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How much can I REALLY tow with a garden tractor?

Post in 'The Gear' started by Yarzy, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. Yarzy

    Yarzy Member

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    Guys,

    I am toying with the idea of making some trailers that I would basically stack wood in for two years, season it, then move it over to the house. Long story, but I am basically trying to avoid moving a bunch of wood twice each year.

    I have a 22HP John Deere lawn tractor with the shell (belly) removed. Any idea how much I could tow with this? Could I tow a 1/2 cord of oak?

    Thanks!

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  2. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Just loaded up the trailer with almost 1/2 cord of oak this afternoon and towed it with the Cub 27 hp at about 1/2 throttle.
    Go for it.
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I pull a quarter cord of oak at a time uphill behind my 22HP Husqvarna (same as Sears GT) gear drive garden tractor. Power isn't a problem, traction is. I run with chains year around. I didn't buy a hydro because I knew most of the work would be wood hauling. It has around twenty cord under its belt and hasn't crapped out yet.

    The old 18HP MTD yanked at least sixty cord up the hill out of those woods over the years and mowed the grass too.

    Edit: Must have been half asleep. That trailer holds an eighth of a cord.
  4. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    A 1/2 cord at a time?!? That would be a big trailer. I do have a bigger trailer now.

    [​IMG]
  5. thinkxingu

    thinkxingu Minister of Fire

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    I have an 8 x 8 trailer with sides that I tote around with my 20hp Craftsman and homemade hitch. Last spring, it was filled with 16 wood windows and a whole bunch of old siding, glass, etc. Pulled just fine, though I'm not sure I would've had the traction to go uphill.

    S
  6. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    I can haul 6 or 7 hundred pounds in the old homemade welded dump cart on '75 John Deere 110 very easily.And pull single logs up to the same weight with strong nylon rope,1/8" braided cable,skidding tongs or 14' log chain.Like others said,there's enough power only thing it lacks is traction.I'll get a set of chains sometime soon.On these steep slopes (and the very heavy rain received here in May & June) I've been lucky to get out just a few times in the past month.

    Picked up this 2000lb winch at Northern Tool last month,Dad & I built a mounting plate from 1/8" structural plate,thats portable.Entire unit can be used on tractor or mounted on 1 of those massive towing hooks underneath front bumper of '98 GMC Z71 4 x 4.Used it a couple times now,works great in those tight spots or steep slopes where full size pickup or tractor wont go.

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  7. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    My trailer is rated for 900#- not sure that it can hold the volume of wood to make that up. I figure 1/6 - 1/5 cord in a load with little issue. It's a Cub with an 18hp engine, but direct drive tranny
  8. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Mine hauls it all! :cheese:

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    zap and Oldhippie like this.
  9. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    It really depends on 2 things. Model of lawn tractor (type of drive train) and pulling conditions, up hill, mud, pavment, down hill etc.
    If you have a very light weight tractor (mainly built to mow grass in the suburbs), it will pull fine for some time on level pavement.
    If its uphill on grass its another story.
    I pull a 5x7 trailer up a slight hill (on grass and sometimes snow) with my JD 420. Probably a face cord at a time.
    It's sometimes very difficult. Pulling things uphill is very hard. If it didn't have posi traction (both rear wheels spinning) and bar tires, I don't know if it would do as good a job. The JD 420 is a true "garden tractor" made for utilizing ground engaging equipment.
    "Lawn tractors" are usually designed to cut grass and pull light loads of mulch and lawn debris.
    TreePointer likes this.
  10. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    A half cord of dry oak is still going to weigh an awful lot. I think you're looking at an easy 1000lb+ there, I might be wrong. Volume wise, you're talking about pulling a trailer thats roughly the size of a full size pickup 8' truck bed. With a good sized, heavy lawn tractor you mgiht get away with this on level pavement, but you're not going to make it up any sort of incline and if you go downhill even slightly the load is going to throw you around like a toy.

    Get a nice heavy duty dump cart and maybe out some side stakes on it to add a foot or so of usable height. No sense in hurting yourself or ruining your tractor for the sake of saving a few trips.
  11. jimbom

    jimbom Combustion Analyzer

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    I envision something like airline baggage carts. You load them up, let them season two years, then pull them to the house when their time comes.

    Seems to me the trailer tires would be an issue. First, two years of sitting with a load while they rot. But, more, the load on the tires would likely exceed the soil bearing capacity unless you only moved when the ground was frozen. If you have four tires and 1500 pounds of oak, each tire would have to pick up 375 pounds. Surface in contact with the soil would have to be 38 inches square to keep the contact pressure to 10 psi. Those are big tires.
  12. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Half cord of seasoned oak is going to be about 1600 lbs. That's a pretty stout load, so you're going to need a beefy trailer. Probably asking too much of a lawn tractor.

    I have a harbor freight 4x8 trailer with side panels. I can fit almost a half cord on it, but then axle starts to smile/bend (it's only rated for 1000lbs). I pull it with my commercial ZTR mower that 31HP and weighs 1200lbs. I mostly pull in like this on the road or on hard-pack trails and it does OK...not easy, but not hard . When I get into soft ground(yard) the trailer wheels sink and the front end of the mower start to rear up. I now make it a habit of NOT getting on soft ground.

