Autopsy (and repair) of bent Titan Forks
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    Plug Ugly's Avatar
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    Autopsy (and repair) of bent Titan Forks

    I bent my Titan forks, and since there is a discussion about that particular brand and durability, I thought I would share. I think that those people that have the forks already can learn something about failure points and what to watch for, and other consumers can be informed about whether the forks are for them.

    To start, I bent the lower portion of the frame only. The 48" forks themselves are fine. I did it through straight up abuse. Fully ballasted 5055E, tearing out an old concrete foundation. If I saw someone else operating my tractor or implement the way I was, I would punch them. Hard. I am stubborn and the foundation was more stubborn. I eventually won, but the forks payed the price. Right up front, I will say I have personally seen Frontier fork frames bent the same way the Titans did. I also would not expect any manufacturer regardless of price point to condone or warranty the frame for what I did. I also continued to use the forks after they were bent, and regularly lifted the max capacity of my tractor and H240MSL loader right up until I decided to fix them. I did find some issues with the Titan forks during the repair that did concern me, and had nothing to do with what I did. Let's take a look.

    Here is the frame, sideways in my bench vise, with the bottom to the right, were you can see the bent lower angle part of the frame:



    Looking up from the bottom:



    This made the forks annoyingly out of alignment at the tips, prompting me to plan on replacing the lower angle. The top of the frame was fine, but while I was planning my attack I noticed some cracked welds where the uprights between the top and bottom fork attachment points meet the top rail. Both sides, towards the middle, showed cracks:



    The other side:



    Here they are cleaned up so you can see the cracks better:




    The cracks didn't bother me at first. Like I said, abused these forks. But I started to notice while cleaning the out to repair that there was powder coat INSIDE the cracks at the front edge. More concerning was the porosity in one of the cracked welds:



    I'm not an engineer or even a certified welder, but I would have ground both those cracked/porous welds out before I powder coated the frames and shipped them out. So I did.



    I only took a few shots of my repair, pretty quick and dirty. I cut the lower half of the factory angle off, but left the top and just tied it back in. Mostly this was out of convenience, it kept everything lined up. I put a new piece of 1/4" angle iron in, and tied to to the frame on both sides, as well as tripling the thickness where the uprights tied in. I didn't spend much time trying to straighten the old frame out, I just cut it with plenty of clearance and went at it. The original frame wasn't angle iron, it appeared to be just bent 3/16ths steel. I painted it all when I was done, picture it JD green because I didn't take a photo.





    I've got less pictures of the repair because I was in a hurry, and the real story IMHO is to keep an eye on the welds on these forks if you are using them at or near the rated capacity. I doubt anyone with a 4 series or lower would hurt these forks the way I did, and even then they did not fail. At the price point, I can't even really complain about the Titans, I already got ALL my money's worth out of these forks. I did find another company in my internet travels that I will look into next, if I end up bending these again. Pallet Forks Archives - Skid Steer Attachment Depot have some lower priced, made in America forks that at least appear to be better built. I haven't seen any in person, and don't know anything about the company. But I'd hope that those few dollars more and made in USA would get a better product.

    There is one more consideration I thought of about the frame bending, the way I was hammering them I am glad that the fork frame bent before it transferred too much force to my loader and possibly hurt a much higher priced item.
    Last edited by Plug Ugly; 12-04-2017 at 07:52 PM. Reason: spelling

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    PJR832's Avatar
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    This is a well informed post, thanks, not only on the repair but how the damage happened in the first place.

    Btw, nice job on the repair as well.

    and on a lighter note, forks are made for picking things up and setting them down
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJR832 View Post

    and on a lighter note, forks are made for picking things up and setting them down


    Which is what I will use them for from here on out, I promise!

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    That lower rail design is extremely weak. The lower hooks only catch about 5/8” of material so having that much extra leverage is a recipe for disaster.

    As for forks just for picking things up, I can guarantee you won’t find a purpose built forklift designed like that. The rail for the lower hooks is exactly the right size and the frame is usually about 1” thick right above it.
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    Old Pa-pa Old Cajun's Avatar
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    I liked your pics of the damage and your repair.
    Could be wrong, but a few of their welds look like there may not have been enough penetration and
    on some looks like the weld itself fractured.

    Your welds look a lot better than the porosity ate up one for sure.
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    Neil

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    Plug Ugly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 56FordGuy View Post
    That lower rail design is extremely weak. The lower hooks only catch about 5/8” of material so having that much extra leverage is a recipe for disaster.

    As for forks just for picking things up, I can guarantee you won’t find a purpose built forklift designed like that. The rail for the lower hooks is exactly the right size and the frame is usually about 1” thick right above it.
    You're absolutely right about the forks not catching much on the bottom, I spaced my rebuilt lower rail down to catch more of the fork hook. The forks can accommodate much thicker materials than were used in the bottom rail. In practice when lifting, the lever should be trying to push the bottom rail back, not pull on the hook, though.

    I thought about making these considerably stronger. I had a plan and everything, to use the same thickness as the top rail. Then I thought about lifting pallets of landscape block with these forks and lifting the rear wheels off the ground. The guys at the block place added more to one of the pallets for my order and it was well over 3,000#, I counted the blocks. I figured if they were strong enough to exceed the capacity of my tractor, making them a lot stronger would just break something else. As it is, they should be stronger than original.
    Last edited by Plug Ugly; 12-04-2017 at 07:12 PM.

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    Plug Ugly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Cajun View Post
    I liked your pics of the damage and your repair.
    Could be wrong, but a few of their welds look like there may not have been enough penetration and
    on some looks like the weld itself fractured.

    Your welds look a lot better than the porosity ate up one for sure.
    They have multiple welding no-no's, I didn't even take a picture of the undercut on other welds. They sure do put the powder coat on thick, though.

    To be fair to the Chinese workers, I wasn't a very good welder when I was in fifth grade, either.

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    Good thread! Excellent pooling on YOUR welds.
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    Old Pa-pa Old Cajun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plug Ugly View Post
    They have multiple welding no-no's, I didn't even take a picture of the undercut on other welds. They sure do put the powder coat on thick, though.

    To be fair to the Chinese workers, I wasn't a very good welder when I was in fifth grade, either.
    Final cap pass with a 4 1/2" angle grinder and a liberal spraying with flat black paint will also *dress up* any weld.
    Neil

    2019 4066R with cab (aka Cooterpiller), 2014 997 Z Trak
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    home brew dirt and gravel grader, dirt scoop, choppers, Woods six foot belly mount sickle bar, home brew 3PH 25 gallon sprayer, 1992 33 inch cut Snapper
    rear engine rider, 1984 30 inch cut Snapper rear engine rider.

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