Comparing Tractor Top Link Options – Hydraulic, Fixed, Chain, Floating

Foreign Hey it's Brock here with Rock Hill Farms And today I want to talk about tractor Top links and all of the different Options that we have to connect the top Link on our tractor to an Implement and Why it matters So when I got this mosio flail mower It came with its own kind of proprietary Floating top link system and after Putting quite a few hours on it I've Kind of grown to see that there are pros And cons to it kind of like everything Else You know I don't yet know what the title Of this video will be but if it's Something that comes across Authoritative like a complete guide to Top links or something like that it Doesn't mean I think I'm the world's Foremost expert it just means I think This conversation deserves to be Discussed with a little bit of nuance Because what I tend to see is definitive Statements that oversimplify things such As Hydraulic top links are the best well There There are definitely advantages to a Hydraulic top link but I would say there Are also some disadvantages And also I get comments like you're an Idiot you should be using a chain for a Top link when bush hogging

Well I think there's a little Nuance to it There are advantages to using a chain And there are disadvantages and so I Just want to go into all that And try to make it into one concise Video if possible So first real quick if you're completely New to tractors What is the purpose of a top link So generally a rear implement or a Three-point attachment will have three Points of contact with your tractor You've got your lower lift arms that Connect in two spots at the at the Bottom of your attachment and they raise And lower but if you only had those it's Going to raise and lower the front which Means all you're going to do is tilt Your Implement backward So you need something connected to the Higher point on the tractor to a higher Point on the attachment so that when you Raise and lower it doesn't just tilt it Actually raises and lowers pretty much All tractors come with something that Looks like this This is what I'm calling a fixed top Link for purposes of the video even Though it's not fixed there's some kind Of a nut or a Fastener on one end and You take that loose you can adjust this To different lengths But it's fixed in that

While you're operating the tractor it Stays the same length that's the most Common setup and it works but it's not Perfect so as I talked about Nuance one Other way that people lack nuances just To say read the owner's manual And that this is what your tractor Manufacturer provided you for a reason Well every tractor manufacturer does Provide this for a reason but that Doesn't make it the best thing so pros And cons to a fixed top link One big Pro it is free you already have It it came with your tractor and It does the job in most cases What is a negative to it If when your tractor runs it does not Always run on flat ground You're going to have bumps and Hills Even if they're small bumps say in a Driveway and your tractor is going to be Moving like this so at whatever angle Your tractor moves with a with a fixed Top link Your attachment moves at that same angle So does this in the case of Fixing a driveway you've got a little Bump and you go over that little bump The back of the tractor lifts The back of the Implement lifts and if It's a box blade you dump Rock right There where you don't want it and then You come off that bump and it drops down And you it makes it more difficult to

Get a flat grade With a fixed top link Same thing if you're brush cutting you Go through a dip or over a little Hill Or any kind of unlevel ground you don't Necessarily want that brush cutter to Follow the movement of the tractor now Most brush Cutters have their own type Of floating Mechanism built into it and we'll look At that in a second but just know your First option is free but doesn't have a Lot of flexibility next option hydraulic Top link I love my hydraulic top link But there are some pros and cons to it So one big negative to a hydraulic top Link they're not cheap You're going to spend probably at least A couple hundred dollars on it you got To get hoses for it and bigger than that I mean as far as tractors go like 200 is Not a big expense everything on a Tractor is expensive but you also have To have Third function Hydraulics run to the Back of the tractor and some type of a Controller inside the tractor that Allows you to manipulate that hydraulic Cylinder so if your tractor is not Already set up for that then you've got To accommodate those needs you you may Spend thousands of dollars adding rear Remote hydraulics

And it's just a factor to consider Advantage is versatility So with your fixed top link when you go Over that bump the only option you have Is to be constantly raising and lowering To match the grade so you're you're just Moving your three-point lever around to Match whatever type of uh Ground conditions you're going over With the hydraulic top link You've got the option to very quickly Change the length of your top link so When you shorten your top link your rear Attachment angles like this and when you Lengthen it at Angles like this and that Allows you to do a lot of different Things for example when I'm brush Cutting around the pond I can extend my top link And drop that brush cutter so the Tractor's flat I can drop the brush Cutter down at an angle and have it Mowed down the bank of the pond the Negative to that versatility is Hydraulic cylinders can actually bleed Down and it's not something I find Happens a lot while the tractor is Running but it is a factor That If you want your Attachment to remain level when you've Set it with the fixed top link And then start running you know it Doesn't change as long as you tighten

The nut up with this I because I can adjust it it means that I have to adjust it So it is something that you're messing With a little bit more but overall I Consider a hydraulic top link to be a Big upgrade over a fixed top link the Next option is using a chain for a top Link so you just cut a length of chain That is the length you want it And you put it the pen through it on This end you might need some kind of a Shackle on the end and then you attach It to the top of your Implement now You have You have a top link that will limit how Far back your Implement goes but you Have no control over tilting it forward So the advantage to this or when would You want to use this you primarily want To use this when you want the back of Your Implement to rest on the ground one Example of that is a landscape rake Landscape breaks are not that heavy so They don't really gouge into the ground So you can put a longer chain on it and You can drag rock with a landscape rake And the tines are resting on the ground And you just drag them around that way And they perfectly follow the ground and They will smooth out bumps a lot better Really than in any of the other options The negative to it is It's like it's kind of like having a

Fixed top Link in that you have to get Off if you CH decide you want to change The angle of that you have to get off And manually change it and it's going to Be probably the most time consuming way But there are a lot of scenarios where a Chain is a good option another really Popular time that people like to use a Chain for a top link is with a brush Cutter because it allows the brush Cutter to follow hilly terrain now so a Negative to it when I brush cut I like to change that angle For different circumstances it depends If if it's a flat open field or if this Is an area that you're cutting that has A lot of obstacles that you have to deal With there may be a pile of brush over There or you know that this acre over Here is kind of Rocky and say whenever I'm going over that I like to lift it up And go over it I like to drop it down Around the pond I want to change my Angle so in that scenario The hydraulic top link is better Than the chain but like I said earlier If I'm running a hydraulic top link While brush hogging I'm moving my Hydraulic top link fairly often And watching back and moving it whereas With the chain you can almost just drive And you just get what you get and it Works pretty well so I think it's a good Option for that another benefit to it is

It's inexpensive a short piece of chain Doesn't cost very much now if you're Pulling something like a plow a chain is Not going to work very well for you Because you want that to be held at a Certain angle and the Chain's not going To do that So it's all about what you're doing the Last type of top link that I want to Talk about is a floating top link and There are two versions of that that come To mind first let's look at the one on The brush cutter as I go through all of This there are going to be some really Smart people in the comments pointing Out things that I might have missed or Misstated so be sure to leave your Comments and then read through the Comment section and see if what else There is to be learned there So this I would describe as a floating Kind of a backup floating option for Your three-point a brush cutter sticks Out in in general sticks out much Further back behind the tractor than any Other attachment that I use and as such Going through a big Valley or something You're much more likely to kind of get In a bind and have the attachment Pushing up into the tractor and this Mechanism right here Kind of compensate for that and allows The back of the brush cutter to get Pushed up some without putting so much

Of a of a force onto your top link And kind of a safety mechanism so this Is another type of floating top link That is different than anything else I Own imagio is not the only one who uses Something like this but it's Unique out Of the implements I have In that Right now Normally your top liquid hook here but Instead it's hooked here and we have This link That link can allow this Pivot Point on your top link to swing a Long way back here And basically what that does when you're Using it It almost turns Your fixed top link into a chain top Link in how it behaves at least that's The way it seems to me So this martial Flail Mower has a big Roller on the back of it that you want To be engaging the ground so basically I set that roller on the ground And then lower my three point down until I'm at a decent cut height and then this Floating Action on this link right here Essentially Allows the Flail Mower to follow the Contour of where I'm mowing A lot like a chain does on a brush hog And it works well But it I wasn't a hundred percent sold

On it and it may just be that I'm not Used to it But basically what it did was turn my Hydraulic top link into A fixed top link or it made the Hydraulic top link made almost no Difference because the range of motion On my hydraulic lever is only slightly More than the range of motion on this Link so There were scenarios where I thought Okay this area of grounds Rocky and I Don't want my hammers to hit rocks so I'd like to tilt the top link the uh Flail Mower back And I couldn't Because it's All of my travel here I could tilt it a Little bit but not as much as I wanted To because all of my travel here was Just absorbed by this so using this it Really just makes your attachment float And you either like that or you don't Let's actually lift this up and cycle a Little bit and show you what this looks Like in practice with a hydraulic top Link and this floating link Foreign [Applause] So right now my hydraulic top link is All the way retracted The mower is sitting level I'm not able To tilt this back because that extra Link makes my top link too long now if I

Was hooked directly to this spot further Back Then I could tilt the mower like this Not that I necessarily want to but you Have that option So this is the maximum amount of Backward tilt that I can get And it's the difference between the Swing on the floating length and the Length of the extension on my Top Lane For this attachment that might that's Probably fine like maybe just let it Float but just wanted to kind of show You how that operates So there really wasn't anything Groundbreaking there it's just my Thoughts and experiences on the Different options you have My favorite thing is a hydraulic top Link and I think for some instances a Chain or one of these floating links may Be the best but if you don't mind Getting off your tractor a little bit There's nothing that you can't do with a Fixed link so anyway I appreciate you Taking time to watch this video put Links on the screen to a couple more of Our videos and I'll see you next time