US 3526047 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Septl, 1970 E. ROESSLER ET AL 3,526,047
DITCHING MACHNE HAVING VERTICALLY ADJUQTABLE WHEELS Filed Oct. 9, 1967 .4 Sheets-Sheet l Sept. 1, 1970 E ROESSLER ET AL 3,526,047
DITCHING MACHINE HAVING VERTICALLY ADJUsTABLE WHEELS .4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Oct. 9, 1967 IN VEN TORS my MKM .4 77'0RNEKS` .Il 4IlllI-l KENNETH P GOL TZ MART/N M. MEDLL/N EDMUND ROESSLER m, QQ mmwmm ow E E WHEELS Sept 1, 1970 E. ROESSLER ET AL DITCHING MACHINE HAVING VERTICALLY ADJUSTABL Filed Oct. 9, 1967 ,4 Sheets-Sheei 3 @L www,
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KENNETH P co1. rz MART/N M. MEDLL/A EoMu/vo RoEss/ EA /NVEN7ORJ ATTORNEYS Sept. 1, E. ROESSLER [TAL l DITCHING MACHINE HAVING VERTICALLY ADJUSTABLE WHEELS Filed Oct. 9, 196'7 KENNETH l? GOL TZ MART/N M MEDLL/N E DMUND ROESSLER /NvE/vro/es MW )4M Arrowgrs United States Patent Oce 3,526,047 Patented Sept. 1, 1970 3,526,047 DITCHIN G MACHINE HAVING VERTICALLY ADJUSTABLE WHEELS Edmund Roessler, 2025 N. Archie, Fresno, Calif. 93703; Kenneth P. Goltz, 608 W. Scott, Clovis, Calif. 93612; and Martin M. Medllin, 820 Willis, Madera, Calif. 93637 Filed Oct. 9, 1967, Ser. No. 684,884 (Filed under Rule 47(b) and 35 U.S.C. 118) Int. Cl. E02f 5/02; B605 9/20; B62d 6]/12 U.S. Cl. 37-98 4 Claims ABSTRACT F THE DISCLOSURE A ditching machine for digging irrigation and drainage ditches, canals and the like and for reforming and cleaning existing canals of weeds and other extraneous material. The ditching machine includes a wheel suspension system including vertically adjustable hydraulic cylinders which enables the machine to negotiate sloping banks during entry into existing canals and during its exit therefrom with virtually no danger of tipping. Laterally adjustable moldboards are provided to allow the machine to form a Wide variety of different configurations and sizes of canals. The machine is easily converted to a relatively narrow lateral dimension for highway transport.
Essentially, the present invention consists of a ditching machine which is adapted to be propelled in a predetermined relative forward direction of earth traversing movement which incorporates a single tubular main frame providing a machine support and a protective conduit for hydraulic hoses, mechanical control linkages, and other related hardware. The frame has predetermined forward and rearward ends and is supported by sets of earth engaging wheels at its ends with the wheels at the rearward end of the frame being mounted for powered lateral movement transversely of the longitudinal axis of the frame so as to be spaced from each other a distance corresponding to the width of the bottom of the ditch or canal and in equally spaced symmetrical relation to the longitudinal axis of the frame. Such wheel mounting also enables the wheels to be selectively oppositely elevationally raised and lowered in spaced substantially parallel planes for maintaining the machine substantially upright while traversing the sloped sides of the ditch `banks during entry into the ditches and when exiting therefrom without tipping. A plurality of hinged ditch forming blades are mounted on the frame intermediate its ends with the blades being adjustable through a wide range of movement for digging a wide variety of ditch congurations. The blades are power operated between their various adjusted positions which permits the blades to be retracted to a position closely adjacent to the frame without pulling any hinge pins or the like so as to present a minimum lateral dimension acceptable for highway transport of the machine and extended for maximum operational stability. An auxiliary earth engaging frame support skid is mounted on the frame between the ditch forming blades and the rearward end of the frame for additional flotation when the machine is operating in loose, sandy or boggy soil.
