Retractable Combine Steps

Paul Hewlett, Adrian, Mich., made a device to raise and lower the platform steps on his Deere 55 combine that will work on other combines with a similar problem.

"When combining corn, the ladder hangs out the side into the next set of corn rows and has to be lifted up and out of the way to keep from knocking down any unpicked corn. Lifting this ladder gets to be a nuisance by the end of a long day. The combine has a hydraulic reel-lift for the grain table but, when the cornhead is in use, this hydraulic outlet is not needed.

"I eliminated the ladder problem by using the unused hydraulic outlet to make a retracting system. Most of the parts came from the scrap pile except for a used cylinder and a new quick-coupler. It took a few afternoons of work.

"There are springs on the device because the reel-lift hydraulics are pressurized. The springs create back-pressure which allows the cylinder to retract.

"We've used our ladder re-tractor for three seasons now and it works great. The amount of time needed to lower the ladder is approximately 15 sec. and it raises in just 5 sec., controlled from inside the cab."