Whoever designed the three-point hitch knew how to make life miserable. The Universal Fast Hitch by Field Tuff makes the chore of attaching implements a little bit more palatable.
The three-point hitch system is designed to securely tow implements behind the tractor. As importantly, the three-point system permits the implement to be adjusted (or lifted) during operation, which is necessary on the changing terrain of the pasture.
The original design is frustrating as there is limited movement in the hitch arms, and the attach points are pins affixed to the implements. So the procedure goes like this: Back up, reposition, back up, reposition, back up, dismount, lever implement left, beat lift arm onto pin, lock, move to other side, lever implement, beat lift arm onto pin, lock, attach top link.
What it is
Needless to say, The Fat Rancher doesn’t look forward to all the man-handling necessary to align the implement and lock it in place. Fortunately, the smarter bunch developed the fast hitch.
The quick hitch concept is to replace the pivoting pin receivers on the ends of the lift arms with hooks that open vertically.
Using a 7/8″ bolt to carry the weight, smaller bolts are used to position the hitch horizontally and vertically.
The idea is to back up to the implement with the lift arms lowered so that the implement pins hit the “backstops,” then the operator can raise the lift arm on to the pins.
In practice, the geometry of the top spring locks don’t really facilitate the toggle locks moving back as the arms are raised. That means that you have to position the tractor and arms, dismount, and hold the toggle locks open while you nudge the arms up. Definitely not what the tractor manufacturer had in mind (safety-wise), but pretty much necessary with any fastening method.
Once the hitch is in place, locking pins are used to insure that the retaining latches don’t disengage in operation.
The hitch kit comes with all hardware to get the parts installed. Nylon locking nuts are provided for the main lift bolts, and jam nuts are provided for the positioning bolts. The bungee and two lock pins are also included. Field Tuff includes two sets of sleeves for your Cat 1 implement pins as the Universal Fast Hitch is sized for Cat 2 pins. Cat 2 to 1 pins are available at Tractor Supply which would remove the need for the sleeves which add needless complexity.
Field Tuff includes two washers to help retain the fast hitch mounts on the implement pins. However, these flat washers aren’t really that effective.
Turns out, there are specialty “bent washers” available which do a much better job. So I have ordered several of these (they are stupid expensive at $5 a set) as I expect them to make the Fast Hitch, er, faster.
While the Field Tuff Universal Fast Hitch System does the job, there appears to be a better-engineered product from a company called Pat’s. The Field Tuff product was available off-the-shelf at Tractor Supply and The Fat Rancher was in for some immediate gratification. The Pat’s product is available from Agri Supply (and Amazon) and appears to have a better toggle lock geometry so that it will do what it’s supposed to do. Further, Pat’s has an integral lock on the toggle so you don’t have two more pins to fool around with (and lose). Finally, it includes “bent washers” in the box.
While the Field Tuff Universal Fast Hitch certainly does what it is advertised to do, I suspect that the Pat’s product is more elegant. I would definitely wait for the delivery now that I have used the Field Tuff product.