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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm adding a detachable loader to my 4020. First thing I did is manufacture a new heavy duty front axle and spindles, and reinforce the frame around the axle pivot.

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Then I sistered heavy angle iron rails onto the outside of the existing frame rails to beef it up the point that the reinforced frame is strong enough to have the loader towers' crossmember hanging straight from it.

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I did my best to reinforce the frame rails where it's cut out to go up and around the transaxle, thickening the rails by adding 1/8" and 3/16" plate to rails on the sides and top.

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Based advice from Gordy, I've decided to add some additional bracing on the bottom side of the transaxle too. I think that others who have a 3pt hitch might benefit from this approach:

The main "plate" for my 3 pt hitch (homemade) is bolted to the back of the transaxle, like the factory unit would. All the torque applied by weight on the lift arms is transmitted to the transaxle, trying to rotate the back of the transaxle downward. The transaxle itself is only bolted to the top of the frame rails. It's a fine setup for suspending static weight from the center of the frame, but it isn't great for weight applied out behind the tractor on the 3pt hitch arms.

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I understand from Gordy that when frames break, it's right in front of the transaxle, right where the frame rails thin down to go around it.

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My initial plan was to weld some vertical tabs to the rear face of my new crossmember, and bolt in round steel bars from those tabs down to the sleeve hitch lugs on the transaxle. That would give a triangular point-to-point member which would brace the bottom of the transaxle from moving forward.

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Reality got in the way, though, because the hydraulic motor blocks a straight line from the sleeve hitch lugs up to the crossmember. So the reinforcing bars will have to be bent to go around the motor. No big deal.

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But I didn't like one thing about this: The lowest point under the transaxle is now 2 steel "barbs": If you're in deep stuff, the angled round bars will act like skis to ride up over dirt/rocks/mud. But if you try to go backwards, they're going to dig in. I just thought it would be better if I extended the bars rearward, so that they're not just sticking down like two sore thumbs.

And that led to the "aha" moment: I can extend the bars back to the bottom flange of my 3 pt hitch "plate" and bolt them to it.

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Now I get not only the strength triangular point-to-point member, but with the round bars tied to the transaxle in two places, the bars act now like levers, stabilizing the transaxle even more. And the bars are attached to the transaxle at two different points, lessening the chances of breaking off the sleeve hitch lugs.

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Being bolted on, the bars are removable for heavy maintenance. And with them in place, the torque is eliminated at the point where the transaxle meets the frame rail. With this setup, I wouldn't hesitate to put whatever load on the 3 pt that it's capable of lifting, up to the point of whatever weight limit there is for the axle tubes themselves.

Just sharing for the benefit of anyone who's interested.
 

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Awesome drawings (y) I think you mentioned wanting to be able to use the deck, so I imagine these braces will have to come off to use the deck, or will it still fit?

Cheers,
Gordy
 

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The 3 pt force will only be down when in travel mode. Once the implement is on the ground, the ground provides an upward force negating the downward force. To resist a tensile break in the frame as you show, the rods will have to resist a compressive force. Not great for a bent member but 1" bars are pretty stout. It seems a flat bar welded on top of the frame would work to add tensile strength to the top of the frame. Granted, when the bucket is loaded and in the full lift position the force at that area will change from tension to compression and at that point the triangulated bottom bar would work better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Awesome drawings (y) I think you mentioned wanting to be able to use the deck, so I imagine these braces will have to come off to use the deck, or will it still fit?

Cheers,
Gordy
Good observation.

That was a concern, but the deck still fits and raises and lowers just fine. In the old configuration, when I pulled the deck all the way up, the deck trailing edge rubbed on the rear tires. With this in place the deck hits these bars instead, leaving about a 1/4" gap between the tires and the deck. So I think it's actually an improvement!

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The 3 pt force will only be down when in travel mode. Once the implement is on the ground, the ground provides an upward force negating the downward force. To resist a tensile break in the frame as you show, the rods will have to resist a compressive force. Not great for a bent member but 1" bars are pretty stout. It seems a flat bar welded on top of the frame would work to add tensile strength to the top of the frame. Granted, when the bucket is loaded and in the full lift position the force at that area will change from tension to compression and at that point the triangulated bottom bar would work better.
Good points. I'm referring to heavy lifting with the three point, either with a fork attachment or with a 500lb or so counterweight for the front loader.

But you're right, with a plow or any other ground-engaging attachment, the force on the 3pt bars may actually be upward.
Even in that case, some extra strength in the frame-to-transaxle connection is not a bad thing, in my opinion.

Bob
 
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