Self-inflicted 3ph problem


Well-known member

B7100HSD, B2789, B2550, B4672, RC54-71B, 48" cultivator, homemade FEL and Cab
Jun 10, 2016
Muskoka, Ont.
I had everything mounted, fueled, greased, tested and ready to go; but of course, I was out of town when the first snowstorm of the season hit. My son, bless his soul, took it upon himself to come over and blow out the driveway for SWMBO in my absence.

Afterwards, he phoned me up and said "Dad, I think I broke your tractor. It was working fine but suddenly it barely lifts the blower off the ground, and then only very slowly."

I got home in time for another round of snow. Initially, the 3ph seemed to work, but soon got slower and lower. However, the FEL was working fine and seemed to have full power.

I'll skip over all the head-scratching and diagnostics and cut to the chase: it was my own doing. When I built the FEL, I knew the 2" diameter lift cylinders were able to lift a lot more weight than my little tractor was designed to carry. The spool valve assembly I bought had its own relief valve and I adjusted it so the FEL was limited to about 600 lbs or so (a 55 gallon drum of water plus a few rocks).

I used it that way all last year with no problems. This year, I bought one of those HF quick-hitches. Great time saver when swapping attachments, it takes all of 2 minutes to disconnect the driveshaft, drop the tiller, hook up the blower and connect that driveshaft. But it does extend the lift arms a few inches, requiring more force to lift a heavy attachment.

You've probably figured out where this is going by now: Not a problem lifting a blower full of packed wet snow. Not a problem lifting an empty blower extended back another 3 or 4 inches. But put them together...

In the end, I had to bump the FEL relief valve setting upwards a bit so the 3ph can lift the blower reliably. I'll just have to be careful not to overload the FEL in the future.

I guess I should have bought the 1-1/2" cylinders after all... :rolleyes: