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post #1 of 9 Old 04-09-2019, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Help with FEL geometry

I have to rework an FEL that a previous owner modified to add a leveling linkage to the bucket. The issue is that his leveler doesn't actually function to level, restricting curl at lowered height and flattening out more than it should as raised.

Is there a diagram or equation someone has around to figure out the geometry or am I stuck building a plywood mockup.
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-09-2019, 02:35 PM
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Re: Help with FEL geometry

No black magic; the linkage has to be the same length between centers as centers on boom and connections at each end at the same geometry; equal in length and equal in angle. Could be easily studied in CAD. Do you have dimensions, and/or pictures?

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post #3 of 9 Old 04-10-2019, 03:24 AM
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Re: Help with FEL geometry

No, it doesn't actually result in level even on the after market GT loaders. The bucket slowly tips back as the arms raise. It just doesn't tip anywhere near as far as without the self leveling linkage and you don't get stuff rolling backwards off the top of the bucket to bash the hood in. Additionally, the bucket can't be tipped forward as far as with a conventional set up at ground level, but it tilts over center when at the top of the lift.

Basically, what you gain at one end of the lifting cycle for bucket curl/uncurl, you lose at the other end.

The geometry is not quite a parallelogram. The long sides are equal. The short sides are unequal. On mine, the front link is 1" longer than the rear.

The bucket cylinder linkage is a parallelogram on my GT.

There are several places where changes can be made to modify the bucket tilt to what you require or desire. I've done that for more bucket roll back at grade in order to carry more wet cement on one occasion.

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post #4 of 9 Old 04-10-2019, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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I suspect the issue is that the top links are mounted about 3" above the pivot of the arms at the uprights but they are about 8" above at the curl cylinder because the cylinders are so long. I probably need to make the cylinders attach above the top link to get the geometry working or source different cylinders to get it shorter and make the links more parallel to the arms.
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-10-2019, 10:37 AM
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Re: Help with FEL geometry

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Originally Posted by TUDOR View Post
No, it doesn't actually result in level even on the after market GT loaders. The bucket slowly tips back as the arms raise. It just doesn't tip anywhere near as far as without the self leveling linkage and you don't get stuff rolling backwards off the top of the bucket to bash the hood in. Additionally, the bucket can't be tipped forward as far as with a conventional set up at ground level, but it tilts over center when at the top of the lift.

Basically, what you gain at one end of the lifting cycle for bucket curl/uncurl, you lose at the other end.

The geometry is not quite a parallelogram. The long sides are equal. The short sides are unequal. On mine, the front link is 1" longer than the rear.

The bucket cylinder linkage is a parallelogram on my GT.

There are several places where changes can be made to modify the bucket tilt to what you require or desire. I've done that for more bucket roll back at grade in order to carry more wet cement on one occasion.
A parallelogram; that describes it best. My Kwik-way wasn't a parallelogram either; I considered it poor engineering, because there was no reason not to have the bucket remain on plane. What if you wanted to use forks? Whoever engineered it, made a compromise. I've been in engineering most of my career, and the bean counters have more effect on the design than you might think. Tudor; the design of the bucket on your GT was driven by engineering.

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post #6 of 9 Old 04-11-2019, 01:35 AM
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Re: Help with FEL geometry

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Originally Posted by Hydronerd View Post
A parallelogram; that describes it best. My Kwik-way wasn't a parallelogram either; I considered it poor engineering, because there was no reason not to have the bucket remain on plane. What if you wanted to use forks? Whoever engineered it, made a compromise. I've been in engineering most of my career, and the bean counters have more effect on the design than you might think. Tudor; the design of the bucket on your GT was driven by engineering.
I used to think the same, but experience has taught me a different outlook. Every fork lift that I have seen in operation tilts the forks back to either lift the load, readjust the load position closer to the headframe, or ensure that it won't slide off the forks while transporting. The same practices were used by myself with my GT with the forks installed instead of the bucket, lumber yard fork lifts, and the Big Reds used at the steel mill for transporting 30 ton slabs.

With the not quite parallelogram geometry, tilt back is automatic for keeping the load in the bucket or on the forks and requires a minimal adjustment to regain level when the desired height is attained. While it is a pain when the operator desires to lift a load level all the way, for high CofG loads, the slight tilt back is more desirable than the massive movement resulting from a bucket without that linkage.

Yeah, bean counters do screw up a lot of engineering, but not with the self leveling linkages. The same amount of material is used whether the linkage is truly self leveling, or the modified self leveling that is on our GT loaders. The only difference is where the front holes are punched for the links.

For the OP, the length of the curl cylinders is not the problem. That come from the large discrepancy between the top links and arms. On our loaders, the distance between the pins is 4" at the posts and 5" at the bucket curl links. The curl cylinders are mounted on the linkage the same distance from the pins in the arms as the distance between the arm pins and cylinder pins on the bucket.

Hydronerd and I may have different brands of loaders, but the basic design came off of the same drafting table.

For Hydronerd, most of my loader work is snow removal and the round back bucket has 33% more volume, 14% more width, a weight penalty of 20%, and considerably fewer inches of corners where snow can get stuck over the bucket that you feel is better engineered. For the specific use that is most of the work that I do, the round back is better engineered. I made a lot fewer trips up and down the driveway with the GT than I can get away with using the SCUT with its square cornered bucket.

Bob

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Last edited by TUDOR; 04-11-2019 at 01:43 AM.
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-11-2019, 03:40 PM
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Re: Help with FEL geometry

Mine was poorly engineered because it didn't tilt back going up, it tilted forward. It curled back while lowering. Further concern was that, if you curled the bucket back and lowered the boom, the bucket would curl back too far and jam such that the boom would be held up on the linkage. This was a Kwik-way design, albeit, I think a very early version. IMO, if its a auto-level, it should stay at the same level; the bucket can be, and should be tilted back before lifting load. Most the machines I have used had standard (non-auto level) FEL's; you just curl bucket forward as your lifting. Standard FEL's often curl back more when the boom is up 2-4 feet, which is good if you want to move liquid, like cement.

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post #8 of 9 Old 04-11-2019, 05:06 PM
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Re: Help with FEL geometry

Ahh. Sounds like someone reversed the dimensions on the short sides of the parallelogram.

I do agree that it would be nice in most circumstances for the bucket to remain level throughout the lift.

Bob

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post #9 of 9 Old 04-11-2019, 08:11 PM
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Re: Help with FEL geometry

I've been running a commercial Dresser loader for a couple weeks. Never had prior experience except with my (relatively speaking) toys. The Dresser seemed to have somewhat of a self leveling geometry, but it would start dumping near full height. Not tilting forward a little - but all out dumping. I guess the logic was if you're up that high, your putting material into a dump truck, so you only need one lever to operate at that point. Toward the top, if I just raised the loader arms, it would actually seem to force the curl cylinder into the dump position, plus change the bucket angle. The geometry on those is just crazy... The curl cylinder extends to curl the bucket back. The level indicator thing (that didn't work completely, as the sensor didn't fuction anymore) moved opposite from what you'd think also. Curl bucket back, it moves away from the operator's position. Tilt forward, it moves closer to operator. Every now and then it would still catch me off guard and I'd have to think about it. It's wierd also to be seated that far above the bucket. I kept catching myself with the arms straight out, thinking that was pretty close to ground level... Wrong.


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