Stabilizing clamp on forks?

   #1  

etpm

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A few months ago I bought a Yanmar YM2310 tractor. It is the most modern tractor I own. It has the Bulldog 285 FEL on it and the tractor came with clamp on forks. I already have a forklift and so am used to forks that stay where I put them. The clamp on forks tend to move, to swivel, so that they are no longer perpendicular to the leading edge of the bucket. This is a problem. The bucket is fairly lightweight so I'm gonna weld on a couple of 3/16 inch thick stiffening plates in the general area where the forks go. This way the forks can be adjusted width wise. But the swiveling problem will still exist. I am considering welding some lengths of 1/2 inch thick square steel stock to the stiffening plates to trap the forks in various positions. This will limit the fork positions to just a few set widths but I don't think that will matter if the positions are chosen carefully with a little forethought. But then there will be 1/2 inch thick strips of steel welded to the bottom of the bucket which may interfere with other bucket operations. After all, I have never seen a bucket with strips welded to it like I described. So, anybody got any better ideas? At this time in my life I am having lots of emotional stress. This is affecting my thinking. Stuff that would normally be obvious to me is not. I need some distractions to help relax my mind. Getting the forks securely on my tractor will help.
Thanks,
Eric
 
   #2  

Gem99ultra

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Same problem here. I'll be watching for a solution. Thanks for the post.
 
   #3  

Diggin It

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You don't have one of these bars?

s-l300.jpg
 
   #4  

FastEddieR

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The forks should have a point to hook up a stabilizer/support chain to the bucket. they also sell a bar that goes between the two forks to keep them from twisting apart.
 
   #5  

TractorGuy

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You don't have one of these bars?

s-l300.jpg
I have a clamp on set like this. All I can say is they suck! Just a tad better than nothing if you need them. I usually just chain whatever I need to move to my bucket hooks and pick it up from above.

By the time I have my clamp on forks mounted and secure I could have chained whatever it is to the bucket hooks and had it moved.
 
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   #6  

Doughknob

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How about welding on some side pieces on the forks instead of the bucket. In other words, pieces running parallel to the bucket front edge, right next to that edge.
 
   #7  

CobyRupert

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I’ve used the clamp on forks. Like others have said, they’re better than nothing.
With me, it was just a matter of when I’d over do it and the leverage of the forks bends the bucket edge. It now has a smiley face. ..and some dents where the clamp on bolts touch.
Also be prepared with a BIG lever to undo those clamp on bolts when you they bend. Fun fun!

I also used the stabilizer bar to keep the forks parallel. Again, it’s not 100% effective, but better than nothing. You’ll discover it’s hard to tighten a metal bolt onto a metal fork and have it stay in place. Eventually when you dump the forks vertically, the stabilizer bar slides right off the forks. I found that putting a piece of wood or rubber between the bolts and the fork acts like a good “washer”.

Eventually you will load something heavy on the forks that bends the stabilizer bar so that’s it’s width adjustment cannot slide. This will be the permanent width of your forks when using the stabilizer bar.

I eventually bought a “real” set of forks that mount on their own quick connect frame. I still use the stabilizer bar, as I do a lot of non-pallet “poking around” under things with them. I have the stabilizer bar chained to the fork frame now so it can’t slide off.
 
  
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#8  
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etpm

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You don't have one of these bars?

s-l300.jpg
No, I do not have one of the bars pictured. The forks you show look exactly like mine. And it also looks like I need to make one of those bars.
Thanks,
Eric
 
   #9  

LittleBill21

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newbury

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A lot depends on how often and for what purpose you need to use the forks.
I've got a set of the clamp-ons for each of my two tractors. I rarely need them, but when I do they come in real handy.
I've used a 2x4 with flat-U-bolts for the rare occasion when I didn't have a stabilizer bar handy.
 

cwbyeng1300

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We had some heavy duty bolt on forks for a backhoe. What we did was weld some large washers on the inside of the bucket where the clamp bolts touched the bucket. This gave us a fixed width, but that was where we needed to keep them anyway. The bucket had a reinforcement plate in line with the lower pivot points where we alway put the forks. Even if they worked loose the end of the bolt wouldn't jump out of the washer "cup". If they were crooked I would just tilt the bucket down & let gravity straighten them out before I used them.
 
  
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etpm

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We had some heavy duty bolt on forks for a backhoe. What we did was weld some large washers on the inside of the bucket where the clamp bolts touched the bucket. This gave us a fixed width, but that was where we needed to keep them anyway. The bucket had a reinforcement plate in line with the lower pivot points where we alway put the forks. Even if they worked loose the end of the bolt wouldn't jump out of the washer "cup". If they were crooked I would just tilt the bucket down & let gravity straighten them out before I used them.
That's an interesting idea. The washers. I'm gonna take a look at what I can maybe weld to the inside of the bucket, be it washers or perhaps washers and something else. Welding stuff to the inside of the bucket bothers me way less than stuff welded to to outside bottom where it could interfere with digging.
Thanks,
Eric
 

loggin

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That's an interesting idea. The washers. I'm gonna take a look at what I can maybe weld to the inside of the bucket, be it washers or perhaps washers and something else. Welding stuff to the inside of the bucket bothers me way less than stuff welded to to outside bottom where it could interfere with digging.
Thanks,
Eric
I have to admit I don't have much faith in clamp on pallet forks. But for light duty lifting they can work. That said here is a video that shows how to stabilize them. Check around the 4 minute mark if you don't want to watch the whole video.

