Tractor instead of fork lift - newbie

Dieseldonato

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Equipment
B7510 hydro, yanmar ym146, cub cadet 1450, 582,782
Mar 15, 2022
532
293
63
Pa
If you’re moving pallets up 5-6’ high, go for a larger more stable tractor and ballast the rear wheels and have weight on the 3ph. I know a smaller tractor will lift the pallets your are describing, but a larger, heavier tractor will be more stable. A Kubota MX series or other brand equivalent ( or larger) will give your more stability and less pucker factor.
No offense but 600lbs at the 4 to 5 foot he stated is well with in the capabilites of an L series. If he jumps up to a mx or m series he may as well get the off road forklift, as you just lost the maneuverability of the smaller compact tractor. Add in inexperienced operators and your begging for issues. Not to mention the emission side of things and worse visibility of the larger tractor. See how this all snowballs by going bigger? Better stability for 3 feet of movement to load/unload a truck doesn't make any sense imo.
 
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BigG

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Equipment
l2501, FEL, BB, Rotary cutter, rake,spreader, roller, etc. New Holland TL80 A
Sep 14, 2018
1,846
653
113
West Central,FL
You may want to look at "off road" forklifts. Or a forklift with pneumatic tires. We run them around here everyday, not so hot in the grass, but gravel and stones are no issues. They arnt nearly as versatile as a tractor, but you should be able to find them pretty easily, and they will out maneuver and lift much more then a similar sized tractor with a loader.
Having said that, I think something in the lx or l series would have the lift capacity. No need to look for the high hp option as the loader is pretty easy on the engine. Ballast the rear tires. I managed an extr 330lbs between the 2 rear tires on my B. A larger tractor had larger tires and can hold more ballast. If needed a weight box can be constructed or bought for the 3 point of the tractor. But I think with the sized tractor I mentioned just having the tires filled would be sufficient.
Loaded tires are not a good ballast for the FEL but they will improve the stability of the tractor. . Loaded tires do nothing to remove the load from the front axle. In transferring the weight to the rear axle you gain better control of the brakes and reduces the wear and tear of the front tires and axle.
 

Dieseldonato

Well-known member

Equipment
B7510 hydro, yanmar ym146, cub cadet 1450, 582,782
Mar 15, 2022
532
293
63
Pa
Loaded tires are not a good ballast for the FEL but they will improve the stability of the tractor. . Loaded tires do nothing to remove the load from the front axle. In transferring the weight to the rear axle you gain better control of the brakes and reduces the wear and tear of the front tires and axle.
Fair point, but moot in this instance. The loader is rated somewhere around 1100lbs. Loaded tires will keep the rear planted with his 600lbs and not add more length to the tractor. Not really disagreeing with you, but from a practical standpoint for his needs. He doesn't need it.
Actually it just added another nail in the proverbial coffin of using a tractor in my mind. We're killing off all the reasons to have one. Add a weight box, even modest in size and you now have added another foot or two to its length . Just one more thing that kills maneuverability off.
 

GreensvilleJay

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Equipment
BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
4,635
1,472
113
Greensville,Ontario,Canada
Before you decide and BUY a tractor with loader, TEST it out ,with similar load that you need it for !!
I have my BX23S with pallet forks, A D-14/loader as well as a 5K forklift. The BX23s has 'sensitive' loader controls, NOT what I'd use for 'mission critical' uses...., The D-14 is better BUT needs a lot of room to get around. The A-C forklift is ideal for , well, forklifting, almost like it was MADE for the job ! Smooooth controls, tight steering, big tires.
Really you need to test before you buy. I don't know if any model 'tractor with loader' will suit your need. YOU need to be at the controls,not the dealer's seasoned employee. If a dealer won't let you 'test drive', walk away, find another.
 
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Russell King

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Equipment
L185F, Modern Ag Competitor 4’ shredder, Rhino tiller, rear dirt scoop
Jun 17, 2012
3,083
372
83
Austin, Texas
A few more comments to consider on tractor size
1) What size and height doors will the tractor go through and how tall is the tractor’s roll over protection in the full up position?
2) is the turning radius of the tractor able to get through the building and parking lot

Also if the trip is long distance you may consider a front and rear mounted pallet lift to transport two pallets during each trip. You will probably not need to worry about this just moving the few pallets per week
 
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jimh406

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Lifetime Member

Equipment
Kubota L2501 with R4 tires
Jan 29, 2021
1,122
746
113
Western MT
I think it would be a good idea to add a ballast box or implement even if the tires are loaded. I have a L2501HST, btw. I lifted a heavy pallet (pull behind Roughcut mower estimated by them at 650 lbs), but just once out of my pickup. The delivery driver had a lift gate to easily slide it in my pickup bed. That saved me the 1/3 of the mile on the tractor.

