Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source??

   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source?? #11  
Depending on your barrel diameter, the ratchet portion of the load binder (5200# working load size) can be removed by driving out 2 (tapered) pins. The ratchet ID fits over the major diameter of the stock BX23 barrel. And, will fit the minor diameter ( the part of the barrel nearest the ends) of the after market replacement top links sold most everywhere.
Though this works pretty well, I've found that after adding gauge wheels to my implements, I don't need to adjust the top link much.


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   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source??
  • Thread Starter
Well, to avoid having to look at my own welding in the future, I'm having Bill Thomas' Redlandhill shop in North Carolina whip one up. He's basically cutting the ends off one of their Cat 2 Vertical Lift Link Ratchet setups and welding on new Cat 1 end balls. Final overall length and adjustment range will be almost identical to my current stock top link. Ought to be **** for stout, too, since it's being built from a Cat 2 lift link.

I checked at Atwoods this afternoon, and at $19 + tax for a new ratchet jack, and $8 each + tax for weld-on end balls, I was looking at almost $40 for materials alone (couldn't re-use my old top link, the threads show a lot of wear and the end balls are rusty and getting a little loose). Bill is building me one for $49 plus about $10 shipping to my front door. Hard to beat, far as I'm concerned, and other than the shipping, I don't think I could have it done any cheaper down the street here. Of course, I'll still have to paint it Kubota blue, but that I can handle. I'll post a photo after I get it installed if anybody is interested.

Thanks for all the input on this. I'm new on here and learning a lot from all you guys.
   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source?? #13  
What is the specs on the maximum linear load on a Cat 1 top link, both in pull as well as push?

   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source??
  • Thread Starter
Danged if I know the max loads, but I'm modifying this one out of 1" mild steel rod, had to add 3-1/2" to it after I got it because I have since added a quick hitch that adds a few inches to the length of the lower links, which made the ratchet top link a tad too short. I just finished painting the modified version, will add photo and short report when I've tried it out, not that it's all that beautiful to look at. I'd think a short length of 1" rod is fairly stout for Cat 1 use, but we'll see.
   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source?? #15  
At the sunbelt expo several years ago there was a vendor who had a hydraulic top link that did not connect to the tractor hydraulics at all. It was a closed system, just the cylinder, a 1/4 turn valve two short hoses and a small reservoir.
   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source??
  • Thread Starter
Any kind of hydraulic setup would certainly be nice, but probably too fancy for my old rig. At the website below ( are the final photos of the ratchet-adjustable link I came up with. It works, and I have about $50 in it, not counting the time to grind and clean up my crummy welding. I'll bet none of the hydraulics rigs can match the price! /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source?? #18  
Looks nice. Let us know what you think of the quickhookup lower arms you got - look like the type the fellow is selling on Ebay. Seem overpriced to me there, but interested in how they work & last. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source??
  • Thread Starter
Yep, they are the Ebay specials. I just put them on, will have to use them a few times before I decide whether I like them. I usually don't buy cheapo, but the casting seems to be very stout and clean, and for $99 plus shipping I figured I'd take a chance. The only real difference I can see in these and the $200 version is the retainer method. This one uses a drop-in hardened bolt, retained by a clip pin. Not as quick or convenient to use. All I've done so far is box blade some and they worked ok. They fit the swing arms ok, too. Of course, I haven't really done any hitching/unhitching yet, so we'll see. If I don't like them they will makea stout pair of bookends for the shop library.
   / Cat 1 Ratchet top link - source??
  • Thread Starter
Finally had time to do some box blading today, so was able to give the new ratchet-adjustable top link a workout. It worked "slicker'n duck snot", as my grandpa used to say. I even found out that using it from the operator seat "on the fly" was easy and worked like a champ. One caveat: When you are through adjusting, make sure you leave the handle in any position EXCEPT straight up. The handle on mine is cut pretty short (you don't need much of a handle to have plenty of leverage to easily work the ratchet). The end of the handle won't quite reach the back of my seat with the hitch fully up, but it comes pretty close. If somebody neglected to cut the handle off enough, it might get exciting because if you leave it in the straight up position, then depending on your tractor's configuration it could goose you in the caboose when you lift the 3-point all the way.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this setup. MUCH nicer to use than the old link, and almost as handy as a hydraulic top link, for about 5% of the outlay! I'll spend the $500 I saved on some additional remote hydraulics for my next tractor. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif