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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    3
    Location
    Virginia
    Tractor
    Kubota L2500 with Front Loader and 72" finishing mower

    Default lifting a pallat with front loader

    I have a L2500 with the basic kubota Loader (LB400?). In a couple weeks a freight truck is delivering a 5'x10' pallet with a bunch of redwood on it (for a kid's playgound). It will weigh about 1500 pounds. Instead of unloading the pallet from the truck by hand I was hoping to use the L2500 to pull one end of the pallet off the truck and put it on the ground leaving part of the pallet still on the truck. I would then drive to the side of the truck hook up the other end of the pallet and have the truck slowly move forward and I would ease down the back end of the pallet with my front loader. Is this realistic? What do I need to use to do this? I am assuming I need a heavy duty chain to grab the pallet and some type of hook on the front loader to lift the chain. How would I secure the hook (or whatever I need) to the front loader? Would I drill a hole for the hook or should I weld on one? Should I buy some attachment from my Kubota dealer? What are the two holes on the sides of the front loader for? I have a heavy duty tow cable with hooks. Could I run the cable through the pallet and put the hooks in the front loader's side holes? Can those holes take any weight?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Mike


  2. #2
    Veteran Member wen's Avatar
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    Apr 2000
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    1,513
    Location
    Central Texas
    Tractor
    Kubota M6800SD/LA1002 Loader Kubota RTV900

    Default Re: lifting a pallat with front loader

    Let's see. The LB400 Loader is rated at 882 pounds with 25.8 inch reach with 72.4 inch clearance under the bucket. The odds of having the tractor tumped over are too high if you try to lift it from the top and you have no forks to lift from the bottom. After you subtract the weight of forks from 882 pounds you do not have enough lift capacity to handle 1/2 the load if it were evenly distributed. Never pick up more weight than you can safely handle. Another poster on the board unfortunately dropped his load on the hood of his kubota.

    You probably aren't going to like this, but hook a rope or cable to the pallet and drive away. The back end will fall and hit the ground then the front end will come off. Most trucks that deliver lumber actually tilt and let the load slide to the ground like that. I watched 10 trucks unload like that when building my house. The tractor is probably heavy enough to pull the rope and slide the pallet off the truck. Just use a long chain or rope. Fortunately lumber tied in a bundle is pretty strong.

    1500 pound 4 feet in the air should only be handled with a loading dock, motorized fork lift, or fork lift equipped tractor that is properly counterbalanced. You can easily make a dirt unloading dock about three foot high with your loader and then pull the load off the truck onto the dirt pile and then pull it on down with the tractor if you really need a soft landing.

    Takes a big tractor and loader with expensive pallet jack attachment to handle a load of this size and it is still dangerous if the ground is unlevel.

    Unload it a board at a time if you are uncomfortable with dropping the load or building a dirt platform. It won't take 2 people 15 minutes.

    I use a 3/8 heavy duty 20 foot chain and three 1/4 inch medium duty 10 foot chains for most general purpose lifting with the loader. I hook the chains over and around the bucket. All chains have clevis hooks on both ends. You can also hook to the bucket front edge if you are careful the angle of the chain with the bucket. I would hook loads to the bucket rather than the loader. If a chain slips on the loader, you may have just bought a very expensive hydraulic cylinder or a hydraulic line. Kubota has some really neat attachmnents for all of the loaders. I want the hay spear and pallet forks. That allows you to lift about any combination safely - but they are not cheap. However; most Kubota accessories are pretty well designed and manufactured. I plan to weld several heavy duty hooks to my bucket, but they need to be GOOD structural welds and the hooks need to be rated for the full capacity of the loader.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    610
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    Tractor
    Ford 1710: Loader, Hoe, Snowblower, Box scrapper & 3ph Forks

    Default Re: lifting a pallat with front loader

    Wen's idea of a dock seems to be a good one. I'm going to dig mine out more and put in a retaining wall next week. Of course, mine is pickup bed height, and I'd still have to use a ramp for a bigger truck.

