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post #1 of 77 Old 06-19-2019, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Beware of Husqvarna Garden Tractors, Part 4: Front Scoop "Capable"?

I got to thinking about what "capable" means, as it refers to a Garden Tractor, and this came to mind;

Though there are many implements being built for our Garden Tractors, I will look at the front scoop for today.



The front scoop, verses a bucket loader is a unique ground engagement Garden Tractor implement that is designed for light loads and limited capabilities that keep the load below or at the chassis height. This allows the use of a Garden Tractor to move fill verses a wheel barrow and not go too far above the GT's center of gravity and negatively effect the equipment's design strength and capability.

A quick look at the bucket loader for comparison;

Bucket loaders are designed to go above the tractor chassis, requiring much more chassis engineering to handle the raising of the center of gravity over the chassis and potentially the tractor.



Since this is about front scoops and Garden Tractors, to include Light Garden Tractors, lets take a look at whats available.

The Agri-Fab built for Craftsman front scoop, model #24847



The Agri-Fab built for Husqvarna front scoop, model #588181401 (Agri-fab #05-04031 and succession)-(36") Bucket part #64962. I'm still including because there maybe some still out there for sale, but looks as if discontinued for Husqvarna now. Here it is;



The Husqvarna branded Agri-Fab scoop started as a 42" wide bucket, with the same limitations, near as I have been able to find, as early as 2006. 2006 is also the first time I can find the GT/TS pan style chassis being used by Husqvarna.



And it wasn't in a Garden Tractor, Husqvarna still used c-channel welded chassis in their Garden Tractor's then. Who knew husqvarna would keep adding holes and adding the lawn mower chassis in the top Garden Tractors within a couple years, it was a deluxe riding lawn mower (you won't find it on tractor data, but but you will on Husqvarna.com);





Number#96043000300

The Johnny Bucket JR, from Johnny Products has the same limitations but uses electric muscle to operate. The other two use operator muscle to operate. The JBJR;



This is how they compare;

Craftsman 36" front scoop:

1) 36" w x 14" L x 12" H - Volume= 1.7 cubic feet or 12.7 US Gallons.
A) If moving dirt at 80lbs per cubic foot= that's a total of 136lbs.....This scoop full is 64lbs under weight limit.
B) If moving sand or rock at 100lbs per cubic foot= that's a total of 170lbs.. and 30lbs under the 200lbs weight limit.

2) Maximum lift above ground- 7"

3) $599.99 MSRP- though frequently in the $400 range.

4) Requires or is recommended:
A) Wheel Weight
B) Tire Chains

5) Maximum allowable speed when attached- 3mph

6) Two mounting options, 1 for dual front mower drag links (the short support brackets), 1 for the single center mower suspension drag link (the long support brackets are to be used)

(Special note here, if you have a Husqvarna model TS with the chassis support plates, then the long support brackets will not fit without removing your chassis support plates. This will void the warranty for both the scoop and the tractor)

7) 1 year warranty on the scoop only, not use on your tractor.

8) 200lb maximum weight capacity.

Husqvarna 36" front scoop:

1) 36" w x 14" L x 12" H - Volume= 1.7 cubic feet or 12.7 US Gallons.
A) If moving dirt at 80lbs per cubic foot= that's a total of 136lbs.....This scoop full is 64lbs under weight limit.
B) If moving sand or rock at 100lbs per cubic foot= that's a total of 170lbs.. and 30lbs under the 200lbs weight limit.

2) Maximum lift above ground- 7"

3) $629.99 MSRP

4) Requires or is recommended:
A) Wheel Weight
B) Tire Chains

5) Maximum allowable speed when attached- unknown

6) Unknown mounting options- appears to be unavailable

7) 2 year warranty on the scoop only, not use on your tractor.

8) 200lb maximum weight capacity.

42" Husqvarna front scoop: Unavailable. sold 2006-2008?

Johnny Bucket JR:

1) 42" W X 14" L X 10" H- Volume= 2.5 cubic feet or 18.7 US gallons.
A) If moving dirt at 80lbs per cubic foot= that's a total of 200lbs..This scoop full is at its 200lbs weight limit.
B) If moving sand or rock at 100lbs per cubic foot= that's a total of 250lbs.. and 50lbs over the 200lbs weight limit.

