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Powerful Garden Tractor Bucket
George Liskey, Buford, Ga., built a "bucket loader" for his Deere 317 garden tractor by converting a Deere model 43 front blade that he already had.
  The bucket measures 43 in. wide and 18 in. tall and can lift 24 in. high. Capacity is 500 lbs. Liskey uses it on all 3 of his Deere 300 series garden tractors including a 318, 322, and 332.
  "I built it because I got tired of moving dirt with a shovel and wheelbarrow," says Liskey. "Commercial bucket loaders sell for $1,200 to $1,500 and aren't built nearly as strong."
  The bucket's bottom and sides were made by welding scrap 3/8-in. thick steel plate onto the blade.
  The bucket mounts on the same frame that originally supported the blade. It's tilted up and down by a 2 1/2-in. dia. cylinder. Liskey added a pair of 2 1/2-in. dia. lift cylinders, which pin onto homemade vertical brackets that he welded to the frame.
  The loader frame can be removed from the tractor by removing two pins.
  "It's like having a powered wheelbarrow with me wherever I go," says Liskey. "The 17 hp tractor has fluid in its lugged rear tires and 250 pounds of rear weight, so traction isn't a problem. It works fast. One time a neighbor had a tandem axle dump truck unload dirt in his yard, and I was able to level all of it for him in just one hour. I also use it to push over small trees, stumps, and clear brush, and I've used it to move sod and mulch for my son-in-law, who does subcontracting work for a home builder."
  Liskey says the 2 1/2-in. dia. lift cylinders are probably overkill, but he was able to get them relatively cheap. "The cylinders have enough power for the bucket to force the tractor's rear wheels off the ground. Deere's 300 series tractors have two hydraulic sets in front, which allows me to use a double action cylinder on each one."
  He recently decided he needed a bucket that would lift even higher so he built one that will lift 36 in. high. "I mounted it on my Deere 332 16 hp diesel tractor and built an underframe for the loader that eliminates any stress on the tractor frame. I'm able to cut grass without having to remove the bucket," he notes.
  Liskey says he's looking for a manufacturer. He expects the unit could be sold for $1,500 to $1,800.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, George Liskey, 2712 Duncans View Trace, Buford, Ga. 30519 (ph 770 614-7564; jdjake@bell south.net).

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #3