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long gravel driveway leveling

Discussion in 'Compact Equipment Attachments' started by maddog, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. maddog

    maddog Senior Member

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    What attachment(3point or such) would be best for leveling long driveways? I was thinking a box blade but also noticed land levelers might be more efficient. Interested in low budget even build it yourself ideas. Thanks.
     
  2. Ronsii

    Ronsii Senior Member

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    For really small jobs I have a 3point angle blade that works great, haven't used one of those land levelers but I think it would be easy to fabricate and put to use with satisfactory results. I have seen people make a mess out of their driveways with a box so if you're not used to it for road leveling you might want to get some practice first, the box will be better for doing grade changes on the road but if you just need to level/smooth it out go with the angle blade or leveler.
     
  3. Delmer

    Delmer Senior Member

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    What exactly are you dealing with? an existing driveway to grade and mound, or a "roller coaster" to level, or spreading new gravel, or building a new driveway? And how good do you want it to look?
     
  4. maddog

    maddog Senior Member

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    it's an already existing drive more or less filling pot holes and loosening up the compact. Any real bad spots I'll fix with new material.
     
  5. grandpa

    grandpa Senior Member

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    Well you did say best. Road grader Period.
     
  6. PDG X

    PDG X Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately potholes don't go away by filling them. The bottom of the hole gets compacted by traffic, and fill material will just get pushed out as it will not mix with the hard bottom.
    If you really want to fix it, you will need to rip the holes to breakup the hard packing so the fill can properly attach to the surrounding material.
    Yes, a grader is best, but you can work with a 3-point box blade if you know what you're doing. A 3-point with down pressure, used with the ripper on the blade can break thru the packed hole, especially right after a rain. With the down pressure you can force the rippers to cut deep.
    To move material for leveling you also need to have 'pitch' control on the box - rolling the box forward to cut deeper (the blade is actually lower than the side plates - using the side plates for depth control, or rolling it backwards to spread the material by riding on the rear blade. Hydraulic side tilt also makes the crowning of the drive easier.
    If you don't have down pressure or full hydraulic control, you can still do it, it will just take more time.
    Again, working the material when it is wet will help you work it, if the drive has been packed over time.
    To breakup pot holes, I have also used a backhoe to break up the bottoms, and have so used a skidsteer and a cold planer to remix the material around and thru the pothole like a road bed reprocessor All depends on the number of potholes and the length of the drive what machine is best. But also comes down to what machine and tools you have available.
    Lacking access to a grader, I prefer a 3-point with full hydraulics for long drives. They're faster and I think you end up with a better, smoother roadway in the end.
     
  7. Shimmy1

    Shimmy1 Senior Member

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    Whatever you end up using, be it a box scraper or angle blade, you will need to go slow, slow, slow or you will have washboard city. If you get a land leveler, if its what I'm thinking of, you would probably do pretty well with that. Like the other guys say though, for sure wait for a rain.
     
  8. JNB

    JNB Senior Member

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    About 60% of my business involves new gravel driveway/parking lot installs or repairing and re-topping. I use a box blade for gravel work, but most of the guys over on the tractor forums swear by the land plane grading blade (land leveler). They are very forgiving since they have skids they don't take much operator input. Contrary to popular belief however...the angled blades do not move enough material from one side to the other to recrown a road. If you buy or build one, make sure it has scarifiers so you can rip to the bottom of potholes. Then re-grade the entire driveway to make sure the fines and stone are remixed and you're set. I do have a land plane and have used it a couple of times on gravel, but it pretty much just sits next to my shop unless I'm working on a horse arena.

    Here's a long driveway where I used my land plane. Ripped, regraded, no gravel added.
    Celina3.jpg Celina7.jpg

    And one where I used my box blade. Ripped, regraded, no gravel added.
    Gravel Works Before.jpg Gravel Works After.jpg

    I'm putting together pieces to make a grading blade like this. It's modeled after a Thomas asphalt float.
    Gravel Float 02.jpg
     
  9. maddog

    maddog Senior Member

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    Thanks for all the replies, this is fairly compacted, maybe a box blade is the answer.
    I still may build a land leveler, or better yet build something like what you got there JNB. Nice job on those drives.

    I had a fairly long drive in the Adirondacks that I always used a back blade and York rake on, but I kept up with that drive. This drive doesn't look like it's had much done in a few years. Seems to have a real good base and I'm hoping to get away with just loosening it up and spreading/mixing it back down. I am limited on my machinery small tractor, but don't mind time as long as I make progress.
     
  10. maddog

    maddog Senior Member

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    :D yea that would be nice, but I don't think the boss will let that fly. I don't mind fabricating attachments, I've built many different things through the years(snow plows, ripper for excavator, different style hitches for 3 point, and so on...). IMO the drive isn't terribly bad, few nasty pot holes and I need to reroute some water damage areas. Once I get it fixed I'll keep up with it. I did look at a coupe of road graders, never know maybe I'll win the lottery :D :D :D
     
  11. JNB

    JNB Senior Member

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    Here are a couple more pics.
    Gravel Float 03.jpg Gravel Float 04.jpg

    And here is the Thomas model.
    Gravel Float Thomas.jpg

    I'll be cutting up a heavy back blade to build mine around. I have the initial design scratched on paper that allows for depth adjustment. What I would like to do is to have the option of keeping the angle option feature on the blade for recrowning, but I haven't been able to wrap my brain around is how to do that AND keep the sides independent so they can be adjusted upward with screwjacks or cylinders. I'll figure it out...just have to get through my thick skull. :D
     
  12. Equip Junkie

    Equip Junkie Well-Known Member

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    I use a Conterra Grader blade with a tracked T770 Bobcat. I have found it works amazing. I have also purchased a vibratory packer to follow up on a driveway to insure it stays put and to help the potholes from reforming. One issue I have found is that not many customers have more than an 1" of top gravel, so ripping driveways up to remove potholes can be hard to do without having to put a topcoat on.