I wouldn't have any reservations using my setup with PFL1242 forks. Keep in mind that fork weight counts toward the capacity, so don't go too big with the forks.

I don't think it would be a bad idea to get a Grand L 3560 LE instead and option it with the upgraded loader in case you need to lift something a bit heavier in the future.
 

jyoutz

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Equipment
MX6000 HST open station, FEL, 6’ cutter, forks, 8’ rear blade, 7’ cultivator
Jan 14, 2019
1,155
594
113
Edgewood, New Mexico
Loaded tires are not a good ballast for the FEL but they will improve the stability of the tractor. . Loaded tires do nothing to remove the load from the front axle. In transferring the weight to the rear axle you gain better control of the brakes and reduces the wear and tear of the front tires and axle.
Loaded tires helps keep the rear end on the ground. Yes it does help with FEL operations.
 

jyoutz

Well-known member

Equipment
MX6000 HST open station, FEL, 6’ cutter, forks, 8’ rear blade, 7’ cultivator
Jan 14, 2019
1,155
594
113
Edgewood, New Mexico
No offense but 600lbs at the 4 to 5 foot he stated is well with in the capabilites of an L series. If he jumps up to a mx or m series he may as well get the off road forklift, as you just lost the maneuverability of the smaller compact tractor. Add in inexperienced operators and your begging for issues. Not to mention the emission side of things and worse visibility of the larger tractor. See how this all snowballs by going bigger? Better stability for 3 feet of movement to load/unload a truck doesn't make any sense imo.
I would bet that the pallets aren’t limited to 600 pounds. Often with things like feed sacks they are loaded to 2000 pounds.
 

leveraddict

Active member

Equipment
2017 BX23S 60" LP BoxBlade 54" mower 60" BackBlade EA 12" 1 bottom plow & Forks
Apr 1, 2019
481
238
43
Madison,Pa.
No offense to the tractor world, but a tractor makes a terrible forklift especially when unloading trailers and or using a racking system! Thats an accident waiting to happen! The tractor will be slow and herky jerky. The forklift will be faster and safer and MUCH tighter turning radius than a tractor oh and the side shift is a huge plus Period! Now...if your just moving pallets from here to there just off the ground Thats another story! This is just my opinion after driving all kinds of forklifts over the past 40 years!
 
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mikester

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M59 TLB
Oct 21, 2017
1,666
608
113
Canada
www.divergentstuff.ca
I have both. You can't beat a forklift with a tractor for lift height, load capacity, features like side shift, tight turn radius etc. If you have a good base to work from cushion wheel forklifts are dirt cheap. Tractors suck for loading pallet racks in tight spaces indoors. You will need a counter weight depending on the tractor and loads lifted.

A tractor will be better in rough terrain.

My forklift will put 5,000# 16 feet up. My tractor can only lift 4,000# at the pins 10 feet up. If you have pallet racks side shift is a must have.

I'd strongly suggest getting a demo tractor with self levelling and test it with your required loads and heights. Many tractors can only lift their advertised max loads 4 feet off the ground measured at the pins. You have to deduct the weight of your forks.
 
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BigG

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Equipment
l2501, FEL, BB, Rotary cutter, rake,spreader, roller, etc. New Holland TL80 A
Sep 14, 2018
1,846
653
113
West Central,FL
Loaded tires helps keep the rear end on the ground. Yes it does help with FEL operations.
As I stated before load tires help but they are not enough to correctly ballast the tractor.

The following video will help explain the reason the 3 point ballast is required. In real life the larger tractor owners ignore the rear ballast on the 3 point but that does not mean they should.

