4 in 1 Bucket practicality, opinions vs. separate implements
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    4 in 1 Bucket practicality, opinions vs. separate implements

    recently purchased a John Deere 1025R with a loader bucket and backhoe. I am new with tractors so have very little experience. Recently John Deere released a 4 in 1 bucket (Frontier AY11F bucket for my tractor (1 series). I have a 1 acre lot with landscape work, (pulling trees and bushes, leveling ground, creating garden). I have some trees on lot that is mostly grass, and not heavy wooded.

    John Deere released a 4 in 1 bucket Frontier AY11F- ($1,850, Deere unveils latest Frontier Attachments, Land Planes)

    Artillian Grapple, grapple, rack grapple setup - ($3,100, Sectional Grapple - Artillian)

    Precision Manufacture Mini Add a Grapple for ($575, MINI PRECISION MANUFACTURING)


    I am considering purchasing the 4 in 1 bucket and selling the standard bucket. I figured I can get more money for the standard bucket since it is new. I like the idea and uses for the 4 in 1 bucket with multiple functions which will allow me to save space because I would need less implements. I also looked at a grapple and can see how it would be better if you have a wooden lot with a lot of trees and branches to move. I looked at a Artillian grapple which is a lot of money for my needs.

    I am wondering is the 4 in 1 bucket is worth the cost. I like the idea of the many functions that it can perform. I know I will need to add a diverter or 3rd function valve but know I could use it for other front implements.

    I know you can use the 4 in 1 bucket for the following:
    1. Scraping
    2. Bulldozing
    3. Bottom Dumping
    4. Grabbing items such as branches and logs
    5. Clam up last bit of dirt
    6. Backfilling
    7. Standard bucket usage (digging, dumping rolling bucket forward)

    I know a standard bucket will perform some of the tasks above such as digging, dumping, back filling, scrapping. I do now know if it is worth the $1,850 and how good the 4 in 1 performs the other tasks such as scraping, bulldozing (light material), grabbing, clam last bit of dirt. I know the tractor is not built for bulldozing so not sure how effective the tractor will be. I can see using the 4 in 1 bucket to scrap the ground to level it out, and using it to grab items.

    Would I be better on buying a rear blade for scrapping and leveling, and purchasing Precision Manufacture Mini Add a Grapple in replace of the 4 in 1 bucket or Artillian grapple, and I understand the artillian is a more capable grapple.

    I have read many forum posts about the 4 in 1 bucket and some seem to like them, other do not and sold them off, and know about the pros and cons such as the 4 in 1 is a swiss army knife and can to many task, but will not be the best at a specific application. I know the 4 in 1 is heavier. I am looking for people that have tractor experience and if you have used the 4 in 1, a grapple, add a grapple, rear blade, etc and can offer there experiences, advice and opinions and if you could do it all over again would you make a different decision with 4 in 1 bucket or implements.

    I am curious if someone with tractor experience with a standard bucket, can you perform most of the tasks: such as bulldozing, scrapping as you can with the standard 4 in 1 bucket.

    I am looking for what is cost effective and what I will get the best use for my money, based on my needs.

    I have heard you can do many things with the 4 in 1 bucket, is the other tasks that can be performed beyond the one that I listed, if so can you please explain.

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    martincom's Avatar
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    I went down the same path as you last spring. I had the larger 51" bucket, brand new, never used, and I wanted to return it/trade in against the 4 in 1. The dealer declined, stating they ordered all their loader with buckets. Seemed odd to me, as it is an option on the "Build Your Own" JD web page to delete the bucket from a FEL. It could be the salesman's ignorance as he is normally selling the big stuff.

    So I went ahead and ordered the 4 in 1 and paid for it. I can't offer an opinion of how it works, as I haven't taken delivery. It didn't arrive before the project I intended to utilize it on and the dealer has been gracious enough to store it for me until I can make a hole for it.