2) Maximum lift above ground- 10"

3) $1,489.95 MSRP (including fast dump upgrade)

4) Requires or is recommended:
A) Wheel Weight
B) Tire chains

5) Maximum allowable speed when attached- not given.

6) Two mounting options, 1" up or !" down, to effect the 10" total lift.

7) 1Year warranty

8) 200lb maximum weight capacity.

Meet the biggest, baddest, most powerful, and most expensive Husqvarna to date:

The Husqvarna TS354D at $3,749.95 MSRP



This Husqvarna TS354D at $3,749.95 msrp is still being considered a Garden Tractor, and yet is not "capable" of operating a JBJR with 200lb weight limit. Johnny Products says this about the Husqvarna TS/GT models;

"(GT48XLSi, GT52XLSi, GT54LS, GT52XLS, GTH52XLS any 2018 and up TS3xx series such as TS348 etc. and a few others are still compatible but have a weak tractor frame design that is not strong enough for use with the Johnny Bucket)"

The Chassis is too weak for a front garden tractor scoop with a 200lb weight capacity? WOW.

Let me show you what does not have a chassis too weak for the johnny bucket;

The cheapest, most affordable, riding lawn mower that Husqvarna currently builds, $1,599.95 MSRP

The YTH18542 (18.5hp, 42" mowing deck) has a strong enough chassis for a johnny bucket.



The Craftsman LT1000, again the cheapest riding lawn tractor in Craftsman has a strong enough chassis for a Johnny Bucket.



The Cub Cadet XT1 LT42, currently the cheapest Cub Cadet riding lawn mower built, $1,699.00 MSRP has a strong enough chassis for the johnny bucket.



John Deere 100 series Riding lawn mower is currently the cheapest JD with a strong enough chassis for the Johnny Bucket at $1,599.00 MSRP.



Husqvarna is misrepresenting their product when they make people believe their TS/ GT tractors are "capable" and yet there cheap grass cutters are the only one's in the brand that have strong enough chassis for a 200lb limit front garden tractor scoop.

The other grass cutters were to just drive the point home.

Beware of Husqvarna Garden Tractors (and TS354D, etc).

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post #2 of 77 Old 06-20-2019, 09:19 AM
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Re: Beware of Husqvarna Garden Tractors, Part 4: Front Scoop "Capable"?

Very interesting, thorough, and helpful write up! Thank you! I've been considering a new TS348D or XD or a Cub Cadet XT1 GT50 or XT2 GX50. With bigger tires, stronger tranny, and locking diff, the Husqvarnas are definitely specced better than the Cub Cadets (and I like the color better :P), but the weak frame I keep hearing about is a huge disappointment!
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post #3 of 77 Old 06-20-2019, 12:19 PM
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Re: Beware of Husqvarna Garden Tractors, Part 4: Front Scoop "Capable"?

This is a nice review of some tractor capabilities and scoop specs. Too bad about the Husqvarna frames.

You don't go into the operating characteristics of these buckets, but there are some things folks should know about these agri-fab buckets:

- They are reasonably well built but have a complex mechanical design with some unfortunate characteristics...
- The lifting height is shown as 7 inches above ground, but when loaded it is more like 3 inches at best due to lots of linkage slack take-up. The bucket drags on every little dip in the ground. It also means you can't fill the bucket because at the low angle, stuff slops out.
- the bucket is either "up" or "down"; no intermediate setting.
- The height adjustment is locked with bolt/nut tightness - a weak design.
- The mechanical arms require a huge arc - like a 3 foot swing - to get enough mechanical advantage to lift the advertised weight.
- the bucket latching mechanism is mounted on a different frame than the bucket and turns on a different arc. That means the latch is only in alignment when the bucket is "up" and continually knocks itself out of alignment. They tried to fix this by spring loading but it doesn't work.
- They don't "dig" because the bucket is too light, does not go below tire level, and has no down pressure. It just rides up over material unless it is very light and loose.
- They can be used for some back-blading by holding the bucket at an angle with the dump lever, but it is not very efficient.
- They are best considered as a "power-dump wheelbarrow" - load with a shovel, transport all kinds of yard stuff like bricks, bags, dirt, gravel; and dump it on site, but don't expect to load up, haul and spread your pile of dirt without getting off the tractor.

