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2019 2032r
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Discussion Starter #1
Hydraulic top & side link + box blade question: I’m a box blade noob and have a 200’ long sloping gravel driveway & am about to embark on a large grading project to slope water runoff away from my foundation. Will the addition of top & side link make me a box blade virtuoso? Will it really make a big difference for someone who is learning how to use the implement & how to effectively do general grade work? TIA
 

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You know what they say
“It’s not the pool cue. It’s the pool player”
Learn the basics of grading with your box blade first and foremost before adding doohickeys to it.

Top links are added for convenience and anyone can do what someone with a top link can do just slower
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You know what they say
“It’s not the pool cue. It’s the pool player”
Learn the basics of grading with your box blade first and foremost before adding doohickeys to it.

Top links are added for convenience and anyone can do what someone with a top link can do just slower
Any hard earned advice for how to get the skills?I’ve trudged through hours of YouTube box blade videos trying to read between the ads & flashy edits for good info on how to learn it, but the value I’ve gained from that has been minimal. Probably says more about me though😂
 

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So, I’m in charge of tryouts and interviews with my company when we hire operators on for the company and I can tell you that it’s very rare that I tryout a guy who can do basic tasks or finish grade with efficiency. Most everyone who sends in their resume, or talks on the phone with the office says they can do it all, but 9 out of 10 times the person who shows up for a tryout doesn’t have a clue how to properly operate a piece of excavation equipment . The majority of people I pass on are guys who are stuck in their ways and have been told by someone, who doesn’t know better, that they are good at what they do. I can’t tell you how many times someone has come on my site saying they got 20 years experience doing this and that, but when I give gem a simple task, they fail miserably. Most operators out there are guys who are from the residential sector digging house foundations to mine workers, or on pipe crews who are mostly punch workers who only care about when they’re going home and not wanting to learn about what they’re there to do.

That said, I commend you for coming here and asking for advice because that speaks volumes of what you’re made of. We’re always learning, and it’s better to ask for advice than to trudge through life thinking you know it all
 

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2019 2032r
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Discussion Starter #5
So, I’m in charge of tryouts and interviews with my company when we hire operators on for the company and I can tell you that it’s very rare that I tryout a guy who can do basic tasks or finish grade with efficiency. Most everyone who sends in their resume, or talks on the phone with the office says they can do it all, but 9 out of 10 times the person who shows up for a tryout doesn’t have a clue how to properly operate a piece of excavation equipment . The majority of people I pass on are guys who are stuck in their ways and have been told by someone, who doesn’t know better, that they are good at what they do. I can’t tell you how many times someone has come on my site saying they got 20 years experience doing this and that, but when I give gem a simple task, they fail miserably. Most operators out there are guys who are from the residential sector digging house foundations to mine workers, or on pipe crews who are mostly punch workers who only care about when they’re going home and not wanting to learn about what they’re there to do.

That said, I commend you for coming here and asking for advice because that speaks volumes of what you’re made of. We’re always learning, and it’s better to ask for advice than to trudge through life thinking you know it all
Thank for the vote of confidence. I’ve been playing on it with my driveway & a spot in my yard near a creek bank but it’s largely been 1 step forward 2 steps back. It seems that I can go from having made no progress to having to add dirt back in the blink of an eye.
 

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Thank for the vote of confidence. I’ve been playing on it with my driveway & a spot in my yard near a creek bank but it’s largely been 1 step forward 2 steps back. It seems that I can go from having made no progress to having to add dirt back in the blink of an eye.
An old guy once told me something I never forgot.
“If you dig a hole, just fill it back in”

Get some seat time. Tell everyone to leave you alone, and just keep at it. Sometimes just staying on task is the best medicine. Do nt worry too much about not getting it right the first time. Dragging an implement behind you and making things nice and smooth isnot as easy as they say. Get it rough graded to the shape you want it and then smooth it out from there. Practice makes perfect.
 

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So, I’m in charge of tryouts and interviews with my company when we hire operators on for the company and I can tell you that it’s very rare that I tryout a guy who can do basic tasks or finish grade with efficiency. Most everyone who sends in their resume, or talks on the phone with the office says they can do it all, but 9 out of 10 times the person who shows up for a tryout doesn’t have a clue how to properly operate a piece of excavation equipment . The majority of people I pass on are guys who are stuck in their ways and have been told by someone, who doesn’t know better, that they are good at what they do. I can’t tell you how many times someone has come on my site saying they got 20 years experience doing this and that, but when I give gem a simple task, they fail miserably. Most operators out there are guys who are from the residential sector digging house foundations to mine workers, or on pipe crews who are mostly punch workers who only care about when they’re going home and not wanting to learn about what they’re there to do.

That said, I commend you for coming here and asking for advice because that speaks volumes of what you’re made of. We’re always learning, and it’s better to ask for advice than to trudge through life thinking you know it all
I would just like to follow up to your last couple statements. I work in web development. I love operating equipment. I get satisfaction from fixing vehicles, my house, and even relationships. Soon I'll be embarking on my first real carpentry project.

All is that to say this: I personally like to live my life as attempting to do something while ALWAYS remaining open minded to new ideas, experiences tips, or thought provoking conversations about any and all. My point of boring you with my life's endeavors is to just say I have many interests and like to approach them all the same. I believe everyone should be open to advice and can be proven in need of it sometimes. We can't know it all or experience it all.

Especially with equipment believing you know better can be deadly. Asking advice and something I enjoy is watching with a CLOSED mouth. Too many people talk. Picture is worth a thousand words, watching someone back a trailer, dig and set a culvert, or plow a field can benefit you a lot.

Ok. Rant over. Just showing a thumbs up to someone supporting a similar mindset as myself. And to the OP. I have never box blade before and will be purchasing one soon(nobody sells descent used ones!), so no tips. But I will be watching this threat religiously for my self! So thanks for asking.
 

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I made the leap to top n tilt just for my box blade alone - manual adjustments on that top link make jobs like these take forever and make it close to impossible to feather it one way or another on the fly

I never really got good at it with manual top link before making the jump and I don’t regret it - I don’t need to be a master operator, I needed to get the job done efficiently
 

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Practice, practice , practice. Having had a box blade for 2 years now, I still have trouble sometimes getting things the way I want them. A manual top link is doable but a pain, you have to keep getting off the tractor to make those adjustments and it can be frustrating. A hydraulic top link will make it a lot easier to make those adjustments, if you have the money and are already plumbed for rear remotes I say go for it. But still practice, lol.
 

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Experience and patience!!!

You can buy someone all the best tools in the world, doesn't mean they'll be able to build a house until they learn how to use the tools properly.
 

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While I agree completely with what everyone has said above. I will also add that having to continually make the manual adjustments in the 3pt links (top and side), drives the operator to become a victim of "good enough". With the ability and ease of hydraulic adjustment, it can aid in the idea of perfection. I'm not talking skill, I'm talking about finishing the job to the fullest, as opposed to, 'well that will work' mindset.
Basically, someone may be more inclined to become a better operator, when the operation of their machines adjustments, are easier to perform.
 

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I saw TnT and had to read..
 

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While I agree completely with what everyone has said above. I will also add that having to continually make the manual adjustments in the 3pt links (top and side), drives the operator to become a victim of "good enough". With the ability and ease of hydraulic adjustment, it can aid in the idea of perfection. I'm not talking skill, I'm talking about finishing the job to the fullest, as opposed to, 'well that will work' mindset.
Basically, someone may be more inclined to become a better operator, when the operation of their machines adjustments, are easier to perform.
Well said! My thoughts exactly
 

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1025R, '30 Ford, '08 Range Rover Supercharged, '63 MGB, '92 300ZX twin turbo, '73 Courier 2.3 turbo
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I'm not great with the box blade, but I offer these tips:
1. Look back and watch the blade while monitoring the direction you want to go.
2. Be aware of your tractor - if it dips up and down, the blade will dig in or raise up.
3. Have one hand on the rock shaft lever so you can immediately gently carefully constantly adjust the blade up or down to keep it doing what you want it to do.
4. Speed isn't your friend until you get the land smooth and level.
5. Adjusting the knob below your seat to obtain a smooth up and down movement of the blade helps.
6a. If you have hydraulic Tilt left and right on the blade, be sure the opposite arm is set to allow equal tilt up and down on both sides when you use the hydraulic Tilt.
6b. You should use your OEM adjustable arm - not the fixed length arm - opposite the hydraulic unit. That gives you more options for tilt.
7. On flat level ground or pavement, set the blade down very carefully and notice the top link. How much hydraulic cylinder is exposed? That's important for a level blade that's not cutting aggressively.
8. Try pushing material backward as well as forward. That helps you develop skill with the blade angles.

Have fun! I often turn around almost sideways and drive with my left foot so I can watch the blade, especially when going backwards. See #3 above again and avoid all that speed so many of the YouTubers show.
 