    Here is a link to what I use: http://conterraindustries.com/grader-blades.html
     
  13. maddog

    maddog Senior Member

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  14. JNB

    JNB Senior Member

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    Nothing will move material to the center except a back blade. That said...I haven't used mine for years. I tilt the box blade and go down the edge of the driveway until the material is at the top of the box, then turn and pull it to the center a bit . Then pickup where I left off and do it again. This deposits the edge material from both sides near the center and it can be graded out to re-establish the crown.

    Interesting build that guy did. In the video you'll notice that the skids are very wide. Whether it's built or bought, that's the norm. As I mentioned, the skids are there to reduce most of the operator input. The skids also nullify any tilt adjustments to move material to the center for the most part. If you buy or build a land plane, make sure that the blades can be easily adjusted for depth. The depth below the skids makes the attachment act completely different. Since most tractors don't have down pressure, weight is your friend. The more the better. Ironjunkie built a very cool land plane with screwjack depth adjustments here https://www.heavyequipmentforums.com/showthread.php?40318-Skid-Steer-CTL-Pictures!/page10.

    Roadrunner makes probably the best land plane out there you can buy with a lot of options. The best bang-for-the-buck is Befco.

    Edited to add: Weight is your friend with a box blade too. My 6' Gannon weighs 1100# and I wouldn't mind if it were heavier.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
  15. maddog

    maddog Senior Member

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    I was just thinking about this the other night. I've got a few different ideas rolling around in my thinker. Ironjunkie has a nice setup in that thread :cool:
     
  16. Yellowdog

    Yellowdog Well-Known Member

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    I do a lot of these. I had a road runner box type leveler for my Bobcats. I sold it...regretted it. I bought a JD landplane and it did good. Had hydraulic rippers and did a good job but I thought it was too heavy and sold it. It was built great and I regret selling it too. I just bought a Bobcat landplane. The landplanes work good. I also have a skeleton bucket. It's a little longer than a traditional bucket and lets materials pass through. It's teeth are different than any I've seen and it cuts good. I also have a bucket with a rezloh blade. The rezloh slices through hardpacked materials.

    All of these can be adapted or are made for a tractor. The rezloh teeth can be outfitted on a roadrunner type grader/plane. Roadrunner is priced well, too, and is built heavy. The only reason I didn't get another one is the width of my old one made it too bulky for hauling but it was great. I also wanted something that would let materials pass through (landplane) where the roadrunner pulled materials like a grader but didn't let them out of the box as easy.

    I ALWAYS compact with a vibratory compactor after grading a road especially around filled/reworked potholes. Moisture helps if you can't get a compactor out there.. as the wet materials will slide into place and voids will shrink with evaporation. Too much water causes the bottom to pump so keep that in mind if turning over materials with a ripper.
    In the before and after pic, I had to bring in materials but I had to work the bottom so the materials had something to hold onto.

    roadrunner2.jpg 20130520_150902.jpg IMG00195.jpg looking down big hill.jpg
     
  17. ffmloyd

    ffmloyd Well-Known Member

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  18. ericscher

    ericscher Well-Known Member

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    Well, here's my two cents...

    First, if you have a center median in your driveway, kill the grass with Round-Up or something similar. Them after it's dead, scrape it off.

    Step two: Scarification. You need something with teeth to dig into the surface and break it up a few inches down. That's because as silly as it sounds, potholes and ruts are a STRUCTURE, and if you want to give the driveway a different structure you need to break up the old one first. This also re-mixes the material. I like to call it "Dehomogenization" because it sounds cool and the customers like the word. (Yes, I am that cynical. ;) )

    Step three: Level it out with a blade of some type. If you can adjust the blade so as to give a slight slope, either all the way across in one direction or from the middle out, then do that. If not, it's not really hyper-critical in a residential driveway as long as you have no other drainage issues. If you do, fix them as step three and make this step four.

    Two more things...
    #411 Limestone is an excellent material to use and can be used as both base and surface, provided you add it in two inch max lifts, compacting as you go.
    Having said that, in a residential driveway I like to finish with a thin topcoat of #57 limestone, which greatly cuts down on dust. Two inches in good here since half of that will get pushed into the underlying base when you roll it out.

    Finally, if you rent yourself a vibratory roller with smooth drum(s), like a BoMag for instance, you can give it a final compaction and really tighten up that surface.
     
  19. pafarmer

    pafarmer Senior Member

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    Doesn't get much better than a Roadrunner in my humble opinion for an all around attachment for grading. Been using one for years with no complaints. Great attachment once mastered...
     
  20. ironjunkie

    ironjunkie Well-Known Member

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    Like JNB said, (or kinda said) the angle I built in, (about 15*) is NOT enough to walk the edge material in to the crown. It does move in, just not fast enough. I compensate by pulling it in by driving the machine in to the crown every so often and deposit it and then hit it again to distribute. I would just about double the angle or play with a rear blade to find the "just right" angle needed for your local material. Then use that as your design base. Sound's like you've been doing our homework put I'll repeat, build it heavy, with long skid shoes.