Are you planning to purchase a Category 1 or 2 three-point quick hitch, and do you want to know which is the best one for you? You’ve come to the right place, for we have researched this question, and we have the answer for you.
SpeeCo is a brand with a competitive price but has a sturdy build that matches the build of more popular and expensive brands. It also has quick hitches available for both Categories 1 and 2.
Let’s talk more about these two categories of hitches in the succeeding sections. Learn about the different characteristics of hitches that you need to look for before buying one in the sections below.
Quick Look At Quick Hitches
It wasn’t too long ago when farmers connected farm implements to their tractors using a metal drawbar. The drawbar uses the same principle as a tow hitch that connects a truck and a trailer or other equipment for hauling cargo.
The drawbar has several holes that line up with the trailer’s tongue. It connects to the trailer’s tongue using a pin that goes through the hole in the drawbar.
This design was a direct descendant of horse-drawn farm implements, which was the default farm equipment connectivity for decades before the mechanization of agriculture in Europe and North America.
Origin Of The Three-Point Linkage
The three-point linkage was first patented in 1926 in Britain by Harry Ferguson, and took nearly a decade to develop the idea and patent.
Ferguson’s design combines hydraulic principles and the force of gravity to keep the wheels of the tractor on the ground. This makes tractors using the three-point linkage lighter than other early farm tractor models that do not use the three-point linkage.
Thus, tractors that use the three-point linkage are more maneuverable because their wheels stay on the ground despite the upward force from the implement.
Ferguson eventually convinced Ford to use the new system, and the Ford-Ferguson 9N debuted in 1939. It was the first tractor to have both the three-point hitch and the PTO (Power Take Off) system.
When the patent expired in the 1960s, manufacturers agreed that the three-point hitch should be the standard system to connect farm implements to tractors.
Now, almost every tractor manufacturer uses a version of the standard three-point system.
There are five size categories for the three-point linkage. The three-point linkage has two lift arms at the bottom and one upper link. The lift arms are hydraulic that allow you to raise or lower the implement, adjusting the equipment for more effective implementation.
The size categories tell you the diameter of the pins that secure the farming implements to the tractor. Bigger sizes means sturdier pins to secure the farming implements to more powerful tractions. The pin sizes are standard across different tractors and implement manufacturers.
Additionally, the categories also determine the distance between the two lift arms at the bottom of the linkage. This distance can be slightly different between different manufacturers.
Aside from the standard categories, some tractors come in N variants. The N stands for narrow. These variants have the same pin sizes for hitches of their size but have a width that is one category smaller.
Thus, an N variant of a Category 2 hitch will have all its pin diameters matching a regular Category 2 tractor. However, the distance between the two lift arms follows the size of a Category 1, one step lower.
This variation is common in quick hitches. It allows bigger tractors to attach smaller implements.
Before picking your quick hitch, you need to get the diameter of the pins for your tractor. This will tell you the category that you need. Additionally, you also need to measure the distance between the two lift arms.
You can use pins and implements that are one category smaller than your tractor by using a bushing that will raise the diameter of your smaller pin one category bigger.
Never use a pin that does not fit snugly on your tractor and implement.
This category is common in subcompact tractors or in ride-on mowers. These tractors usually have up to 20 horsepower.
The pin diameter for this category is 5/8 inch for the top link and the bottom lift arms. The space between the two lift arms is 20 inches.
This is the normal category for 20-horsepower tractors to 45 horsepower. However, there are smaller tractors with 16 horsepower that use Category 1 sizes.
Category 1 has a top pin diameter of 3/4 inch and a lift arm pin diameter of 7/8 inch. The distance between the two lift arms is 28 inches.
This is the common size for tractors that are 40 horsepower in size up to 100 horsepower. Some 120-horsepower tractors sometimes use this size too.
The top pin diameter is 1 inch, while the link arm pin diameter is 1 1/8 inches. The distance between the lift arms is 34 inches.
Category three tractors are large tractors that have engines that can produce between 100 to 225 horsepower. However, some 80 to 100-horsepower tractors also use Category 3 measurements.
The top link pin diameter of a Category 3 tractor is 1 1/4 inches. On the other hand, the lift arm pin diameter is 1 7/16 inches. The distance between the two lift arms is 40 inches.
This is the biggest category size. You can find this size in large tractors that can produce 180 horsepower and above.
The upper link pin diameter is 1 3/4 inches, while the lift arm pin diameter is 2 inches. The distance between the two lift arms for a Category 4 tractor is 48 inches.
Quick hitches make it simpler to connect implements to a three-point linkage. You connect the quick hitch to a three-point linkage, then you can move the tractor to hook the implement on the quick hitch.
Most quick hitches allow you to install and remove implements without leaving your tractor’s seat.
What is the best three-point quick hitch?
When you go out and look at the available quick hitches in the market, you will notice that there aren't a lot of differences. The dimensions of three-point quick hitches are standard across different brands within each specific category. The reason is that reliable quick hitches follow the ASABE (American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers) standards.
However, not all quick hitches conform to these standards.
Thus, when you start your search for a Category 1 or 2 quick hitch, always make sure that the model that you are checking follows the standards set by the ASABE.
With all the strengths and measurements conforming to a standard, what sets each quick hitch apart from the rest (under whichever category) are the things that make your life easy. Some people call them quality-of-life features, as these features can be effective in making it easier to mount implements on your tractor.
Another factor that you might want to consider is compatibility. A few quick hitches include ways to make them compatible with older farm implements that came out before the time of quick hitches.
If you have older farm implements that are still in good condition, you can look for quick hitches that will allow you to still use them.
Early quick hitches have a welded top hook. However, with the various implements that you need to mount on quick hitches, it is a good idea to look for one with a top bracket with several holes. The bracket holes allow you to move the hook in different positions (move it higher or lower) to match what you need on your equipment.
These quick hitches use large nuts and bolts to secure the hook in the position that you want. There is no quick way to move the hook up or down because the hook needs to be sturdy enough to support your farm equipment.
One more thing that you might want to check is the hook itself. Some hooks have narrow openings that can make it challenging to mount implements. Make sure that the top hook has a wide enough opening or one that extends a little forward to catch the implement to make installation easier.
SpeeCo Quick Hitch
SpeeCo’s quick hitches are available in Category 1 and Category 2 sizes. It has models that give you a top bracket with several holes where you can adjust the position of the top hook if you need to. This makes it compatible with implements that require different distances from the top hook to the lift arms.
Category 1 hitches normally have a width of 26 inches. However, the standard distance of the two lift arms for Category 1 can sometimes vary. You can install a bushing on your implements that gives you the missing inch on both sides so that it will fit a Category 1 quick hitch.
SpeeCo’s quick hitch is compatible with this bushing system. The pair of bushings that you will install should stay with the implement.
You can also use a quick hitch adapter on a SpeeCo for implements that might not be compatible with quick hitches. Keep in mind, however, that there are a few implements that cannot be made compatible with quick hitches.
Hildirix Versatile Quick Hitch Adapter is available on Amazon through this link.
All good quick hitches are made the same to comply with standards. However, some models have features that can make it easier for you to install and uninstall farm implements.
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