Conventional ditching machines for the purpose described above usually provide a plurality of ditch forming blades having only a narrowly limited range of adjustable movement and include retractable pins and other rigid connector members which must be tediously removed and replaced during blade adjustment. Such machines have relatively bulky, open, fabricated frames which expose their hydraulic hoses and mechanical control linkages and the like to possible damage. These machines further employ suspension systems for mounting the wheels at the rearward end of frames which employ only a single axle between the rear wheels. The wheels are transversely positionable on such common axles so as to adjust the width of the track of the machines in conforming relation to the width of the bottom of the ditches with the wheels rollably engaging the adjacent sloping banks of the ditches for maximum stability. The single axles are pivotally mounted on their frames intermediate their ends which has proven to be seriously unstable. For example, when the axles are pivoted relative to their frames for elevationally spacing the wheels to maintain the machine substantially upright while traversing a sloping ditch bank, the lower Wheel is disposed beneath and during extreme conditions passes the longitudinal center of the machine frequently causing the machine to tip over, particularly when the wheels are spaced closely together on their axles. The tipping of the axles corresponding displace the wheels from their preferred upright positions. Furthermore, such conventional machines employ auxiliary support sleds which are usually mounted in trailing relation to their frames. Such mounting precludes pushing of the machines by a prime mover and requires that extension support linkage be provided to insure raising of the sleds to a sutlicient height so as not to dig into the ditch banks when removing the machines from the ditches.
Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved ditching machine for forming, re-shaping or cleaning irrigation and drainage ditches, canals and the like.
Another object is to provide such an improved ditching machine which is capable of forming a wider range of sizes and configurations of such ditches than heretofore possible.
Another object is to provide a ditching machine having a plurality of pivotally mounted ditch forming or shaping blades which are power actuated to adjusted positions.
Another object is to provide such blades which are retractable to positions closely adjacent to the frame of the machine to present a minimum lateral dimension acceptable for highway transport.
Another object is to provide such a machine which incorporates a wheel suspension system having rear wheels which are transversely positionable relative to the longitudinal axis of the machine.
Another object is to provide such a machine which maintains the wheels in equally spaced symmetrical relation to the longitudinal axis of the machine during all such adjustment.
Another object is to provide such a ditch forming machine wherein the rear wheels are elevationally positionable relative to each other in all transverse positions.
Another object is to provide a ditching machine having an auxiliary frame support sled disposed in such a position on the machine that when retracted the sled does not present any restriction to the removal of the machine from the ditches or entrance of the machine into ditches.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will subsequently become more clearly apparent upon reference to the following description and accompanying drawings.
In the drawings:
FIG. l is a top plan view of a ditching machine embodying the principles of the present invention showing a pair of sets of opposite rearwardly diverging ditch forming blades extended in operating position from the machine.
FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the ditch forming machine of FIG. 1 with portions broken away for illustrative convenience.
FIG. 3 is a transverse vertical section through the machine taken on line 3 3 of FIG. 2 showing the machine disposed lwithin an irrigation ditch or the like.
FIG. 4 is a somewhat enlarged rear elevation of the ditching machine of the present invention showing a suspension system for the rear wheels thereof.
FIG. 5 is a transverse horizontal section through the suspension system taken on line 5-5 of FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary front elevation of the suspension system of FIGS. 4 and 5.
FIG. 7 is a transverse vertical section through the suspension system taken on line 7-7 of FIG. 6.
Referring more particularly to the drawings, a ditching machine embodying the principles of the present invention is shown having an elongated frame generally indicated by the reference numeral 10` which is adapted to be propelled for earth traversement in a predetermined forward direction of travel from right to left, as viewed in FIG. l. The frame includes an elongated rearwardly disposed tubular main section 11 and a forwardly disposed tubular section 12. As best shown in FIGS. l and 2, the sections are normally substantially coaxially aligned and are pivotally interconnected at their adjacent ends for elevational swinging movement through substantially upright planes about a pivot pin 14 extended through the main section and through a pair of ears 1S on the forward section 12. The frame sections 12 and 11, respectively, provide opposite forward and rearward ends 17 and 18 for the frame with the frame having a longitudinal axis aligned with the direction of earth traversing movement of the machine. A pair of sets of forward and rearward ground engaging wheels 20 and 21, respectively, are mounted on the forward and rearward ends of the frame for supporting the frame during such earth traversing movement.
