A three-point hitch is a linkage system that allows ploughs or other devices to attach to an agricultural tractor. A three-point hitch consists of several different components, including a hydraulic system, lifting arms, stabilisers and linkage points. Each hitch has a series of attachment holes that allow a variety of implements to be attached to the tractor. The main purpose of a three-point hitch is to transfer the weight of the implements (as well as any items the implements are moving) to the rear wheels of the tractor, which are larger and have a greater load-bearing ability than the front wheels.
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Things you need
- 2 3-foot-long hydraulic pistons
- 4 steel-eye bolts
- Adjustable ratchet
- 2 5-foot-long flat steel bars with bored holes in the centre
- 2 4-foot-long cylindrical metal bars with bored holes on either end
- 2 6-inch stainless-steel lynch pins
- 2 3-foot-long pieces of stainless steel linked chain
- Power take-off driveshaft
- 4-foot-long flat steel bar with 11 bored holes evenly spaced
- 3-foot-long flat steel bar
- 8 4-inch steel screws
- 4 8-inch steel screws
- 2 steel washers
- Phillips-head screwdriver
Attach each of the hydraulic pistons to either side of the tractor's engine block using two of the 8-inch steel screws and the Phillips-head screwdriver. These pistons will serve as the hitch's lifting arms.
Fasten each of the 4-foot-long cylindrical metal bars to the inner clamps holding the tractor's rear tires. Use two of the 4-inch steel screws and the Phillips-head screwdriver. These cylindrical metal bars will serve as the three-point hitch's stabilisers.
Fasten each of the 5-foot-long flat steel bars (with bored holes in the centre) to the tractor's rear axle using two of the 4-inch steel screws and the Phillips-head screwdriver.
Fasten the free end of the hydraulic pistons and the stainless-steel linked chains to the centre holes in the 5-foot-long flat steel bars. Use the final two 8-inch steel screws and both of the steel washers.
Insert the power take-off driveshaft into the outlet valve of the tractor's engine. The power take-off driveshaft should slide smoothly into the engine's outlet valve.
Secure the free ends of the stainless-steel linked chain to either end of the power take-off driveshaft using two of the steel eye bolts and the adjustable ratchet.
Attach the 3-foot-long flat steel bar to the end of the power take-off driveshaft using two of the 4-inch steel screws.
Fasten the free ends of the cylindrical metal bars and the 5-foot-long flat steel bars to either end of the 4-foot-long flat steel bar with the 11 bored holes, using the two lynch pins and the hammer.
Secure the free end of the 3-foot-long steel bar to the centre of the 4-foot-long steel bar using the remaining two 4-inch screws. The 3-foot-long steel bar, which is attached to the power take-off driveshaft, should line up perfectly with the centre of the bored steel bar at the end of the three-point hitch.
Tips and warnings
- Order the hydraulic pistons and the power take-off driveshaft from a tractor supply company or an industrial distribution company. Make sure the power take-off driveshaft fit the type and size of your tractor's engine.
- Order the steel bars and the cylindrical metal bars from a tractor supply company or a metal foundry. Some industrial supply companies, such as WW Grainger, may also carry the appropriate pieces; the pieces must fit the proper specifications, particularly the 4-foot-long flat steel bar with the 11 bored holes.
- Test the hitch system by modulating the power take-off driveshaft to ensure that everything is working properly.
- Always wear appropriate clothing when working with heavy pieces of metal, including eye protection, gloves and close-toed shoes.
- Never put too heavy an object on a three-point hitch. Test the hitch prior to use in order to ensure it is properly constructed and to ensure the load-bearing capability of the tractor is sufficient to handle the types of implements you are going to use. Attach an implement to the hitch and modulate the hitch a few times to ensure that it can handle the implement. Never allow anyone to sit on the tractor when you test the hitch system. Small tractors can flip backward if a hitch is too small to support a given implement.
- Consult your tractor's operating manual (or speak with the dealer) to determine the load-bearing capability of your tractor prior to building a hitch.
- It is best to purchase all implements (ploughs, shovels, etc.) through your tractor dealer. Doing so will ensure that all implements are the appropriate size for your tractor's load-bearing capabilities.
- Check the specifications of the hydraulic pistons you purchase for your hitch prior to ordering them. Consult a product brochure or speak with a knowledgeable sales associate to ensure that the hydraulic pistons have the strength to move the implements you are going to use.
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