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Common hydraulic utility cylinders have a longer barrel due to the longer gland and plug in the ends than the custom made cylinders on GT loaders. That makes them longer between the pin holes which is the critical dimension.

GT loader attachments are usually fairly light in weight and can easily be manhandled when installing by simply pulling the pins to drop one attachment and reinstalling the same pins for the other. Takes about 2-3 minutes if the pins aren't seized. I've never had a problem or taken more than 5 minutes switching between 3 different buckets, a set of light weight forks, and an apparatus to support scaffolding 9' above grade. QA setups usually move the bucket further out in front. If you have concerns about payload capability, it's a good option not to bother with.

A GT /loader needs at least 400 lb of ballast to be effective. You may not like loading the tires, but there is no other ballasting option that is as effective. The 26x12-12 turfs on my tractor have 140 lb of Rim Guard each. Add 30 lb of 2-link tire chains and wheel weights or something on the 3PH to make up the rest.

One of the objectives with ballasting is to limit unnecessary load on the axles. Liquid ballast is carried by the ground and wheel weights are carried by the air in the tires. Any and all weight attached to the tractor frame or 3PH is carried by the axles and bearings.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Wow. I skimmed the build. That looks fantastic. Nice work, for sure.

I revisited the CTC site and see they have a "skid steer style quick attachment" for John Deere 855-955 9050 loaders. I wonder how it compares to the JD setup. I wonder if it could be used with a X4750 loader used on my X738.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Tudor. Interesting that you can swap attachments so fast by pulling pins. When I assembled the FEL, the pins were not going to go in and out that easily. Maybe it will loosen with use? While the Quick Attach feature is very appealing, I am not sure how often I will use it. So I am not rushing into that one, atm. For sure, a larger bucket would be nice. I might fab something up to function as an extension to the top and sides of the CTC bucket. You have me thinking.

As for ballast, I understand of the logic of not loading up the axle or the bearings. But, I weigh 150 lbs. My tractor is surely designed to carry a 350 lb person and six 42lb weights equaling about 600lbs total. So in effect, the 12 weights and me, at 650 lbs, are close to the normal operating design capacity.

In addition, I don't use a loader that often. So I would rather not put up with the hard ride of loaded tires year round, for the few times a year I will have it on. With my 12-weight bracket, I can instantly add 500lbs of ballast when needed, and remove it the rest of the time.
 

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My understanding is that the skid steer system is a bit heavier than the JDQA setup, but is somewhat more of an industry standard for that class of machine. See artillion.com for their JDQA fork and grapple attachments, they make some nice stuff (no affiliation).

You do want to keep the weight hanging out front as low as possible due to the limitations of GT class machines. Larger machines (SCUT, etc.) have higher pressure hydraulics so will be able to lift more. The JDQA is going to raise the weight a bit but not as bad as the skid steer setup.

I am also a fan of detachable weight. They do cost more, but don't mess up the lawn when doing mowing duty. I use the 70# versions.

EDIT: Note that the 70# weights hand down lower so depending on your rack they may want to skim the ground under certain circumstances. I will be adding a piece of 2.5" to my Deere clip-n-go rack to handle things better.

Those clip-on fork tines have the weight WAY out front so are going to severely limit the lift capacity.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
The easiest answer is for me to start with a 1-series. But I live on 2.25 acres and don't think I would get enough use out of it with accessories, and it is not my ideal for mowing in tight places. So I will make do with the x738/loader combo

OTOH, I will probably be cutting down quite a few blue spruces that are being destroyed by the blue spruce blight. So the loader with forks on the x738, and maybe a grapple on my 445, could be handy.

Good info on the 70# weights. I will check dimensions. I just had 10 cubic yards of topsoil delivered. So I will soon find out how it does now with 500lbs of weights in that scenario, understanding that it is not a worst case for loading. (I might be moving gravel and sand later.)
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Tudor, thanks for the info on the common hydraulic cylinders. Will check the pin to pin dimensions. Hopefully someone makes one I can use in a 2".

This stuff is new to me. But I am having fun.
 

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You will need retracted and extended dimensions, and/or stroke to match. Sometimes you can arrange for additional travel if you find a more efficient setup, with smaller retracted but same extended dimension. for the boom.

With 2" cylinders they tend to use bigger ends, which could be a problem. You also need to check for adequate clearance where the fixed end mounts to the boom, some clearancing may be required.

Also 2" tend to have larger diameter rods, which may or may not be an issue.
 

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Tudor. Interesting that you can swap attachments so fast by pulling pins. When I assembled the FEL, the pins were not going to go in and out that easily. Maybe it will loosen with use? While the Quick Attach feature is very appealing, I am not sure how often I will use it. So I am not rushing into that one, atm. For sure, a larger bucket would be nice. I might fab something up to function as an extension to the top and sides of the CTC bucket. You have me thinking.

