Earthquake front or rear tine tiller?

seedcorn

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So before we move on from the topic of tillers... has anyone ever seen or heard of a 3-point PTO-driven tiller that had reversible tine rotation? Scarcer than the self-propelled reversible tillers, if they even exist. I'd love to find a tractor-mounted tiller that could till forward-rotating for turning under large amounts of organic matter and/or tilling deeply, then switch to counter-rotating for final bed prep. That would solve or simplify a lot of my garden problems & help me to start planting earlier.
I would be shocked if you needed counter-clock wise with tractor PTO. The only reason you need it in a walk behind is that clockwise will push the tiller-between tiller and the one holding on, too much effort. Can’t imagine a tractor being pushed by the tiller. You might have to gear the tractor down and crawl. With the old front tine, I’d take it out of gear and manually push as I filled deep. Not an option with rear tine to till out of gear.
 

digitS'

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I once suggested the purchase of a disc harrow to someone buying a tractor for the first time.

It was a mistake because they bought something that must have been designed more for road building or lot leveling than for field work. I'm not sure if they ever use it, relying on the tiller for all the work.

There are discs that can do a very nice job of surface prep.

Steve
 

catjac1975

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Alright folks, I need a tiller this spring. I've gone back and forth about front vs rear tine tiller, but the cost of a rear tine is honestly a hard pill to swallow given everything else going on in my life. That being said, what do you have and do you love it or hate it? I'm worried that a front tine tiller just might not have the oompf to really get the job done. I see people use those front tines and it's shaking them all over, whereas it feels a rear tine might be a little smoother activity and one that can just be a bit more versatile. My friends have jokingly said "let's be honest, you don't have the mass to control a front tine", so I'm coming around to the fact that a rear tine is needed

My usage will be tilling multiple garden areas, flattening some bumpy trail sections, but I would love to also take it to spots on my property that are screwed up with thistle and just tilling that in on a regular basis to expose those roots to sun, etc....

So, anyone out there buy a front tine and regret it? Buy a rear tine and have sighed many sighs of relief for doing such? I just want to make sure if I make this decision that I make it for the right reasons. I bought an Earthquake powerhead for augering stuff for my tree farm and really love it, so I'm looking at this rear tine right now

Victory™ Rear Tine Tiller with 212cc Viper® Engine
0010135_victory-rear-tine-tiller-with-212cc-viper-engine_600.jpeg
 

catjac1975

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Alright folks, I need a tiller this spring. I've gone back and forth about front vs rear tine tiller, but the cost of a rear tine is honestly a hard pill to swallow given everything else going on in my life. That being said, what do you have and do you love it or hate it? I'm worried that a front tine tiller just might not have the oompf to really get the job done. I see people use those front tines and it's shaking them all over, whereas it feels a rear tine might be a little smoother activity and one that can just be a bit more versatile. My friends have jokingly said "let's be honest, you don't have the mass to control a front tine", so I'm coming around to the fact that a rear tine is needed

My usage will be tilling multiple garden areas, flattening some bumpy trail sections, but I would love to also take it to spots on my property that are screwed up with thistle and just tilling that in on a regular basis to expose those roots to sun, etc....

So, anyone out there buy a front tine and regret it? Buy a rear tine and have sighed many sighs of relief for doing such? I just want to make sure if I make this decision that I make it for the right reasons. I bought an Earthquake powerhead for augering stuff for my tree farm and really love it, so I'm looking at this rear tine right now

Victory™ Rear Tine Tiller with 212cc Viper® Engine
0010135_victory-rear-tine-tiller-with-212cc-viper-engine_600.jpeg
We have our old troy built that must be 30 years old or more. It has had some repair over the years but it is still a work horse. I remember it was very pricey for the time but the rear tines do a fantastic job. We picked up the small Bronco troy built on Craigs list for a song. It was a brand new unwanted gift. I also use a Mantis for between the row tilling of weeds. It is a small front tine that is easy to use. You can get 10 years out of them. I see tillers on Craigs list all the time, That would be a good place to start. The little we ever used the big front end tiller, they jumped around a lot. And that was when we were young. Bite the bullet if you can afford it. It should last your life time.
 

catjac1975

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Advice free, you get what you pay for.....:old

Grew up using front tine tillers. Wouldn’t own one to use-although a used one sitting in my shed that my father Fixed up for me. First $70 this spring and it will be somewhere else.....

