Thinking about pallet forks……

minthral

Active member

Equipment
Kubota L3301
Nov 22, 2021
108
44
28
NC
Forks are something that you only need them when you need them, so depending on your application, they may sit around a lot. They are a huge benefit of owning a loader, however you really want your loader to be capable of lifting at least around 1000lb 4 feet in the air (if not 1500 LB). I think LX is about as small of a tractor you'd want...

I got a land pride 3042 as that's what the dealer had in stock. 3000 LB capacity 42 inch long. Do it over again, I'd probably would have gotten 48 inch long as they only 30 LB heavier. It's difficult to see the ends of the forks when they are low and I end up standing up on the tractor and you end up using the tips to push in or pull stuff... that extra 6 inches would have been nice. A pallet depth is 48, so a downside is you might go too far when you got 2 pallets near each other (42 ensures that will never happen). I don't like 36 or shorter forks would support pallets too well... They have 2000 LB forks, but they're hardly lighter. End of the day, you're looking at ~350 LB for forks (42 inch, 3k capable)

My L3301 loader is rated for ~850 LB 2 feet out (not pins) at max height, but at lower heights it's more capable. It can (and I have) get 2000 LB off the ground a few inches (+350 forks) so having 3000 LB capacity is just about right (2000 LB would have been fine too). IDK if LX is like that, but the LA525 loader is really 'under rated' especially when you got your hydraulic pressured turned up. People say it 'wont handle lifting a hay bale or 1000 LB skid, but I KNOW and SEEN it can despite what the 'max capacity ' numbers might say.

I really doubt you'll find a reasonable 2000 LB capacity 42 inch forks under 300 LB. If you do, they're probably not that solid. Certainly with a 1k max lift you don't want a 1k rated pallet fork because the loader is much more capable than that at lower lift heights.

Similar to a pic here, I leave straps wrapped around on mine.

Once you have pallet forks, the mindset of 'unloading the truck or trailer' changes. You get the forks out and utilize them...don't even have to grab pallets...just unload on the forks then move it. Then you realize you can store heavy stuff and also use forks to move it in and out of storage. For anyone doing construction, home improvement, farm, or hobby work, they really open up a lot of opportunities of what you can do. If you don't do much of that and just mowing grass on a suburban lot, it might be excessive....though still you'll be able to do residential deliveries with 'no liftgate required,' saving ~$100 per delivery. The forks would pay for themselves after ordering 5-8 items, though IDK if that's good enough to have them sitting around.

About the whole store it outside thing...well I kept mine in a de-attached, not air conditioned garage/shop and there are still spots where it's rusting. I don't think you can win the battle against rust...they're just a big chunk of steel and I don't think a little rust will harm them aside from cosmetic value. Mainly you want them to be easily accessible and if they're tucked deep in your AC's garage, it really becomes a question of 'do I want to bother to go dig them out.' If you place them right next to where you park your trailer or work truck and where it's easy to hook up to, it turns into 'why not use them.'
 
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Missouribound

Member

Equipment
B2320, FEL, BOX BLADE, FINISH MOWER, QUICK HITCH
Jun 17, 2014
623
19
18
Missouri
I bought a cheap pair of clamp on forks for my B2320.
I use them for one purpose only, to stack brush and logs when I am doing clean up.
I would not recommend them for any heavy lifting. I knew what I was going to use them for when I bought them, they work fine for that application.
 

GreensvilleJay

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Equipment
BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
4,338
1,283
113
Greensville,Ontario,Canada
re: depending on your application, they may sit around a lot

that can be said about ANY implement...
in my case... rototiller gets used about 7 hrs a year...
3F plow ,about 2 hrs
manure spreader...3-4 hrs

I'll lay odds combines get used may 1 month out of 12 ? same for other equipment ?

I don't care that stuff lies dormant most of the time, they save me a LOT of time and health when I NEED to use them. The 'trick' is to properly store them so they CAN be used when required.
 