    I've had the 51" bucket on Craig's List, GTT classifieds, and others since I ordered the 4 in 1 with only two inquiries and no takers. I'm a bit surprised, as I have it priced well below the new cost and I had installed 3* Bolt-On-Hooks and 2* clevis mounts, which go with it. I thought someone purchasing a new tractor would have picked up on the cost savings and deleted the bucket from their tractor purchase. I know I looked at a couple of new or nearly mower decks as alternatives to purchasing new when I acquired my new tractors. Eventually, it'll sell and I'm patient.
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    Just my experience

    You will see in my signature that I have a 790 with a 300 loader. I like the idea of a 4 in 1 bucket except the added weight. I frequently run out of lift capacity and especially breakout force anyway and therefore don't want any extra weight.

    I also have a grapple, not an Artillian but one resurrected from a wrecked mini skid steer, straightened and adapted to the JDQA. Also back blade and box blade so while I don't have a 4 in 1, I've got some experience with everything else.

    You can do bulldozing and grading with just a standard bucket. I do more of it with the grapple because I'm usually moving debris or clearing land rather than moving dirt but you can certainly do both with a standard bucket. It takes a bit of touch with the standard bucket and your limitation will be the traction and hydraulic capacity of the machine. A different bucket won't change those except to use up some of the lift capacity.

    If I'm going to move dirt of any consequence, my choices are:

    • use the regular bucket and dig/skim it out and put it in a dump trailer
      use the regular bucket and lift and carry
      use the rear blade to drag it
      use the box blade to drag it

    Obviously if I'm moving dirt any distance it gets put in the dump trailer. If I've got to level sod, the box blade gets used with the regular bucket on the FEL. Drop the scarifiers on the box blade to rip the sod and then use the bucket and/or box blade to move the material. (Yes, you can use both at the same time by skimming into your material to fill the bucket then keep going forward to fill the box blade. Just be prepared to adjust the box blade depth as you go over the ridge left where you lifted the bucket.)

    I use the rear blade for grading roads, cleaning out ditches etc. especially where the offset capability is needed. I can also get more crown with fewer passes than with a box blade because the angled blade moves material from side to side. A rear blade requires some touch, patience and practice to get a smooth grade and not leave a washboard, however it's extremely versatile.

    Bottom line- I'd stay away from things that eat into lift capacity on a smaller machine. I think a 4 n 1 is great on a track loader that has thousands of pounds of lift capacity, maybe not so good where the extra weight is a significant percentage of your lift capacity.

    All of your choices will require an additional hydraulic circuit whether it's the 4 n 1, grapple or add a grapple.

    I love my grapple. It's incredibly useful for what I do and well worth having. Artillian is clearly the Cadillac of grapples with a cost to match. The clear throat of a pure grapple is more useful than the add a grapple on a regular bucket but only you can decide if the difference is worth it to you.

    Rear blades and box blades are readily available used at minimal cost. If you have roads to maintain, get one or the other.

    Before spending too much money, put some hours on your machine so you have a feel for what it can do and what your capabilities are as an operator. I was running my tractor and grapple cleaning up debris at my sister's house in Panama City after Michael. I gave my nephew a chance to run it and he got really, really frustrated because he had little experience on equipment. Over time, he would have gotten there but even good operators have to get used to different equipment and get a feel for using it. (If money doesn't matter, this doesn't apply. Spend what you want- folks on here will help give you more ideas.)

    Treefarmer
    rtgt, BigJim55, mark02tj and 3 others like this.
    John Deere 790, 300 loader w Ken's Bolt on Hooks & Piranha tooth bar, grapple, back blade, box blade, Bush Hog mower, couple of red tractors, hay equipment, various old stuff some red, one orange, some I don't remember

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    Kbar's Avatar
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    Go to a rental shop and ask to operate one. The concept is great, but those things are a bear to get right. The clamshell is below the operators view, and rarely will you get the textbook no mess scoop. Also, those things leak if they’re not closed tight. Get a rock, or stick in there, you gotta clear it before you get a closed bucket. Bucket not closed all the way = mess on the ground. I have worked in excavation, paving industry for quite a few decades and most people I’ve met who have experience working with a 4/1 bucket could do without it. They are heavy, and don’t close, or stay closed making more of a mess than was the intent in the first place of getting it. Of course that’s just my rub on it, but I wouldn’t spend the money on one when there’s lots of other useful implements you can get.
    IndianaJim, rtgt, BigJim55 and 1 others like this.