As for ballast, I understand of the logic of not loading up the axle or the bearings. But, I weigh 150 lbs. My tractor is surely designed to carry a 350 lb person and six 42lb weights equaling about 600lbs total. So in effect, the 12 weights and me, at 650 lbs, are close to the normal operating design capacity.

In addition, I don't use a loader that often. So I would rather not put up with the hard ride of loaded tires year round, for the few times a year I will have it on. With my 12-weight bracket, I can instantly add 500lbs of ballast when needed, and remove it the rest of the time.
You have a brand new loader, with clearances to match. Mine was used and over 10 years old before I got it installed, and over 30 years old when I retired the tractor, and it saw 2000 hours of service in the interim, so the clearances were not quite as tight.

Installing a QA involves modifying the attachments to conform to the new style. This usually involves several hours of design and fabrication on multiple attachments in order to save a couple of minutes using the standard setup. Unless you are changing attachments several times a year, it isn't a time saver, even in the long run. I have gone for years at a time without swapping out attachments. I have also refurbished a house and yard one summer that required multiple attachment swappings. Yes, it would have been nice to have a QA that summer, but the one bucket stayed on the tractor for the next 4 years.

Way back in my prime, I was a millwright in a steel mill. Hand bombing 65 lb spacer rings from chest height to floor and back 40-50 times in an 8 hour shift was a normal part of that job. Just because I was strong enough to do the same with 42 lb suitcase weights in my off hours didn't really mean that I wanted to, especially after I injured my back. I've been retired for 18 years and that back injury is a constant memory of work and I have even less interest in hand loading any kind of ballast. I can live with a hard ride if it means that I have ballast installed all the time, whether for countering payload, or for traction when using the loader, or for pulling stumps or cars out of a ditch. I never know what task my tractor will perform next, but whether lifting or pulling, it is always ready. That tractor never did do lawns while I used it. I have an LT for that job.

Your X738 has a rear axle rated for 1850 lb static weight. That includes the weight of the tractor carried by the axle, the weight of the operator, and up to 500 lb attached to the rear of the tractor.

My GT ran for years with a permanent 400 lb ballast load, and usually something on the 3PH that added from another 200 -385 lb. I took the wheel weights off when I changed rims 10 years before I retired it.
 

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Powertrain,
A little late to the party here, but I’ve had a CTC loader for about 5 years. I purchased it lightly used and immediately set out to shim the hydraulics (using the .5mm and .7mm shims from McMaster-Carr). After a few discussions with Tudor), I felt comfortable setting the pressure to 1,475psi. :) Of course that takes time to fiddle with different shim stacks and trust in a quality pressure gauge.

In the years since, I’ve had zero issues as a result of the higher pressure. I’ve absolutely overworked the loader dozens of times and have been super pleased with the capabilities.

Of course common sense is needed whenever using the loader - I hang 8 suitcase weights on a rack that I fabricated. I have lifted in excess of 800lbs with my setup quite a few times. It makes for light rear end....

Andreas
 

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Discussion Starter #30
TractorPete. Thanks for those thoughts. I do see that clearance at the extremes of travel will need to be measured. May not be as simple a swap as I would like. First world problems, lol.

Tudor. I agree with your thinking. I have often left the weights on for no reason except that I didn't need to take them off. Your info on axle static weight rating is very helpful. I was wondering how close I was to the design limit. I cut the existing weight bar off the click and go brackets and welded in a bar that can accommodate 12. (Then realized I could have gone wider. Hence 14 on the other tractor.) I have considered having a second set of wheels and tires that are loaded, if I decide I wanted to go that route. For now the 42lb weights are not a problem. I may feel differently if I go to 70lb weights. lol. I gave up running due to my lousy feet, but my back is ok. So far.

Regarding the pins. I could have some made with a slightly smaller diameter. (Here is where a lathe would be nice to have.) Do you install the rollpins? I am really very curious about your other buckets and accessories. The CTC loader is kind of small, maybe an upgrade is in order. Your buckets and other accessories may inspire me.

Andreas. I am impressed with your tractor being at 1475. Makes me feel better about being at 1350. Yesterday I attempted to rip out some lilac bush stumps and roots using the loader and a HeavyHitch toothbar. It was completely ineffective. Much more lifting and curling power seemed to be required. Then I failed a hose. I ended up digging a lot of the stump out by hand and could see why it wasn't budging. (But then the rain came in...) I currently have the relief valve shimmed with a 1.05 mm washer, I may go higher, now. Though I don't think it would make enough difference for this job, it would be nice for overall load capability.

Thanks to ALL of you for your input.
 