An operators station, indicated by the reference numeral 25, is disposed intermediate the ends 17 and 18 of the frame 10 on the main section 11 thereof above and immediately rearwardly of the pivot pin 14. The operators station includes a seat 26 and a control board 27 mounting a plurality of hydraulic control valves 28. The operators station is preferably enclosed by an upwardly extended cage 30 covered with a protective screen 32. An engine is mounted on a platform 36 secured to the main section 11 of the frame between the operators station and the rearward end 18 of the frame. The platform also mounts a hydraulic pump 37 and iiuid supply tank 38 for supplying a flow of hydraulic fluid under pressure to various controls on the machine which will subsequently be described.
The forward set of wheels 20 are pivotally mounted in freely rotatable relation about a vertical axis by a dolly type wheel mounting assembly generally indicated by the reference numeral 40. The wheels are rotatably mounted on a common axle 41 which is secured to a king pin 42 by a saddle bracket 43. The upper end of the king pin provides a clevis 45 embracing the forward end 17 of the frame and includes a forwardly extended tongue mounting portion 47 having a pair of pin mounting holes 48 therethrough. An elongated tongue 50 having a rearward bifurcated end 52 is adapted to be selectively aligned with the mounting holes 48 for receiving a connecting pin S3 therethrough. The tongue has an opposite forward end 5S which is adapted to be connected to the drawbar of a prime mover, not shown. By selection of the proper mounting holes 48, the tongue is disposed in a substantially horizontal position depending upon the height of the drawbar of the prime mover so as to provide a constant draft force to minimize diving or washboarding effect on the machine during operation.
A plurality of ditch forming blades 60 are mounted in depending rearwardly outwardly diverging relation from the main section 11 beneath the operators station 25 and intermediate the forward and rearward ends 17 and 18 of the frame. The ditch forming blades include a rigid leading lister blade y62 which is substantially V- shaped when viewed in plan and which is rigidly secured, as by bolting or the like, to the forward end of the main section 11. The leading lister blade includes a lower shoe portion 64, a forward edge 66 and opposite rearwardly extended outwardly diverging wings -68 terminating in trailing edges 69 laterally outwardly spaced from the frame. The trailing edges of the leading lister blade are held in predetermined diverging relation by a spacer plate 70 secured between the trailing edges and to the underside of the main section 11 of the frame as by welding or the like.
A pair of adjustable lister blades 72 are individually pivotally mounted in substantially coextensive relation from their respectively adjacent wings 68 of the leading lister blade 62. The adjustable lister blades include lower shoe portions 73 disposed in coplanar relation with their corresponding lower shoe portions 64 of the leading lister blade and forwardly disposed edges 7S inwardly extended in overlapping relation with their respective trailing edges 69 of the leading lister blade. The adjustable lister blades have outer soil conveying surfaces 76 which combine with the side wings 68 of the leading lister blade 62 to provide a continuous rearwardly outward flow of soil therealong. Each of the adjustable lister blades provides a plurality of hinge mounting gussets 78 having a hinge member 79 pivotally connecting its respective adjustable lister blade on the spacer plate 70 in laterally inwardly spaced relation to the trailing edges 69 ofthe leading lister blade 62. The adjustable lister blades further include trailing edges 82 with each having a dual hinge assembly 85 mounted on the inner surface thereof adjacent to its trailing edge. Each hinge assembly provides a substantially upstanding hinge pin 86 and a rearwardly substantially horizontal hinge plate 87.
A pair of hydraulic jacks 90 are disposed between the adjustable lister blades for concurrent swinging movement of the blades about their hinge members 79 on the spacer plate 70. Each of the hydraulic jacks provides a cylinder end 92 pivotally connected to the main section 11 of the frame 10 and an opposite extendible-retractable rod end 93 pivotally connected to the inner surface of its respective adjustable lister blade closely adjacent to its lower shoe portion 73. In order to insure precise corresponding swinging movement of the adjustable lister blades, a stabilizing linkage system 95 is disposed in expanding-contracting interconnecting relation therebetween. The control linkage provides a central lever 96 which is pivotally mounted intermediate its ends on a depending frame structure 97 and at its opposite ends is pivotally connected to the opposite inner surfaces of the adjustable lister blades by links 98.
As best shown in FIG. 1, the lister blades 62 and 72 are raised and lowered with respect to the ground surface by elevational angular adjustment of the sections 11 and 12 of the frame 10. This is accomplished by a hydraulic jack 100 having a cylinder end 102 pivotally connected to the front of the cage 30 of the operators station 25 and an extendible retractable rod end 103 pivotally connected by a pair of brackets 104 secured to the forward section 12 of the frame 10. This is accomplished by a hydraulic rod end of the hydraulic jack 100, the sections of the frame are pivoted relative to each other and by rotary movement of the forward section about the axle 41 of the front wheels 20, the blades are lowered into deeper earth penetration.
A pair of elognated moldboards are individually extended for elevational and lateral outward swinging movement from the trailing edges 82 of the adjustable lister blades '72. The moldboards include forward ends 112 which are extended in inward overlapping relation to their associated trailing edges 82 of the adjustable lister blades 72 for pivotal connection therewith by the dual hinge assemblies 8S. Hinge member 113 is disposed adjacent to the forward end of each moldboard through which the hinge pin 86 is extended to provide a subtantially vertical pivot axis. Each of the forward ends of the moldboards mounts a substantially horizontally oriented pivot pin 114 which is extended through a bore in the hinge plate 87 of its associated adjustable lister blade 72 and through the associated hinge plate 113 to provide a substantially horizontal axis about which the moldboard is swung in its described substantially vertical path of movement with such connection also permitting lateral swinging movement of the moldboard about the vertical hinge pin 86.
Such dual movement of the moldboards is accomplished with a pair of sets of upper and lower hydraulic jacks and 116, respectively. The upper jacks 115 provide cylinder ends 118 which are pivotally mounted in elevationally spaced relation above the frame on a tower structure 120 upwardly extended from the main section 11 of the frame. The jacks 115 include opposite rod ends 122 which are pivotally connected adjacent to the lower edges of their respective moldboards for elevational swinging movement of the moldboards relative to the frame. The lower jacks 116 provide cylinder ends 125 which are pivotally connected to a depending frame section 126 and opposite rod ends 128 pivotally connected to their respective moldboards above and in crossing relation with the rod ends 122 of the upper jacks for effecting the described lateral swinging movement of the moldboards.
Each of the moldboards 110 has an adjustable power actuated spoil wing 130 pivotally connected at its outer end. The spoil wings are individually pivotally mounted on an angularly related hinge assembly 132 so that when the wings are longitudinally aligned with their respective moldboards as shown in FIG. l, the lower edges of the spoil wings are also coextensive with the lower edges of their respective moldboards. However, when swung laterally outwardly from the moldboard, as in FIG. 3, the lower edges of the spoil wings are angularly related to the lower edges of the moldboards and disposed in substantially horizontal planes. Such movement of the spoil wings is provided by a pair of hydraulic jacks 136 having cylinder ends 137 individually pivotally mounted on brackets 138 secured to the inner surfaces of their associated moldboards 110. The jacks include opposite rod ends 140k which are pivotally connected to their respective wings by a pedestal 142 extended therefrom.
An elongated skid or sled is disposed between the ditch forming blades 60 and the rear wheels 21 for providing additional support for the machine when operating in loose, sandy or boggy soil. The sled is mounted in depending relation from the frame by a plurality of links 152 which are pivotally mounted at their lower ends on the sled and at their opposite upper ends on a plurality of arms 154 secured to the main section 11 of the frame 10. A hydraulic jack provides a cylinder end 162 pivotally mounted beneath the frame on a pair of brackets 163 secured to the underside of the frame and an opposite rod end 166 pivotally connected to the sled.
