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  1. #1
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default FEL :: Rated Lift Capacity vs BUCKET Capacity

    I had to swing by one of the dealerships yesterday to drop off a tractor as it is going out of warrenty and the fuel guage stopped working. While I was there I was poking around and looking at all the stuff on the lot.

    I noticed that there were 2 different brands of 35 HP tractors on the lot.
    - One brand has a smaller capacity, light duty bucket (it is the standard bucket).
    - One brand had a larger capacity, heavier duty bucket (it is the standard bucket).
    Interesting thing is that the tractor with the smaller, lighter bucket has a higher lift capacity rating on the FEL than the tractor with the larger, heavier bucket.

    So then I began to wonder if rated lift capacity has anything to do with bucket size. I have never been able to fill either of the buckets I use with enough material so that I couldn't lift them. I can go into a typical pile and scoop out a heaping overflowing amount and still lift it. Now with pallet forks I know I could overload the capacity, but I've not been able to do that with a bucket. Even heaping full of wet clay or loaded down with granite cobblestones, if the load would fit, the loader would lift it.

    So why would some brands put a theoretically high capacity loader on a tractor and then put a small, light duty bucket on it? They obviously know that the small bucket full of material would never come close to the capacity of the hydraulics. And I ask that knowing that the VAST MAJORITY of SMALL tractor owners (35hp and under) who have a bucket for their FEL do NOT have other attachments so they never remove the bucket.


    Anyone else here think that the marketing departments may have gotten involved in the ratings?
    -or-
    The accounting departments wanted to cut costs so they shaved the FEL bucket down in size?



  2. #2
    Bronze Member
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    Default Re: FEL :: Rated Lift Capacity vs BUCKET Capacity

    My only over-capacity experience comes from rental machines, but I think there are at least a couple ways to exceed the capacity of a loader, regardless of bucket size. I also think that the capacities listed by the manufacture are for safe limits, not neccessarily the limits many people push them to (If a rental machine could talk, they would confirm this). It is possible, even with a small bucket to exceed lift capacity if you are carrying a large rock/boulder. In some cases, the hydraulics are not even able to lift the bucket, and sometimes it can just barely lift it and the rear tires are practically off the ground. I have done this on occasion with 35 HP rental tractors and also full size back hoes (JD310,etc.). I have also done this with skid steers, where the short wheel base makes it very easy to lift the rear tires. In these situations, I am very careful to keep the bucket only a few inches from the ground and move along at a crawl just in case something were to give out. So, I think the buckets are sized to keep this type of activity to a minimum.

  3. #3
    Bronze Member
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    Kubota l3400 HST

    Default Re: FEL :: Rated Lift Capacity vs BUCKET Capacity

    Just food for thought, I don't put much stock in "rated" lift capacities, I look at breakout force. That is the number the tractor is going to lift before it stops. For instance, a 60 in bucket is what 15 cubic ft heaped? Gravel weighs roughly 100lbs a cubic ft, and thats 1500 lbs. My kubota is not rated for that but it will pick it up.

    I think of it like towing capacities, Honda rates their utility atv's at 850 lbs. Well they will to Much more than that. I think its a number for lawyers.

  4. #4
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: FEL :: Rated Lift Capacity vs BUCKET Capacity

    <font color="red"> It is possible, even with a small bucket to exceed lift capacity. . . boulder . . . In some cases, the hydraulics are not even able to lift the bucket, and sometimes it can just barely lift it and the rear tires are practically off the ground. . . So, I think the buckets are sized to keep this type of activity to a minimum. </font>


    Well, I think you make a case for proper rear ballast!

    And while I agree that a large boulder that does't really fit into the bucket, or perhaps even a large log, can exceed the capacity of the FEL, it is interesting that in the case of the 2 tractors I am referring to, the one with the smaller/lighter duty bucket is the heavier tractor, and has greater theoretical lift capacity. So if I understand your thoughts correctly, the manufacturer with the smaller/lighter duty bucket did that on purpose, yet in their marketing material they hype the capacity of their product. Hmmmm [img]/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]

    The tractor with the larger/sturdier bucket is a lower weight machine and has a lower capacity lift. That runs counter to your theory if I understand it correctly.

    Again, both tractors had standard buckets on them.


    grizzjeeper wrote: <font color="blue">
    Just food for thought, I don't put much stock in "rated" lift capacities, I look at breakout force. That is the number the tractor is going to lift before it stops. For instance, a 60 in bucket is what 15 cubic ft heaped? Gravel weighs roughly 100lbs a cubic ft, and thats 1500 lbs. My kubota is not rated for that but it will pick it up.

    I think of it like towing capacities, Honda rates their utility atv's at 850 lbs. Well they will to Much more than that. I think its a number for lawyers. </font>


    I am beginning to think that it is all bogus. The heavier tractor has the light/small bucket. It would be very hard to be upset with the lift capacity of that machine because that machine is not likely to be "tested" to its limits due to the small capacity.

    On the other hand, the larger bucket machine is more likely to find an unhappy owner because that machine is MORE likely to be tested closer to its capacity simply because the bucket is bigger. It will be harder to dig, it will be harder to lift, but it will also do more work, in theory, because the bucket has more capacity.



  5. #5
    Super Member _RaT_'s Avatar
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    Default Re: FEL :: Rated Lift Capacity vs BUCKET Capacity

    Bob, FEL capacities are numbers are just don't pay much attention too. I do note lift height. I have yet to ever use a properly working loader that could not pick up the biggest heaping load of any material commonly found in my yard. If it was heaped with solid gold bars, that may be a different story. I find that most of us learn to work with the loader and make it work for us regardless of its limitations. It's pretty much that way on every tractor I have owned or operated. I have not a clue what my L48 or what my current L3830 has in pounds of lift capacity, but then, I really don't think about it. Lift height, curl/dump angles are more important for me.

  6. #6
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: FEL :: Rated Lift Capacity vs BUCKET Capacity

    <font color="red"> I have yet to ever use a properly working loader that could not pick up the biggest heaping load of any material commonly found in my yard. </font>

    _RaT_, your observation is exactly my observation in terms of actual use.

    What I have seen, at least here on TBN, and I'm probably just as guilty as anyone else, is that we often debate that Brand X has 73# more loader capacity than Brand Y . . . therefore Brand X must be better.

    However, in looking at the bucket on Brand X, it is so much smaller than the bucket on Brand Y that the reality is that Brand Y, despite lower rated capacity, can actually LIFT MORE in REAL LIFE usage. I guess I had one of those rare moments of clarity when I was walking around the dealer's lot and noticed that the bucket sizes were so different.

    I guess it boils down to the fact that I may have all the hydraulic capacity in the world, but if the bucket is small, then there is no practical way to use the capacity. That makes it "theoretical" capacity. But in fact the "actual" or "useable" capacity is actually far lower due to the small bucket size.



  7. #7
    Elite Member
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    MessickFarmEqu's Avatar
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    Default Re: FEL :: Rated Lift Capacity vs BUCKET Capacity

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">(
    Anyone else here think that the marketing departments may have gotten involved in the ratings?
    -or-
    The accounting departments wanted to cut costs so they shaved the FEL bucket down in size?

    )</font>


    <font color="green"> Its the marketing department. As compact tractors become more and more of a consumer product they are starting to mess with the numbers and do things to sell to a customer who knows nothing but comparing numbers off a spec sheet. </font>

  8. #8
    Silver Member
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    Default Re: FEL :: Rated Lift Capacity vs BUCKET Capacity

    Bob,

    When I purchased my JD 3320 I opted for the 300CX FEL for the additional capacity but stuck with the smaller 60" bucket. Why? Because the bucket is about the same width as the tires and I like my fences where they are! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    I will rarely remove the bucket or the loader so mowing along the fence lines becomes less of a challenge even though I use a 72" RFM. The corner of the bucket sure makes a big arc when turning! The mower does too but at least I can see it from the seat. I didn't really see the advantage of the additional volume of the bigger bucket. A few less loads during a job = less seat time. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img]

    Steve

  9. #9
    Super Member _RaT_'s Avatar
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    Default Re: FEL :: Rated Lift Capacity vs BUCKET Capacity

    Bob, I remember when someone was touting the kubota LA 723 as being a much stronger loader then the JD 430 loader. I made the point that the few hundred pounds in lift ability was insignificant and really a rather unfortunate way to determine which loader was better. So many other more important things should be considered. There is no doubt that it is a marketing ploy as Neil suggests. Simply a means to convince the susceptible to consider their product first. I'm OK with that as I would probably do much the same in a competitive business like this.
    I have found the lighter duty buckets like material buckets to often be larger then their heavy duty counterparts.

  10. #10
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: FEL :: Rated Lift Capacity vs BUCKET Capacity

    Steve, in your case you made a rational decision to upgrade the loader from the C to the CX and to pick a bucket size. You actually chose to pick the smaller bucket for your particular uses.

    In my observation, both tractors on the dealer's lot were using the "standard" loader and the "standard" bucket.



    The more I think about this, the more I think that it is a crummy trick perpetuated by the marketing department of the one brand of tractor. They can "claim" superior capacity, but they can't deliver it in the real world.




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