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Old 06-24-2013, 10:08 AM   #1
Mountain William
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Default Adjusting top links and lifting rod

Hello everyone. I got a new L3800 about a month ago and it's my first tractor. I've never had so much fun going so slow. However, I am regretting the fact that Wheaties were never my first choice for breakfast. I'm having a hard time trying to adjust the top link and the adjustable lift rod. I was just wondering if there are some tricks to it that could make it easier for a newbie like me to turn those little rascals. I have been using a closed end wrench at times as a lever to turn the adjusting rods, but I am concerned that those rods could break off by me putting a lot of pressure on just one end at a time. Do any of you think that's a valid concern or were they built not to break. Thanks in advance for any tips or responses.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:05 AM   #2
BadDog
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Default Re: Adjusting top links and lifting rod

If it were older, I would say disassemble and clean all the threads, which my little B7100 needs.

Being new, you might be fighting paint in the threads? Or lack of lubricant (don't need/want much or it's a mess, dry-film (Teflon etc) lube is best)? And I'm assuming you backed off the lock nuts (or other locking device?)? And you're not adjusting with it under load? No offence, just covering what comes to mind. With modern cost cutting and "building to a price", I suppose it might also be poor threads from the factory?

In any case, from what little I know, those adjustment points working properly shouldn't take anywhere near the force your talking about. Mine are, but that's from 30+ years of dirt and rust...
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:23 PM   #3
Kingcreek
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Default Re: Adjusting top links and lifting rod

Shouldn't be that hard UNLESS you have a load on the top link. Let it down enough to get some slack in the top bushing. If you can't rattle it some then it's going to fight you. Sometimes I don't have to move one much or the rear implement isn't overly big or heavy and I will use the hole in the handle of the crescent wrench just as you describe, haven't broken off a rod yet.
Welcome to the forum.
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Old 06-24-2013, 12:45 PM   #4
North Idaho Wolfman

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Default Re: Adjusting top links and lifting rod

First unthread the entire link on both ends.
Check it for metal , bad threads, rust, or paint.
Clean and reassemble with a good dry lube, applying as you thread it in.
It should turn very easy, if it doesn't get a new one they are cheap enough.

If you have an implement that requires a lot of frequent adjustment on the top link, you might want to look into getting a hydraulic top link.
It can also help with attaching the implement, but if that's really where your having issues the you might want to consider getting a quick hitch 3 point adapter that will make hooking up implements a breeze.
If you combine a hydraulic top link and a quick hitch 3 point adapter it will make your life a lot easier.
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Old 06-24-2013, 04:47 PM   #5
Mountain William
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Default Re: Adjusting top links and lifting rod

Thanks for all those suggestions guys. After I posted that today I went out and it seemed a little easier to adjust those links, but the rain kinda shut me down for continued practice. I'll get back on it tomorrow. Been trying to work on my road and I've found that I need to adjust that box blade quite often to dig deeper here, smooth better there, tilt towards the side over there, etc.
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Old 06-24-2013, 05:27 PM   #6
BadDog
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Default Re: Adjusting top links and lifting rod

My little 7100 came with a box blade different from what I used so many years ago.

My old box was a true Gannon clone. Heavy box sides, individual rippers, each adjusted manually, and as you found, sometimes it was "interesting" to get it to work just the way I wanted.

I wasn't terribly thrilled with what I thought of as a "light duty" version (and it is) I got on my 7100. It's the style with a release "dog" that lets the main assembly rotate to 3 dog indexed positions. No idea the correct names, but let's call them drag, spread, and rip. Drag orients the blade more or less vertical with concave surface forward and tends to gather up and move larger piles of dirt caught in the smallish "box". Flip it over and you get the rippers down, and usage is obvious, though there is no dirt capture. Flip it over again and the blade is convex forward, which makes spreading and leveling quite easy. Once I figured it out (not that hard), it made leveling my side yard so very easy, and that's in spite of dinking around with a bent/broken limit bar on my 3 point. A few minutes spent in drag mode to move volume from the high spots roughly to the worst of the low spot areas, then back-n-forth and round-n-round a few times, and it looks almost smooth enough to put in a putting green (if I had any use for such a thing).

Now I wouldn't trade this thing FOR a name brand Gannon. Well, ok, I guess I would, but only because I could get one like I have for far less and have both! I think these are popular around here for use in working horse arenas and stables?
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Old 06-24-2013, 07:27 PM   #7
GWD
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Default Re: Adjusting top links and lifting rod

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain William View Post
Thanks for all those suggestions guys. After I posted that today I went out and it seemed a little easier to adjust those links, but the rain kinda shut me down for continued practice. I'll get back on it tomorrow. Been trying to work on my road and I've found that I need to adjust that box blade quite often to dig deeper here, smooth better there, tilt towards the side over there, etc.
The issue you describe has the perfect solution in a Top & Tilt kit. It is a hydraulic top link and one hydraulic side link. Unfortunately, they come at a high price and the two additional hydraulic rear hook-ups are outrageously expensive.

So, if manual adjustments are what you are willing to accept then the guys have been giving good advice.

Unhook the top link and put a pin through the ball to keep it from turning. Loosen the lock nut or threaded flange.

Then try to rotate the body to extend or contract the top link (one end has left-hand threads). If it is easy to do then the problem is the weight or stress on the top link is causing it to be hard to adjust.

Do the same thing with the adjustable side link and diagnose it the same way.

As others have mentioned, the threads should be lubed. Some adjustable bodies even have grease Zerks for the lube process. I just use grease but others have suggested different solutions.
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Old 07-02-2013, 09:04 PM   #8
RDR
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Default Re: Adjusting top links and lifting rod

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain William View Post
Thanks for all those suggestions guys. After I posted that today I went out and it seemed a little easier to adjust those links, but the rain kinda shut me down for continued practice. I'll get back on it tomorrow. Been trying to work on my road and I've found that I need to adjust that box blade quite often to dig deeper here, smooth better there, tilt towards the side over there, etc.
You are learning. Keep is simple and use what you have. I'm 61, been working tractors since I was 12 and am still learning.

You need to learn how to make adjustments easily by having the pressure off what you are trying to turn. If you are trying to lengthen the toplink you have to keep raising the lift for the 3pt to take the pressure off. If you are trying to shorten it you go the other way.

If you want to put a crown in your driveway, which you should, always work on the right side of the driveway with the box blade. It is easy to lengthen the right side lift link by using the lift lever to take the pressure off as you lenghten it. This will make the dirt dump to the left. Set it and go up and down the driveway once before you change it for the next pass. If you want more dirt in the box blade shorten the toplink. Don't make any more adjustments until you make one round trip.

If you are getting humps and lows you'll have to learn to move your lift lever if the front wheels are on a hump you bump the boxblade up, if going down you lower the boxblade. The slower you go the better you will do until you learn. Even after you learn you will have to go slow unless you do like I did and put wheels on the back of the boxblade. Then you won't have to mess with the lift lever.

You can always go fast to get done soon so you can get another beer, tip over and tell how you glad you were to have an ROPS. I've never had a tractor with one, grew up driving tractor on a sidehill in Upstate N.Y. and am still here.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:02 AM   #9
Mountain William
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Default Re: Adjusting top links and lifting rod

Quote:
Originally Posted by RDR View Post
You are learning. Keep is simple and use what you have. I'm 61, been working tractors since I was 12 and am still learning.
.
Thanks, RDR. I'm a year older than you and I've been working tractors since I was uh 62, so I appreciate good tips like yours and the other guys. Hopefully I can learn.
I mentioned in my original post about using the closed end of a wrench, or the hole, as a lever on the rods of the adjusting links. One of the fellows said he's never broken one of the rods. On my L3800, it looks like those rods are welded on to each side of the adjusting part as opposed to going all the way through. Not sure about that, though. Have you or anyone else had any problem with breaking one off or anything? Hopefully, following your all's advice about not adjusting when it's under load, I won't have to use the wrench as much, but I was still wondering if those rods are prone to break.
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Old 07-06-2013, 12:33 PM   #10
North Idaho Wolfman

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Default Re: Adjusting top links and lifting rod

I don't think I have ever heard of anyone breaking a lift or center link rod while adjusting it.
And very rarely breaking one while using it.
They are designed to take a whole lot of force!
Your not going to do any damage using a cheater pipe or wrench to help you turn the link.
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