Unbogging a Tractor

Unbogging or Digging out a tractor

Call it what you will, there is not much worse than finding your tractor bogged down to the axles. Until recently we lived on a very wet block and when I first bogged my Ford, I searched the net to try and find something that would help.

There seemed to be no web based collection of ideas and when in a crisis the mind tends to goes blank so I've listed a few here. If you have any other ideas to get one out let me know and if you like I'll credit you and publish it here.

First things First

A 4x4 tractor is always best for maintaining traction, they are far less likely to bog and when they do are often easier to extract. But if the mud is above the engine walk away and plant flowers around the machine, or maybe call in a crane, bull dozer or excavator etc, sometimes you feel that an Archaeologist would be helpful.

My experiences are with medium to large size 2wd tractors. Yes 2wd tractors do bog more easily. On the plus side a 2wd will bog so much more easily that you haven’t usually got your self too far in to trouble to recover. I also welcome anyone’s ideas on extracting 4wd machines.

Avoiding getting stuck

Keep a close eye on the ground ahead, and any Stuck fordsign that your machine is slipping. Some times you have no choice and just have to work on wet ground, but if your aware of it you can stop before digging in.

First thing to do when you feel the wheels slip is to (if fitted) apply any diff lock mechanism, that will very often solve the problem. If you continue to slip and haven’t already done so, lift from the ground any attached equipment. You can sometimes get through by increasing speed but that's more dangerous and you will very likely bog in more deeply and get further into the trouble area meaning getting it out will take a lot longer.

Disclaimer: all of the techniques described here can be considered dangerous. Consider your personal safety and that of those around you.

Also consider whether in the situation you find yourself in it is appropriate to try any of these techniques at all, It may be better to call in the professionals.

Always consider your own personal safety first, the tractor is after all just a machine it can be repaired.

No responsibility will be accepted for the application of, failure of, or any resulting damage to person or property.

The ideas here are not intended as advice just as ideas use them at your own risk.

If at any time you feel the tractor sliding sideways or worse still tipping over stop any forward movement and (assuming you have a ROPS) under no circumstances jump from the moving vehicle, you machine should be fitted with a ROPS (roll over protection system) if it isn’t then that’s just plain dumb get one fitted for your own safety. Not many people survive a tractor rolling on them. Oh yes and use your seat belt.

If quickly trying the diff lock and lifting the equipment didn’t work for heavens sake STOP before you dig your self in too far.

So your a bit stuck.
The possibilities of were you may be stuck and in what sort of soil are so huge. My experiences are in mud, peaty soil and clay. I’ve found that clay is the worst by far.
Stuck tractorDepending on how far down you have gone it maybe possible to lighten the load by detaching any attached equipment such as a slasher, spreader, plough or trailers etc (pull those out later) . then consider lowering the tyre pressures to increase the tyre foot print and therefore traction. but not too much, you can loose the tyre from the rim and if that happens, well you thought you had problems before!!. A tyre off the rim is a whole new ball game, for that reason I never lower the pressure by very much. Once I’m bogged it’s usually past the stage were lower pressure is going to help anyway.

So much depends on the terrain but assuming you don’t have another tractor and or a long enough chain or cable to pull it free with. Then there are still possibilities.

On my machine I had a front end loader and without any heavy attachments fitted to the rear it was possible to use the loader to gradually drag your self forward. Done by digging the bucket into the ground and crowding it forward while in low gear. That way I’ve got out of many a situation not all loaders can crowed forward though.

So now your really stuck !

Assuming the tractor is upright you can try bunging branches etc in behind the wheels to gain traction but in my experience on bigger equipment it’s not worth bothering. You can do it that way if you have some long solid blocks of wood to put under the wheels and can jack up the tractor to get them below the wheels. On smaller tractors I have quickly jacked the tractor up by using a long tree trunk with a shorter one as a pivot that way you can leaver one side at a time and with help install the timber below the wheel, but be very careful.

The ultimate way of getting a still upright tractor out (that I've found) is also naturaly potentially risky, you must be very careful and I think you’ll see why.

Take a long very stout piece of timber that will take most of the weight of the tractor. Something with square edges is best, such as a long railway sleeper or even a thick length of steel. A tree trunk will also work but not as well.

Lay the timber or what ever behind the rear wheels of the tractor, take 2  short lengths of chain  and shackles, thread them through the holes in the rear wheels and around the timber do them fairly tightly. Then very carefully engage low reverse gear and back over the timber.

The risky bit is that obviously the wheels can only go about a quarter of the way round then you must detach it and start again. This method is also very messy, you really do become one with nature, and it's very time consuming. You will loose some paint from the wheels but it’s incredibly effective. I've seen a scaled up approach work with a large broad acre tractor.  Going forward by chaining the timber in front of the wheels is sometimes possible. But often you can’t get it under the machine and backing out is usually a shorter route.

If that fails then it's a probably going to be either a larger 4x4 tractor and long cable or a bull dozer, sometimes an excavator can help, I have never had to go down that route though.

Good luck

>Stuck in a paddock

a bit of a problem !



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