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There are tradeoffs with every choice. When I bought my small (but not sub) Compact Utility Tractor (not a green one, but in the same size class as the 2 series) quick attach for the bucket of the loader was not an option. At the time I didn't really know what I needed and all the choices were very confusing.

For years I wanted to get a grapple and forks. But, each choice was expensive and I didn't have that much need for one. I had heard people say the clamp on bucket forks are not worth it. I found an inexpensive pair that included a stabilizer rod. I found them to be pretty great. But, people are right, visibility sucks, they come loose, they move the load out farther.

Then we had wind and then a snow storm and lost a lot of big trees. I did not want to move all the rounds by hand or with the bucket attached forks. I ended up getting a custom made quick attach and added a diverter valve and got a mini grapple (it is actually smaller than the one for X700 series) and forks and a fork frame.

The grapple could use longer teeth. Being only about a foot or so wide it is great for picking up individual rounds. But, it is not a root rake. The Wicked grapple from IA is 4' wide and can do root rake duty. I'm sure it is fine, but not as easy to pick up just one thing.

My CUT has a decent lift. The adapter weighs about 80lb and it moves the bucket out about 4 inches. This isn't much, but it does change the feel of the tractor. It is super easy to remove the bucket now. It easy to switch to the grapple or forks. But, I have yet to actually use the forks for a real job. I thought this might be the case, but I realized there would be a time when I would really need one and then I would be really sorry if I hadn't bought them. Until that day comes, I have to live with the pain of finding a place to store them 😉.

I do have a lot of use for the grapple and it is fun to use too. I also find that if things aren't easy, I tend to avoid them. So yeah, pin on attachments are changeable. Changing the bucket to adapter was not that bad and I am sure it would get easier each time I did it. I think it is like the difference between the 42" deck on the X300 and the driveover deck on the X700 series. One is much easier to do than the other. I never took the deck off more than once a year on the X300. The X534 is somewhere in-between. Now that I have done it a few times, it is much easier than it is on the X300 (rotatable wheels make all the difference). But, I still hesitate to take off the deck sometimes.
 

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Regarding the pins. I could have some made with a slightly smaller diameter. (Here is where a lathe would be nice to have.) Do you install the rollpins? I am really very curious about your other buckets and accessories. The CTC loader is kind of small, maybe an upgrade is in order. Your buckets and other accessories may inspire me.

Yesterday I attempted to rip out some lilac bush stumps and roots using the loader and a HeavyHitch toothbar. It was completely ineffective. Much more lifting and curling power seemed to be required. Then I failed a hose. I ended up digging a lot of the stump out by hand and could see why it wasn't budging. .
Use a brake cylinder hone to open up the bushings for more clearance. It doesn't take much more than a few ten thousandths of an inch. You don't want them as sloppy as my worn out bushings that rattle.

When pulling stumps, you need to break the roots. A tooth bar will break one root (if it's small enough) when hooked onto one tooth. Since you have to work blind, you don't know where the roots are and it is too easy to hook onto several, then you're dead in the water.

A better methods is to stand the bucket on it's cutting edge with the front tires raised and rock the tractor back and forth a couple of inches so the cutting edge can chew through the roots. For a small stump od 4" or so, mark out a square with the stump in the center using the bucket width as the dimension for each side. Work the bucket down until it penetrates at least 6" or until you feel that the roots have been cut on three sides of the square. When you reach the same stage on the fourth side, keep the front wheels off of the ground and curl the bucket back while keeping drive power applied to force the bucket under the cut piece of sod. If that doesn't lift the piece of ground, go around the square using the same method on each side to loosen things up. If that still doesn't loosen it up enough to lift it out, put the cutting edge to the tree and push it over.

One of my buckets, I built for trenching. It's 12" wide and will dig a trench 34" deep. Because it is so narrow and not pushing much dirt, it will shear through a 1.5" birch root. While I haven't tried it, it will cut a trench the same as I suggested for shearing the roots above, and because it is lighter than the 210 lb 54" bucket, it can undercut the patch of sod all around and then apply more lifting force in order to topple the tree.

My third bucket is the original 40" wide that came with my loader. The 54" is a 35% scaled up version with over twice the struck volume and over 3 times the weight.

The light weight forks were made by Brinley way back when. The forks are 1" square stock bar steel. I've used them to lift some pretty big logs, but then I had to straighten them out again when I was done. Haven't used them in years, but they are handy if I need them.

The fifth attachment is for high lifting. It's 4' tall with a 32x36 open frame of angle iron on top to which a platform or beam can be clamped. When fully raised, the top of the frame is about 9.5-10' above grade. Great for scaffolding once legs are clamped to the platform to keep it from dropping. (I have a 3x12' section of our old pool deck walkway to use for a work platform.) Also very handy for installing beams to support a carport or a ceiling in a garage. It's another item that isn't used often, but it's worth gold when it's needed.
 
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