    Regarding loaders: Trouble with them is that the arms are too long. The arms make nice levers for raising the real wheels and creating stress on the frame. In addition, a loader's lift is not a true vertical; it rotates around the pivot and creates an arc.

    A pallet tilting on the end of a bed also lowers in an arc. The two arcs are in opposite directions. At least in theory, if the pallet couldn't slide on the end of the bed, the difference between the two arcs could pull the loader bucket from under the edge of the pallet and drop it. Not a good possibility; especially since I seem to recall that redwood splits pretty easy (at least siding does). You may not want to pull the truck out from under the pallet either.

    I'm all theory on this one, but I think loaders are good at handling gravel and not so good with freight. Loaders also have no backrests. Every time I chain something to the bucket, I worry about damaging the hydraulic lines. For these reasons, I have 3ph pallet forks on order.

    Regarding hooks on loader buckets: Hooks are useful in keeping bulky things on the bucket from tipping. They aren't meant to support much weight, and they shouldn't be used to pull anything. Basic safety is 'pull only from the draw bar.'

    Somebody on another board pointed out that the stress on a bucket hook is parallel to the bucket. Therefore, the fasteners or welds, which attaches hooks to the bucket, absorb the entire load . The guy said he was going to bolt truck tow hooks through his bucket rather than trust welds. Chain would slide in the tow hooks, and load tighteners used to secure the object to the bucket. Most of what I see are grab hooks welded to the bucket, but I think I'll go with the tow hooks, or maybe logging hooks if I can find some.



  4. #4
    Elite Member
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    Mar 2000
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    3,239
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    Eastern Virginia
    Tractor
    EarthForce EF-5 mini-TLB (2001)

    Default Re: lifting a pallat with front loader

    Any situation where a heavy load will be placed on something I'm sitting on very suddenly scares me enough that I figure out another way. It's too hard to predict the dynamics of what will happen when all that weight is dropped on your bucket. If you know for a certainty that the weight is evenly distributed across the pallet, and you find that you can pick the closest side up without difficulty when it's delivered, then you might consider using the loader, but only if you can drag it part way off the truck, then pick the other end up off the truck and let the truck drive out from under it. I would never let the truck drive out from under it with the pallet still touching the bed of the truck - you can't predict what will happen.

    As for how to hook up to the load - I've taken a chain with a grab hook on each end (or a grab hook on one end and a slip hook on the other), and formed a cradle under one end, then used the grab hook to connect the chain back to itself above the load. (You don't want a slip hook here because you don't want the chain slipping while you've got it suspended. A 3 or 4 inch fall while a chain is sliding causes hugely greater forces when it stops suddenly as the chain tightens.) Then take the other hook and put it in the center of your bucket to evenly distribute the load across both lift arms. (Roll the bucket all the way back to get the chain closer to the pins. If you have enough reach and enough chain, run the chain behind the bucket and then hook it to the front edge. This puts the load closer to the tractor but gives you greater lift capacity. If there's any danger of the load shifting to the side, be careful to take precautions so the chain can't slide away from the center of the bucket.)

    On a related note, one of the handiest devices in the world if you work with chains a lot is what I call a "chain shortener" - it's nothing more than two grab hooks connected by 3 or so links of chain. With it, you can shorten a chain to any length you desire. Also handy at times is an "instant slip hook", 3 or so links of chain with a grab hook on one end and a slip hook on the other. I've got a army-surplus ammo case in the back of my pickup with half a dozen of each in it, along with 3 "emergency chains" - 20 foot lengths of grade 100 3/8" alloy chain (9800 lb) - along with a "snatch strap". You should've seen the guy's face at the hardware store when I told him I wanted 6 3-link sections of the stuff and 6 4-link sections. By about the fourth time that hydraulic chain cutter went "BAM!!", half the people in the store were looking. After the sixth or seventh time, the manager came running over because he thought some kid was playing with it. (He was almost right.) Anyway, it should also be obvious that a "chain shortener" can also be used to hook two chains together to make a longer one...


