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Thread: How fast for maintenance grading?

  1. #1
    Senior Member swampdog's Avatar
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    How fast for maintenance grading?

    Since I run other equipment and not a grader, this might sound like a stupid question. But here goes anyway.

    The local road where we live in the country is a really crappy gravel road. The municipality comes by with a grader once in a while, filling in the worst of the potholes and washboard. The road has a lot of rocks that keep coming up, including some a foot or more across. Most of the rocks are four to six inches across, and there are thousands of those just at the surface. For years, all the operators graded this road at a crawl, carefully watching their progress, banging along through the rocks. Sometimes they just made the mess worse, especially when they went too deep. Usually after the grader went by, we had to go along picking up the bigger rocks and throwing them off to the side.

    The washboard got real bad lately, after no grading for three or four months. Then one day I heard the grader (a brand new Volvo) come flying down the road at road speed, at about twenty to thirty miles an hour. It went by in a flash, but to my surprise I saw that the blade was down. Then a few minutes later it came back the other way, and then it came by a third time.

    The surprising thing is that the road is graded better than usual. And the operator did not drop the blade enough to pull up lots of rocks. I'm wondering if speed grading (or whatever it might be called) is a new or common technique. I'm wondering too what will happen when the blade catches one of the bigger rocks??

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    Senior Member Grader4me's Avatar
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    Then one day I heard the grader (a brand new Volvo) come flying down the road at road speed, at about twenty to thirty miles an hour. It went by in a flash, but to my surprise I saw that the blade was down. Then a few minutes later it came back the other way, and then it came by a third time.

    The surprising thing is that the road is graded better than usual. And the operator did not drop the blade enough to pull up lots of rocks. I'm wondering if speed grading (or whatever it might be called) is a new or common technique. I'm wondering too what will happen when the blade catches one of the bigger rocks??
    Okay it's my turn... Wait a minute... I've been operating graders for many, many years and to grade a road as you describe, or any type of road for that matter at that speed is just not possible. Are you sure of the speed? It might be that the other graders were going so slow that it might appear that the Volvo was going that fast?

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    I've seen a couple roads around here bladed about 10-15 mph and the job generally looks like you would expect. I'm guessing your guy had the blade down with just enough pressure to throw some loose material into the middle with the two passes then just spread it back over the middle with the third, making it look good but not last too long. Kinda sounds like you need some gravel spread to raise the road or they should do a tear out.

  4. #4
    Senior Member swampdog's Avatar
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    Well, I didn't have a radar gun on the Volvo, but he was going about the speed that graders usually travel when moving from one place to another with the blade up. I stared in amazement when I noticed that he actually had his blade down.

    The road certainly could use some rebuilding, but it's not likely to happen. The worst stretch of the road goes through about a half mile long stretch of coarse rock and gravel. Other than that, the road bed is clay with a lot of slightly protruding rocks and a little gravel on top. What I would not give for a paved road!!!

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    Is it possible that he was throwing everthing towards the middle of the road? I ran a road grader for the county that I live in for about 7 years. It took a couple of years before I could do it but I would wait for a nice rain and the next morning I would put the outside edge of the blade on float and the inside about an inch high and go just as hard as I could. That being said I always ran carbide blades and they don't cut near as much as a sharp blade. On the flat I could run my 140 H in 7th gear and start droping as soon as you come to a hill. Most people thought you had just graveled the road because all of the material was in the center of the road and there were no windrows. If you left to much it got rough, you could control how much material you were cutting with the curl of the blade. All the way forward you didn't cut much and all the way back you cut way to much and had a heck of a mess. You could start to feel a bounce and got out of it just as soon as you could. This wasn't for everyone, most of the older operators wouldn't even think of this method, mainly because they were taught to only go so fast no matter what. Now most of the blading was done in 4th gear around 5-6 mph or slower as conditions needed. I know I'll catch some heck for this but it worked great for my roads, weither they were high or low traffic.

