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Lets talk about those *** Puckering moments

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Dirty Water, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    We've all been there, working on slopes that we really shouldn't have. Lets hear some stories.

    I've got two.

    One was putting in a power trench with a large DitchWitch riding trencher. I was going across a slope, and at points both of my uphill tires where in the air, and I was only kept from rolling by the digging bar being in the ground and I had the backfill blade tilted and lowered (so I was trenching and dozing :D ) to help stabilize it. Definitely not a fun spot to be in.

    The other time I was running a rental mini-ex and went to cross a 4'x24" trench. I used the bucket to lift the tracks as I crossed, but the trench edge gave away and I ended up dropping the back of the tracks in the pit. I ended up staring at the sky.

    The good news is that you can almost always get yourself out when your in a mini-ex.
  2. Dirt Digger2

    Dirt Digger2 LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,396

    theres a few...my boss (30 years experience) almost rolled our 15ton trackhoe on a real steep slope a few weeks ago. had the tracks running perpendicular to the slope, when he drug dirt back to him and emptied the bucket the front tracks lifted 4 feet off the ground and he started going over backwards, luckily he could slam the bucket down to stop

    me on the other hand just last week got on a hillside that had horsepaths worn down on it. started driving across and the back uphill tire started lifting up...i was able to turn downhill quick enough to prevent a rollover but it got my heart racing.

    another one was when i was driving a john deere 4700 across a hill with a full bucket of dirt, rear tires hit a bump and didnt have enough weight holding them down...just enough time to drop the loader to the ground before i had to test out the ROPS
  3. mattfromNY

    mattfromNY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,581

    Put my ZTR in the drink last Wed. morning... mowing an account up at the lake and started to go down a hill I've been down before, only this time the grass was wet. Luckily I missed the sea wall and got 'er into the boat launch. Only went in 12" of water, but was stuck, had to drive in a little farther to grab some traction and was able to drive back out! Whew!

    Not me, but funny anyway... was golfing one day and two guys came screaming down a hill in their golf cart, cut the path a little tight under a tree, one of the lower branches caught the roof and put them wheels to the sky in no time flat. Golf clubs fell off the back, balls rolling all over the place, everyone on the course saw it... We never laughed so hard!!
  4. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454

    Working on one right now that keeps me on my toes. Two tiered yard with two huge unpoured pier pits that I have to pass by going up the slope and down. Each one of these pits could swallow me whole and there is no wiggle room.......I wish they would pour their concrete and let me back fill, it would save on doing extra shorty-shorts laundry loads at night and decrease my stress level. Haven't rolled a machine......but I have taken out sections of vinyl fence, vinyl railings and such.........Hit a gas line the other day following the contractors directions and as he sat there guiding me......when I hit the line and gas started spewing, he yelled "stop, stop, stop!". Little late Pal........he paid the $500 bill for that one.........My new saying around this area is: "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished".
  5. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,649

    I did some domb things with my bobcat, but to share a true story of a friend of mine this spring. This guy is 1 hell of a dozer operater, was on a slope not to bad at a lake development. The whole bank gave way and he rode his case 550 in the lake went under and had to un buckel and swim to top. There was a guy fishing close by said **** there he was there he is gone. The water was pretty cold also. This guy is always funny as hell said he didnt mind the water temp until he had to dive in with cable to hook up. It took a 312 cat excav. and a large tow truck to get him out.
  6. dozerman21

    dozerman21 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,170

    I used to cut grass on the side back in the day, and I bought a new Dixie Chopper after using a Bunton walk behind for a couple of seasons. The first account I cut with the Dixie had a steep bank with a retention pond. It had rained lightly earlier that morning, and I could usually mow about 7-8 passes around the pond with my walk behind (when it was dry). On the first pass around the pond, my Dixie started sliding down to the 15'+ full of water pond. I spun it around and saved it with about 3' to spare, and used my truck to pull it out.

    The first time I ran a skid loader, I was carrying full buckets of dirt about 50 yards each way. I thought I'd raise the bucket up so I could see better...:) , you know what happened. Hit a bump, started to go over backwards, slammed the bucket down, went back the other way... about shat myself. Luckily I don't think anyone saw it.:laugh:
  7. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454

    A friend of mine named Jim was/is the finest dozer operator I have ever met in my life. This happened 20 plus years ago. Jim was dozing a hillside in Beverly Hills, had to pee...so he unbuckled, didn't shut down his machine (left it running) jumped on the track and started his business. Machine lurched, threw him down on the ground....ran over his left leg and left arm and stopped right on top of him........They found him the next day, removed both leg and arm and replaced with metal. He still runs equipment with a metal claw and metal foot last I heard.........That incident permanantly engraved "safety" into my head............
  8. SiteSolutions

    SiteSolutions LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,114

    I was running my S-185 out in the middle of nowhere, on 80 acres of hunting land near the top of a big hill. Nothing but a little logging going on up there, and nobody else but me around on that day. I was up there to bush hog some fields to plant greens, and also to try to clean up a few 4-wheeler trails. I had been up and down one trail that had been started by a dozer several years prior. I was trying to connect it to a field by extending it, but I was having a hard time keeping my bearings and had gone back around to the field a couple times to see where I might be trying to go.

    It was August, I was hot and dusty and tired, and as I headed back out the narrow trail to go back and reorient myself, I let my mind wander for a split second. That was all it took. I got too close to the edge of the trail and the machine fell off to the left! Left Tires about 4 feet lower than right tires, I had slammed the bucket down and the machine just sat there. After cursing a bunch, I gently lifted the seat bar and carefully got out. I looked it over for a while before I decided to try and get back in and hopefully try to get back on the trail.

