PTO Engaging - No Clutch

Mr.556

New member

Equipment
L3301
Jun 5, 2021
1
0
1
NewBrunswick
I have a L3301 with a flail mower. I am usually very careful when engaging the PTO. I usually have the RPM around 2,000 and then disengage the clutch slowly and then bring the RPM up to where i want it.

However, i had someone borrow my tractor and noticed that he has engaged the PTO at 540 PTO RPM without even using the clutch ! Went straight into gear ! I observed him doing this as i went to pickup my tractor. I did not hear any gear grinding..... just a clunk and the flail went from 0 to 60 in a quarter second !

He said he did this about 5 times..... does anyone know if this will cause permanent damage ? Or it can somewhat take a bit of abuse like this 20210528_204133.jpg ??
 

Henro

Well-known member

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B2910, BX2200, KX41-2V mini Ex.
May 24, 2019
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North of Pittsburgh PA
I can’t help with a specific answer to your question, but I couldn’t help but think that this is an example of why I never lend my tractors to anyone!

My guess would be that since there was no grinding apparent, that while engaging at full 540 PTO RPM cannot be beneficial, it likely will not be a major issue for you in the long run. But that is only a guess.

Does that person also increases his car or truck RPM up pretty high before he puts it in drive? What goes through some peoples heads on occasion is something I often wonder...but I am not perfect either, by far...LOL
 
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Henro

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B2910, BX2200, KX41-2V mini Ex.
May 24, 2019
1,566
437
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North of Pittsburgh PA
I have a L3301 with a flail mower. I am usually very careful when engaging the PTO. I usually have the RPM around 2,000 and then disengage the clutch slowly and then bring the RPM up to where i want it.

However, i had someone borrow my tractor and noticed that he has engaged the PTO at 540 PTO RPM without even using the clutch ! Went straight into gear ! I observed him doing this as i went to pickup my tractor. I did not hear any gear grinding..... just a clunk and the flail went from 0 to 60 in a quarter second !

He said he did this about 5 times..... does anyone know if this will cause permanent damage ? Or it can somewhat take a bit of abuse like this View attachment 61102 ??
Second question. Why do you run the engine RPM at 2000 RPM when you use your foot clutch to engage the mower? I would be inclined to engage the clutch at around idle speed or a little higher. That’s what I do with my brush hog. After the Clutch is engaged I then increase rpm up to the cutting speed RPM. Less wear on the clutch that way in my mind.
 
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Roadworthy

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Lifetime Member

Equipment
L2501 HST
Aug 17, 2019
939
125
43
Benton City, WA
When I bought my tractor the mechanic at the dealer gave me some advice on the PTO. He said to always use the clutch when engaging or disengaging the PTO because the gears are square cut and not synchronized. Disengaging the PTO without the clutch can (according to him) cause the edges of the teeth to wear at an angle over time. Another recommendation is to engage the PTO at idle then increase the engine speed.
 
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NCL4701

Well-known member

Equipment
L4701, WC68 chipper, grapple, BB1572 box scrape, Howes 500, 16kW IMD gen
Apr 27, 2020
474
347
63
Central Piedmont, NC
I have a L3301 with a flail mower. I am usually very careful when engaging the PTO. I usually have the RPM around 2,000 and then disengage the clutch slowly and then bring the RPM up to where i want it.

However, i had someone borrow my tractor and noticed that he has engaged the PTO at 540 PTO RPM without even using the clutch ! Went straight into gear ! I observed him doing this as i went to pickup my tractor. I did not hear any gear grinding..... just a clunk and the flail went from 0 to 60 in a quarter second !

He said he did this about 5 times..... does anyone know if this will cause permanent damage ? Or it can somewhat take a bit of abuse like this View attachment 61102 ??
Sounds like you loaned your tractor to the WhistlinDiesel guy for a special tractor episode.

