Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source??

   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source?? #1  


Gold Member
Feb 4, 2006
Central Oklahoma
JD 3032E, dual remotes, TnT, tooth bar, grapple
I'm tired of cranking the top link back and forth on my faithful old Kubota L295DT. If it had remote hydraulics, or I'd put a hydraulic top link on it in a heartbeat. So maybe the next best thing would be a top link that has a ratchet handle on it - like a ratchet jack, but with ball ends for Cat 1 instead of clevis pins on each end. Anybody know of a source for something like this?
   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source?? #2  
Well, you have 2 choices. Add a rear remote and a hydraulic top link or use something like you suggested, a simple ratchet jack sized for a top link.

Agri-Supply just happens to sell one, sized 20" to 28" for $19.95. See page 27 of their February 2006 Buyer's Guide catalog. You will have to cut off the existing ends and weld your own ball ends on but I don't think you will find one with the correct ends anywhere.

Agri-Supply catalog Page 27
   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source?? #3  
I have a smaller rachet chain binder that I don't use; I'm planning to cut the hook ends off and weld on ends that will make it fit as a top link.

Think mine costs less than $20.....................

   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source??
  • Thread Starter
Thanks, gentlemen. I don't know squat about adding remote hydraulics, especially to an older rig like mine, so I think I'll run it up on the trailer and have my local Kubota whizzes look at it and see if (and at what cost) a rear remote could be installed. I'm getting older and a hydraulic top link would be a GREAT help. Failing that, I guess I'll go the ratchet jack w/welded ball end route. I appreciate the info.
   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source?? #5  
Wow, if you are getting older, you'd better have your heart meds in your hand when they tell you the price...............................

   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source??
  • Thread Starter
As an afterthought, I'm a little surprised some inventive soul hasn't come up with an electric driven adjustable top link based on one of the small 12 volt ATV winch setups. Ought to be MUCH cheaper than hydraulics, and since the top link isn't adjusted all that often it wouldn't be much of a drag on the 12V system. Plus it wouldn't leak. /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source?? #7  
</font><font color="blue" class="small">( and since the top link isn't adjusted all that often )</font>

When working dirt with the back blade or box scraper, I am usually constantly adjusting the top link to get the results I desire. A difficult, or not very easy, to adjust top link is just not very ideal.
   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source?? #8  
TSC has them. Don't know what the ends look like.

   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source??
  • Thread Starter
TSC, Atwoods, Linton's Big R, etc. all have ratchet binders or jacks with clevis pins on each end, but nobody has one with Cat I ball ends. If I had a machine shop I'd be making these and selling them for $50 a pop (or whatever gave me 200% profit) as fast as I could make them. Since the threads on my link are getting a bit worn anyway, I guess I'll get a local shop to cut the ball ends off and weld them on the ends of a new ratchet jack, assuming I can find one of the required length. Or, I guess I could do it myself - my welding won't win any beauty contests but nothing I've stuck together has ever come apart. Hopefully I'll have something that works and that I can lean over and reach from the seat to make fast manual adjustments.

It still amazes me that with zillions of aftermarket Cat I tractor gadgets available out there (many of which are next to useless) that nobody is making a killing selling something practical and useful like these things.

Considering the incredible price of adding a set of remotes and a hydraulic top link (over $1k, I believe, even for a newer tractor - and much more for an old rig like mine), I also don't see why some enterprising shop isn't building an electrically driven remote controlled adjustable top link based on a Chinese 12V ATV winch. I think a lot of small tractor owners would happily pay $250 or even more for a remotely controlled electric adjustable top link that worked reliably, and that any owner could easily install without resorting to $100+ per hour dealer labor. I just bought a fairly stout little 3000 lb ATV winch for $110, so the basic winch drive unit can't be too expensive, especially in volume and at wholesale prices. The trick, I suppose, would be designing a simple low cost gear-drive setup to transfer the winch's driving power to the top link, but it just doesn't sound all that complex or difficult to do, at least from my non-engineer viewpoint.
   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source?? #10  
An electric top link from an inexpensive existing gear reducer would be an interesting project.

I have never looked an ATV winch up close but the motor probably turns a worm which turns a worm gear on the spool. If that worm gear was attached to the turnbuckle instead of the spool, it would shorten the toplink about .200 inch in the time it takes to turn the winch spool one revolution under similiar load. Would that be too slow? Taking the weight off the top link would help and I guess you have to do that manually anyway.

Also you would have to anchor the motor to something stationary, probably one of the turnbuckle end components. And since its a right angle drive, it would be perpendicular to the top link. It may get a little clunky.