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How fast for maintenance grading?

Discussion in 'Motor Graders' started by swampdog, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. swampdog

    swampdog Senior Member

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    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?? :eek:
     
  2. Grader4me

    Grader4me Senior Member

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    Okay it's my turn...:eek: Wait a minute...:eek: 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? :beatsme
     
  3. curly

    curly Well-Known Member

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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. swampdog

    swampdog Senior Member

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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!!!
     
  5. Pete1468

    Pete1468 Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  6. Grader4me

    Grader4me Senior Member

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    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. 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: Nov 29, 2008
  7. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Member

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    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
     
  8. Pete1468

    Pete1468 Well-Known Member

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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. 385Diggin' Doug

    385Diggin' Doug Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes slower is faster.
     
  10. roadrunner

    roadrunner Well-Known Member

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    ...young pups vs. old dogs......

    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 :stirthepot a little bit more as all,LOL!:D
     
  11. Northart

    Northart Senior Member

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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. Grader4me

    Grader4me Senior Member

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    Okay, so all you young pups agree with this. Good stuff.


    In the 140 H is it an 8 forward? So how fast was you going?

    No rocks right? No bounceing (duck walk) Wow, this new technology :notworthy

    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 :D
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2008
  13. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B Administrator

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    :lmao:lmao:falldownlaugh:falldownlaugh:deadhorse

    Just tell them the real truth....that your Bullock team just don't pull as fast as it used to!:D
     
  14. Grader4me

    Grader4me Senior Member

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    Lets see..left is hee and right is haw..:D
     
  15. roadrunner

    roadrunner Well-Known Member

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    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??:D
     
  16. Grader4me

    Grader4me Senior Member

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    :yup :thumbsup :drinkup
     
  17. ovrszd

    ovrszd Senior Member

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    grader speed

    There was a discussion about this a few months back. I'll make my points again.

    First I think a description of the machine used is required. There is a tremendous difference in machines, tires, moldboard slop, etc. I'm normally in a JD machine with less than 3000 hours on the clock. I now run on 17.5 radials.

    I'm with Roadrunner and often grade my roads as he described. I run 6.5-7 mph the first two passes depending on conditions. I run 14 mph the final pass. When I'm done there is no windrow of material unless it's an occassional pile of vegetation. My roads look like they were just graveled.

    This paragraph is based on equal quality of the finished product. My argument for speed operation is to maximize productivity against expense. I operate for a tax based government entity. Their income is fixed. The number of miles of roadbed to maintain is fixed. As operational costs climb it becomes even more critical to be most productive.

    So, if I grade in 3rd gear at let's say 5.25 mph for three passes I will complete 1.75 miles of road in an hour of blade operation. If I grade at 6.5 for two passes and then finish at 14 mph I will complete 3 miles of road in an hour of blade operation.

    Let's say I run an 8 hour day. At the end of the day at slow speed I've completed 14 miles of road maintenance. At the end of the day at fast speed I've completed 24 miles of road maintenance.

    I maintain 50 miles of gravel roadbed. At slow speed it would take me 28.5 hours. At fast speed it would take me 16.5 hours.

    Let's say it costs my township $80 per hour to have our machine running. Each time I run all my roads it would cost the township an additional $960. If I run my roads ten times in a year I just lowered the yearly maintenance cost $9600. We are on a $40K budget. I just saved 24% of the yearly cost by speed grading. Again, if the end quality is the same, why wouldn't I do it as fast as I can???? :beatsme
     
  18. Grader4me

    Grader4me Senior Member

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    Yes, I heard your story before. Come out and grade the roads in my area at that speed. The original poster stated that the grader was grading at 20 to 30 miles per hour, so this would be in high gear, hence my reference to "speed grading"
    I don't recall you saying that you graded at that speed, but I'm sure you can do it. Probably trim some more off the budget :thumbsup

    There, I'm done defending the fact that I go slow. Maybe I'll get a new user name.. how about ..."pokealong joe" Wait a minute...I like it! Mods?
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2008
  19. Peter Kennedy

    Peter Kennedy Well-Known Member

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    Just how big was the cowboy hat the operator of the Volvo grader grading in top gear had on ????
     
  20. swampdog

    swampdog Senior Member

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    Not sure - he was going so fast it was hard to tell. Come to think of it, maybe he was wearing a crash helmet.;)