Hope this helps!!

 

Doughknob

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That's an interesting idea. The washers. I'm gonna take a look at what I can maybe weld to the inside of the bucket, be it washers or perhaps washers and something else. Welding stuff to the inside of the bucket bothers me way less than stuff welded to to outside bottom where it could interfere with digging.
Thanks,
Eric
If willing to do that, u could weld on a bar with a long slot. This would allow any position plus capture the clamps like the washers.
 
  
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etpm

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I have to admit I don't have much faith in clamp on pallet forks. But for light duty lifting they can work. That said here is a video that shows how to stabilize them. Check around the 4 minute mark if you don't want to watch the whole video.

Hope this helps!!

Thanks for the link, I will watch it later today.
Eriv
 

PILOON

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I have a set of DIY forks and solved the parallelism issue.
What I did was to make the clamping width match the gap between my teeth.
Most clamp ons are just as wide as the fork width.
Since my teeth are 8 ins apart I made my forks with a 6 inch contact area so they don't wander.
Works just fine.
 

CobyRupert

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….but hooking a chain and binder around the bucket to avoid getting a smiley face bucket prevents sticking in a couple of vertically mounted 2”x4”’s into the clamp on forks that acts as a “backstop”. (Most clamp on forks have a 2”x4” holder)
This is ok if you’re just lifting pallets, but if you’re lifting logs you definitely want these “backstops” and don’t just rely on the bucket as your backstop.
Many people have been killed or injured when the log is lifted too high and it rolls backwards over the bucket, right down the loader arms and right onto the drivers chest or lap.
Serious stuff.

 
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Navvet

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….but hooking a chain and binder around the bucket to avoid getting a smiley face bucket prevents sticking in a vertically mounted 2”x4” into the clamp on forks that acts as a “backstop”. (Most clamp on forks have a 2”x4” holder)
This is ok if you’re just lifting pallets, but if you’re lifting logs you definitely want these “backstops” and don’t just rely on the bucket as your backstop.
Many people have been killed or injured when the log is lifted too high and it rolls backwards over the bucket, right down the loader arms and right onto the drivers chest or lap.
Serious stuff.
I did the same thing with the chain (it hooks to the chain hooks at the top of the bucket, not all the way around). If you look at the picture above, you'll see they added a bracket for the turnbuckle to attach to. I never use a 2x4 for the backstop, don't trust it. I use some heavy c channel.

My little 40hp easily lifts 3000# with the clamp-on's, just have to take it slow and easy.
 

TractorGuy

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This is the last time I used mine. They went over instead of under but i needed a little more reach to move my generator. I had my 1200 lb ballast on the 3pt and kept the load a few inches off the ground. :)
IMG_0985.jpg
 

CobyRupert

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This is the last time I used mine. They went over instead of under but i needed a little more reach to move my generator. I had my 1200 lb ballast on the 3pt and kept the load a few inches off the ground. :)

If it works, it works!
…but when it doesn’t, having the forks under the load keeps the load closer to the tractor. This is less leverage that will lift the rear of the tractor and the FEL has a greater lift capacity operating in its “breakout” range.
 
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Navvet

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This is the last time I used mine. They went over instead of under but i needed a little more reach to move my generator. I had my 1200 lb ballast on the 3pt and kept the load a few inches off the ground. :)
View attachment 713577
I have my back hoe for counterweight ....
4025.jpg
 

Smokeydog

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The clamp on fork tubing extentened slightly past the back of the B20 bucket. Trimmed and welded a plate to mate with bucket heel. This locked in the forks better. The plate didn’t interfere with with longer bottom buckets. Even with ssqa forks the clamp ons ones are handy.
 