  5. #5
    Elite Member
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    Mar 2000
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    Eastern Virginia
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    EarthForce EF-5 mini-TLB (2001)

    Default Re: lifting a pallat with front loader

    I forgot to mention that I also keep a handfull of nylon tie-wraps in the "chain ammo box". They're very handy for running through a chain link to secure it to a hook so it can't slide out when the tension is released. When I'm working with a load using chain, I secure all the hooks so the chain can't fall out and cause a nasty surprise. You can also use pieces of wire if you want something cheap and reuseable.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    3
    Location
    Virginia
    Tractor
    Kubota L2500 with Front Loader and 72" finishing mower

    Default Re: lifting a pallat with front loader

    Thank you all (Mark, Tom, and Wen) for your comments. All of you sound like pros. I am a complete rookie who wants to utilize my enhanced lawn mower (L2500) for more projects. My plan is to pull the load off the truck and let it fall. According to the manufacturer this should not be a problem. I will probably use the tow hook on my SUV to pull it rather than my tractor.

    Are there any good books to teach a rookie how to do basic projects with a tractor (something like "An idiots guide to tractors")? I would like to employ my tractor to help me build the playground (i.e., level the play area, hold up boards, etc). Some reference book/resources would be very helpful.

    Thanks to all of you,

    Mike


  7. #7
    Elite Member
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    Mar 2000
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    Eastern Virginia
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    EarthForce EF-5 mini-TLB (2001)

    Default Re: lifting a pallat with front loader

    I'm afraid I don't know of any such books. I've thought a few times about starting one but why, when the best possible "book" is right here? You don't even need an index - just ask and the exact information you want is handed to you. Besides, I couldn't think of a title for it, anyway. I can't stand the "Crowbars for Dummies" and "Ink Pens for Idiots" book titles. I refuse to buy them, in fact, holding somewhat to the theory that you are what you think you are.


  8. #8
    Veteran Member wen's Avatar
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    Apr 2000
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    Location
    Central Texas
    Tractor
    Kubota M6800SD/LA1002 Loader Kubota RTV900

    Default Re: lifting a pallat with front loader

    Since the pallet weight 1500#, you may want to use the drawbar on your tractor to pull it as you will need pretty good traction. It should slide fairly easy if the truck bed is steel, but watch out for the little 1/4 inch imperfections that keep the bed from being flat. The SUV tires may not have enough traction. DON'T pull from the bucket unless the bucket is very low to the ground and you are pulling in line with the centerline of the tractor.

    When the truck arrived with my fencing materials, I couldn't see how they were going to get those 1200# pallets off the truck. They just cut the 300# rolls of 5 ft fencing loose and shoved each one off the truck. That worked fine. Now I have a bucket that is wide enough to just put a roll of fence in and lower it from a truck or transport it to the area where it is needed. Interesting how many jobs are done differently (and easier) when the bucket is a foot longer on my new kubota tractor.


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2000
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    Ford 1710: Loader, Hoe, Snowblower, Box scrapper & 3ph Forks

    Default Re: lifting a pallat with front loader

    I know this is an after-thought, but thought I'd add to Mark's comment about unpredictable dynamics. If I keep thinking these things through, I might develop reliable instincts.

    If a loader supports the end of a pallet when it is half off a truck bed, about half the weigh is on the loader. As the load is lowered, more weight is on the loader and less on the truck bed. At vertical, the entire pallet weight is on the loader.

    Unless the tractor is adequately ballasted for the entire weight, something very unexpected (but probably also very predictable) could happen when the load is halfway down.




  10. #10
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
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    Eastern Virginia
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    EarthForce EF-5 mini-TLB (2001)

    Default Re: lifting a pallat with front loader

    You mean something like turning the part of the tractor you're sitting on into a catapult?


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