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nbryan

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Equipment
B2650 BH77 LA534 54" ssqa Forks B2782B BB1560 Woods M5-4 MaxxHaul 50039
Jan 3, 2019
804
421
63
Hadashville, Manitoba, Canada
What is there to maintain?
I was referring to the Greensvillejay reply about ANY implement.

But even with forks I CAN recommend cleaning and lubing the forks top and bottom locking lips, and frame glides where they slide, on occasion at least. More often as crap and snow/ice gets trapped in there. Depends totally on use. Mine are operated in harsh bush and log work, and firewood transport, among other things, it's just headaches later if I leave the bark bits and spruce needles frozen in ice and need to adjust them for pallet moving the next day. if they're going to just move some pallets occasionally around the yard crud in the adjuster slides isn't going to crop up much if at all. But that little shot of lube of choice on the rails REALLY helps with adjustment.
 
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GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
4,338
1,283
113
Greensville,Ontario,Canada
It took less than a month to chip off some of the powder coat 'paint' on my HLA unit. Since then I spray 'rustcheck' on the frame and in the fork 'spring pin finger' holes. Sure makes a HUGE difference in being able to move the forks !
 

Freeheeler

Well-known member

Equipment
b2650 tlb
Aug 16, 2018
543
268
63
Knoxville, TN
Another entertaining thread for sure.

Another vote for EA forks. US built, great welds, free shipping. Only downside now is the wait.
I store them outside on blocks just high enough to make attachment easy.
There are other brands that will work too, but I went with EA because I was so satisfied with their box blade they earned my repeat business.

A side not about the 'rust' issue. When they talk about "exposed to the elements", remember that rust is oxidation. Unless you are storing it in a vacuum, it will rust. A light coating of a water displacement spray is just as much protection as storing inside a dry garage. It's surface rust either way and won't affect the structure in my or my son's lifetime. If you have inside storage to spare, sure, use it. If not, outside is fine.
 
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GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
4,338
1,283
113
Greensville,Ontario,Canada
re: A light coating of a water displacement spray is just as much protection as storing inside a dry garage.

....until it rains......:(

give me a proper 'old skool' enamel paint on steel any day of the week... no EVERY day !!
 

Freeheeler

Well-known member

Equipment
b2650 tlb
Aug 16, 2018
543
268
63
Knoxville, TN
re: A light coating of a water displacement spray is just as much protection as storing inside a dry garage.

....until it rains......:(

give me a proper 'old skool' enamel paint on steel any day of the week... no EVERY day !!
Powder coating is even better, and even more $$. I prefer to save the cash and deal with the very light surface oxidation. I don't spray my forks either. Paint would look nice, but you'd have to respray the top of the forks after each use. That just sounds annoying. Glow in the dark paint, that might be worth it ; )
 

jyoutz

Well-known member

Equipment
MX6000 HST open station, FEL, 6’ cutter, forks, 8’ rear blade, 7’ cultivator
Jan 14, 2019
999
490
63
Edgewood, New Mexico
Powder coating is even better, and even more $$. I prefer to save the cash and deal with the very light surface oxidation. I don't spray my forks either. Paint would look nice, but you'd have to respray the top of the forks after each use. That just sounds annoying. Glow in the dark paint, that might be worth it ; )
Surface oxidation is actually protective. It seems to form a layer that stays stable over time. We have black pipe fences that oxidized to a brown patina 15 years ago and now look like they are painted. The patina doesn’t rub off in your hands and seems stable.
 

58Ford

Member

Equipment
BX23s + LP cutter
Jan 1, 2022
89
50
18
SW Washington
The “seems” makes me uneasy mate. Surface rust usually doesn’t look bad until you hit it with a hammer. Your fence posts may be ok but.. my frame rails I will deal with a little bit better. There’s lots of great rust converter product out there and we’ll… I do have a 58 pickup…. POR15 is what the frame gets painted with.
Just my 2c!
 

