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First use report: Grapple from Innovative Tractor Attachments

37031 Views 36 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  FTWingRiders
OK, I got my grapple from Marcus at Innovative Tractor Attachments and wanted to post some feedback and video from my first use.

The Grapple attaches to just about any Deere Quickhitch. You need the angling cylinder to be re-positioned for the clamping jaw and if you don't have one you'll obviously need to pick one up somewhere. It came via FedEx Ground so shipping wasn't bad.

This thing is very solidly built from heavy steel and I'd say is easily as strong or stronger than the Quickhitch itself. Assembly was about 10 minutes and consisted of attaching one bracket to the Quickhitch and fastening with a large bolt.

My main interest was in picking up and moving logs and brush from tree work. My back can't take lifting 200-300lb logs around any longer and while my FEL with a chain and hook worked, it was pretty slow. So for $569 I decided to give this a try.

Quick Summary: it works great. Easily lifts a couple hundred pounds and pickup of logs and limbs was quick and easy without ever leaving the seat.

So I put together 3 minutes of video showing it in action - sorry I couldn't embed here. Always seems to be fussy for some reason:
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Very cool. How does the angle cylinder get purposed to operate the jaw? Unless I'm just not reading it right. I've always wondered what other uses could be had for the front quick hitch.
Cool. I'd love to see some pictures of it. I guess that plate prevents the pivot from moving side to side as well. How hard is it to remove the cylinder?
There's an on axis heavy steel plate that ships with the grapple that fastens through the center pivot hole. One end of the angle cylinder fits onto that plate and the other attaches to the upper grapple arm. You re-use the angle cylinder mounting hardware.

I'll get a close-up picture of that setup this evening to post.
It came with a number of different hitch pins and a large carriage bolt w/nut & split washer. While the instructions that were emailed (attached) didn't detail how the hitch pins were to be utilized, I'm gathering the larger one was an alternative to the carriage bolt and the smaller one was to keep the bottom cylinder attaching bracket from spinning on the carriage bolt axis.

I wasn't keen on the larger hitchpin in place of the carriage bolt as this would allow the lower cylinder mounting bracket to work back and forth on top of the Quick Hitch, creating wear points. So I utilize the carriage bolt. I also utilized the normal Quick Hitch pivot lock pin to secure the back of the lower cylinder mounting bracket to keep it from spinning on the carriage bolt axis. Mine has a small attaching chain to keep it from becoming lost and I didn't want to take it off, but yet it needs a storage point. It was long enough to do the job. The back hole of the lower cylinder mounting bracket lines up with the pivot pin storage hole, so there are no holes to drill.

If you're going to move the angling cylinder back and forth, I'd suggest you get some 1/2 x 2-1/4" clevis pins and appropriate sized hitch pin clips to simplify it. The Quick Hitch utilizes a cotter pin and that is what is supplied with the grapple.

Moving the angling cylinder back and forth between the Quick Hitch and the grapple is a bit of a pain, in my opinion. So I acquired another angling cylinder kit that is permanently installed on the grapple.
Here's a closeup of the lower mounting setup for the angling cylinder. Like a few others, my preference was for using the large carriage bolt in place of the usual locking pin. I don't use a blade so I'll never need to remove it and I like that it's tighter - hopefully will help keep the pivot hole from elongating.
Thanks for posting these. Gives me a good idea of the mechanics involved. I didn't realize that hole was for locking the pivot. Learned something new. Thinking of what else could be done using the same idea.
Has anyone put one on a 318 or similar? My ram mounting holes for the angle cylinder are different. Especially when looking at the mounting instructions.
I've read through all of them and have the BM18121 hitch. Looks like this one

So the anti angle hole is on the right side. Also it seems that the older hitch may be longer as well. As there looks to be more distance from the up/down cylinder to the pivot than the ones in the directions.
Operating instructions pdf attachment post #9 shows compatible 318 quick hitches, pdf version 2 of the installation post #17 shows how to install on the compatible 318 hitch.
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