Unless and until something actually breaks or you tear it apart and start magnafluxing gears and shafts for stress fractures/inspecting gear teeth for damage there’s really no way to know if any damage was done. At this point, seems you might as well run it until it either breaks or doesn’t. What’s done or not done is done.

As mentioned previously, it’s pretty much the same as getting in a car/pickup with an automatic transmission, run the RPM up to around 2200 or so, and slam it from park/neutral to drive. (Or with a manual trans, skip the clutch and kick the shifter into gear with the engine running 2000+ RPM). Would it just bark the tires and go in with no problem or damage something in the drive train? How many times can you do it before something grenades?

Not suggesting you try that with your own car/truck. If that’s how the person driving your tractor drives their car/truck (could be being that makes as much sense as what they did to your tractor) you could ask them. If it was one of my buddies that previously alleged to be an experienced operator, I’d be asking, probably pretty loudly. If it was my grandpa or wife, I’d just make sure nothing like that ever happened again and say a little prayer for the PTO.

Good luck. Sincerely hope there’s no real damage.
 

GeoHorn

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Lifetime Member

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M4700DT, LA1002FEL, Ferguson5-8B Compactor-Roller, 10KDumpTrailer, RTV-X900
May 18, 2018
2,508
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113
Texas
I have a L3301 with a flail mower. I am usually very careful when engaging the PTO. I usually have the RPM around 2,000 and then disengage the clutch slowly and then bring the RPM up to where i want it.

However, i had someone borrow my tractor and noticed that he has engaged the PTO at 540 PTO RPM without even using the clutch ! Went straight into gear ! I observed him doing this as i went to pickup my tractor. I did not hear any gear grinding..... just a clunk and the flail went from 0 to 60 in a quarter second !

He said he did this about 5 times..... does anyone know if this will cause permanent damage ? Or it can somewhat take a bit of abuse like this View attachment 61102 ??
The terminology you’ve used in your description is puzzling. DISengaging a clutch means you push down on the pedal to disconnect the engine from the gear-train. Reading between the lines, I’m interpreting your technique is: to depress the clutch pedal, engage the PTO, then release the clutch pedal (thereby engaging the gear-train which rotates the PTO shaft) then accelerating your engine to the higher speed you desire (perhaps to get the PTO shaft up to its operating speed of 540 RPM.)

I’m trying to understand what you say your ”friend” did. What you describe is that he had the PTO already AT 540 RPM...meaning the engine was already at high RPM...when he engaged the PTO clutch.... and you heard no grinding of gears (there should be NO grinding of gears when engaging PTO regardless of engine RPM, by the way.)

The “clunk” was a sound the mower made as it was forced to accelerate from stand-still to operating RPM. While not the best technique....it’s unlikely to have caused any long-term damage.

If you let someone borrow your equipment.... and you don’t teach or explain to them HOW you want your equipment operated .... then it’s really your own darn fault if they do it “their way”. IMO.
 

Bulldog

Well-known member

Equipment
M 9000 DTC, L 3000 DT
Mar 30, 2010
5,418
34
48
Rocky Face, Georgia
It sounds like you got lucky. A flail mower doesn't take as much power to get up to speed as say a rotary cutter. I would say on a implement that takes a lot of power he would have found the weak link by engaging at high rpm's. Personally I always engage at low idle and bring the implement up to speed regardless of what it is.
 

Nicfin36

Active member

Equipment
L2501 HST, BH77 Backhoe, QA Loader
Jun 19, 2019
671
195
43
Decatur, AL
The summary is the OP uses the clutch to engage and disengage the PTO and his friend did not. I am not a mechanic, but I will say you are most likely OK. Was it good for it? Probably not. Just don't do it anymore, which would mean no loaning your tractor to others, as you know to use the clutch, and others might not and more importantly, don't really care about your machine. These tractors have been used for years as rentals and I can only imagine the abuse they go through and keep on ticking. Yes, I know they can break, but I think you are OK.

On PTO stuff, I like to engage a PTO at the lowest RPM that the engine does not lug very much.