How To Hook Up A Three Point Implement

How To Hook Up A Three Point Implement

Learning how to hook up a three point implement is one of the most intimidating things to do when you’ve just purchased a tractor. The good news is that generally gets easier the more you do it. (Although you can console yourself with this reminder when you’re having trouble as a newbie: There are even some ag guys who have been around farm equipment their entire lives who still have trouble hooking up implements.

The Simple How-To

Basically, what you have to do is get the tractor lined up so that the lower link arms will swing out and go around the pins on the implement. In my video, I demonstrate this with a tiller, which is too heavy to move. So I had to move back with my tractor and get totally lined up with the tiller in order to get it hooked on.

Let’s Take a Quick Look at the Rear of the Tractor

The first thing you do after you back the tractor up is to look at the back end of it. You’ll notice that one or the other of the lower link arms on the tractor is going to be adjustable up and down.

On the back of the tractor I’m using in the video, there is a kind of silvery arm on it. That’s a turnbuckle, the piece that allows the one link arm to go up or down. That’s very useful if the implement is not exactly level: I’ll still be able to get it on because I can move that lower link arm up or down because the arm is adjustable.

Now, in this case I’m going to put the left side link arm on first because the right one is adjustable. That means I’ve got to get the implement completely aligned with the left side of the tractor. (That would be the driver’s side if it were a car.) I swing the left arm out and get it the right height. Once is it at just the right height, we put it on and then attach it with the linchpin to keep it on.

At this point, I’m hoping I backed up to where the pin on the right side is in line with the lower link arm on the right side. But if I haven’t got it just right, I’ll have to get on the tractor again. I back it just a little bit to get it in line with that hole. And since I can’t move the implement – this tiller is way, way too heavy for me to move – I’ll use the tractor to push it just a little bit and get it lined up.

Final Attachment Adjustment

Okay, now that it’s lined up I attach the lower link arm on the right side. In goes the linch pin on to attach my top link, and the top link just goes along for the ride. I put the part that goes to the tractor in and put a pin through it. Next, I adjust the top link so it’s the right length to go back to the hole on the implement. At that point, I slip a pin through the implement and the top link. And now we’re all hooked up and I can lift the implement off the ground, and I will.

Stabilizers Are Critical for To Avoid Tire Damage

The next parts of the tractor you need to know about are stabilizers. These turnbuckles that run from the tractor axle to the lower three-point arms. If you don’t do anything with these stabilizers, the implement will be able to flop back and forth.

Some implements can actually get into the tires of the tractor, and that’s bad news. If you fail to adjust these stabilizers to tighten the implement and end up damaging your tires, that’s not warrantied. You can
do great damage to the back tires and end up having to pay for it out of your own pocket.

Final Step: Safety Warning

The last thing you do is attach the PTO. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS turn the tractor off to put the PTO on. Now, you’ll see there’s a collar you have to pull back and slide on the PTO shaft until it’s past the groove in the shaft. There’s a series of ball bearings inside of the PTO shaft, so on the implement I’m sliding the collar back so those can go out and slide past the groove in the PTO shaft on the tractor and then when I pull it back and release this collar they’re going to snap into place and then I’m good to go.

Watch the video above to see how I do it.

Tractor Mike


  1. Reg Poirier on June 19, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    Hi Mike,
    The problem that I most often have in hooking up a 3 point attachment to my Kubota B2320 is to keep the lower lift arms separated and out of the way, because unlike the tractor in your video, my anti-sway turnbuckles are on the inside of the lift arms and cannot hold the lift arms apart. To help with this problem, I have rigged up a spreader clamp to push the lift arms apart until ready to connect the first side, then once the spreader clamp is removed in order to make the first (left side) connection, the right side lift arm tends to swing back inward, often preventing easy connection of the left side. The most efficient way I have found so far, is to have a second person assist to hold the lift arms apart when the other person carefully backs the tractor into position. Any suggestions on how to approach this better?

    • Tractor Mike on June 19, 2020 at 3:01 pm

      Reg, that’s a problem I don’t have a great solution for. Might try a couple of bungee cords back to the outside rear axle when hooking up?

  2. Steve Hopper on June 19, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    I have had a tractor for 40+ years and have never seen a need to turn it off to attach the PTO. Are you implying that the PTO can accidentally engage itself? The odds of that happening are slim to none in my opinion.
    Anyway, thanks for all your other great ideas and info.

    • Tractor Mike on June 19, 2020 at 3:00 pm

      In 25 years in the equipment business I’ve known about it happening once. The guy was greasing a haybine with the tractor running and is very, very lucky and made a believer out of me. It can happen on certain tractors and it sure doesn’t occur frequently but I’m not willing to risk my fingers (or life) for a little inconvenience.

  3. Patrick McCormick on June 22, 2020 at 9:15 am

    Hi Mike
    I seldom have trouble coupling the arms and top link. My problem comes with attaching the PTO. I have a Muratori flail the PTO of which has a collar, the other implements have a pin which you have to hold down with your thumb against a strong spring while sweating, struggling and cursing, in an inconvenient position, to line up the PTO vertically and horizontally with the outlet and turn it to fit the splines. I have painted white markers on the PTOs where the splines are. It helps, I’m a fit 74 but with osteo-arthritis in my hands. If only there was a tool which you could hold the pin down until the PTO is on.

  4. Pat on March 11, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    Mike, I don’t have trouble hooking up I have trouble getting drive shaft off. This only happens when I take my tiller off. Any ideas?

  5. richard williams on March 27, 2021 at 2:37 am

    Speaking as a 70+ year old who has been doing this for 20 years or so, I can say that it’s often possible to move even a heavy implement like a slasher or grader blade by hand, or shifting a concrete water trough into position. Simply place the pointy end of a steel fencing bar (or crow bar) partway under the item to be moved and, digging the point into the ground, use the bar to lever the implement up and swing it to one side or the other. Sure beats trying to use your back to take the weight! Using the bar in repetitive motions you can move even heavy items, and position them quite accurately and easily.

  6. Joyce Ellis on June 4, 2021 at 8:22 am

    I have a JD 770 with away links. I can’t tighten the turn buckles enough because when I do, one or the other breaks. And, yes, the rear tires are damaged and it is a constant problem, especially when mowing with a Bush hog. Is there an after market 3 point hitch or other work around to solve this issue?

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