On my bucket, I cut off or unbolted most of the lifting mechanism and replaced it with a winch system. It works much better but is still far from a front end loader. Incidentally it is on an old AC tractor with a real frame!

Last edited by ZTT42; 06-20-2019 at 12:24 PM. Reason: add more
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post #4 of 77 Old 06-20-2019, 12:47 PM
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Re: Beware of Husqvarna Garden Tractors, Part 4: Front Scoop "Capable"?

It seems that weak frames are a weakness of many garden tractors. My 1994 Craftsman broke and was rewelded and reinforced several times without the use of any implements other than the 46" mower deck. I see that weak frames is an issue in many posts.

A postmortem on my Craftsman, shows that yes, it is a bit on the thin side in my opinion, but also that there are many unused holes punched in it. I guess these are for other models, or for optional equipment. Regardless, each hole represents a potential crack starter if you ask me.

By contrast, my x500 frame is very heavy. While not that heavy, my Cyclone rake, fully loaded with wet grass, does put a lot of side stress on the frame when turning in muddy soil, but no issues of any kind here either. I can't see any evidence of stress or any flexing. It gives me some added confidence if I decide to hang an implement on either the front or rear.

Bottom line, if I were to ever replace the JD X500, just like I did when I bought it, I'd start with looking very closely to the frame, the thickness of the metal used, and how many holes are punched in it. I want to keep the option of adding implements if and when I decide.

X 500 48" Deck 48" blade
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Original Kohler 8hp Giant Vac early 1960s
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post #5 of 77 Old 06-20-2019, 04:55 PM
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Re: Beware of Husqvarna Garden Tractors, Part 4: Front Scoop "Capable"?

I have read a lot about the frames are weak on the TS3XX series GT, but I have also read were one fellow has used his TS348 for pretty heavy towing and plowing. The new series has extra frame plates on their frame and I haven't heard anyone having the frame issue. I know Johnny bucket has some nice accessories but I'm not sure he has tested the latest series of Husqvarana TS3XX for frame strength. It seems as though there has been a lot of talk about the Husqvarna frames being weak and it certainly appeared they were but I haven't heard about anyone having an issue with the new TS3XX frame with the frame strengtheners on them. Not trying to change anyones mind but simply what I have seen recently. Of course your expectations of a garden tractor and what mine are can certainly be different. I currently own a Cub Cadet 3225, Wheelhorse 520H, and Simplicity Sunstar and if you know anything about them you would certainly realize that garden tractors have changed a lot.
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post #6 of 77 Old 06-21-2019, 04:29 PM
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Re: Beware of Husqvarna Garden Tractors, Part 4: Front Scoop "Capable"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FLHusqGT View Post

The front scoop, verses a bucket loader is a unique ground engagement Garden Tractor implement that is designed for light loads and limited capabilities that keep the load below or at the chassis height. This allows the use of a Garden Tractor to move fill verses a wheel barrow and not go too far above the GT's center of gravity and negatively effect the equipment's design strength and capability.

A quick look at the bucket loader for comparison;

Bucket loaders are designed to go above the tractor chassis, requiring much more chassis engineering to handle the raising of the center of gravity over the chassis and potentially the tractor.
Correct descriptions, as far as they go. They just don't paint the complete picture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZTT42 View Post
This is a nice review of some tractor capabilities and scoop specs.

- They don't "dig" because the bucket is too light, does not go below tire level, and has no down pressure. It just rides up over material unless it is very light and loose.

- They are best considered as a "power-dump wheelbarrow" - load with a shovel, transport all kinds of yard stuff like bricks, bags, dirt, gravel; and dump it on site, but don't expect to load up, haul and spread your pile of dirt without getting off the tractor.
This additional information hints at the rest of the description.

A scoop, by definition, is a container designed to be propelled into loose material for the purpose of gathering, lifting , and transporting that material to another location, whether it is candies or nuts at the bulk food store, or mulch or dirt from a pile in the yard.

