June 12, 2013
One of the cleverer bits we’ve seen lately from the Conservatives is the recent Michael Jackson-like dangling of Eve Adams off the balcony over the bus lane. The issue of $2700 in questionable grooming expenses during her 2011 campaign has set the media hounds off after another case of Conservative malfeasance, only to run into luscious visuals and a highly sympathetic Ms Adams who in fact spent most of the questioned funds on sitters for her 8 year-old son during long days of campaigning. She also claims to have bought soap and mouthwash for her volunteers.
Eve Adams is no Mike Duffy, and she is certainly no Bev Oda. No doubt viewers will be happy for the Adams thing to fill TV screens for a while, just because viewers will enjoy this pleasant distraction as an alternative the the ugly, less well-groomed faces we usually get to watch.
But the Eve Adams trail is a false scent. It’s time for their editors to head the hounds off and get them back to work.
June 12, 2013
When I bought a 48″ offshore rotary mower for my Bolens G174 I didn’t know any better but to use the same system of chains it used on the 48″ Woods 3 pt hitch finish mower to maintain cutting height while in operation. I just added a couple of appropriate chains to the front corners of the bush hog and away I went. Then when I lowered the hoist, the mower was sure to stop at the preset height. The system was crude, but quite effective. Larger tractors have more complex presets for height on their 3 pt hitch controls than the little ones, which basically lift up and down.
When the Kubota B7510 came along and I started to use it on the bush hog I discovered I had to fiddle with the hoist to get the proper height for mowing around my little trees. It would hold a position pretty well, but if I lifted to vault over a rock or make a tight turn, I’d have to reset the height by trial and error. I couldn’t figure out an easy way to preset the height of the cut on this model. Newer B-series tractors have a more sophisticated height setting system.
Today I took the Woods chain cleats off the Bolens and attached them to the pin which holds the upper end of the top link on the Kubota. The chains from the rotary mower will fit the larger tractor. Now I can hop the mower over an obstruction and return to the preset height of cut without undue attention to the operation.
Last week I ordered a second set of the chain plates to replace the set off the Bolens from Steensma Lawn and Mower Equipment in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Woods still stocks them.
June 11, 2013
Shelly Glover is supposed to be suspended from her position of Member of Parliament for a clear election rules violation. So the Conservatives stall the suspension with the help of a compliant Speaker. Fine, a bit of foot-dragging, but little real harm if she keeps her head down.
But then in her legally crippled state, Nicholson puts her on the selection committee for a Supreme Court Judge? That task is the most sensitive choice a government must make, and Harper has the sheer effrontery to stick a defrocked M.P. (who may face jail time or loss of her position) on the panel to rub our faces in his excrement??? I felt physically ill when I realized the sheer contempt for the traditions and even the law of Canada these guys feel.
Harper and his caucus have gone way past the pale of civil interaction with those outside their tribe. All that matters now is that the hubris of the Leader be accommodated by everyone, at all costs.
With Glover in her current state of judicial limbo, anybody who would put her on this committee (to choose the very Justice who may well decide her fate as an M.P.) does not deserve to govern Canada. This has to end.
June 2, 2013
23 May, 2013
Today I prepared the B7510 for mowing around some of the 15,000 little trees on the farm. That involved removing the five-foot mid-mount mower and hooking on the 48″ rotary mower. The off-brand “bush hog” normally mounts on my Bolens G174 where height control is achieved by means of a pair of chains to the upper bolt on the 3 pt hitch. The fittings came with the 4′ Woods finish mower and it seemed reasonable to add the chains when I bought the rotary mower new.
Removing the MMM turned out to be a handful because I have it set for a 3 1/2″ cut and didn’t want to change it. That reduced clearance underneath, so I lifted the front with a floor jack. The little plates which hold the trailing arms for the mower had been mangled by frequent lifts and hydraulic force. I had to remove one and blacksmith it back into shape. Apart from that the dis-assembly went well.
Hitching the Kubota up to a 3 pt hitch implement was a pleasant surprise. The arms of the hitch arch together and above the implement, making it easy to centre things. When I lowered the hoist, I watched the arms spread out to about where they needed to be. Minor adjustments to position can be done from the ground by discreet pressure on the forward and reverse pedals. This was real bonus. Hitching up the idling tractor was surprisingly easy.
The 7510 doesn’t seem to need suitcase weights to balance the 405 pounds of the mower on the 3 pt. hitch. The chains were extraneous to this application so I taped them securely out of the way. The lift height control seems quite precise and it holds its position well. While I always used 4WD with the Bolens to allow it enough traction to turn the awkward implement, with its greater weight, longer wheelbase and larger tires, the ‘Bota gets along well in 2Wd on the rough field.
Mowing long rows of seedlings goes much more quickly on the Kubota than on the Bolens.
From two hours of field work, the B7510 seems poised to boot the Bolens out of the garage. At the moment I can’t think of anything the 1980 G174 can do which the ’05 Bota can’t do better, and with insolent ease.
24 May, 2013
Today I finished that 5 acre field of seedlings. It took another 2.3 hours to compete the job, so with a 48″ bush hog the Kubota covers a bit more than one acre per hour of mowing. That’s about what my TAFE 35 hp gear driven tractor does with a 5′ bush hog. There’s no doubt the HST is a time saver when cutting around trees. The Bolens was much slower at this job.
As long as I used the Bolens compact tractor to mow the lawns I could sharpen the blades by the simple expedient of raising the mower on the 3 pt hitch and diving underneath with my trusty angle grinder.
The rocks haven’t changed, and though I am using the newly-acquired Kubota mower at its maximum height, occasional trolls have still lept out of the sod to engage the new knives in combat. Things came to a head yesterday when a suddenly-emerging rock caught the middle knife a good one. Things sounded rough, recovered, and I made another circuit of the plot where I park utility trailers before I realized that the grass was getting a Mohawk cut. This wouldn’t do.
A check underneath indicated that the centre blade had come loose, so I moved into the auto shop to effect a repair. 30 mm sockets are not common in shops. My tractor wrenches wouldn’t fit, either. Fortunately I found a specialty wrench in one of Charlie’s tool drawers and it allowed me to tighten the thing up to where it would run again.
But the cut wasn’t very good. I had to accept that the blades were dull, and that this would be a regular problem. Standard procedure involves removing the mower deck each time to sharpen the blades. The B7510 is designed to drive its front wheels over the hulking pressed-steel deck, but everything has to be set to a 1″ cut for this to work well, and I need the 4″ height.
I needed a quick and efficient method to access the blades for maintenance.
The tractor is all-tires-no-frame from the point of view of a car hoist. After some thought this morning I grabbed a couple of hardwood boards off a lumber pile and set them across the arms of the car hoist to provide a wooden path for the tractor wheels. I added a collection of walnut blocks to allow the tractor to climb up onto this improvised cradle on the hoist. In low range, 4WD the tractor eased into position and I set the parking brake. No problem so far.
The standard shake of the vehicle when just off the floor proved that this was definitely not a car on the hoist. Cars lift off their frames and the metal-to-metal contact feels very solid. The tractor wobbled about far more than I liked. The tires are big and soft. They flex.
I kept my distance and ran the Kubota up for photos. I noticed that the left blade had a noticeable bend and would need to be replaced. The others were far from new.
Off I went to the local Kubota dealer, Wegeant’s Farm Supply in Brockville. I showed a photo of the tractor on the hoist to the parts guy and he took all of the time he needed to convince me that I shouldn’t work on the tractor on the hoist. His line was that it would do a great deal of damage to the tractor if it fell off. He told me in the shop they always keep the wheels on the floor, and if they need serious lifting power, they bring over a portable chain lift. Big floppy tires don’t go well on car lifts, and the kind of yoke necessary to reach the frame past huge tires would be cumbersome indeed.
He suggested I hang the front of the tractor only from the hoist with a chain. This made sense, so I stole a choker chain from the timber winch and hooked it up.
That worked fine. I crawled in and used the 1/2″ impact wrench on the 30 mm socket he sold me. The blades were changed in about fifteen minutes of work, so I may well have found my efficient method of attending to the service needs of this mower.
Comments from TractorByNet.com suggest that axle stands would be a good idea in case the chain fails. But the ones we have are much too short. I’ll improvise a pole under the front bumper. In conjunction with blocks for the rear wheels it should provide a usable device to improve the safety margin.