    I got back in, and turned the machine to face down the side of the hill (counterweight uphill), but it was too steep to back it back up onto the trail. I was in a sort of draw where two parts of the hill come together, where water would flow if it was raining - A sort of swale or shallow ditch down the side of the hill. I decided to ease downhill a little and look for some natural ridge or shelf that would let me cut across sideways, maybe back to the big downhill trail a few hundred feet to my right, where I had been heading when I left the little trail. A couple hundred feet later, I was basically skiing over leaves and rocks, with the bucket all the way down and curled up slightly to keep from getting too tippy. Just in time, I spotted a fifteen foot drop in front of me (would have made a nice waterfall if there was any water) and jerked the machine to the right and onto a flat rock. Twice in an hour I had about choked on my heart trying to jump out through my throat. I walked a half mile back to my truck, got a chain, drug the chain down the trail with my little tractor, walked back down the side of the hill, and chained the back of the Bobcat to a big tree.

    That was two times in one hour.

    I was so pissed! And when I got over being scared, I tried being resourceful. The loggers weren't working, but less than a mile away was a big JD log skidder with a winch that looked like it came off God's 4x4. I just happened to have a JD key, so I figured what the heck. It took me a minute or two to figure out the controls, and then I was headed down the trail. The balance is kinda funny on those log skidders, so the trip down the trail to get near my machine was fairly intense. I got the back end as close to my Bobcat as I could without leaving the trail, and paid out the winch cable, only to come up a couple hundred feet short. I started down the side trail, turned downhill onto the up-and-down trail, and noticed a really weird sensation like floating. I looked over my shoulder and the rear end of the skidder was about 5 feet off the trail, articulated over to one side (I had been steering to the left) like some X-games skateboarder doing a handstand... that was scary on so many levels I can hardly describe it, but a lot of it had to do with "How the H am I gonna replace this machine I have basically stolen!?!?"

    Anyway... as funny as those skidders feel, they are d@mn sure built right. I eased off the brake and let the dozer blade down a little lower and she settled right back down. That was the third time that day I had pictured my name in the obituary section, and that was all I wanted! I put the skidder back exactly where I had found it, put all the diesel I had with me in the tank, and called it a day. Two days later, I went back up the hill, found the loggers, and gave them a case of beer. The real skidder operator drove halfway down the hill off the trail like it was me driving around in my driveway. Let out the cable and pulled me right on out of there. I took my Bobcat home and told the property owner I would finish his greens fields but no more trail work!
  9. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    Oh man, where do I start? :rolleyes: I've been in quite a few situations that could have severely injured me I don't even like to think about it anymore. I do have a couple that come to mind.

    Last spring I was backfilling behind a foundation wall with our 216. Let me preface this by saying that the wall was too short, vertically, it should have been about 4 feet taller. Needless to say, the backfill made a natural slope into the basement wall, grade was about a 1:3 at the most sloping toward the top of the basement walls. There was no way around this, the lot line was about 7 feet from the wall and the neighbor had large trees that could not be undercut. Grade not only pitched me sidways, it dropped off severly the further I went along my path as the walls were stepped. I got in trouble where the the slope stepped the most. Needless to say, while backfilling I went just a little too far into the "soft" over the edge, machine pitched toward the wall and was up on two wheels. I jumped out and she started to go over, I stood on one of the uphill tires to hold her down. Finally got my old man out to the site to help me get her unstuck all the while trying to keep it from rolling over. Had that wall not been stepped I wouldn't have had this problem. Had I rolled the machine it would have landed on the basement floor about 8 feet below.

    Another interesting day was last summer as I was pulling out orchard. I finished a 95 acre job a week ahead of schedule so we trucked our 312 to do a small, 4 acre job for a friend close to home. The 4 acres they wanted me to pull was on a nasty, nasty slope, easily 1:1 all day in the easiest of places. That's fine and good until you start swinging around a "handful" of trees, get's a little scary at times. It's especially fun when you're stoking the pile and the stick is out as far as she'll go you're just hoping to get as much on the pile without having some fall on you. The key to building burn piles is keeping them as narrow and tall as possible, there's less stoking involved and the more cylindrical you can get the pile, the better. Often times, your tracks are touching the pile and you're stacking straight up. Can't see the bucket or the load, you just hope that nothing falls. This is tricky on flat ground, add a slope into the mix and the machine likes to lift itself off the ground. I would never attempt to lift over the side of the machine on any slope, but I finally put myself to the test when I was lifting over the front and 30% of the undercarriage would lift off the ground. Just a bit scary. There was one section of this plot that was a 2:1 that levelled out to an access road at the top of the orchard. I plunged off that road a couple times wondering if I was making a bad decision or not.
  10. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454

    Its not a slope story but it just entered my brain from somewhere way back and made me laugh. A buddy of mine was General Contracting this one in Pasadena, California. They were tearing down this home to build a new estate/mini mansion. The dozer came in to demo and he pushed the side into the middle of the house and then thought he'd crawl up onto the slab and crush it all to load it into trucks. Guess he didn't check first, because he crawled onto the "slab" and promptly ended up in the basement. No one got hurt, but it was a kick to see this big old piece of iron sitting in the basement with all the torn down house all around it. What a moment that would have been.........opppss!

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