Freeheeler

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Equipment
b2650 tlb
Aug 16, 2018
543
268
63
Knoxville, TN
The “seems” makes me uneasy mate. Surface rust usually doesn’t look bad until you hit it with a hammer. Your fence posts may be ok but.. my frame rails I will deal with a little bit better. There’s lots of great rust converter product out there and we’ll… I do have a 58 pickup…. POR15 is what the frame gets painted with.
Just my 2c!
I agree, but seems to be the ole apple vs oranges thing. To be specific, the frame of my forks is painted with a very durable paint. It's been outside for several years and hasn't rusted a bit. Unless the paint goes bad, it's protected and fine to store outside. The forks themselves are unpainted steel. Any paint would rub right off when used. They do have some very slight surface oxidation, and they would have that even if I stored them in the mancave with the tractor. That surface rust, which someone has already pointed out is self protective, will never affect the performance of those forks in my lifetime. If I had a '58 pick up, I'd have it nice and dry in the mancave. My pallet forks can live happily ever after outside with the boxblade. Any pics of the truck ?
 
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GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
4,338
1,283
113
Greensville,Ontario,Canada
I've yet to see ANY powder coating that can survive a year of use, let alone 2-3 decades of use and I've seen a LOT of it on trailers,implements,outdoor furniture, etc. Once it gets cut,sliced,chipped, nicked it's 'game over', cannot be repaired..the damage is done.
I treat my forks same as my plows, when done, clean them,dry them, a light spraybomb of paint.
 

Hkb82

Member

Equipment
M7060 can-am defender hd10 gmc at4
Nov 17, 2021
60
61
18
40
Bruce peninsula
I’d stay away from the clamp on type unless your only going to use them once or twice a year and even then I’d maybe save up for a proper setup.
a few months ago my buddy brought me his clamp on style (brand unknown) to fix as they had broken welds and the clamp parts were bending on him. I couldn’t believe the cheapness and poor build quality. Junk if you ask me and my buddy hates them but bought them trying to save a few. Now he is looking at buying a proper set of forks so that cash is wasted.

I have a set of HLA and have zero issues with them. I leave them out side in the elements and I can tell you I take great care of my equipment. Not sure saying to people that if they leave implements outside they don’t take care of their things is a fair accusation.
Be a pretty crappy set of forks if leaving them outside ruins them. The forks for a case skid steer I use to operate have been outside mostly since the 80s and they still work great and even have some paint left on them. I guess that fella I worked for who owns all kinds of heavy equipment and has it serviced routinely along with cleaned weekly takes crummy care of his things cause some attachments and equipment might be kept outside. I think not
People can only work with the space they have and keeping a set of well made forks outside isn’t going to hurt them. Maybe make more greasing jobs but that’s about it.
ps In my case a can of black paint is worth 5-10 bucks if beauty counts. Indoor storage space at my shop is almost priceless lol
 
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sdk1968

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Lifetime Member

Equipment
B2601HSD & CK4010HST 4WD/FEL
Oct 19, 2016
927
31
28
Ohio
Another entertaining thread for sure.

Another vote for EA forks. US built, great welds, free shipping. Only downside now is the wait.

you got a link to where you got yours?
 

Freeheeler

Well-known member

Equipment
b2650 tlb
Aug 16, 2018
543
268
63
Knoxville, TN

Freeheeler

Well-known member

Equipment
b2650 tlb
Aug 16, 2018
543
268
63
Knoxville, TN
I've yet to see ANY powder coating that can survive a year of use, let alone 2-3 decades of use and I've seen a LOT of it on trailers,implements,outdoor furniture, etc. Once it gets cut,sliced,chipped, nicked it's 'game over', cannot be repaired..the damage is done.
I treat my forks same as my plows, when done, clean them,dry them, a light spraybomb of paint.
I agree, once the powder coat has an opening, the metal is exposed and can rust. This happens with paint as well. Powder coat is worse since it traps moisture underneath the surrounding areas. I do have an old chair-lift seat that I powder coated and have had hanging from a pole on my dock with over 20 years of use now. Still looks new, so it really depends on the "use".