What Is A Quick Hitch Adapter?
A hitch top link adapter is a farm device that makes coupling and uncoupling older farm implements to a tractor’s quick hitch much more manageable. Most tractors use quick hitch systems, but not every tractor attachment is suited to be connected in that manner.
The top hitch adapter bracket is a clevis-shaped fastener that replaces the center hook on the upper bar of the quick hitch. It connects to the top link with a bracket and lynchpin. The tow bar allows height and angle adjustments as the tractor attachments move across the field. Unlike a pin hook that holds an implement in place, the adapter allows up and down top link bracket movements to match the contour of the ground as the implement moves across the rough terrain.
Why Was This Type of Hitch Invented?
For years, farmers had to struggle whenever they needed to change a piece of agricultural equipment. For example, if they needed to plow a field but had a mower attached to the back of the tractor, they would spend considerable time dismounting, unhooking, and reattaching the new item. A farmer could lose precious daylight, which meant more time spent dragging off the old farm tools than spending time in the fields. In addition, since tractor attachments were often heavy and cumbersome, there were times when connecting a piece of farm equipment needed multiple farmhands just to move it into position. If you needed to transfer the implement to separate fields, you often had to put it on a trailer, haul it to the new field, unload it, manually reconnect it, and then get to work.
Using a tractor’s three-point system (invented in 1926 by an Englishman named
Harry Ferguson - for an excellent review, see antiquepower.com), the quick coupling system refined the three-point lift hitch and made coupling easier and less time-consuming. With the development of this new alternative, an operator could move the tractor into position near the implement and make quick work of coupling or uncoupling the attachment. The tractor did more of the work, which made farmers much more efficient and productive.
However, since not all farm equipment had the correct mounting brackets, an adapter needed to be developed.
How Does a Top Link Adapter Attach To A Quick Hitch?
On standard quick hitch systems, the center pin hook is attached to the crossbar by an adjustable bracket with mounting holes. The adapter’s wide bracket gap replaces the pin hook and is secured with a lynchpin and cotter key. The solid bar of the adapter is then connected to the top link of the implement with another bolt and cotter key.
To engage the hitch top link adapter, the owner simply aligns the tractor with the implement’s hitch, lowers the quick hitch under the implements hitch rod, and then connects the adapter to the top link of the implement. Then the operator uses the tractor’s hydraulics to lift the quick hitch and implement. Disconnecting an implement is as easy with a quick hitch top link adapter. The owner simply unlocks the quick hitch top link, lowers the tractor’s quick hitch, and drives away. The hitch adapter offers excellent convenience since there is no need for additional tools or effort that comes from manually having to connect or disconnect various agricultural equipment.
What Does a Quick Hitch Top Link Adapter Cost?
A quality top link hitch adapter will cost less than $50 - $75. Many manufacturers make hitch top link adapters designed to work with their tractor brands, so you should be sure that the adapter you want to purchase fits your tractor’s hitch system. You should never assume that a top link adapter is automatically compatible.
In addition, some aftermarket brands produce hitches that are not rated to handle the load of some pieces of farm equipment. Be sure to look for the kind of composite material that was used in making the top hitch adapter.
Are There Different Categories For A Quick Hitch Top Link Adapter?
Three-point hitch systems come in primarily three different categories, depending on the size and spacing of the hitch. If purchasing an adapter, ensure it matches your tractor’s capacity and classification.
A category 0 hitch includes most riding lawnmowers and garden tractors. Manufacturers like John Deere, Cub Cadet, and Craftsman have units that have a lot of attachments. Most cat 0 hitches accept implements that are twenty inches wide and attach to light-duty, small garden attachments weighing no more than 500 lbs.
Category 1 is a hitch that is a step up from a garden tractor. The top link has a ¾-inch top mounting hole or ⅞ bottom holes on the quick hitch. This category refers to tractors ranging from 20 to 50 HP, which includes most subcompact and compact tractors designed to pull up to 2,000 lbs. This is the most common category of tractors purchased in the United States.
Category 2 hitches are rated for larger tractors with a horsepower range of 50 HP to 125 HP. These tractors are larger, more sturdy, and intended for serious farm work in small fields. Most rural farmers with limited acreage use these kinds of tractors. They are designed for implements weighing no more than 5,000 lbs.
Category 3 - 4
Categories 3 and 4 are for monster tractors used on professional farming installations.