    Considering my mower has more power, probably weights twice as much, and can barely handle a half cord on pavement...and not at all on grass, I'd say your chances aren't good.
  13. flewism

    flewism Member

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    I agree 1/2 a cord will be real tough. Now you said lawn tractor, not a garden tractor, is it a hydro?
    I can only tell you my experiences.
    I have a Cub Cadet model 1529 with a 19 HP Kawasaki, with the sealed hydrostatic transmission and it doesn't tow anything. I've burned up to many of these sealed hydrostatics lawn mowers for one lifetime.
    I move my wood from the stacks into the attached garage with a 4' square, 4 wheel trailer with 16" tires. it holds 1/6 of a cord if filled flush or more if heaped up. I use a 4WD 4-wheeler to move and park it in the garage most of the time, The one that get used for this mostly is a Honda foreman 450 and it is the largest one I own.
    This task is done weekly or every 10 days throughout the burning season.
    When the snow gets deep, 6-8" plus, the four wheeler will not pull the loaded trailer, it will just sit there and spin. the tires are good but no chains.
    During these times, I use the compact tractors' loader to bring wood up to the garage and the trailer just becomes a container to dump it into.
    My wood stacks and shed are about 150' behind the house for comparison.
  14. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I have pulled this trailer (flat ground) fully loaded on many occasions with my Allis Chalmers 12HP hydro. Estimated weight ~ 4000+ pounds.

    Attached Files:

  15. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    But I also built the hitch, which is much beefier than the standard on most things other than a farm tractor.

    Attached Files:

  16. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh crap - forget my prior posts. You try that with a lawn mower and your gonna break stuff. They simply don't have enough axle for that kind of weight. I would stick to the couple/few hundred pound size for that.

    Edit: now I see my confusion: The title says Garden Tractor yet the opening post states Lawn tractor. Two different critters.
    TreePointer likes this.
  17. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

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    I would be more concerned with how much can I STOP with said tractor.

    20,000 lbs of wet corn was too much for brakes of a farm tractor as I recall vividly.
    TreePointer likes this.
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    10,000 on a trailer behind my 3/4 ton Suburban can make for some stopping adventures. A thousand going downhill will jackknife a garden tractor and throw you in the weeds.

    And with a full trailer of wet red oak it can take you back downhill a ways. I hear. :red:
    ditchrider likes this.
  19. Hass

    Hass Minister of Fire

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    I have a JD 170 Lawn tractor (14hp Honda engine, Peerless trans), and I made a 4x4 Trailer out of 1/8 diamond plate + old 2x2x1/8 square tubing that my parents used for clothes poles as reinforcement.
    Tires are rated for 1200lbs total, and the trailer weighs maybe 200lbs empty without the sides on it.
    Sides are 4' high...

    I've loaded that thing over the top (4x4x4 of wood) and it had no problem, I even way overloaded it and flattened the tires like pancakes and it still had no problem towing it.
    Only time it ever got stuck was when I was trying to get some work done when I shouldn't have been, and was going uphill while raining, when the ground was incredibly muddy.
    It didn't really get stuck, just spun the tires and couldn't go up the hill.
    I built the trailer so that all weight is on the trailer, and there is nothing on the actual tractor. I didn't want to fudge the tractor any more than it already has been, so it has 4 wheels as if it's a car, with a pivoting hitch attachment to account for variances in inclines and suchwhat... but it's firmly attached so it can still back up like a normal trailer.

    I've also towed around my 22ton Huskee with it, strapped to the trailer.

    I once got my parents GMC Suburban stuck in the mud with a trailer... I buried the suburban trying to get it out in 4wd. mud was 1/3 up the tires.
    So I took the trailer off, hooked a strap on the trailer to the tractor, and it pulled it out no problem.

    Then I had the girlfriend hop in the suburban and put it in neutral (she was in there in case it would start rolling away in to the street!), and hooked the tow strap up to the suburban, and it pulled that out as well.
    The tractor was on the stone driveway, not the muddy grass so it was much easier for the tractor...
    Suburban was the heaviest I pulled to date, that's around 4-5k lbs... and it had no problems at all, including pulling it out of the giant ruts.


    I'm under the impression they can pull much more than people think they can... Granted I hardly ever put any actual weight on the tractor however.
    Also, I thought this very question when I was building the trailer...
    But videos on youtube like this one here helped me feel pretty confident in my little tractors powers, haha!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2BOT5paHo8
    http://youtu.be/8wt-fWaNwqs
  20. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I've seen a hay wagon loaded with hay pulled with a lawn mower. I also saw a car being towed down the road that way!
  21. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Just so everybody can keep there terminology straight so that the discussion is accurate and apples to apples:

    Lawn tractor: typically a light frame or stamped steel frame with a bushing type rear axle (sometimes fully bearing'd) that is designed primarily for a belly mower and possibly has the ability for a snow plow/blower.

    Garden tractor: Designed as a traction engine with heavy frame. The ability to utilize ground engaging equipment such as a rototiller, small plow or disk, snow plow or blower. Rear axle is built similar (but smaller) than a pickup truck with carrier tubes and full bearings.

    I throw this out so that somebody doesn't come away from this discussion thinking they should start towing a 2000 pound trailer with their "Lawn Chief" that they picked up at Walmart.

    Please be safe, and be aware of the machines capability. This is a good and informative discussion.
    TreePointer likes this.
  22. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I once pulled a small disc with my "lawn" tractor. It was never the same after that...and not in a good way. I think it put a whoopin' on my belt driven transmission.
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  23. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Zactly! That same disc behind my 1976 hydrostatic garden tractor would have had no adverse affect.
  24. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Yep, be careful and know your machine's limitations! I was able to pull a fully loaded hay wagon with my old Farmall 140 but neglected to consider how I was going to stop in once down the bottom of the hill! That was a near disaster, I'm lucky I had enough level ground to brake on before another hill that would have taken me into the woods!

    Jay, imagine my disappointment when clicking on your thumbnail didn't make that pic any bigger!...must be because it was a green tractor and not the red one! :)
    smokinj likes this.
  25. HeatsTwice

    HeatsTwice Minister of Fire

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    "view, zoom, 400%" from the pull downs worked for me.
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