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So, I’m in charge of tryouts and interviews with my company when we hire operators on for the company and I can tell you that it’s very rare that I tryout a guy who can do basic tasks or finish grade with efficiency. Most everyone who sends in their resume, or talks on the phone with the office says they can do it all, but 9 out of 10 times the person who shows up for a tryout doesn’t have a clue how to properly operate a piece of excavation equipment . The majority of people I pass on are guys who are stuck in their ways and have been told by someone, who doesn’t know better, that they are good at what they do. I can’t tell you how many times someone has come on my site saying they got 20 years experience doing this and that, but when I give gem a simple task, they fail miserably. Most operators out there are guys who are from the residential sector digging house foundations to mine workers, or on pipe crews who are mostly punch workers who only care about when they’re going home and not wanting to learn about what they’re there to do.

That said, I commend you for coming here and asking for advice because that speaks volumes of what you’re made of. We’re always learning, and it’s better to ask for advice than to trudge through life thinking you know it all
This is so true - in most any endeavor. You can have all the mad skills and be the baddest dude in your little town or on your little jobsite - and then you go some place to try out or interview with someone with a discerning eye where quality matters, integrity matters, where teamwork matters - for someone who actually has a stake in the business or the outcome of the work... and to quote Men in Black, "...I need to tell you something about all your skills. As of right now, they mean precisely dick...."

Practice is the shortcut to skills. There is no shortcut to experience.

I don't know who Kbar is - but I've read about 5 or 6 posts from this guy over the last couple of days, and I like him. A lot. Wise, measured, offers good advice freely and builds people up with encouragement and complements when he sees something well done.

The above is the kind of post, and Kbar the kind of member that will keep me coming back here.

- Ken
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'm not great with the box blade, but I offer these tips:
1. Look back and watch the blade while monitoring the direction you want to go.
2. Be aware of your tractor - if it dips up and down, the blade will dig in or raise up.
3. Have one hand on the rock shaft lever so you can immediately gently carefully constantly adjust the blade up or down to keep it doing what you want it to do.
4. Speed isn't your friend until you get the land smooth and level.
5. Adjusting the knob below your seat to obtain a smooth up and down movement of the blade helps.
6a. If you have hydraulic Tilt left and right on the blade, be sure the opposite arm is set to allow equal tilt up and down on both sides when you use the hydraulic Tilt.
6b. You should use your OEM adjustable arm - not the fixed length arm - opposite the hydraulic unit. That gives you more options for tilt.
7. On flat level ground or pavement, set the blade down very carefully and notice the top link. How much hydraulic cylinder is exposed? That's important for a level blade that's not cutting aggressively.
8. Try pushing material backward as well as forward. That helps you develop skill with the blade angles.

Have fun! I often turn around almost sideways and drive with my left foot so I can watch the blade, especially when going backwards. See #3 above again and avoid all that speed so many of the YouTubers show.
This reads like gold to me. Question: I’m not quite sure I follow your 6a & 6b. My understanding is that a hydraulic side link goes in place of the OEM adjustable side link and the opposite side is fixed and remains so. Then the hydraulic cylinder can adjust the box left, parallel & right as desired. Am I missing something?
 

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Hes just saying to move your manually adjustable right side link, over to the left side, so you end up with extra adjustability in the 3pt.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hes just saying to move your manually adjustable right side link, over to the left side, so you end up with extra adjustability in the 3pt.
Ok. I’m following you now, do away with the fixed arm in favor of the adjustable & a cylinder
 

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Practice, practice , practice. Having had a box blade for 2 years now, I still have trouble sometimes getting things the way I want them. A manual top link is doable but a pain, you have to keep getting off the tractor to make those adjustments and it can be frustrating. A hydraulic top link will make it a lot easier to make those adjustments, if you have the money and are already plumbed for rear remotes I say go for it. But still practice, lol.
While I agree completely with what everyone has said above. I will also add that having to continually make the manual adjustments in the 3pt links (top and side), drives the operator to become a victim of "good enough". With the ability and ease of hydraulic adjustment, it can aid in the idea of perfection. I'm not talking skill, I'm talking about finishing the job to the fullest, as opposed to, 'well that will work' mindset.
Basically, someone may be more inclined to become a better operator, when the operation of their machines adjustments, are easier to perform.
Absolutely. Getting on and off more than necessary wears even a young guy out. No need to become a pro with the manual before moving to hydraulic.

I'd say a hydraulic top link should be high on everyone's list of upgrades. It makes every implement more effective and will make you a better operator.
 
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