Tooth bar built for my new JD 1025R tractor with its 120R loader bucket. Plus I built two more for two friends with the same tractor.
I spoke to an engineer at H&L Tooth company quite a few times during my research. Turns out H&L Tooth design is the standard by which most all other teeth are manufactured. So the Romac brand parts I bought were the same design as H&L’s, and even the engineer at H&L said they were a fine product. They are all still manufactured in China, but the engineer says they monitor the quality tightly and the teeth are made to design specs. Much cheaper to buy via Amazon than through the Romac company website. Unfortunately, over the phone, the Romac salesman was pretty high pressure to make a sale and I felt didn’t really have my interests in mind.
H&L and others offer both a manufactured and a cast tooth. Manufactured teeth are cheaper but are made by welding pieces together. According to the engineer, the cast tooth is a stronger piece, and I decided it was worth the little difference in price to have the increased strength. Going to be a lot of stress on the teeth.
Getwholesaleparts on Amazon seems to be a decent seller with decent prices. One issue is the packages are offered in sets of five, the standard number in a backhoe application. So I had to order an extra tooth separately. It might pay to find a deal that sells them as individual pieces so you can buy the proper number you need, as I did with my shank order. I used six shank/tooth sets across my bucket.
I bought these:
Shanks: Amazon.com: 2740W23 H Scientific
Teeth: Amazon.com: 230 H Scientific
I bought 23 series shanks and teeth, the most popular style. The nice thing is that any 23 series tooth will fit a 23 series shank, so I could buy different style teeth for different applications and change them if I needed to. Another little tidbit; the flex pins supplied with the teeth have a back and a front. Mine were imprinted with the word ‘back’ on the backside, which I almost didn’t see at first.
If you were to take a look at your 120R loader bucket, you’ll find it is constructed of 1/8” thick steel with a wear blade welded underneath the front edge, something like sketch #1. A single piece of flat stock used for the weld bar would not sit flat as in sketch #2. So I welded a piece of 1/8” x 1¾” flat stock along the length of the bar to fill in the gap, sketch #3. The technique allowed the weld bar sit flat on the bucket edge and it worked well.
I used 3/8” x 3½” flat stock for the weld bar and ¼” plate for the side wings, all purchased from a local steel supplier. The H&L website has great pictures with dimensions to download, https://www.hltooth.com/product_cat/...s-hl-products/, so you could purchase a shank with a larger opening to fit thicker bar stock if you like. The 1/8” x 1¾” flat stock is sold standard at most hardware or home improvement stores.
Couple things to ensure fit. When tacking on the side wings, I used a 1/16” spacer between the wings and the bucket wall to give it some wiggle room, and also in case my friends’ buckets for which I was manufacturing the tooth bars were a little off from mine. There is also an interior weld filet on both sides of the bucket at the gussets (see photo), and again if I wanted my bar to sit flat, it had to lie within the filet on either side. I tack-welded everything on the bucket, and then pulled it off before final welding. I gave myself a distance of 2” between the wing and the first shank so I could get at the side of the shank to weld. It was almost not enough room. If I were to do it again, I’d weld on the shanks first, and then set up the bar in the bucket again to tack on the wings.
I welded everything with my Hobart Handler 140 110v. mig welder; highest heat setting for welding the shanks to the 3/8” bar, and one less for welding the ¼” plate wings to the bar. There is a real science in welding hardened tool steel to mild steel. Tool steel requires preheating prior to welding. I did my best with a propane torch to preheat the shanks, but had no way of monitoring the temperature of the shank prior to welding. Perhaps I should have used MAPP gas to increase the heat. But overall, I’m thinking my 1025R does not have the more powerful lifting capacity of larger tractors, so I should be okay. I welded the shanks to the bar with two passes around their perimeter.
Welding heat tends to bow flat stock, so for final welding, I clamped the bar to a piece of heavy C-channel, and I think it really helped reduce the bowing. I left the bar clamped until it was completely cool.
I plan to through-bolt the wings to the sides of the bucket with two ½” grade-8 hex bolts per side. I am concerned, though, that backdragging stress of the bolts on the 1/8” bucket walls may eventually wear away or elongate the ½” holes in the walls, so someday I may have to weld an additional support plate onto the bucket wall to increase the rigidity of the wall. We’ll see how it goes without the support plates at first.
It was a lot of fun to build a tooth bar; building three tooth bars, not so much. It honestly took a lot more time and effort per bar than I had estimated. Purchasing a tooth bar would have been easier, but the engineer in me said I had to at least try making my own. Welding sure is tough on the old body, though. I also fought cold and/or wet weather here in southwestern Indiana, but this past weekend, we finally had a nice day so I was able to finish up the welding and painting. Still have to bolt the bar to the bucket. Can’t wait to try it out! Tooth bars for the JD 120R bucket cost about $400, but I built mine for around $120. I thought maybe the savings could go toward a tractor implement, but my wife says we should probably feed the kids for once. (We’re actually empty nesters, but it was a fun joke.) Thanks for reading through this huge narrative. I’d welcome your comments.