Loader Bucket Converted To Forklift

After a friend gave him a pair of forklift forks, Matt McNaughton decided to modify the bucket on his Kubota MX 5000 loader tractor so he can quickly convert it to use them.

He welded 3 round metal brackets with 2-in. dia. holes in them on top of the bucket on each side, and also welded brackets on top of the L-shaped forks. To install the forks, he lifts them into place, then pushes homemade 2-in. dia. steel rods through the brackets and uses clip pins to lock the rods in place. The forks rest against the top and bottom of the bucket.

“I use the forks to pick up pallets loaded with everything from firewood to truck parts, and can also use a pallet as a scaffold. The forks can be spaced up to 5 ft. apart,” says McNaughton.

In addition, he welded a receiver hitch on top of the bucket that allows him to move trailers around. “I can fasten anything I want to the hitch such as a winch, anvil, or vise. I sometimes bolt on an 8-in. chain with grab hook that I use to pick up various items.”

McNaughton also turned the loader and bucket into a Bobcat-style quick-attach system. All it took was a little work with a grinder and welder.

    “I looked into buying a quick-attach system, but couldn’t justify the cost,” he says. He welded a quick-tach receiver plate on back of the bucket and also welded matching “pick up” brackets on the loader. Metal alignment ears welded onto the bracket help guide the loader into place.

“I own two different size buckets, and this system lets me hook up to either one without getting off the tractor. Works like a charm,” says McNaughton.

“With a loader tractor the bucket is way in front so it was hard to see the hitch point from the tractor seat. The welded-on alignment ears make it much easier to guide the loader into the bucket.”

McNaughton has found that hooking the loader up to the bucket is much easier if he approaches the bucket from uphill. “I put the transmission in neutral and then stand up so I can watch the loader as it lines up with the bucket,” he says.