Stabilizer Bars

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Sometimes a desire to save time and money can be our enemy. Another thing that falls in that category is a simple lack of knowing better. One case in which both of these things collide is when it comes to stabilizer bars. Sure, they are useful, but in order for them to be worthwhile, they have to be installed and engaged. If you skimp on this, you can pay a high price in terms of implement damage.

Having a three point hitch is wonderful when it comes to attaching a plethora of implements and having them work well behind your tractor. The parts of the three point hitch include lower lift arms which are responsible for the ability of an implement to move from side to side behind your tractor. These arms also enable the attachment of implements of varying widths and can change the angle at which you pull said implements. Lower lift arms are extremely useful in the case of turning with certain implements attached because of the movement they allow. On the other hand, however, the very movement that is sometimes invaluable can at other times be detrimental.

There will come a time that you want the implement with which you are working to stay centered behind your tractor, but the lower lift arms are simply not intended for that purpose. In order to make this happen, you are going to need stabilizer bars. The wrong combination of implement used while stabilizer bars are not present or engaged can result in your PTO taking a hit against the implement, which can cause expensive damage on both ends.

The type of stabilizer bars you need will depend on the type of tractor you have. When it comes to row crop tractors, which have a rear axle that is elevated above the center of the wheel to enable crop straddling, you will probably need to order stabilizer bars to correspond with your tractor from the manufacturer or other similar outlet. For tractors that are of a normal, standard height, purchasing an aftermarket kit is possible and can be done through a parts supplier. These kits usually include a frame which will bolt to the underside of the rear axle. A bar then extends from the frame alongside the lower lift arm and acts as a stabilizer, preventing motion of the implement from side to side.


Stabilizer bars are often confused with stay bars, which are very much a different beast. Stabilizer bars are intended for the purpose of keeping implements tracking straight behind a tractor, such as in the case of box blades, bush hogs, finish mowers, post hole diggers, etc. Stay bars (or drawbar stays) are intended to attach to the three point, 11-hole cross-drawbar for the purpose of towing or pulling. When engaged, stay bars will prevent a shift in weight from possibly flipping the tractor. They should not be used with anything you intend to raise and lower; doing so will damage your hydraulics. Half the battle lies in having the right bars for the job you wish to do, and once they are there, being sure to use them at all times.

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June 17, 2014  •  01:50 PM
Some tractor do not have the stabilizer bars, instead they have adjustable chains with a take up hand bar in the mid-section of the chain. Once adjusted and tighted, these chains behave just like stabilizer bars. This way, the lift arms can connect to the sway arms in different places as needed.
October 31, 2014  •  06:40 PM
An item to watch your - sway bar/draw bar has a pin at each end of the bar. They are normally held in place by a clip ring with the pin being what I wud call a snap pin. These pins do wear out, so check yours. Replace before the draw bar is lost in the tall grass or brush.

I lost mine recently, looked every where for a week or so, then had to buy a replacement one. $50 plus freight from town, so jumped in the car, bought it, and did some other stuff in town.

Attached, I hope is a pic of the draw bar from some time ago when I was replacing a rear tire. Easy to see the pin at each end, holding the ring in place.
November 2, 2015  •  12:14 PM
looking for spline drive hubs and shafting for Snapper 1650 hydro, the couplers are stripped out due to a bad motor mount.The shafts run from the engine to hydro unit and have several couplers to allow belt changing and etc .
January 18, 2016  •  01:33 AM
say what
about those hub bar splines
January 24, 2016  •  11:57 AM
@oldguychuck I replaced the clips with a 3/8" grade 8 bolt and DOUBLE NUTTED it. works very well and you don't take the bars off anyway.
April 7, 2016  •  01:18 PM
Not using the Stabilizer Bars or Sway Chains have caused more bent fenders than Carter has little Liver Pills. An expression only us old geezers remember. Anyway no restraints on the lift bars with anything attached or not so often allows the lift bars to eat the bottom of one fender or the other. Every restraint serves a good purpose, better to use wisely than not.
October 20, 2016  •  03:19 PM
I like the adjustable, chain type the best, you can have your implement offset a bit if you need to.
January 10, 2017  •  07:17 PM
I have a plow behind my tractor more than I have the draw bar back there