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Loaders for Garden Tractors

2626 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  TUDOR
I have a 2000 model year Cub Cadet 3235. It was the biggest Cub sold at the time. Been a mower all it's life with a 54" shaft driven deck.

I know it's not a Cub of years gone by...but what are opinions on this tractor handling a front end loader with say, a 42" wide small profile bucket. Been seriously considering this and a three point to make me a utility dirt mover for my property. I'm tired of borrowing my friends huge bobcat skid steer that destroys more than it fixes in my yard.

I'd have to add an additional pump and perhaps reinforce the frame...but overall it's a decent sized machine with 25HP and power steering. I could easily run the pump off the deck pto location. I'll let the tractor hydraulic system handle the forward/reverse and the steering only.
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Will it handle a loader? Yes, depending on several factors.

FEL's overload the front ends of GT's. This is a given, no matter which GT. Expect a higher rate of wear on front end and steering components. The front spindles are especially vulnerable and 1" diameter spindles are recommended to handle the higher loads.

A subframe to distribute the loads from the loader to the tractor is required. Attachment points of the subframe are the rear axle tubes or a reinforced area of the frame as close the axle mounts as can be accomplished, and as close to the front axle frame supporting structure as is reasonable, allowing for steering linkages and tires.

Diagonal bracing from the posts to the front of the frame is also a requirement.

The existing frame serves little more than as a locater for engine, steering, and rear axle. The subrame supports the loader and the forces acting on it and delivers those forces to the 3 specific attaching points. Do it right, and you may not even have to drill holes for the mounting bolts in the frame by using existing holes provided by the tractor manufacturer.

Loaders are not horsepower intensive. You have 2-3 times the horsepower available over what is required. Higher horsepower will allow higher acceleration rates for the tractor, and will otherwise have a minimal effect on loader capabilities or operation.

I recommend a bucket to be at least the width of the outsides of the rear tires as a minimum. My personal preference is that it be at least 2-3" wider if used for snow.

Pump and reservoir sizing are dependent on the size of the cylinders used.

There is much information and many examples of home built and after market GT loaders in this thread.
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Oh, yeah! ^^^ What he said! ^^^

Tractor stability comes from the rigid mounted rear axle. That is why adequate rear end ballast is a requirement for loader equipped tractors. You want those tires planted solidly on the ground, especially with a payload in the bucket.
The normal ballast load on my MF1655 is 650 lb. If maneuvering space is at a premium, I remove the 250 lb 5' back blade. If I need more ballast, I have a set of MF 40 lb wheel weights and a 385 lb tiller that I can install.
How you lift the bucket and whether or not there is a subframe has no bearing on the load distribution. The load is ahead of the axle. Think seesaw with the front axle as the pivot.

Loaded tires and wheel weights do not add weight to the rear axle. Of the 400 lb base ballast load, 350 lb of that weight is in the 26x12-12 tires on my tractor, between the liquid and the tire chains. With the smaller 23x10.50-12 tires on your tractor, you can gain as much as 175 lb the same way. Add 100 lb of wheel weights and another 200 lb bolted to the rear of the tractor and you won't have any trouble with traction or payload.

The rear axle is rated for 700-750 lb static load.
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