May 21, 2013
With yesterday’s insufferable speech to the Conservative caucus Stephen Harper’s credibility has snapped like a dry twig. But can anyone imagine him stepping down for the good of the party?
I watched a bit of Question Period on CPAC. John Baird seemed to have a lot of fun deflecting Opposition attacks on the clearly indefensible subject of Duffygate. Likely he was reciting the Kipling poem If to himself while smiling his way through the single talking point.
After Harper’s weak response to the senate scandal and absence from the House on a critical day, Baird may see his opening.*
How did they dump Margaret Thatcher, anyway?
It just looks as though John Baird, Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair might make for an interesting race in 2015.
UPDATE, May 24, 2013
Maybe Baird isn’t the one. His hilarious slip of tongue has gone viral on You Tube, carrying with it a miasma of other clips which make the guy out to be a bully and a cad.
May 18, 2013
I’ve spent the better part of the last week getting adjusted to the 2005 Kubota B7510 I purchased privately last weekend and towed home.
So here are some notes and a few questions. Please jump in with a comment where you have information to ad.
Towing A few years ago I built a tandem trailer for my Polaris Ranger and usually tow it with a 4 cylinder, 4WD Toyota Tacoma, rated for 3500 pounds. The truck/trailer combination proved marginal at best for hauling a B7510 with belly mower. In hilly country I was genuinely worried about the rig’s stopping ability on the wet pavement of the day. For another trip of that duration (3 1/2 hours, one way) I will use a heavier vehicle and a trailer with brakes.
Mid-mount Mower It’s quite an impressive implement. I spent the better part of two days on a flat garage floor adjusting the thing for a tall cut. It produces a fine mowed surface now, and the rocks are well below the cutters (ok, most of them). The vendor installed the mower by driving over it and clicking everything into place. It took him about ten minutes.
To remove the MMM I slid it sideways on the garage floor. Because the mower was set to a 3 1/2″ setting, though, it lacked the clearance underneath. A floor jack raised the front enough to allow the belly mower to slide out to the right. A pair of link stoppers underneath (small plates to hold the mower arms when the mower’s not installed) proved crumbled by the hoist, so I had to remove one and take it to an anvil. The other I beat into place with a small ball-peen hammer. To hop forward in the chronology, after I had re-installed the mower and raised it once, the link stoppers were crumbled yet again. This time I removed both after a look in the manual. The problem was at the setup stage: heavy steel cotter pins were driven through the shaft retaining the link stoppers, and their bulk restricted the necessary rotation of the bits which are designed to clip onto other pins to keep them out of the way of harm from the mower mechanism. The manual insists that the cotter pins for this location must be made of copper and bent so as to allow necessary rotation. Out of curiosity I checked a 2011 B3000 at a local soccer field. Its link stoppers are also bent, caused again by too-thick steel cotter pins restricting the movement.
To replace the mid-mount mower the manual calls for it to be set to the lowest possible setting. I didn’t want to do that and planned to store the MMM in a gravel-floored building, so I resolved to dig the mower into the gravel, provide appropriate blocks, and lighten the front wheels of the tractor by not removing the 405 lb. rotary mower from the 3 pt hitch. Then I removed the two flimsy metal covers on the top and drove over the MMM as the vendor had demonstrated. He was a bit better at it, but the process worked.
Seat and seat belt It’s impossible to mow without the seat belt fastened. Perhaps the tractor is designed that way. The seat is slippery enough I would fall off it on some of the slopes of our lawn, and without the down-force of the belt the tractor could easily flip me from the seat on full-speed, 400′ dashes to the end of the lawn. For the record, in light grass the mower cuts very well at max. cruising speed. The mower is indeed an impressive implement.
4WD The extra wheels driving make treacherous slopes easy on this machine. That said, in one terraced section I did use the differential lock to get up over the top. The drive train provides seamless power in tough going, though to eliminate skid marks on corners I have learned to mow in 2WD much more frequently than I did with the Bolens. To its credit the G174 has very effective differentials, and skid marks on the lawn were never a problem until the Kubota took over.
