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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all -

I ordered a Frontier AV20F grapple to go along with my new 1025R. The dealer will be installing the 3rd SCV kit prior to delivering the tractor.

I have some questions regarding the grapple itself. I've tried to do as much research as possible and I've watched some YouTube videos showing the grapple. I know there were some issues with the original series of these grapples regarding the top clamp that Deere has remedied by changing the clamp design. Here are some questions...

1) How is the build quality on the grapple? Any concerns with working it hard?

2) Based on one of the YouTube videos I watched, the grapple supposedly has 945 pounds of clamping force. In practical use, is this sufficient for picking up and moving some heavy logs, brush, rocks, etc? Is the grapple able to lift a reasonable amount of weight?

3) For those who own or have used the grapple, how do you like it? Does it provide a lot of extra utility to the tractor?

4) How much rear ballast do you use for the grapple as opposed to using the bucket? I have a JD rear ballast box coming that I'm going to fill with concrete and use for the loader/bucket combo. I'm wondering if I can use it for the grapple, as well.

I'm coming from an x758 with the Innovative Tractor Attachments grapple. It is very useful, but also limited as it only attaches to the front quick hitch. I can only imagine the Frontier grapple is in a different league regarding strength and capability.

I know there are other options, like the Artillian grapple setup, but I'm going with the Frontier grapple as I'm wrapping it into the 0% financing along with several other attachments and accessories that are part of the deal.

Thanks for reading!
 

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No issues with the same setup on my 1025R. I don't think I've managed to push it beyond it's limit (other than the limits of using a grapple vs. a bucket for self-extraction. But that's a different thread). I typically have a heavy hitch with (4) 42 lb weights on it. Just picked up (4) 70 lb weights to supplement that if needed. Remember, just like a bucket, keep your loads carried low. I love the ability to run the tines through the ground and pull up plants like blackberries by their roots.

In short. I'm a fan. But I've posted several times here about my growing appreciation for grapples.
 

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Love the AV20F!! I use it with the Heavy Hitch bracket and receiver hitch bracket. I have a total of 16 42 lb. weights on the back. I have used/abused the AV20F with absolutely no issues. It's currently the most used implement in my arsenal. I have moved brush, long logs and some BIG rocks.

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'20 1025R, 120R, 54D
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Love my AV20F but haven't pushed its limits yet. I feel it's more than capable for my needs. It's perfect for the 1025R in my opinion.

Other than some full bites of brush I had piled up, I did move 2 pieces of telephone pole about 15' long. It was struggling but did lift it and a was able to move them about 25'.

I use the same ballast for bucket or grapple. Loader lift is loader lift regardless of the attachment.
 

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1) How is the build quality on the grapple? Any concerns with working it hard?

The AV20F is my most used implement. I work it hard and expect it to withstand my abuse. After a year of service it's done everything I've asked of it and more.

2) Based on one of the YouTube videos I watched, the grapple supposedly has 945 pounds of clamping force. In practical use, is this sufficient for picking up and moving some heavy logs, brush, rocks, etc? Is the grapple able to lift a reasonable amount of weight?

I have no issues with lift capability. It will lift much more than you think and does especially well lifting very large trees, boulders, and crushing old washing machines, sheds, and pallets.

3) For those who own or have used the grapple, how do you like it? Does it provide a lot of extra utility to the tractor?

I love this grapple and it's the one implement I won't be without. It's lighter by design, but designed to take abuse. Plus, the lighter weight allows for heavier loads.

4) How much rear ballast do you use for the grapple as opposed to using the bucket? I have a JD rear ballast box coming that I'm going to fill with concrete and use for the loader/bucket combo. I'm wondering if I can use it for the grapple, as well.

I use a full rear ballast box, about 650 lbs.

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I agree with what everyone else has said. It is a beast and very capable. The loader will run out of lift capacity long before you exceed the capability of the grapple. If you can get the grapple around something, and it isn't too heavy for the loader to lift, it will eat it. And those teeth at the bottom do work very well if you dig them into the ground and push. Like a rake that just rips brush and other junk right out of the ground.

I honestly cannot think of a single circumstance where normal heavy duty use of the machine would damage it. Unless you open the clamp, aim it straight forward, and drive full speed into a brick wall, you'll break something else on the tractor before you break the grapple.

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Subscribing for your report @TPS when you get your grapple!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
4) How much rear ballast do you use for the grapple as opposed to using the bucket? I have a JD rear ballast box coming that I'm going to fill with concrete and use for the loader/bucket combo. I'm wondering if I can use it for the grapple, as well.