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    Senior Member Grader4me's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum Pete1468

    This wasn't for everyone, most of the older operators wouldn't even think of this method, mainly because they were taught to only go so fast no matter what
    I can't really speak for any other older operator, but I can speak for myself...It wasn't a matter on what I was taught 30 plus years ago, but it was what I learned through experience. I go just as fast as I can according to the conditions I'm working in. This is done in second & third gear and at times on a rock free road I have hit fourth gear. My point is that nobody can tell me that you can grade a road in high gear and do a good job. Also consider what grief you would be placing on your grader.
    I would hate to see new grader operators that frequent this forum think that would be proper grading procedures, because it's not.
    Now having said all of that this is just my opinion and hopefully will spark some discussion.
    Last edited by Grader4me; 11-29-2008 at 06:05 AM.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Polar Bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grader4me View Post
    Welcome to the forum Pete1468



    I can't really speak for any other older operator, but I can speak for myself...It wasn't a matter on what I was taught 30 plus years ago, but it was what I learned through experience. I go just as fast as I can according to the conditions I'm working in. This is done in second & third gear and at times on a rock free road I have hit fourth gear. My point is that nobody can tell me that you can grade a road in high gear and do a good job.
    I would hate to see new grader operators that frequent this forum think that would be proper grading procedures, because it's not.
    Now having said all of that this is just my opinion and hopefully will spark some discussion.
    I do agree faster you go worke dont get that good.

    Somtimes things dont hat to be 100% maby that is problem we all hat as operators hat , we like all to be so perfegt

    / Polar Bear

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    I must have been realy lucky, I got a machine with 3700hrs on it when I started and I put on a little under 10,000 hrs. I had a transmission failure the first winter that I started, it was the second tranny the machine had in 4500hrs, and it never had another after that. We run all of our maintainers to around 20,000 hrs and most wil go that long without any motor work, and a couple will have a tranny rebuilt. Each machine is replaced every 14 years. Like I said it's not for everyone. Most all of the older guys won't run carbide blades, I had to because a couple of my roads were 60ft wide for a couple of miles. When alot of your material is crushed concrete you do all sorts of different things because the only time you can really blade it is when it's wet or you have a big windrow. I must have done something the people liked, the guy before me had 2-3 complaints a week and so did the guy after me. I'll admit the first summer was hell I got that many complaints also until I figured out to do something different.

  9. #9
    Member 385Diggin' Doug's Avatar
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    Sometimes slower is faster.
    IUOE Local 825
    " A lesser man will always find fault with you " The Late Ronald Reagan

  10. #10
    Senior Member roadrunner's Avatar
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    ...young pups vs. old dogs......

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete1468 View Post
    Is it possible that he was throwing everthing towards the middle of the road? I ran a road grader for the county that I live in for about 7 years. It took a couple of years before I could do it but I would wait for a nice rain and the next morning I would put the outside edge of the blade on float and the inside about an inch high and go just as hard as I could. That being said I always ran carbide blades and they don't cut near as much as a sharp blade. On the flat I could run my 140 H in 7th gear and start droping as soon as you come to a hill. Most people thought you had just graveled the road because all of the material was in the center of the road and there were no windrows. If you left to much it got rough, you could control how much material you were cutting with the curl of the blade. All the way forward you didn't cut much and all the way back you cut way to much and had a heck of a mess. You could start to feel a bounce and got out of it just as soon as you could. This wasn't for everyone, most of the older operators wouldn't even think of this method, mainly because they were taught to only go so fast no matter what. Now most of the blading was done in 4th gear around 5-6 mph or slower as conditions needed. I know I'll catch some heck for this but it worked great for my roads, weither they were high or low traffic.
    I hear what you are saying Pete1468 about going fast and throwing the gravel in the middle.I have done it your way by going top speed but not with the toe in float.Like you said carbides are the answer for doing gravel and also using the moldboard curl to cut or spread more or less.What I do when a busy grid road gets punched out and all the gravel is thrown to the edge of the road I will cut fairly hard pulling into centerline on both sides.This will leave a nice sized windrow right in the center,I then spread it going in 6th or 7th depending on how far the gravel is spreading to the shoulder by making this a third pass.The only I do this is when the road is punching out or to re-crown.Usually I only make 2 passes by picking up my gravel I spread flat to one side last time and cutting and filling and cutting and filling across the road to the other side.
    Getting on with the blading speed I run on average 12 to 16 km/h, (yes this is with a 11speed VOLVO.....) and I manage quite fine going this fast with no ripple or duck walk.On my old Volvo 740A with the 8 speed I could only max out at about 10 km/h.THis is without rocks!
    I don't know why some figure that you have to only blade in 2 and 3 gear, maybe you should tighten up your blade and circle if your making ripples in the road!