DCGuinn

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I have a Kubota BX2380 with land pride forks that seem too heavy for the machine 306#. I’m thinking of switching to clamp on forks 50# and rigging them to a skid steer plate 60#. That way the forks would be close to the pins and give me close to 200# more lift capacity.
 

newbury

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I have a Kubota BX2380 with land pride forks that seem too heavy for the machine 306#. I’m thinking of switching to clamp on forks 50# and rigging them to a skid steer plate 60#. That way the forks would be close to the pins and give me close to 200# more lift capacity.
OUCH!! From tractordata your lift capacity at the pin to full height is only 739 lbs. 306 sucks up a lot of that.
 

beowulf

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I have quick attach pallet forks which get a lot of use. I also bought a set of the titan clamp on forks with stabilizing bar to use mostly for when I am hauling branches and brush away from a clean up area and where I also need the bucket - I thought they would be a quick way to have a fork capability in the field. I have not yet used the clamp on forks, and after watching the video and seeing how long it takes to install the clamp-ins, tighten and so on, I doubt I would have bought them - so maybe that was a mistake. The quick attach pallet forks is really quick compared to what the video shows time-wise with the clamp-ons.
 

fried1765

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I have a clamp on set like this. All I can say is they suck! Just a tad better than nothing if you need them. I usually just chain whatever I need to move to my bucket hooks and pick it up from above.

By the time I have my clamp on forks mounted and secure I could have chained whatever it is to the bucket hooks and had it moved.
I have a set of clamp on forks for my Ford 1920 FEL.
They are basically worthless (sitting in the barn)!

I have a set of 3pt forks that I bought from Agri Supply on the Ford, and they will lift 2,000 lbs.,....but being 3pt. forks, they only raise to about 30".
I have a set of 4,400 lb. EA forks (QA) for my Kubota L48 TLB.
They are REAL forks!
 

Smokeydog

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IMG_1953.JPG

Tool for tightening L and T handle bolts like on some clamp on forks. Heavy wall tubing welded on top of hammer. Since it can rotate gives good angle for lever inside a bucket.
 

k0ua

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I sold my clamp on forks, converted the Kubota to SSQA and got a set of real forks. Still using them with my Kioti. SSQA is the way to go. Tractors with loaders should not be sold without it. It is just a crime and a crying shame.
 

DCGuinn

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But, easy to overload a BX with SSQA due to weight.
 

RammerJammer

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Obviously, YMMV . . . But, the $140 (delivered!) that I spent on a pair of clamp-on forks is likely the best money I've spent. They are 48" and are supposedly rated at 4,000 pounds. But, ratings are ratings and reality is reality. I'd say, maybe 2,000 pounds with a peace-of-mind limit of 1,000 to 1,500. But, my loader rating is under 2,000 pounds (backhoe ballast not part of the equation?) and the geometry, when using the forks, likely reduces that a good bit. In other words, the forks likely match the loader pretty well.

OK, sure. You can use poor judgement, any time, and wreck just about anything. And, yes, they can move so that they are not parallel to themselves or perpendicular to the bucket edge. However, when they are tight (meaning tight), that tendency decreases.

Used within their obvious limitations, they have been fantastic for me. Takes me all of two minutes to install or remove them. (No chains/binders yet.) They stack on a small custom-built "shelf" when not in use.

I've used them to move logs, riding mowers (when I got rid of them!), air conditioners, generators, sod, mulch, lumber, barrels, limbs/trash, leaves (using a sheet of plywood + clamps), as a construction support, for demolition, as a large, moveable work bench (moves any way you want!), removing vines/undergrowth and even as an elevated fulcrum for a custom, 25 foot pole saw. And, no bent bucket, either.

If you have a loader, and you don't have a set of these, you are missing a great opportunity for utility and innovation.

I have no idea what they cost today. I got mine in 2017 (?) from jet.com which Walmart bought out 2 or 3 years ago. They had some pretty good deals before WM took over and ruined/killed them.

Sure, you can spend $500, or more, on a quick-attach fork set and have more capacity and nice, thin forks. You'll also have to find storage space for the fork assembly. But, if your needs (and lifting capacity) are closer to what mine have been, I think the clamp-ons will do nicely for maybe a third of the cost.

And, yes, my tractor has a quick-attach loader. If yours does not, your fork options are limited or, likely, even more expensive if you go with quick-attach forks.

One other thing while on the subject of loader add-ons, I'm no fan of those k-orange tractors; HOWEVER, I have to admit that this is the second-best money I've spent:

BXpanded Piranha Toothbar

Just try grading some clay soil with and without it . . . You'll see. And, likely, be just as amazed as I was. Costs more than the forks, though . . . (Note to BXpanded . . . Check's in the mail, right?)
 

s219

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I used clamp on forks for many years and accepted them as a decent trade-off for the cost savings over proper pallet forks. They do give you a good bit of versatility, but obviously have many limitations. As time went on, I began to hate them more and more. Finally spent the money on SSQA forks and wish I hadn't waited for so long.
 

Diggin It

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One thing I haven't noticed in this thread is the reduced capacity due to how far forward the bolt on forks sit. You can't use your machine's stated lift as a guide since that's rated at the pins. With bolt on forks, you're sitting 3 feet or more forward of that (whatever your FEL bucket measures). I use a carry all seated in the bucket and strapped in place. It works for carrying brush or small loads, but I can only lift a couple of hundred pounds that way.

I've worked out a way to remove my FEL bucket and mount the carry all at the pins which should make things a lot better, but I haven't completed it all yet to test it.
 
 
 
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