The highlighted portion is where the true difference lies between "scoops", and a full on loader. Anyone purchasing a scoop can be expected to use it to scoop material directly from from a pile, not load it by shovel as it was designed to be used.

A scoop is the recommended tool for LTs because it is pushed by the front of the frame. With the low power available from an LT transmission, there is relatively little chance of hurting the frame in the short term. In the long term, the frame will eventually buckle from the force application at the rear, and the scoop resistance to moving into material at the front.

FELs also have the force applied from the rear wheels. The difference is that the force can be traced through the subframe, which is usually attached to the rear axle, the loader posts and supporting bracing, the loader arms, to the bucket and its cutting edge. This eliminates the tractor frame from discussion as far as filling the bucket is concerned. It re-enters the discussion when lifting the load is the topic.

Even 60 years ago, implement manufacturers had the good sense to rig any pushing implement to work from the rear of the tractor, even though frames on some LTs were considerably stronger than todays, thus greatly reducing possible frame damage by pushing a plow or scoop into something that didn't want to move.

How do I know this? I broke my MF12H GT in half 3 times before I figured out that the loader had to have a solid connection to the rear axle. Without that solid connection, the rear wheels would continue to advance when the bucket stopped. ANY flaw in the frame is going to eventually fail without that solid connection. The plow for a MF12 has a subframe that goes all the way back to the rear hitch in order to keep the pushing forces as close to the rear axle as possible. Some LTs/GTs had subframes that connected to the rear axle tubes in days gone by. Now, manufacturers seem to be content to allow the relatively poor performance of some of today's hydros to protect the weak chassis of tractors with scoops and plows.

I didn't see much of a subframe for the scoops pictured, but the Kubota BX TLB pictured has a frame considerably stronger than available on any GT, and even that is heavily reinforced.

If you want a scoop, go for it. But keep ZTT42's comments in mind, and the shovel handy.

Bob

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Last edited by TUDOR; 06-21-2019 at 04:42 PM.
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post #7 of 77 Old 06-21-2019, 06:50 PM
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Re: Beware of Husqvarna Garden Tractors, Part 4: Front Scoop "Capable"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TUDOR View Post

Anyone purchasing a scoop can be expected to use it to scoop material directly from from a pile, not load it by shovel as it was designed to be used.

I didn't see much of a subframe for the scoops pictured, but the Kubota BX TLB pictured has a frame considerably stronger than available on any GT, and even that is heavily reinforced.
When scooping material from a pile, most front end loaders can tilt the bucket up while scooping to get a full load. This allows the bucket (and tractor) to lose momentum while filling up. These scoops do not do that, and basically you ram the pile until they can't go any more due to traction loss or lack of power. I have found that I need to back up slightly to lift the bucket because it is trying to lift the pile. But...the bucket only tilts by lifting its frame so even with a good scoop run it only fills 1/3 to 1/2 capacity - and that's not much material. Since I want to maximize efficiency of the haul and dump, I jump off and fill the lifted bucket to capacity with a shovel.

The agri-fab scoops have no sub-frame. They mount directly to the front frame loop or side-rail ends - so, all true as TUDOR says.
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Re: Beware of Husqvarna Garden Tractors, Part 4: Front Scoop "Capable"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZTT42 View Post
This is a nice review of some tractor capabilities and scoop specs. Too bad about the Husqvarna frames.

You don't go into the operating characteristics of these buckets, but there are some things folks should know about these agri-fab buckets:

- They are reasonably well built but have a complex mechanical design with some unfortunate characteristics...
- The lifting height is shown as 7 inches above ground, but when loaded it is more like 3 inches at best due to lots of linkage slack take-up. The bucket drags on every little dip in the ground. It also means you can't fill the bucket because at the low angle, stuff slops out.
- the bucket is either "up" or "down"; no intermediate setting.
- The height adjustment is locked with bolt/nut tightness - a weak design.
- The mechanical arms require a huge arc - like a 3 foot swing - to get enough mechanical advantage to lift the advertised weight.
- the bucket latching mechanism is mounted on a different frame than the bucket and turns on a different arc. That means the latch is only in alignment when the bucket is "up" and continually knocks itself out of alignment. They tried to fix this by spring loading but it doesn't work.
- They don't "dig" because the bucket is too light, does not go below tire level, and has no down pressure. It just rides up over material unless it is very light and loose.
- They can be used for some back-blading by holding the bucket at an angle with the dump lever, but it is not very efficient.
- They are best considered as a "power-dump wheelbarrow" - load with a shovel, transport all kinds of yard stuff like bricks, bags, dirt, gravel; and dump it on site, but don't expect to load up, haul and spread your pile of dirt without getting off the tractor.

On my bucket, I cut off or unbolted most of the lifting mechanism and replaced it with a winch system. It works much better but is still far from a front end loader. Incidentally it is on an old AC tractor with a real frame!
Wow!

I love the input, good eval. I'm looking at this a bit. I think you got my message.

A GT chassis should be as strong or stronger than a Riding Lawn Mower!

That AC also has a gear drive?
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post #9 of 77 Old 06-21-2019, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Beware of Husqvarna Garden Tractors, Part 4: Front Scoop "Capable"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TUDOR View Post
Correct descriptions, as far as they go. They just don't paint the complete picture.



This additional information hints at the rest of the description.

A scoop, by definition, is a container designed to be propelled into loose material for the purpose of gathering, lifting , and transporting that material to another location, whether it is candies or nuts at the bulk food store, or mulch or dirt from a pile in the yard.

The highlighted portion is where the true difference lies between "scoops", and a full on loader. Anyone purchasing a scoop can be expected to use it to scoop material directly from from a pile, not load it by shovel as it was designed to be used.

A scoop is the recommended tool for LTs because it is pushed by the front of the frame. With the low power available from an LT transmission, there is relatively little chance of hurting the frame in the short term. In the long term, the frame will eventually buckle from the force application at the rear, and the scoop resistance to moving into material at the front.

FELs also have the force applied from the rear wheels. The difference is that the force can be traced through the subframe, which is usually attached to the rear axle, the loader posts and supporting bracing, the loader arms, to the bucket and its cutting edge. This eliminates the tractor frame from discussion as far as filling the bucket is concerned. It re-enters the discussion when lifting the load is the topic.

Even 60 years ago, implement manufacturers had the good sense to rig any pushing implement to work from the rear of the tractor, even though frames on some LTs were considerably stronger than todays, thus greatly reducing possible frame damage by pushing a plow or scoop into something that didn't want to move.

How do I know this? I broke my MF12H GT in half 3 times before I figured out that the loader had to have a solid connection to the rear axle. Without that solid connection, the rear wheels would continue to advance when the bucket stopped. ANY flaw in the frame is going to eventually fail without that solid connection. The plow for a MF12 has a subframe that goes all the way back to the rear hitch in order to keep the pushing forces as close to the rear axle as possible. Some LTs/GTs had subframes that connected to the rear axle tubes in days gone by. Now, manufacturers seem to be content to allow the relatively poor performance of some of today's hydros to protect the weak chassis of tractors with scoops and plows.

I didn't see much of a subframe for the scoops pictured, but the Kubota BX TLB pictured has a frame considerably stronger than available on any GT, and even that is heavily reinforced.

If you want a scoop, go for it. But keep ZTT42's comments in mind, and the shovel handy.
Again I love the descriptions here, when I rebuilt my new chassis I reinforced all the way back past the chassis and ended at the end of the rear sleeve. Makes the difference and would not be difficult for a manufacturer to do.

My point in the comparison with LT and GT was this. Johnny Products wants to sell their product (It's a very durable product) and in order to maintain their integrity they feel its necessary, and the right thing by their customers to warn of only Husqvarna GT's (TS's too) that the frame is so weak they can't recommend it with their bucket, and it's in plain sight, up front. I should not see the cheapest model of grass cutter in the same manufacturers line up as having a chassis that is strong enough.

But it's there and it should cause pause.
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post #10 of 77 Old 06-21-2019, 08:13 PM
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Re: Beware of Husqvarna Garden Tractors, Part 4: Front Scoop "Capable"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FLHusqGT View Post
A GT chassis should be as strong or stronger than a Riding Lawn Mower!
GTs are designed for pulling and some pushing (snow, gravel, loose materials), NOT for any type of heavy lifting.
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post #11 of 77 Old 06-21-2019, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Beware of Husqvarna Garden Tractors, Part 4: Front Scoop "Capable"?

so much quality input, I will have to get to the rest later, Thank you all for the input.