Hoist Is there any way to adjust things so that the mower doesn’t trail along on its front casters while lifted? (UPDATE, June 13, 2013: The centre roller is digging in on slopes because it can’t rotate around its shaft. It’s pinned in place by the hardware which trails from the front to the mower. Doesn’t seem adjustable. Must ponder this.)
Remotes I switched the ends to fit my log splitter and tried it. Not bad at all. The splitter seems just as fast (not very) as when mounted on my 35 hp. TAFE, maybe a bit faster. My line pressure gauge reads 2600, which seems high. I tried to adjust the nut. The lock nut came loose easily, but the inner nut seemed to be soldered to the larger round end on the housing. Is the whole thing supposed to turn? I put all of the force I judged appropriate onto the end of a 9/16″ wrench and nothing moved. Perplexed.
UPDATE, May 29, 2013: Embarrassed grin. When my neighbour Peter Myers dropped by I asked him about the adjustment. He looked and immediately noticed that the inside of the thing adjusts with an Allen key. A quick 1/4 turn and the pressure was at 1950 lb. and all was well. He further told me that the only thing the high pressure would damage would be a weak hose.
The Tractor It runs very well, produces an excellent cut when mowing, maneuvers easily, provides great visibility, reasonable comfort, and an improved level of operator safety (I hope) over my elderly Bolens G174. But I still like the Bolens better. I almost never smell exhaust fumes from the Bolens, and I just like the feel/sound of the two cylinder engine better than the rather loud Kubota mill when it’s running the mower. The Bolens is a friend; the Kubota is a tractor.
Now when I drive the Bolens I am very conscious of its apparent tippiness. While the ‘Bota has done all of the mowing since its arrival, both lawn and tree plantation (with 48″ rotary mower), the Bolens is still very handy for odd jobs. I don’t see selling it.
Another job for the G174: I figured with the empty 3 pt hitch on the Kubota I could easily use the trailer hitch triangle to ferry trailers around the yard when mowing. But I find myself using the Bolens for the job instead. Turns out it’s a lot easier for me to turn and look backwards from the Bolens seat, unencumbered by seat, belt, ROPS, and hydraulic controls mounted at my right elbow on the Kubota. So ease of turning around in the seat trumps the step-through frame, HST and power steering when jockeying trailers. So far.
Mowing under apple trees Forget it. It’s too tall. The Roll Over Protection System stands 75″ from the ground. To mow around the trees this time I pressed the old mowers into service to do the precise job for which I bought the new one. But I’m still glad I bought the Kubota. You just never know how something new will get used until it’s been around for a while.
Seems there’s still a role for the Simplicity riding mower. With its hydro drive and small stature I can insinuate it under the pear trees with minimal damage to the branches. Its engine is on its last legs, but may last a long time if it only does 20 minutes of work per week.
As my neighbours all keep telling me, you can’t have too many tractors.
A final word about the use of a rotary mower with the B7510:
I have spent 500+ hours operating a succession of rotary mowers on various tractors since retiring to the farm in 2004.
Precise height control on the 3 pt hitch is highly desirable, though not essential. The Massey Ferguson 35′s control was pretty good. The TAFE’s isn’t bad, though it often conflicts with the loader on the other end. For mowing season I bolt the lower setting down quite rigidly and then it cuts very well with a 5′ Rhino mower.
The Bolens G174 does not have height control. The Woods 3 pt hitch finish mower which came with it uses chains attached from the leading edge of the mower to the tractor end of the top link for a minimum-height stop. Correctly adjusted, these chains do a good job of regulating the cut. They are particularly useful when the operator has to lift the cutter over an obstacle and then resume.
What the 2005 Kubota B7510 lacks which the new models have is precise height control. I’ve now trimmed around ten acres of trees with it and it has done a very good job, but I have to reset the height by trial and error every time I move it. This is an area for improvement. I may steal the check chain brackets off the top-link of the Bolens and install them on the comparable shaft on the Kubota. If anyone knows of a vendor for these simple Woods chain plates (check chain bracket, part #23898) stamped out of 1/4″ steel, I’d like an additional pair.
Kurt at Steensma Lawn and Power Equipment in Kalamazoo, MI was happy to take my order for the parts.