it made sense to have it handy there. In doing this, I did not want to lose any of the normal functions of the cart, like storing the weight rack (with or without the I-match attached) or storing individual weights on the rack.

At about the same time, I had just purchased an inexpensive metal bending brake. All my life I have always bent the metal in my projects using a big vise and a sledgehammer or rubber mallet. If the piece was too long or too thick to bend that way, I hired the local metal shop to bend it for me. The long drive was a bigger hit than the cost for bending it. Having my own bending tool seemed like a good way to go. So I decided to build a storage bracket for the new tool as my first project. The new bending brake will handle a 4 inch wide piece of metal, up to 5/16 inch thick. I've never done anything greater than 1/4 inch steel, so it is adequate for me.

There were no instructions with the new brake. I wasn't sure how the bending would affect my desired dimensions. On the storage bracket I was building, the dimensions didn't need to be precise, with +/- 1/4 inch on everything okay. So I decided to learn how the bending affected the dimensions with this project. I wanted a U-shaped bracket that was 2 inches wide and 6 inches long. So I put a mark 6 inches from the end of the metal and another mark 2 inches from that one. I planned to cut the other end to match the bent end after the bending process. On this brake, you can't get a U-shape much smaller than 2 inches wide due to the depth of the bending die. Maybe 1 3/4 inches at the very best.

Here's the metal in the brake being bent. This was only 1/8 inch steel and was very easy to bend. I just centered my marks on the point of the die and started cranking. When I got close to 90 degrees, I stopped and measured the angle repeatedly. I did not want to go past 90. The brake does not unbend metal.

Furniture Table Wood Bumper Office supplies

Here's the second bend from another angle:

Table Wood Computer desk Bumper Countertop

The finished piece had well-rounded corners and laid flat on the countertop:

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After the bending, the INSIDE dimensions were exactly 2 inches width and 6 inches length. So, if I wanted to have those be the OUTSIDE dimensions, I'd subtract the width of the metal from the lengths that I marked. Now I know how to do this for future projects.

After painting and hardware installation, the bracket looked like this:

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The bracket is installed on the upright of the HH cart with tapped holes:

Flooring Wood Machine Sports equipment Bumper

The tool is installed in the bracket using the rod that connects the lift arms:

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The storage of the tool does not interfere with the normal use of the cart, including storing individual weights on the cart. I hope it's obvious that additional weights on the bar would also not interfere, because I was too lazy to load all of them in there.

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Really nice work. Could you please provide information on the brake?

I bought the brake on Ebay. It was about $160. It appears to be good quality, but I haven't tried any thicker pieces than 1/8 " steel. It is not obvious on the website, but it is made in China.

Here's the link: KAKA Industrial FB-4 4-Inch Hand Operated Steel Bending Brake 745369240710 | eBay

Having a very limited knowledge of Spanish, the name is not one I would choose for a business.

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