As always, my priority is that this is helpfull.
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post #12 of 77 Old 06-21-2019, 08:30 PM
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Re: Beware of Husqvarna Garden Tractors, Part 4: Front Scoop "Capable"?


I own a 2017 Simplicity Prestige 27/52 EFI, JB Jr, Johnny Plow Jr.
From 2015 to 2017 I owned a used 2013 Simplicity Conquest 27/50.
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post #13 of 77 Old 06-21-2019, 10:30 PM
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Re: Beware of Husqvarna Garden Tractors, Part 4: Front Scoop "Capable"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FLHusqGT View Post
Wow!

I love the input, good eval. I'm looking at this a bit. I think you got my message.

A GT chassis should be as strong or stronger than a Riding Lawn Mower!

That AC also has a gear drive?
Yes, it is a 3-speed manual on a 1976 AC-710. What they called a "large frame" tractor with numerous ground engaging implements available. The OEM snowplow, for example, is a beast! They're built more like a scut is, nowadays. However I used the scoop for a while on a Cub Cadet "zero turn tractor" (1999) and had the same observations as above. I never felt very comfortable with the "flexi-frame" on the CC being used for the scoop duties, but never did any damage that i know of. I use the ZTT for mowing.
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post #14 of 77 Old 06-21-2019, 10:39 PM
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Re: Beware of Husqvarna Garden Tractors, Part 4: Front Scoop "Capable"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZTT42 View Post
This is a nice review of some tractor capabilities and scoop specs. Too bad about the Husqvarna frames.

You don't go into the operating characteristics of these buckets, but there are some things folks should know about these agri-fab buckets:

- They are reasonably well built but have a complex mechanical design with some unfortunate characteristics...
- The lifting height is shown as 7 inches above ground, but when loaded it is more like 3 inches at best due to lots of linkage slack take-up. The bucket drags on every little dip in the ground. It also means you can't fill the bucket because at the low angle, stuff slops out.
- the bucket is either "up" or "down"; no intermediate setting.
- The height adjustment is locked with bolt/nut tightness - a weak design.
- The mechanical arms require a huge arc - like a 3 foot swing - to get enough mechanical advantage to lift the advertised weight.
- the bucket latching mechanism is mounted on a different frame than the bucket and turns on a different arc. That means the latch is only in alignment when the bucket is "up" and continually knocks itself out of alignment. They tried to fix this by spring loading but it doesn't work.
- They don't "dig" because the bucket is too light, does not go below tire level, and has no down pressure. It just rides up over material unless it is very light and loose.
- They can be used for some back-blading by holding the bucket at an angle with the dump lever, but it is not very efficient.
- They are best considered as a "power-dump wheelbarrow" - load with a shovel, transport all kinds of yard stuff like bricks, bags, dirt, gravel; and dump it on site, but don't expect to load up, haul and spread your pile of dirt without getting off the tractor.

On my bucket, I cut off or unbolted most of the lifting mechanism and replaced it with a winch system. It works much better but is still far from a front end loader. Incidentally it is on an old AC tractor with a real frame!
I agree on the complex operating bracketry. I bought an Agri-Fab scoop for my Craftsman Pro series, and will have to seriously rethink all the 100 pieces that it uses to move the bucket...down to something a lot simpler. The scoop itself is a decent piece though. I was not sure my tractor frame was up to the task, so I already fabricated myself a set of 1/4" frame rails and bolted them on...
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post #15 of 77 Old 06-22-2019, 03:53 AM
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Re: Beware of Husqvarna Garden Tractors, Part 4: Front Scoop "Capable"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Obscured_by_Clouds View Post
GTs are designed for pulling and some pushing (snow, gravel, loose materials), NOT for any type of heavy lifting.
That depends on the make and model of GT. Some are designed with a loader option in mind and are strong enough for "heavy lifting". Most larger GTs can lift at least a 400 lb 48" snow blower.

It would help if you attached a number to help define your impression of a "heavy lift". There is also the small difference between lifting, or lifting to transport, two much different tasks.

Bob

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