John Deere Maintenance Monday: Loading ramp safety | Living the Country Life

John Deere Maintenance Monday: Loading ramp safety

To load your lawn tractor into the back of a truck, you should follow some key safety tips.

Radio interview source: Dick Parish, Ag Engineering Consultant, LSU Ag Center

In this edition of Maintenance Monday, we're answering a question from James in Alabama. He wants to buy a ramp for loading his lawn tractor into the back of a truck, and would like some tips for loading it safely.
Dick Parish is an ag engineering consultant in Louisiana. He says in general, the length and angle of the ramp must be considered. The higher the angle, the riskier it usually is to
load something.
"Going up and down the slope there’s a risk of overturn," he says. "And secondly, if you have too much slope on some machines, for instance a tractor with a belly mower on it, as you start to go up over that and then come over the top onto the trailer or truck, you can get hung up on the implement in the middle. But the opposite side is the lower the slope, the longer the ramp is and heavier the ramp is going to be. So, you have a trade-off there."
Most ramps have a lip or flap that hooks over the bed of the truck or trailer, but others don't. If a driver starts down a ramp and suddenly hits the brakes, the momentum can move the ramp away from the truck or trailer and drop to the ground. It’s important to fasten the ramp in some way to prevent it from coming off while loading and unloading. 
As you’re driving a machine up the ramp, Parish says to have the powered axle facing uphill. For instance, with a tractor, you would back it up the ramp.
"Torque reaction is going to tend to rotate it around that powered axle," says Parish. "So if you have the unpowered axle downhill, it will take that load and keep it from overturning. Plus if you do start to get any kind of an overturn, and your powered axle’s uphill, as soon as the overturn starts, the tires are going to lift off the ramp, you lose your traction, it drops back, and doesn’t keep going. Whereas if you’re driving upslope with the powered axle down, as it starts to turn, the overturn is going to accelerate and it’s going to come around."

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