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Backfilling with a 4 way blade

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Dirty Water, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    We have a DitchWitch 3500 trencher, I use it a LOT (power/communications trenching and irrigation), like this one:


    It has a 4 way blade that I use to backfill a lot, at first I couldn't do a very good job without digging one side in but once I got used to it I can make pretty fast passes and get most of the spoil without damaging the turf below. A 6 way blade would definitly by ideal when your working on a slope, but for the most part it works well.

    The only thing I have never been able to figure out how to do well with it is backblade, it tends to float on the blade and your front tires get off the ground, so you can't steer. This also happens when grading forward if you try to push too much spoil.

    Is there something I should be doing differently to keep better control, or is just the fault of a machine with no real suspension and a blade?

    Also, the wheelbase is so short its real easy to grade swells into something, and really hard to grade them back out. Any tricks you pro's know do prevent that?

    Its a great machine, I just get frusterated with it on occasion and wish I had a skidsteer.
  2. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Is there not a float position for the blade? I'm assuming when you say 4 way, you mean it angles, but does not tilt, right? If it angles left and right, you're better off backfilling with that than a skid because all you have to do is get parallel to the trench and go. With a skid, you're usually sitting at a 45 degree angle to the trench and you're going back and forth, making a lot of turns.
  3. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,162

    I think those blades are used more to add a little weight and make it easier to tie the machine down, I don't think anyone including the OEM ever thought someone might actually try and grade with one.:laugh:

    I had a CASE 360 for a short while. I never had the problem with it coming off the ground but it was slow and the stick steering system left something to be desired. These machines really are not designed to be an effective grading machine and I doubt any amount of operator skill will change that. The overall wheel base is short as is the distance from the blade to the front wheels. It also sounds like this machine needs more groceries. They don't call them grading blades they call them backfill blades and it allows you to push material back in your trench but it may not make it look very nice. It is one those machines that does its primary function very well. The blade is very much an after thought. You might try putting fluid in the tires to gain some weight which may prevent it from lifting up under load:weightlifter: . Over all though, it will probably never do a nice finsih grade job. Expecially on deep trenching jobs that create a lot of spoil. Maybe trading it in and getting a skid steer with a trencher would be the answer.
  4. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    There is no float setting, I wonder if you could add that aftermarketly, If you dig down with the blade, you lift the entire machine.

    It can angle but not tilt, typical 4 way, Its great for backfilling trenches, its just that when your done pushing material in, and you go to smooth out the surface by grading and backblading it takes forever to get it level.
  5. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    If you had a 3rd float valve you'd have the ultimate backfill machine. I guarantee you'd see 100% better results with backdragging if you had a float. As the function applies, simply drop the blade in the float position and reverse as fast as possible. Spreads everything out nicely and you're done. Float is what gets me through the long days running our 303.
  6. Vermeer

    Vermeer Inactive
    from Iowa
    Messages: 153


    One of the problems you mentioned beside the short wheel base is the fact there is not enough weight in the front of the machine to making it hard backfill, control and steer effectively. You will need either wheel weights, foam or fluid fill the tires or add a front weight kit to balance the tractor out. Even if you added float to the valve spool it would only be effective in backdragging. If you are pushing in float the blade would really dig down into the soil. Having four tires on the ground and stable will do wonders. You may wnat to experiment by putting some weight on the backfill blade that can easily be removed to see if it helps your situation.
  7. RockSet N' Grade

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

    This may be an area where a home-made attachment may do the trick. CEAttach makes what they call a land-leveler for a skid. Use that implement as the base idea and modify that idea for your machine. With a small amout of welding and a well thought out plan, you could build a custom little unit to fit onto your blade that does the backfill finish grade for you.
  8. RockSet N' Grade

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

    Since I'm on this thought.....
    I was using a Kubota 4310 with a straight blade on my loader bucket. I found this company that makes a serrated blade and had them make me one for my Kubota. My bucket no longer "skips" when taking out sod, back drags supremely better, and actually digs like a real machine. I would reccomend anyone who has a skid to take a hard look at this addition.....the difference in performance and finished product has been significant for me....

    their website: www.rezloh.com
  9. gammon landscaping

    gammon landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    ok guys correct me if i am wrong but when you use a trencher, then back fill i thought you were supposed to leave your .extra dirt rigged up over the ditch because you can compact your fill. the ridge would help when you trench getts wet and setteles. if you grade it out smoth then you would have a situation where it setteles and then you would have wasted all the dirt that you needed to put back in the trench? in this case who cares about back draging
  10. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    We compact as we backfill.

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