Customizing the Tractor Loader: Video


Hey, this is Dave from Wrong Direction Farm. Today I wanted to take you behind the scenes. I’m doing some repairs on the tractor. So it’s not some of the more pleasant things that we do on the farm like move the chickens and take care of the cattle, but sometimes we get to fix stuff too. And often when we’re fixing equipment we need to be a little creative with solutions because, unless you’re made out of money, you can’t just buy your way into the solution for every problem. You’ve got to sometimes build your way into it. The tractor — this is the only tractor we have on the farm — it’s a 65 horsepower tractor. It’s, you know, it’s about six years old. It’s a little beat up by now. And we had problems with the quick attach brackets. These allow us to attach to a bucket, or to forks for fork lifting pallets, or for spears that go on the end of the tractor so we can lift up big hay bales. But we had a problem where the brackets, where they hold on to the bucket or the bale spear, the brackets were starting to wear out. I had repaired them many times over the years but the steel was starting to wear to the point where it was no longer repairable. So I had to buy a new set. Every year I ended up fixing this thing so I wanted to find a more permanent solution. So what I did is I ended up finding a bracket that goes onto a much heavier loader from the same manufacturer. I put the forks on there and I noticed when the forks were at ground level I couldn’t get them to be even with the terrain. They were always pointing up a bit so I couldn’t get them underneath a pallet. So I realized I had a geometry problem. I noticed that this upper pin on the bracket was too far up, it was up about here originally. So I needed to cut it down and weld it into a new position. So what I did is I took the plasma cutter, I cut all the way around this, cut this whole section out, moved it down, trimmed it up, welded it in position, welded this extra gusset in here. There was quite a bit of trepidation as I made those cuts into the steel. I was just thinking, you know, if I mess this up I’m not going to be able to get these two holes aligned. Or I’ll get this one at a different level from this one and then the whole bracket will be messed up. And so I took a long time to get my jig all set up. I had a customized jig I made up to be able to plasma cut each of these ones identically down the line. And all four cuts came out really close to each other so it’s… I’m glad it worked out. So that’s the solution we came up with. Everything around here requires a little creativity but, you know, we find our way around things.

Sometimes the farm life isn’t all pastures and soil. It often involves fixing the farm equipment. We only have one tractor, so we’re not as caught up in engines and wrenches as a more mechanized farm, but we still manage to spend a lot of time with the tools spread out in the driveway.

We had a problem with the tractor’s quick attach bracket, the connector that allows us to switch between a bucket, a forklift, or a hay bale spear attachment. Instead of continuing to repair the poorly-designed original equipment as I’ve done many times before, I decided to replace the whole connector with something from a better-designed tractor.

It seemed to work. I found a bracket with the right sized pine holes and everything bolted up. But when I tried using it, I realized that the hole spacings were wrong, and that the buckets wouldn’t tip up or down as far as I needed them to.

So, out came the plasma cutter, angle grinders, and welding equipment. I cut the brackets apart and welded the pin holes into new locations. On a farm like this, we can’t always buy our way into solutions for problems, we often have to build our way into those solutions.

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