Secure Your Drag BarVon Chargois, owner of Parking Lot Maintenance in Louisiana, sent in this Tip:
One of the problems we've had over time with inexperienced operators is that they have hit something hard enough to shear off a bolt on the drag bar, and then "not known" it. When this happens, the drag bar can then fall into a concrete expansion joint, etc., and do all sorts of damage to the bar, the head and who knows what else. To keep any real damage from taking place in this situation, we've put together a safety system.
Our fix is to weld a chain link onto the front of the drag bar. We then run a small cable through the link, up through a service hole in the chassis, and then the ends are clamped together. It works great! If the bolt shears, the drag bar is caught by the cable. Although it won't take the place of the bolt forever, it will hold enough to get through the night. Our machines are checked in the shop after each shift, and if there is a problem it is spotted and taken care of. One caution is to beware of brake lines and fuel lines. Don't hook the cable up such that if the bar should drop onto the cable it could crimp or pull one of these loose.
Editor's Note: Consensus here is that if an operator is paying attention, he or she should definitely realize that the drag arm attachment bolt has broken and the drag arm has fallen.
These bolts should be checked for wear on a routine basis, because this is a wear point due to raising and lowering the head. It is also the pivot point from which the head is pulled, so the bolt is under stress from that as well. When you replace the bolt, make sure that it is with the same quality and size of bolt and that it has a locknut.
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