1. Get the right sized tires.
More than any other factor, the tire size of the tractor is imperative for making sure the beach cleaner works properly on the sand. More often than not, your beach cleaner supplier will be able to make recommendations. Be sure to discuss how soft your sand is, the grade of the beach (how level it is), the level of debris, and any past experience with taking vehicles on the sand. Generally, wider tires with a larger diameter tend to get the best traction on the sand, as they have the greatest surface area. Normal agricultural tires will do in most circumstances, but turf tires or high floatation tires are more effective, since tractors tend to sink into the sand. Unlike most vehicles and conditions, tire pressures can be lowered far bellow their normal levels to increase traction, as well. The size of the rear tires are the most important.
2. Meet the power requirements.
Most often, tire size will dictate the power requirements of the tractor. For example, tractors that come with 18.4 x 34 rear tires (which can usually handle most beaches) often come on tractors that have 75-100 hp engines.
Additionally, if a specific beach cleaner has certain power requirements, it is important to differentiate between engine horsepower and PTO horsepower. Typically, the PTO horsepower will be lower, but it is a better overall indicator of the tractor's power, and it should be used when pairing a beach cleaner with specific requirements for a tractor.
Lastly, more powerful tractors are often heavier, which lends extra traction in the sand when pulling a beach cleaner.
3. Ensure proper hydraulic compatibility.
Most beach cleaners use hydraulics to perform critical functions, like driving a conveyor, screen, or dumping the removed contents. Make sure the tractor you purchase possesses enough rear hydraulic ports and that the quick disconnects that secure the hydraulic hoses of the machine to the tractor's hydraulic reservoir are compatible.
4. Determine repair abilities in area.
Inevitably, you will need someone to service your tractor someday, or you will need parts to do the repairs yourself. Close proximity to a dealer that specializes in your type of tractor could save days or weeks of lost productivity if something breaks.
5. A word to the wise when purchasing used tractors:
It is often wise to use a certified tractor dealer instead of an auction house or independent owner, as they have ways of ensuring the tractor's quality. Many independent owners or auction houses are unaware of the tractor's history or may be trying to get a lemon off their hands. While many are reputable, it is often safer to buy from a dealer who has performed a thorough inspection.
Regardless of where you purchase your tractor, it is often wise to send the new machine to the dealership to be hooked up to your tractor BEFORE purchasing the tractor. This adds a level of security to make sure they are compatible before the final purchase of the tractor goes through. It also allows modifications to be made before they are shipped to their final locations. Especially when the machine is being shipped to a remote location, this method can be a huge time saver.
This blog is managed by H. Barber & Sons. Founded in 1966, Barber is the world leader in beach cleaner production and authority on beach cleaning practices. This site and blog have been compiled to provide information about beach cleaners--their methods of cleaning, importance, and many applications.
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