As best shown in FIGS. 4 through 7, the rear wheels 21 are mounted `tor' adjustment transversly of the longitudinal axis of the frame and for corresponding opposite elevational adjustment by a wheel suspension system generally indicated by the reference numeral 170. The suspension system provides an elongated mounting column 172 disposed in upwardly extended relation from the rearward end 18 of the frame. The upper end of the column is bifurcated to form forward and rearward plates 173 and 174, respectively, which terminate in upper ends 176. An open box-like cross frame is mounted on the column between the forward and rearward plates of the column and includes forward and rearward sides 182 and 183, respectively, and opposite ends 185 which combine to dene an elongated rectangular horizontal passage 186.
A pair of wheel mounting carriages are disposed within the passage 186 of the cross `frame 180. Each of the carriages provides sets of upper and lower rollers 192 and 193, respectively, rollably engaging the upper and lower edges of the sides 182 and 183 of the cross frame. Each of the carriages provides a pair of spaced inner walls 195 which define therebetween an elongated vertical guide passage 196. As best shown in FIG. 6, a pair of hydraulic jacks 200 are mounted in side-by-side oppositely extended relation on the forward plate 173 of the column 172 for effecting movement of the carriages 190 through the passage 186 in the cross frame 180. The hydraulic jacks include cylinder ends 202 which are secured to the forward plate 173 of the column 172 and opposite rod ends 204 connected to their associated carriages. In order to insure opposite corresponding movement of the carriages, a stabilizing linkage 210 is disposed in interconnecting relation between the carriages. As best shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, a central lever 212 is pivotally mounted intermediate its ends on the forward plate 173 within the passage 186. The opposite ends of the lever are individually pivotally connected to the carriages by a pair of links 214.
A pair of elongated wheel mounting masts 220 are individually slidably extended through the guide passages 196 in the carriages 190. Each of the wheel mounting masts provides a lower end 221 which is connected, as by welding or the like, to a wheel mounting skirt 224. A stub axle 225 is mounted on the lower end of the skirt for rotatably mounting its respective wheel 21 for rotation about an independent substantially horizontal axis. Each of the masts includes an upper end 227 which is bifurcated to mount a roller 228 on an elongated pin 229 which is extended through the roller and through the upper end of the mast in a position to dispose the upper periphery of the roller above the upper end of the mast. As best shown in FIG. 7, the pin is longer than the width of the mast so as to provide outer extended portions 230.
An elongated rocker beam 235 is pivotally mounted between the upper ends 176 of the forwardand rearward plates `173 and 174 of the column 172 on a pivot pin 236 extended therethrough. The rocker beam is of I-beam construction providing opposite sides 237 and a centrally disposed connecting wall 238. The wall has a lower elongated roller engaging surface 240 which provides a substantially `frictionless connection between the upper ends of the masts and the rocker beam. A pair of elongated rods 243 having outwardly arcuately upturned ends 244 are secured, as by welding or the like, along the inner lower edges of the sides 237 of the beam for sliding engagement with the extended ends 230 of the roller pins 229'. A pair of hydraulic jacks 250 provide cylinder ends 252 which are individually secured in substantially upstanding relation on the rear side 183 of the cross frame 180 by saddle brackets 254. The jacks include lower rod ends 255 which are pivotally connected to their respective wheel mounting skirts by a connecting bracket 256 secured to the skirt.
As best shown in FIG. 6, a pair of hydraulic conduits 260 and 261 are connected between the cylinder ends 252 and the rod ends 255 of the hydraulic jacks 250 for alternately supplying hydraulic uid under pressure to the jacks from the hydraulic pump 37. The conduits include branch lines 262 and 263 which are connected to a pressure regulating bypass valve 265. The valve provides a stern 266 and an upstanding control lever 267 which has a lower end 268 pivotally connected to an arm 269 on the valve and an opposite upper end 270. The upper end of the lever is extended through the stem and into an opening in a control plate 272. The control plate is connected to the rocker beam 235 for swinging movement therewith about the pivot pin 236. Accordingly, the bypass valve is actuated by the control lever 26-7 upon a predetermined angular movement of the rocker beam from its substantially horizontal position shown in FIG. 6. Upon actuation, the valve is effective to bypass hydraulic fluid to the jacks to limit their extent of extension and retraction.
7 oPERAttoN The operation ot the described embodiment of the subject invention is believed to be clearly apparent and is briefly summarized at this point. The draft tongue 50 is connected to the front wheel mounting assembly 40 by the pin 53 extended through the desired mounting hole 48 depending on the elevational location of ther drawbar on the prime mover, not shown. This enables the tongue to be disposed in a substantially horizontal position so as to transmit the draft forces from the prime mover to the ditching machine in a substantially straight line to minimize diving or upward movement of the blades. During transport and entry of the ditching machine of the present invention into a ditch, the hydraulic jacks 90, 115 and 116 are retracted to dispose the adjustable lister blades 72 and the moldboards 110 in closely spaced relation to the frame 10. It is noted that the moldboards are fully power operated and require no removal of hinge pins or the like to dispose them in their adjusted angular positions relative to the frame. The sled 150 is also elevated by retraction of its associated hydraulic jack 160 to provide maximum ground clearance. -In order to elevate the leading lister 62 and the adjustable listers 72, the hydraulic jack 100 is extended angularly to displace the forward section 12 and the main section 11 of the frame so as to raise the forward end of the main section sufficiently that the machine is able to traverse the sloping banks of the ditch without any portions thereof dragging or gouging into the banks.
As the ditching machine enters the ditch, the adjacent sloping bank thereof is approached from an angle and as soon as the closer of the rear wheels 21 rolls downwardly upon the bank, the hydraulic control Valves 28 are manipulated by the operator to provide a iiow of hydraulic tiuid through the conduits 260 and 261 to extend the hydraulic jack 250 to lower such wheel downwardly along the sloping bank and simultaneously correspondingly to elevate the opposite wheel still engaged with the level portion of the ground adjacent to the ditch, Such relative movement of the wheels is continued as both wheels engage the sloping bank in order to maintain the ditching machine in a substantially upright position. It should be noted that during each entry maneuver, the hydraulic jacks 200 are normally fully extended to position the carriages 190 and the rear wheels in their maximum transversely spaced relation for optimum stability.
As the downwardly disposed rear wheel 21 engages the bottom of the ditch, the flow of hydraulic fluid through the conduits 260 and 261 is reversed to return the wheels to their substantially aligned positions of FIG. 4 when the machine is fully disposed within the bottom of the ditch. The adjustable lister blades 72 are then outwardly extended by actuation of their hydraulic jacks 90 so that the trailing edges 82 of the blades are separated a distance corresponding to the width of the bottom of the ditch. Upon forward movement of the machine, the hydraulic jacks 200 are extended or retracted transversely to position the wheels toward or from each other in predetermined spaced relation corresponding to the width of the adjustable lister blades so that the wheels are disposed against the lower portion of the ditch bank for maximum machine stability.
The lower hydraulic jacks 116 are then actuated to swing the moldboards 110 outwardly from the frame. The moldboards are concurrently elevationally positioned by actuation of their upper hydraulic jacks 115 precisely to conform the moldboards to the angle of the ditch banks. The spoil Wings 130 are swung angularly outwardly from their respective moldboards to their level positions of FIG. 3 by actuation of their hydraulic jacks 136 so as to direct soil outwardly from the ditch upon forward movement of the machine. The hydraulic jack 100 is then retracted to lower all of the ditch forming blades 60 into earth penetrating relation for moving the engaged soil rearwardly outwardly along the outer conveying surfaces 68 and 76 thereof'and outwardly of the ditch during forward movement of the ditching machine by the prim'e mover. The sled 150 is lowered by extension of its hydraulic jack 160 to a position approximately one inch above the plane of the lower periphery of the wheels. Accordingly, any penetration of the wheels which exceeds such spacing brings the lower surface of the sled into ground engagement for increased support of the machine during movement vover loose, sandy or boggy soil. It is noted that the relative elevational position of the rear wheels 21 can be adjusted during operation by actuation of their hydraulic jacks 250 transversely to tip the frame to either side if necessary to clear overhead obstructions such as low-hanging tree limbs, irrigation canal headgates or the like.
After completion of the ditch forming, shaping or cleaning operation, the ditching machine of the present invention is easily removed from the ditch by reversing the above described procedures for entry of the machine into the ditch. The hydraulic jack is extended to lift the ditch forming blades 60. The hydraulic jack 160 is retracted to raise the sled 150 to a position providing sutiicient ground clearance so as not to gouge into the side bank of the ditch. The adjustable lister blades 72 and the moldboards are retracted by actuation of their hydraulic jacks 90, and 116 to position them closely adjacent to the frame. The ditching machine is then drawn diagonally upwardly along the sloping ditch bank and the rear wheels elevationally staggered in conforming relation to the slope again to maintain the frame in a substantially upright position during traversernent of the ditch bank.
It is noted that during elevational positioning movement of the rear wheels 21 the wheels are conned to a rectilinear path of travel and are maintained the same lateral distance from the longitudinal axis of the frame when either raised' or lowered. Accordingly, the rear wheels are always maintained in equally spaced symmetrical relation with respect to the longitudinal axis of the frame as opposed to conventional ditching machines having only a single common rear axle which pivots on the frame to raise and lower the wheels so that the lower wheel shifts to an unstable position beneath the frame, causing tipping. Furthermore, such symmetrical relationship of the rear wheels is maintained irrespective of the transverse spacing of the wheels by the stabilizing linkage 210.
As previously described, the bypass valve 26S is operative to limit the extent of the travel of the hydraulic jacks 250 so as to limit the extent of relative elevational movement of the wheels from their aligned positions of FIG. 4. With the wheels disposed in their maximum transversely separated positions of FIG. 4, the lever arm formed between the pivot pin 236 of the rocker beam 235 and the rollers 228 of the wheel mounting mast 220 permits substantially full extension and retraction of the jacks 250 for maximum elevational displacement of the wheels prior to actuation of the bypass valve 265. It is noted that with the wheels in such maximum transversely spaced relation, full elevational displacement of the wheels is acceptable `without impairing the stability of the machine and resistance against tipping. However, with the wheels positioned transversely closer together, machine stability would be adversely affected if full extension and retraction of the hydraulic jacks 250 were permitted. It will be apparent, however, that when the wheels are moved closer together, the effective lever arm between the pivot pin 236 and the rollers 228 is reduced so that upon actuation of the bypass valve 265 with the same angular movement of the rocker beam the relative elevational movement of the wheel mounting masts is correspondingly reduced. Consequently, full extension and retraction of the jacks 250 is prevented, thus limiting the elevational displacement between the rear wheels to maintain stability of the ditching machine and to resist tipping. Accordingly, the Wheels can never be elevationally displaced from each other any amount exceeding that which will maintain the machine in a substantially upright stable condition.
In view of the foregoing, it is readily apparent that the structure of the present invention has provided an improved ditching machine which is fully pwer operated and requires no manual positioning of the ditch forming blades thereof as is necessary with conventional machines. The ditch forming blades are capable of being disposed closely adjacent to the frame so as to provide a minimum transverse dimension acceptable for highway transport. Furthermore, the present invention includes a suspension system for the rear wheels of the machine which enables the wheels to be elevationally displaced in staggered relation to each other for maintaining the machine in a substantially upright position while traversing the sloping banks of ditches. Also, the flotation sled is mounted on the frame between the wheels which requires only a minimum of retractable movement to dispose the sled in a position to provide suihcient ground clearance to minimize dragging or gouging into the ditch banks during entry of the machine into the ditches and during its exit therefrom.
Having described our invention, what we claim as new and desire to secure by Leters Patent is:
1. A ditching machine adapted to be propelled in a predetermined forward direction of ground traversement comprising an elongated main frame having predetermined forward and rearward ends including an elongated rearwardly disposed tubular main section and a forwardly disposed tubular section pivotally connected to said main section in substantially coaxial relation therewith and in substantially longitudinal alignment with said direction of movement; a pair of sets of ground engaging wheels individually mounted on said tubular sections of the main frame; ditch forming means mounted on the main frame intermediate its ends; auxiliary ground engaging support means mounted on the main frame between said ditch forming means and said rearward end of the main frame; powered means disposed in bridging intercon nected relation between said sections of the main frame for angularly adjusting the sections to raise and to lower said ditch forming means relative to the ground; guide means having a cross frame disposed above the rearward end of the main frame mounting one set of said wheels; a pair of carriages rollably mounted on the cross frame; and control means connected to said guide means for selective elevational movement of the wheels in opposite direction relative to each other and for movement of the carriages and the wheels toward and away from each other transversely of the longitudinal axis of the frame, said guide means including a pair of elongated support masts individually elevationally slidably extended through said guide carriages for movement in a rectilinear path of travel having lower wheel mounting ends and opposite upper ends extended above said cross frame, said main frame having an upright portion extended from the rearward end thereof supporting said cross frame above the main frame and having an upper end elevationally spaced from the cross frame, an elongated rocker arm having opposite ends pivotally mounted intermediate its ends on said upright portion of the frame and providing a track slidably engageable with the upper ends of the masts to permit said transverse movement of the mast and wheels and to insure correspondingly opposite elevational reciprocal movement of the wheels during said elevational positioning.
2. The ditching machine of claim 1 including powered means on the frame connected to said carriages for effecting said transverse movement of the mast and wheels, and linkage means disposed between the masts to insure said corresponding movement of the Wheels toward and away from each other in precise equally spaced symmetrical relation to the longitudinal axis of the frame.
3. The ditching machine of claim 2 including powered means mounted on the carriages for connection to said lower wheel mounting ends of the masts and being connected to said control means for selective raising and lowering of the wheels in opposite directions relative to each other, said control means including a fluid bypass valve on said upper extension of the frame, and indicator means on the rocker arm connected to said bypass valve for movement with the rocker arm to provide predetermined limits of said elevational reciprocal movement of the wheels irrespective of the transverse position of the wheels so that when the wheels are positioned relatively close together relatively shorter effective lever arms are provided between the pivot of the rocker arm and the upper ends of the masts substantially to reduce the amount of relative elevational travel of the wheels.
4. In a vehicle having an elongated frame and a pair of ground engaging frame support means spaced longitudinally thereof, means mounting the frame on one of said support means for substantially transverse tipping with respect to ground traversed thereby, and the other of said support means comprising a pair of axially spaced support wheels, means mounting the frame on said support wheels with the wheels substantially equally spaced on opposite sides of the longitudinal center line thereof, said means mounting the frame on the support means providing a cross frame, an upright member mounting said cross frame on the vehicle frame in -upwardly spaced relation therefrom and including an upper end elevationally spaced above said cross trarne, a pair of carriages rollably mounted on the cross frame, a pair of elongated support masts individually elevationally slidably extended through said carriages for movement in a rectilinear path of travel having lower wheel mounting ends and opposite ends extended above said cross frame, and an elongated rocker arm having opposite ends pivotally mounted intermediate its ends on said upper end of the upright member and providing a track slidably engageable with the upper ends of the masts to permit substantially equal axial adjustment of the wheels toward and from said center line of the frame to control the stability of the support provided thereby transversely of the frame and for substantially equal and opposite elevational adjustment of the wheels relative to the frame while constraining the wheels in substantially parallel relation to control the transverse attitude of the frame relative to ground traversed by said wheels.
References Cited v UNITED STATES PATENTS ROBERT E. PULFREY, Primary Examiner C. D. CROWDER, Assistant Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R.