I use a full rear ballast box, about 650 lbs.
Thanks for the great info. Do you ever have an issue with the ballast box hanging too low to the ground while using the grapple or bucket? I'm currently trying to decide whether I want to fill a JD ballast box with concrete or go with the Heavy Hitch and many suitcase weights. I know the ballast box is MUCH less expensive, but I'm concerned that it hangs too low to the ground and there won't be enough clearance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I agree with what everyone else has said. It is a beast and very capable. The loader will run out of lift capacity long before you exceed the capability of the grapple. If you can get the grapple around something, and it isn't too heavy for the loader to lift, it will eat it. And those teeth at the bottom do work very well if you dig them into the ground and push. Like a rake that just rips brush and other junk right out of the ground.

I honestly cannot think of a single circumstance where normal heavy duty use of the machine would damage it. Unless you open the clamp, aim it straight forward, and drive full speed into a brick wall, you'll break something else on the tractor before you break the grapple.
Those are some pretty amazing pics! I'm really looking forward to using it. What do you use for rear ballast?

Subscribing for your report @TPS when you get your grapple!
You can hold me to it! I'll definitely report back once I take delivery and have a chance to use it.
 

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Thanks for the great info. Do you ever have an issue with the ballast box hanging too low to the ground while using the grapple or bucket? I'm currently trying to decide whether I want to fill a JD ballast box with concrete or go with the Heavy Hitch and many suitcase weights. I know the ballast box is MUCH less expensive, but I'm concerned that it hangs too low to the ground and there won't be enough clearance.
Never have a problem with the ballast box other than it might creep down during use if fully natural, but that's to be expected.

And, don't fill the ballast box with concrete or other loose material and crap. Buy blocks from home depot and have them delivered. The blocks I use weigh 32lbs each and I fill the box with them. It will hold about 600lbs of these blocks, and the blocks are super cheap at $1.65 each.

Buy extras for other attachments like my aerator below. That's 192 lbs for a grand total of $9.90.

4 in. x 8 in. x 16 in. Solid Concrete Block-30168621 - The Home Depot

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I have a heavy hitch with (8) 40lb suitcase weights. The suitcase weights + heavy hitch + quick hitch = about 450lbs of ballast. This is about the minimum I would consider safe and acceptable, but it's what I had the budget for and it is very compact unlike a ballast box. I operate the machine within the reasonable limitations of it's stability with that weight.

I recommend the heavy hitch as it's very versatile and multipurpose. But if you have the budget,get the model than handle more than just the 40lb weights. The offset model can hold the 40 or 70lb weights. You can also use (5) of those suitcase weights on the front bumper to help offset a heavy rear implement or for snow plowing weight. You have to see can't do that with a ballast box.

A ballast box is much less expensive. If you do not have the budget to get adequate weight on a heavy hitch, then get the ballast box. Ballast is critical.
 

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I would agree with everyone above. I find the AVF20 to be robust and It has stood up well to my meddling. I bent the tip of one tine, outside of that its like new. I think with any clamping tool you need to be most careful of uncentered loads, such as a big log clamped to one side. If you center loads you will be just fine.
 

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I also agree. This grapple is amazing. I've used it to clear my timber floor of brush, debris, and collect downed trees from storms thus far. It is really tough. I've been able to lift several trees about 10 feet long and 14-18" diameter to my new wood pile for cutting up later. It works great.
Initially I had the Heavy Hitch and 8-42# weights to start with for ballast, but just picked up my Frontier BB5060L box blade and it's a little of 400# so I've been using that since it provides more ballast weight and I can hang the suitcase weights on it for even more ballast depending on what I'm lifting.
I highly recommend the grapple. very useful and a lot of fun to tear into things like multi-flora rose, vines, and locust tree branches with thorns. Makes life so much easier all around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I also agree. This grapple is amazing. I've used it to clear my timber floor of brush, debris, and collect downed trees from storms thus far. It is really tough. I've been able to lift several trees about 10 feet long and 14-18" diameter to my new wood pile for cutting up later. It works great.
Initially I had the Heavy Hitch and 8-42# weights to start with for ballast, but just picked up my Frontier BB5060L box blade and it's a little of 400# so I've been using that since it provides more ballast weight and I can hang the suitcase weights on it for even more ballast depending on what I'm lifting.
I highly recommend the grapple. very useful and a lot of fun to tear into things like multi-flora rose, vines, and locust tree branches with thorns. Makes life so much easier all around.
Thanks for the great information! This makes me even more excited to use it! I have a lot of brush and downed trees to take care of. It sounds like you're moving some pretty heavy stuff with it.

I will be using an offset Heavy Hitch with (8) 70 pound suitcase weights. Along with the iMatch (70 pounds) and Heavy Hitch (52 pounds), I'll have about 682 pounds of rear hitch ballast.
 

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Along with massive brush and logs, it was super helpful for wet drywall and insulation.
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