    See maybe us young pups can teach you old dogs a thing or to as well!! (But you would actually have an open mind and try it first!!!)

    Hope this doesn't raise your blood pressure to much!I thought I would just a little bit more as all,LOL!

  11. #11
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    Duck Walking ?

    Duck Walking is caused by going too fast for ground conditions !

    No matter if brand new machine or old worn out one !

  12. #12
    Senior Member Grader4me's Avatar
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    The road has a lot of rocks that keep coming up, including some a foot or more across
    The washboard got real bad lately, after no grading for three or four months. Then one day I heard the grader (a brand new Volvo) come flying down the road at road speed, at about twenty to thirty miles an hour. It went by in a flash, but to my surprise I saw that the blade was down. Then a few minutes later it came back the other way, and then it came by a third time.
    Okay, so all you young pups agree with this. Good stuff.


    That being said I always ran carbide blades and they don't cut near as much as a sharp blade. On the flat I could run my 140 H in 7th gear and start droping as soon as you come to a hill
    In the 140 H is it an 8 forward? So how fast was you going?

    When alot of your material is crushed concrete you do all sorts of different things because the only time you can really blade it is when it's wet or you have a big windrow.
    No rocks right? No bounceing (duck walk) Wow, this new technology

    Getting on with the blading speed I run on average 12 to 16 km/h, (yes this is with a 11speed VOLVO.....)
    I think you and I have discussed speed before Sooo try it at top speed as per discussion? Quite a difference between 12 to 16 Km/hr and 20 to 30 miles per hour. Open mind? Good lord man over the years do you think I've never tryed to increase my speed? Do you think that I just go slow because I'm older than dirt?
    Speed grading..Lol. What next.

    Don't worry about my blood pressure because I don't have a heart
    Last edited by Grader4me; 11-30-2008 at 07:07 AM.

  13. #13
    Administrator Squizzy246B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grader4me View Post
    Do you think that I just go slow because I'm older than dirt? Speed grading..Lol. What next.

    Don't worry about my blood pressure because I don't have a heart


    Just tell them the real truth....that your Bullock team just don't pull as fast as it used to!
    Regards from the Scrub somewhere near Karratha, Western Australia

    Squizzy


    _____________________________________________

    Its better to be ignorant and ask a Stupid Question than to be plain Dumb and not ask at all - Screamed by High School Maths Teacher, 1979

  14. #14
    Senior Member Grader4me's Avatar
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    Lets see..left is hee and right is haw..

  15. #15
    Senior Member roadrunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northart View Post
    Duck Walking is caused by going too fast for ground conditions !

    No matter if brand new machine or old worn out one !
    Yes you are right about going to fast for duckwalking but also it depends on how loose the circle,moldboard,lift cylinders,drawbar, and maybe even the odd plastic or should I say BIAS tire, also maybe even a Radial or two with different air pressures.

    Yes I have tried going wide open in 7th by pulling in the edges to the center with no bounce but like you guys know already that this is very hard to do to keep the grader from bouncing going this speed.It can be done, but I should make myself clear that I do not do this all the time.( Only on special occassions!)

    I never said "you were older than dirt" --- you did!!

    What is a Bullock team? Isn't that a game with horse bones or somethin'? Can I play with you guys??

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