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Farmall 400 - How To Get It Stuck

In my foolish days growing up on the farm, I took our LPG 400, tri-cycle front fishing, down in our creek bottoms a week or so after a flash flood. I hooked up the old John Deere corn picking wagon to haul all the fishin poles and tackle.

Being a Teenager -Heck I knew everything, it was plenty dry down there by now. My best friend and I desperately needed to go fishing in the creek for some Channel Cats being out of school for the summer.

We set out only to find about 1/3 of the way across the field, that crusty, dry cracked looking dirt that looked so dry on top had no bottom to it at all. The front end went down and there we sat, it was about straight up noon.

Dad got home from work at 530 so we were on a time schedule to get it unstuck. We went back and forth only to find the wagon sinking and making ruts. Then the rear tires were getting in about to the bottom of the axles. The belly of the transmission and rearend were rubbing on the ground and due to the water table the front tires were no longer visible. OH DEAR - - -

This only made us more desperate. We had to get it out, dad would just kill us!!!

We unhooked the JD wagon, we found some old dead elm branches and logs and could lift one corner of the wagon up at a time and put items under the wheels. After about and hour we managed to get the wagon about 50 feet back up on higher ground. I think the tractor was sinking while we were working with the wagon.

We first drove forward and backwards as much as possible and wallowed out tracks with the front wheels and the rear tires. It just would not climb up out of the ruts.

We finally decided we could use the dead elm branches as a ramp to climb the tires up out of the ruts, only problem was the field had standing water ahead of us so we needed to climb out backwards.

We had planned to parallel the low spots of standing water and cross the field between the standing water areas, so much for our KNOWING IT ALL!!!

Well, a couple attempts going backwards we realized that wasnt going to work so we put brances and logs in the ruts to ramp out in the forward direction. I told my buddy, if this doesnt work, I am going to be dead anyway cause dad is going to kill me. By now it was about 4 pm and the clock was ticking.

We tried getting out forward, even in 4th gear, those of you familiar with a 400 Farmall, the highest gear before Road Gear........we could not get out, we just couldnt get enuff speed with the slipping of the tires on the branches.

Well we are now on plan h or i, we took the branches out from the reverse direction and let the tractor dig backwards as much as it could. By this time, you could step off on teh ground from the pedistal where your feet sit on the platform. There was water ticking on the fan blades, there was mud coming up on the sides of the motor just under the carburetor,intake thingy for the lpg stuff on the left side, belts were slipping, oh man was dad going to kills us. The 2 point fast hitch was buried and high centering us. You couldnt even see the rear axles. I wish we had a camera, but then again I would have hated for dad to see it.

Well, after going backwards for about 45 minutes and digging with sticks and logs and branches and prying against the front wheels, we finally manged to get ruts wallowed out about 6 feet long.

I told my buddy, this is it, we are going to put a few more branches in the ruts, to try to raise up off the high center and maybe we can get enuff momentum to get out. Well a couple trys in 4th gear only netted us tears as it was near 5 now and dad was close. I told my buddy, hey, lets put in just a few more branches and I am going to see if I can get it to launch in Road Gear with the T/A back.

I did just that, I forgot to mention all this time we would just open her up and then get off and pry with logs and things to help push on the tractor.

Well, I put her in road gear, opened her up, pulled back the T/A and popped the clutch........holy cow, did the MUCK FLY, I jumped off to help pry with the logs against the axles. All of a sudden something happened, I think it must have been the hand of God. The tractor burst ahead and climbed out of the ruts leaving me and my buddy standing in the mud. We kinda did that OH CRAP look at each other then took off chasing the tractor.

The tractor had taken off in road gear!!! It was headed for the standing water, two teenagers in full sprint trying to catch up. When it got to the water, it seemed to only gain speed, we were trying to catch up.

I dont think I mentioned that across this field was the Creek that we were going to go fishing in. Oh dear.......I was picturing the tractor going down the bank and then sinking in the creek!!! I ran faster.........its hard to run in chore boots in the mud and water and they came off, that is what saved the day.........now running in soaked muddy socks I was faster.

I caught the tractor about half way across the field, grabbed the back of the seat and somehow stepped on the drawbar. It all happened so fast.

I got up to the seat, cranked the wheels and turned back and then hit the high side of road gear to try to make the trek back through the water and mud. Man I felt like the Red Baron heading for the final pass on an airborne strike.

About half way through the water and mud I had to grab the T/A but she pulled through. Me and my buddy were elated, we hitched the JD wagon back up and headed for Grandmas. We had 15 minutes until judgement day.

Grandma was beside herself, we were mud from head to toe and the tractor was mud, there wasnt much red paint visible.

We got it somewhat cleaned before dad arrived and he scoled us right good. We never got any fishing done. He told us that he didnt even want to see the ruts we made, funny thing is you couldnt, they pretty much filled up with water.

We were punished with the duty of cleaning dads tractor spotless. Oh yea, I mean spotless. They didnt have power washers back then either. It took us two full days to clean that tractor.

I think dad could tell by the sight of us we had learned a valuable lesson. 5 hours of being stuck, 5 hours of impending death, I am sure dad wouldnt have killed us but it would have for sure been a near death experience.

What a great memory for me and my best friend, we lived to tell about it. We talk about it often, especially when its time to go fishing.

Hope you all enjoy this long post. I am sure I could have got that 400 out for you with some sticks - HA

robert, MO, entered 2004-06-16
My Email Address: Not Displayed

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