This weekend, I gave The Orange Dragon a much-needed upgrade: a nice, big rear-view mirror.
Operating my new Kubota L3301HST tractor involves a lot of backing up. I often have to do it in tight spaces, and I often need to do it very accurately (for example, when mounting rear attachments). Unfortunately, the tractor doesn’t come with any mirrors, so this quickly gets really hard on my neck and back.
I bought my tractor with the deluxe fiberglass canopy. The dealer accidentally mounted the larger canopy for M-series tractors; they liked how it turned out so much that they say they aren’t going to bother ordering L-series canopies any more. The canopy provides a natural place to mount a rear-view mirror.
I started with a section of 1.5" 80/20 extrusion. It is mounted with two-hole 80/20 straight brackets to the front canopy mounting bolts. I needed to enlarge one of the 5/16" holes in each bracket to accommodate the 3/8" canopy mounting bolts. The original canopy bolts were too short, so I replaced them with longer ones. While I was at it, I replaced the rest of the associated hardware (bolts, lock nuts, and bonded sealing washers) with new stainless steel hardware.
The mirror is a "west coast" truck side mirror. It hangs from the 80/20 rail with normal 80/20 L-brackets. It conveniently uses 5/16" hardware, just like the 1.5" 80/20 parts do. I just needed a replacement mirror without all of the large brackets to mount it on the side of a semi tractor, so the mirror just cost about $16.
I bought all of the necessary parts, including the mirror, from McMaster-Carr. I tried it out today, doing some weeding in the sweltering summer heat. It makes backing up a lot easier, and saves my neck from lots of strain. It does cause a bit of a head hazard while getting on/off the tractor, though. Still, I’m calling this upgrade a success.
I think that I will also add some work lights on the same extrusion later. And I might need to add some cushioning to protect my noggin from painful bumps!