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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently added a third spool to my loader valve so that I now have an extra hydraulic option. In the long run it will serve more than one purpose, but for now it will be for a brush grapple.

I gave some consideration to whether I should add the grapple on to my bucket or add it on to my pallet forks. In the end I decided on the bucket. Because with the bucket you can face it directly downward and pick things up something like a clamshell bucket on a crane. And you can still pick up other things like general brush and not too huge of logs etc.

If you put the grapple on the pallet forks you can deal with larger logs and larger diameter objects. But you can't point it straight down and pick things up. So overall I think the bucket grapple is a handier all around tool to have.

My intention is to have it easily installable and removable. Something less than two or three minutes to install the grapple onto the top flat surface of the bucket and be ready to use it.

Long story short, I intend to weld three chain hooks onto the top flat surface of the bucket. The grapple arm and hydraulic cylinder will be attached to a piece of plate steel the same length as the grapple, and about 4 inches wide. This steel plate will slide forward/slot into those three chain hooks, and those hooks will capture the plate and hold it firm. Then I'll just need a couple bolts that when screwed in will prevent the plate from backing out of the hooks. Sp the only visible modification to the bucket will be the hooks, which are handy to have on their own. To attach the grapple, slide it up into the hooks, screw in the two bolts, and attach the two quick-attach hydraulic hoses.

But that's all in the future. For now I have the extra spool ready, a set of hoses running to the bucket, a cylinder and clevis ready to pin in place, and the bulk of the grapple itself completed.

I still need to weld adjustable tips onto the tines, weld on some rebar-based cross-bracing to reinforce the tines, and fab up the arm/structure that the cylinder clevis will pin onto.

Then I'll layout the precise locations for the chain hooks, reinforce the bucket as necessary, and get the hooks welded on.

Then get the plate created and ready to slot into the hooks and attach the grapple to the plate.

Lastly, create and install the upper/rear cylinder mount and get it attached, before installing/adjusting the tine tips.

Lastly, prep and paint, and then I should be able to go out and grap all the brushes.

Bob

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Looking good so far! Do you have a joystick loader valve or do you have a multiple bank valve body where you have 3 different levers? I was looking at having the 3rd function for when I do my loader but the joystick valves with the 3rd function valve built in are vastly more expensive than the joystick valve by itself.
 

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Another cool project from Bob.

Qustion: When do you have time to actually use all of these toys? :) :) :) :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Looking good so far! Do you have a joystick loader valve or do you have a multiple bank valve body where you have 3 different levers? I was looking at having the 3rd function for when I do my loader but the joystick valves with the 3rd function valve built in are vastly more expensive than the joystick valve by itself.
I actually bought from Northern Tool a relatively expensive ($200) 2-lever valve to begin with. The loader did function with it, but it bled down so badly that when you set the bucket at waist height, it was on the ground in 15 minutes or less.

I violated my own sacred rule: "Always use free materials when possible, otherwise buy the CHEAPEST thing you can find." I could have gotten a cheap 2-lever valve off of Ebay for $50, but I just HAD to do "quality."

Anyway, I then bought the CHEAPEST 3 lever valve on Ebay, $70 delivered to my door. And it works flawlessly.

Isn't that crazy?

So, the answer is, "I have a 3 lever valve." I couldn't really see a way to use a joystick valve where it doesn't interfere with ingress/egress on that side of the tractor.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Another cool project from Bob.

Qustion: When do you have time to actually use all of these toys? :) :) :) :)
LOL. For me the fun is in the making. My wife claims I don't actually need most of them, but she just has a common female malady known as, "Lack of tractor and tools addiction." My heart goes out to every wife afflicted with this terrible disease...

:cool:

Bob
 

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Tip. Don't add anything more than one "crossbar" between the tines. It WILL catch branches ect making it a PIA to empty. make your teeth strong enough to survive on their own, and you will be much happier and more productive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
A little progress this afternoon.

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I'm using 3/16x2x2 angle iron to reinforce the front lip of the bucket top. The top is made of 3/16 plate to begin with, and I think it's a little light to hold up to the repeated torque that the grapple will apply.

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The angle iron is welded at both ends up inside the bucket and plug welded down its length.


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Then I got the hooks welded on. The 1/2" plate thats in the hook slots is just being held by friction, the slot in the hooks is just a few thousandths over 1/2". I'll cut u-slots in the plate so that it lays flat against the bucket top, and then weld on a second, higher level piece of plate that will slide into the hooks. When the grapple is closing onto something, it will actually apply a lifting force to the front edge of the bucket top, so the plate that slides in will actually try to lift up at the front edge. The hooks will serve to prevent it from doing that.

Once I have the plate all fitted to the hooks I'll get the two "keeper" bolts installed to it, and from there I'll be ready to weld the grapple itself and the cylinder pin support/structure to the plate.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Tip. Don't add anything more than one "crossbar" between the tines. It WILL catch branches ect making it a PIA to empty. make your teeth strong enough to survive on their own, and you will be much happier and more productive.
Do you mean I shouldn't add anything from this point? I have doubts about the tines' strength if I don't reinforce them, and doubts about it being easily clogged if I do reinforce them.

But you advice does tell me for sure that I shouldn't use rebar for reinforcement. It has too much texture, which will make the clogging problem worse.

Thanks for the tip!

Bob
 

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I actually bought from Northern Tool a relatively expensive ($200) 2-lever valve to begin with. The loader did function with it, but it bled down so badly that when you set the bucket at waist height, it was on the ground in 15 minutes or less.

I violated my own sacred rule: "Always use free materials when possible, otherwise buy the CHEAPEST thing you can find." I could have gotten a cheap 2-lever valve off of Ebay for $50, but I just HAD to do "quality."

