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How to Quickly and Safely Hook Up Your PTO

We want to help you understand how to hook up your tractor’s PTO quickly and safely.

And as a quick aside --- we are here to help you purchase a new tractor when the time is right.

Let’s get started.

Hooking up a PTO doesn’t have to seemingly take forever. Nor does it have to be dangerous.

With the information we are about to share (courtesy of our friends at Yanmar) --- you will be hooking up and operating your rear-implement quickly.


Hooking up a tractor attachment or implement that requires a Power Take Off (PTO) connection can be one of the tougher, more time-consuming tasks. It can also be dangerous.

That’s the way it is --- especially for those who do not know the information we are about to share.

PTO Safety

Safety is always key.

PTO accidents are one of the most common tractor-related injuries. Often, they are very serious.

First --- before doing anything with your tractor and implement PTO components --- read and follow every safety instruction and best practice in your operator’s manuals.

Make sure all shielding and other tractor and implement PTO components are in good operating condition.

Do not do any work with the tractor and implement PTO components while the tractor engine is running or while any portion of the PTO-powered implement is still in motion.

Often to connect an implement’s PTO driveshaft to the tractor’s rear PTO --- you must simultaneously bend over while lifting an implement’s heavy PTO shaft. Plus, you must correctly align the PTO driveline splines while pulling back on the implement’s PTO shaft release collar or pressing the pin-lock release --- all while sliding the implement shaft onto the tractor’s PTO.

This is not easy.

To help make this difficult task easier, use the following methods that were gathered from experienced tractor operators.

NOTE: Wearing gloves while doing PTO connections is another smart tip to help avoid cuts and scrapes.

Tips and Strategies

Alright, let’s get to the more enlightening part of the article --- hooking everything up.

First and foremost --- make sure everything is ready for a PTO connection. This includes reading the tractor and implement operator’s manuals. This way you know the right settings on both machines.

Most tractors allow you to put the PTO shaft on the tractor into a neutral position. This will ensure that your tractor PTO output shaft will spin freely --- making correctly aligning the two shafts’ splines much easier.

If you are connecting a 3-point-mounted implement, make sure that the 3-point hitch is in the full down position to avoid getting accidentally crushed if someone were to inadvertently move the position lever.

The hitch and implement can lower even when the engine is turned off. If you can’t get the PTO shafts to align with the 3-point implement in the full-down position, you may need to remove the drawbar. Often removing the drawbar is a good idea when using PTO-powered 3-point implements. This helps avoid damaging the PTO shaft due to the shaft striking the drawbar when the implement drops to the lower travel limit of the 3-point hitch.

Check the amount of clearance between the PTO shaft and the drawbar before you begin using a PTO-powered 3-point implement.

If your tractor PTO does not have a neutral setting and the tractor PTO shaft remains locked when the engine is turned off --- you might need to mount the implement to the 3-point hitch, raise it, and lock it into the raised position before shutting down the tractor. This way you should be able to carefully rotate the implement shaft to align the splines. Take extra care to keep fingers out of the implement PTO shaft universal joint here --- as there may be a bit of momentum behind the implement shaft’s rotation.

Next --- the two PTO shaft ends should be clean. Dirty and dry splined shafts can be nearly impossible to hook up. The splined PTO shafts are designed to have a tight fit. One small piece of grit from the soil or some crop debris can stop the shafts from sliding together.

To help the two tight-fitting pieces of metal slide together --- lightly coat them both with grease. Clean grease from a clean source is preferred. Once lubricated, the two splined shafts should slide together much more easily.

Keep in mind that your PTO connection is close to the ground. It can be easier to kneel to handle the PTO connection. Kneeling and lifting the weight of the implement and PTO shaft can go more easily if you’re kneeling on a good surface. An automobile floor-mat, a piece of carpet, or some sturdy cardboard will ease the stress on your knees while you hook up the PTO.

Once you have the splines aligned, press the locking pin button --- or pull back on the ball-lock collar and push the shaft onto the PTO. If it is stubborn to slide, sometimes jiggling the end of the implement PTO shaft up and down will help get it started.

After it is started --- slide the shaft all the way on. You might hear a click and your button should retract to the original position or your collar will slide forward all the way.

To ensure that the shaft lock is fully seated --- pull back on the shaft (with your hands off the button or the collar) and it should be impossible to remove.

Hopefully, this brief article has helped you better understand how to make PTO shaft hookups safer and less time-consuming.

If you need any further help or have any questions about hooking up a PTO, tractors, implements, or anything else equipment-related, please contact your dealer, local mechanic, or call us at 602-734-9944. Please ask about our current new and used tractor supply.

If you are looking for old, vintage, classic, or new tractor parts, send us a part request.

Tractor Ranch - #1 Tractor Dealer in Arizona. We sell and service most major brands of tractors including Yanmar, Kubota, John Deere, TYM, Mahindra, Kioti, Case, New Holland, Massey Ferguson, Ford, Deutz, Case IH, Farmall, International Harvester, Branson Tractors, LS, Shibura, Claas Tractor, McCormick Tractors, Valtra, Solis, YTO, Montana, and Nortrac.

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