Rear tine is the only way I’ll ever go. Why?
1). They do not beat you to death tilling.
2). Make sure it tills forward and backward. Backward is for HARD dirt or sod. Forward for nice loose soil.
3). IF you ever want to sell it, resale value.

Rented an Earthquake before I bought one. HATED IT! IF you can, try before buying.

I have a Cub Cadet and a MTD. Except for color and label, no difference. Love them both.

Personal opinion, stay away from Tecumseh engines. Kohler or B/S engines only. I did look at a Honda. Too pricey for me. Center mounted tines-so no opinion but Honda makes great small engines.
Great idea. The name might be a descriptor of it's usage.
 

digitS'

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Sprig', I bought a Craftsman 16" tiller, a little bit, on the spur of the moment.

I've read this thread as carefully as I could with my mechanically-limited thinking. What it came down to was price, size and the fact that I had virtually the same tiller in the garden with 2 previous Craftsman. This one is different.

I'm a little concerned about the counter-turning tines. Neither of the other 2 had that limit. Darn thing better be speedy on path weeding days!

Same size engine as best as I can figure out. The engines lived through my use of the others better than the gearing. Gave the old one to the guy at the garage. Now he can figure out the problem with the gears. Ya know, maybe it is best for me not to have a forward and reverse for the tines ...

Steve
griiiinnd, grrrayd, clunk
 

SprigOfTheLivingDead

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Sprig', I bought a Craftsman 16" tiller, a little bit, on the spur of the moment.

I've read this thread as carefully as I could with my mechanically-limited thinking. What it came down to was price, size and the fact that I had virtually the same tiller in the garden with 2 previous Craftsman. This one is different.

I'm a little concerned about the counter-turning tines. Neither of the other 2 had that limit. Darn thing better be speedy on path weeding days!

Same size engine as best as I can figure out. The engines lived through my use of the others better than the gearing. Gave the old one to the guy at the garage. Now he can figure out the problem with the gears. Ya know, maybe it is best for me not to have a forward and reverse for the tines ...

Steve
griiiinnd, grrrayd, clunk
I've honestly never used a tiller before, so my biggest concern is to make sure I'm buying something in that sweet spot of features vs cost to make sure I'm happy for years to come. I don't want to spend too little because I don't feel I need counter rotating / reverse / X and then have to sell the damn thing for a loss and still have to buy the correct one
 

Zeedman

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After researching the tillers in this thread (and quite a few others) I ended up buying the Earthquake Model 31285. The main selling points for me were dual-direction tilling, the price, that there is a hiller/furrower designed to be used with it (also purchased) and the fact that it is manufactured in my home state. If I ever need something urgently (or am less than satisfied with their service) I can drive the 3 1/2 hours to their factory.

This tiller is light enough & compact enough for its primary purpose, which will be weeding between rows, and small bed prep. It has a small engine for a tiller (only 99 cc.) but because the tiller tines are hardened sheet metal wheels rather than thick bolo tines, it cuts through the soil surprisingly well.

It's really hard to get everything you want in any machine without paying top dollar, so it came down to compromises.

What I like:
- dual direction tilling
- a quick-reverse lever, that can be used from the operator position regardless of tilling mode... handy for backing out of tight spaces
- light weight
- REALLY easy starting; it takes a very light pull, probably due to the small engine. Presumably low fuel usage as well, for the same reason.
- assembly was easy, didn't have to "read between the lines" anywhere

What I'm not fond of:
- there is only one forward speed (and one reverse). I had to watch several videos of the tiller in operation to ensure I would be happy with that speed. Unfortunately, only one forward speed seems to be the default for similar tillers in this price range.
- the shift lever is located on the transmission, rather than in the operator position
- the shift lever has 4 settings; forward tine, reverse tine, drive wheels only, and neutral. With the engine off, the wheels are locked except in neutral. The shift lever is not clutched, so it can be difficult to move between different positions. Jiggling the wheels back & forth while shifting helps.
- the drive wheels. They are hard rubber (not inflatable) and do not turn independently... so easier to keep straight in the row, but harder to turn. The wheels are attached by a bolt threaded in the end of the axle, and locked to the axle by a heavy steel pin which runs through the axle, locking into a corresponding slot on the wheel. This is not the best mounting method that could have been used, and contributed to my first problem.

The soil in my home gardens was dry enough to till lightly, so I decided to turn under the tubs of dry leaves which DW had collected during her yard work. The tiller started on the first pull; it easily turned over the smaller of two plots (12' X 32') and I moved on to the larger plot (15' X 85'). After making a few passes, I noticed the tiller wasn't pulling itself forward as strongly. I cleaned off & adjusted the depth setting, and it improved well enough to make two more passes - at which point the right wheel fell off. :ep Apparently, I had not tightened that wheel bolt enough... and equally apparent, the locking pin & bolt had fallen out (and been tilled under) well before the wheel worked its way off the axle. Try as we might, neither DW nor I could find the missing parts.

I called Ardisam (the manufacturer) to replace the parts, and report the problem. The CS was very helpful, and reported that they were already considering adding a torque spec to the wheel mounting instruction (so others may have reported this issue). I suggested that they also add a lock washer (only a flat washer was included) to the axle bolt, which she agreed with & promised to pass that on to Engineering. The replacement parts are being sent at no charge.

I will add further comments when I have had a chance to till more deeply, and to use the counter-rotating function. Meanwhile, if anyone else purchases this tiller, I would advise adding a lock washer to the axle bolts, to keep the wheels from working loose.
 
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Dirtmechanic

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After researching the tillers in this thread (and quite a few others) I ended up buying the Earthquake Model 31285. The main selling points for me were dual-direction tilling, the price, that there is a hiller/furrower designed to be used with it (also purchased) and the fact that it is manufactured in my home state. If I ever need something urgently (or am less than satisfied with their service) I can drive the 3 1/2 hours to their factory.

This tiller is light enough & compact enough for its primary purpose, which will be weeding between rows, and small bed prep. It has a small engine for a tiller (only 99 cc.) but because the tiller tines are hardened sheet metal wheels rather than thick bolo tines, it cuts through the soil surprisingly well.

It's really hard to get everything you want in any machine without paying top dollar, so it came down to compromises.

What I like:
- dual direction tilling
- a quick-reverse lever, that can be used from the operator position regardless of tilling mode... handy for backing out of tight spaces
- light weight
- REALLY easy starting; it takes a very light pull, probably due to the small engine. Presumably low fuel usage as well, for the same reason.
- assembly was easy, didn't have to "read between the lines" anywhere

What I'm not find of:
- there is only one forward speed (and one reverse). I had to watch several videos of the tiller in operation to ensure I would be happy with that speed. Unfortunately, only one forward speed seems to be the default for similar tillers in this price range.
- the shift lever is located on the transmission, rather than in the operator position
- the shift lever has 4 settings; forward tine, reverse tine, drive wheels only, and neutral. With the engine off, the wheels are locked except in neutral. The shift lever is not clutched, so it can be difficult to move between different positions. Jiggling the wheels back & forth while shifting helps.
- the drive wheels. They are hard rubber (not inflatable) and do not turn independently... so easier to keep straight in the row, but harder to turn. The wheels are attached by a bolt threaded in the end of the axle, and locked to the axle by a heavy steel pin which runs through the axle, locking into a corresponding slot on the wheel. This is not the best mounting method that could have been used, and contributed to my first problem.

The soil in my home gardens was dry enough to till lightly, so I decided to turn under the tubs of dry leaves which DW had collected during her yard work. The tiller started on the first pull; it easily turned over the smaller of two plots (12' X 32') and I moved on to the larger plot (15' X 85'). After making a few passes, I noticed the tiller wasn't pulling itself forward as strongly. I cleaned off & adjusted the depth setting, and it improved well enough to make two more passes - at which point the right wheel fell off. :ep Apparently, I had not tightened that wheel bolt enough... and equally apparent, the locking pin & bolt had fallen out (and been tilled under) well before the wheel worked its way off the axle. Try as we might, neither DW nor I could find the missing parts.

I called Ardisam (the manufacturer) to replace the parts, and report the problem. The CS was very helpful, and reported that they were already considering adding a torque spec to the wheel mounting instruction (so others may have reported this issue). I suggested that they also add a lock washer (only a flat washer was included) to the axle bolt, which she agreed with & promised to pass that on to Engineering. The replacement parts are being sent at no charge.

I will add further comments when I have had a chance to till more deeply, and to use the counter-rotating function. Meanwhile, if anyone else purchases this tiller, I would advise adding a lock washer to the axle bolts, to keep the wheels from working loose.
A limited slip transmission is not used even on the biggest troy bilts to my knowledge. At least not the old horses I have used. Its more of a tip or lean to turn or pivot on one wheel type deal. That looks like a good rig. I like the dirt deflector up front underneath. I bet it keeps mud off things like pulleys when tilling deep.
 

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