Anyway, I then bought the CHEAPEST 3 lever valve on Ebay, $70 delivered to my door. And it works flawlessly.

Isn't that crazy?

So, the answer is, "I have a 3 lever valve." I couldn't really see a way to use a joystick valve where it doesn't interfere with ingress/egress on that side of the tractor.

Bob
With those valve blocks do you have a float function? That's a big reason as to why I want the joystick, aside from the ease of use of course.
 

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Gusset your teeth with solid triangles around the one crossbar as big as you want, if you feel the need. anything else will just cause your "load" to hang in the teeth. Google factory bruss grapples for a better visual. You will LOVE the weld on grab hooks for other lifting jobs though! One should always use a grab hook is this fashion, slip hooks are a PIA as they do not allow you to easily adjust the length of chain hanging beyond the bucket AND allow the chain to easily come unhooked with a jerk or wrong move of the controls.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
No, the float function adds a lot of expense, an extra $400 to $500 as far as I can tell. I'd like to have it, but I can live without it.

I've considered adding a tee into the line leading to my boom lift cylinders, and running from that tee to a high pressure ball valve, and from that ball valve to return. If you open that ball valve, you have float. It's inconvenient, and it may be hard to make it look decent. But it would serve the purpose.

Bob
 

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I doubt float will add much to our little GTs. Any resistance to forward movement on a 1500 pound loader GT will result in immediate collapse of the lift cylinders and resulting wheels in the air. I rarely feel the need for this function on my 11 000 pound loader tractor which weighs a bit more.
 

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I doubt float will add much to our little GTs. Any resistance to forward movement on a 1500 pound loader GT will result in immediate collapse of the lift cylinders and resulting wheels in the air. I rarely feel the need for this function on my 11 000 pound loader tractor which weighs a bit more.
In my experience even on the bigger 30hp or 40hp tractor with loaders we have you shouldn't use float going forward. I've only ever used it to drag and flatten out areas and I've only ever seen it used that way as well. We used this function every time we worked the mile or so of gravel road we had to maintain.

@bobneumann As far as price, you can get a joystick valve with float from Surplus Center for a little over $200 and possibly even cheaper on fleabay if you're lucky. Whereas a joystick valve with the third function is closer to $500. Obviously not as cheap as you sandwich valve setup but still worth considering IMO. Either way, good discussion and glad to hear another viewpoint on what works and doesn't, thanks both for some good replies.
 

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On a 600 series tractor there is a hydraulic circuit for a mowing deck lift. On my 644lbh I would never have a mowing deck on it. So the lever on the dash would be very handy to control a grapple cylinder or a thumb on the backhoe bucket.

Keep the Peace ✌
Harry
 

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On a 600 series tractor there is a hydraulic circuit for a mowing deck lift. On my 644lbh I would never have a mowing deck on it. So the lever on the dash would be very handy to control a grapple cylinder or a thumb on the backhoe bucket.

Keep the Peace
Harry
I've been wanting to complete that circuit on my 6018lbh also Harry. That way I could have a thumb on the bh bucket and a grapple on the loader bucket. I'd come up with a selector valve to split it. So many things to do and never enough time.

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
A little progress over the weekend.

I have the basics complete, with a working cylinder. The detachable features work as planned and I'm happy with the general shape and geometry.

What I found today is that the current 60" long hoses, which are attached directly to the loader valve, aren't long enough to reach the cylinder when the bucket is curled very far forward. So I'm going to copy commercial designs: I've ordered a couple 36" hoses, and I'm going to mount the QD's in a bracket about halfway down the inside face of the righthand boom arm. Then the 60" hoses will connect from the cylinder to the QD's. What I need to figure out then is slack control for the extra hose. But one thing at a time.

But I can carry on to installing the steel plate gussets on the tines, then clean things up, then paint.

An opinion question: I'm considering cutting off tines 2 and 5, leaving the center two and outer two tines. The more I think about it, the more I think those middling tines serve no useful purpose, and may cause difficulties.

Thoughts?

Bob

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You maybe correct about the middle tines serving no purpose. I would trial and error engineering is your answer here. When I worked for GM as a maintenance welder the engineers were always changing things they developed to make them work better. So we would call it trail and error engineering. 🤣

Keep the ✌
Harry
 

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I think it more depends on what you'll do with it. Moving around smaller things like wood chips, maybe straw/critter bedding, or maybe some small brush, I would leave them. Plan on moving larger brush or rocks or something of the sort then you don't need them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I've finished up the final install of the third function on my loader valve.

I bought a couple inexpensive 36" hoses off of Ebay. The seller didn't state the exact size, but I guessed that they were JIC6. They turned out to be JIC 8, so I bought a couple adapters off of Surplus Center to get the hoses hooked up to the valve itself.

Then I machined a couple of custom fittings, #8 JIC bulkhead X 3/8 NPT male. Then I mounted those bulkhead fittings in a bracket made from angle iron.

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With that bracket bolted to the inner face of my righthand loader arm, and the hoses connected and the female QD's screwed on, the third function is installed and ready for use.

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Meanwhile, I modified the grapple cylinder itself, so that both hoses can attach at the rear end of the cylinder, and the two hoses can have the same lengh/paths. I'm hoping that will help the overall neatness of the hose routing down there.

I simply created a bracket that mounts to one of the welded cylinder fittings. It's a tight fit over the fitting, and then has a grub screw to lock it in place.

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From there I just mounted a bulkhead 90 "ell" fitting into that bracket and ran a JIC6 hard line from the far port back to it. So now both hoses will mount to those new side-by-side cylinder ports.

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Just a bit more welding for tine reinforcements and a bit of paint and this project will be complete.

More to come.

Bob
 

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