 

RaleighRuckus

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May 12, 2022
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If you’re moving pallets up 5-6’ high, go for a larger more stable tractor and ballast the rear wheels and have weight on the 3ph. I know a smaller tractor will lift the pallets your are describing, but a larger, heavier tractor will be more stable. A Kubota MX series or other brand equivalent ( or larger) will give your more stability and less pucker factor.
LOL! Thank you. Pucker factor noted. :)
 

RaleighRuckus

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May 12, 2022
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I have both. You can't beat a forklift with a tractor for lift height, load capacity, features like side shift, tight turn radius etc. If you have a good base to work from cushion wheel forklifts are dirt cheap. Tractors suck for loading pallet racks in tight spaces indoors. You will need a counter weight depending on the tractor and loads lifted.

A tractor will be better in rough terrain.

My forklift will put 5,000# 16 feet up. My tractor can only lift 4,000# at the pins 10 feet up. If you have pallet racks side shift is a must have.

I'd strongly suggest getting a demo tractor with self levelling and test it with your required loads and heights. Many tractors can only lift their advertised max loads 4 feet off the ground measured at the pins. You have to deduct the weight of your forks.
Thank you!
 

motionclone

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Lifetime Member

Equipment
L345DT with Lp mower, forks and grapple thumb, Bobcat 337 Midi Ex
May 4, 2018
1,064
677
113
Maine
What product do you manufacture?
 
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RaleighRuckus

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May 12, 2022
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No offense but 600lbs at the 4 to 5 foot he stated is well with in the capabilites of an L series. If he jumps up to a mx or m series he may as well get the off road forklift, as you just lost the maneuverability of the smaller compact tractor. Add in inexperienced operators and your begging for issues. Not to mention the emission side of things and worse visibility of the larger tractor. See how this all snowballs by going bigger? Better stability for 3 feet of movement to load/unload a truck doesn't make any sense imo.
Thank you Dieseldonato. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and experience.
 

GreensvilleJay

Well-known member

Equipment
BX23-S
Apr 2, 2019
4,635
1,472
113
Greensville,Ontario,Canada
Ok, NOW you've got me real curious ! HOW do you fit 33 barrels onto a 4x4 skid, 8' tall ?
BTW , after yesterdays 'fun'..please buy a FORKLIFT... 'simple' job turned 'complicated' cause I though the tractor/loader/forks would do the job.....
 
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torch

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Equipment
B7100HSD, B2789, B2550, B4672, RC54-71B, 48" cultivator, homemade FEL and Cab
Jun 10, 2016
2,195
434
83
Muskoka, Ont.
Bear in mind that the weight of pallet that can be lifted is considerably less than the published lifting capacity of the loader. Published capacities tend to be at the pins, or perhaps 24" beyond the pins. Forks tend to stick out 4' or more from the pins and the additonal leverage must be figured into the equation.
 
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RaleighRuckus

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May 12, 2022
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Ok, NOW you've got me real curious ! HOW do you fit 33 barrels onto a 4x4 skid, 8' tall ?
BTW , after yesterdays 'fun'..please buy a FORKLIFT... 'simple' job turned 'complicated' cause I though the tractor/loader/forks would do the job.....
check out www.rainwatersolutions.com we also have a you tube channel and there's a time lapse we did in thousand oaks ca that shows a distribution we did there.
Bear in mind that the weight of pallet that can be lifted is considerably less than the published lifting capacity of the loader. Published capacities tend to be at the pins, or perhaps 24" beyond the pins. Forks tend to stick out 4' or more from the pins and the additonal leverage must be figured into the equation.
Noted. Thank you!
 

Freeheeler

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Equipment
b2650 tlb
Aug 16, 2018
590
334
63
Knoxville, TN
I have been looking at forklifts but a friend recommended looking at tractors, specifically Kubotas, instead. I love the idea of the versatility. I realize I will need a 525 loader or greater. Suggestions on counter weight options?
Sounds like you've answered enough questions to know that the LX2610 and the L2501 will lift what you need to do easily. Filled tires should be enough ballast for 650 lb loads. I've lifted/carried way more than that with only filled tires and no additional ballast on not so flat gravel driveway. No pucker factor.
Just don't buy forks that weigh 500lbs.
In reading your original post my question would be related to your statement "I love the idea of the versatility". What did you have in mind here? Are there other specific things you plan on using it for? If so, those specifics might help make your decision. If it's just a matter of having a multi use tractor vs a single use forklift, I understand that too.
 
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