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    I have the 72" 4 in 1 on my 320R. I'm glad I bought it, but it's not essential, by any means.

    I was concerned about the weight, but haven't had a problem lifting a full bucket of Class 5 gravel. That's good enough for my purposes.

    Obviously, it works fine as a traditional bucket. Opening the clamshell a bit works pretty well for spreading dirt. The most useful other configuration for me is the "bulldozer". That is pretty handy. Backdragging is just as easy with the bucket closed and tilted down a bit.
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    Pedals2Paddles's Avatar
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    I think you're forgetting the hydraulics to control it. A 4-in-1 bucket, grapple, or add-a-grapple needs a third set of hydraulics to open and close. So that will be another $700-$800 on top of the bucket/grapple cost for a hydraulic diverter kit. Artillian makes the most popular and convenient 3rd function hydraulic diverter kit here: John Deere 120R Diverter Kit - Artillian. There a few others but I think they're the only ones with a kit specifically for the 1025R, and none of the others are less expensive as a complete kit.

    I was all gung-ho about the 4-in-1 too. But the overwhelming consensus seems to be that is is better on paper than in practice. Same reasons listed here.
    Kennyd, BigJim55 and WilliamT. like this.
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    In my original post I did mention a diverter valve or 3rd function valve. I know about the cost, but I am more acceptable of the valve cost, because I could use it for other implements.

    As several have mentioned, I was sold on paper of all of the possible uses, but how useful is it in actual practice. It was mentioned and interesting and did not think about rocks, sticks getting stuck, then the bucket will not close correctly. I do not know how reliable the 4 in 1 bucket is and was mentioned that if the bucket does not close completely then you will have a mess and more work. will I have more issues with the bucket not working correctly, not closing, getting bent when clamping on uneven loads making the 4 in 1 bucket not as useful and more frustrating.

    This is a good discussion so far and I am looking for opinions and experiences with using the equipment. One person mentioned about using it as a bulldozer, and is a good example would a rear blade or some other implement work just as well or better than the 4 in 1 bucket.

    Ideally I like to make a one time purchase and invest. I would like to try and avoid spending a lot of money and time trying different implements to find out that they do not work well in practical applications. I know everyone has different opinions and some love the 4 in 1 and other do not, but I like the opinions or experiences people have provided so far because it will help me make a more informed decisions.

    It was mentioned that I should not purchase the 4 in 1 bucket and use the money for more useful implements. Can you please list these implements that would be better and I should have in replace of a 4 in 1 bucket.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stussy1035 View Post
    In my original post I did mention a diverter valve or 3rd function valve. I know about the cost, but I am more acceptable of the valve cost, because I could use it for other implements.
    That is a very valid point. I got the 3rd function because of the bucket, but have since set up a hydraulic snowblower chute deflector and have a hydraulic top link ordered. For me, the extra cost really came down to the bucket.

    I moved about 30 yards of dirt with it this summer and never had it stick open, but I'm sure it can happen. It's pretty powerful, so I'd imagine small rocks and sticks get crushed.

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    4 in 1 bucket

    I have a W R Long 4 in 1 bucket on my 3032E. I wouldn't trade it for nothing. I've never run out of lifting capacity or breakout force. It stays on my tractor. I highly recommend it!
    keane likes this.
    JD 3032E, D160 FEL, Beet Juice, i Match, JD Ballast Box, W R Long 4 in 1 bucket, Edge Tamers, RB2072, Ken's Bolt on Hooks, Action TrackChair ST-22, Stihl 291

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    Because I'd rather look at tractor related videos than work today, here's a video of a guy that doesn't like his 4-in-1 for moving brush....

    Why a 4 in 1 bucket fails when it comes to working with Brush piles... - YouTube
    '05 JD 3520 Open Station w/ 300CX FEL
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    Help a Vet and his dog

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