: Having my first experiences with an old Farmall, what were the advantages of the swinging drawbar? I have a hard enough time manuvering mine backwards hooked to the regular drawbar. Any insight into the intended function of this would be great. Thanks everyone!
Well...... to begin with, they weren't meant for use in reverse. If you have to back up with anything attached, drop a pin in the holes on each side to keep it from floating. That will help greatly, and you will find that it's easier to back loads this way than when hitched to the standard drawbar. You might even want to weld up a "double pin" with a bracket that will fit over the top of the swinging drawbar. There are a few advantages to these things under some conditions. When the tractor turns, the swinging drawbar moves closer to the rear wheel on the inside of the turn, making the load easier to pull. Under conditions of poor traction, or with a tractor that is a little underpowered for the load, this can make a tremendous difference. I can remember a situation where I had to spend about half a day using a 300 Utility to pull a big disk that we generally hooked to a Super M. That tractor was marginal for serious field work anyway,
and the only way to keep moving when turning was to lift the disk or let it "float" on the swinging drawbar. It's important to remember that this drawbar also lets the hitch of whatever you are pulling get a LOT closer to the rear wheel when turning. This can become VERY dangerous VERY quickly. There are also times when swinging that drawbar to the side can make it much easier to hitch to loads, or to pull loads off-center. An example would be pulling a hopper-bottom wagon up to a grain elevator dump. Sometimes PTO-driven equipment lines up and works better when hitched a few inches behind the regular drawbar on one of these. The universal joint on the pto shaft needs to be approximately straight above the hole where the load is hitched, letting them pivot on nearly the same axis. One other thing to keep in mind is that many of these old farmalls are capable of pulling much greater loads than were commonly attached to them back in the 40's and early 50's. The mount at the front of the swinging drawbar is rugged, but NOT indestructible. There have been cases of breaking these when hitched to extreme loads on rough ground. If you're pulling heavy loads under rough field conditions, get one of those heavy steel drawbar extension plates and bolt in in place.