John Deere Maintenance Monday: The hitch pin
Interview source: Fred Whitford, Extension Specialist, Purdue University
Most people don't think about the importance of the hitch pin until they hear of an implement breaking away and injuring traffic behind it. Fred Whitford is an extension specialist at Purdue University .He says this often occurs when the owner doesn't know the rating of the pin or how much weight is being pulled, and doesn't have safety chains.
Even though the pin often fits more than one implement, you are taking a huge risk using the same one for each implement. Whitford says hitch pins must be selected for each use.
"When you buy them, they'll have a little tag on them. And so it depends on the size of the diameter of the pin, the grade, and that determines then how much weight that we're willing to actually put against that pin when we're pulling something."
Whitford says homemade hitch pins are extremely dangerous because you will never know for sure how the weld will hold up against the stress. Even manufactured pins will eventually give out, so it's important to keep an eye out for wear that could cause breakage.
"Over time, these pins rub metal-on-metal, and if you really look at your pins, you begin to see where some of the pins are actually cut into the metal. Once that starts happening, it gets a real deep groove, then that becomes the place where now that pin is going to break."
If you see a bent pin, thank your lucky stars. If there had been a little more force, the pin would have come apart. Whitford says this is a sign that you need to switch to a higher grade of hitch pin before you use that tractor and implement combination again.
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