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Making light duty bucket HD

4414 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Foggy
So here's the skinny, when I bought my tractor new it came with a light duty 60" bucket. My dealer didn't tell me about the HD version till I saw one on his lot and asked. By then I had used my bucket and didn't worry too much. I recently bought a 4in1 and really like it but I found myself needing the hooks on the LD bucket this weekend.

So, some time back I had three hooks welded on the top of the LD bucket as most guys do. I did it at work and had one of my welder buddies do the job. After all said and done my welder says" we should have beefed up the top of that bucket first". Of course this is after they're all welded on. So like most men I was in a hurry and decided to leave it as is.

Which brings us to this past weekend. I was dragging a log out a little sideways when I hear a strange sound. You guessed it the hook and entire steel around it broke and peeled up. So now I'm looking at pics of the HD version and it appears to just be additional flat stock in the top and sides. Can anyone confirm this for me? Is the bolt on cutting edge just a matter of drilling the holes in the current cutting edge? I'm going to have a welding shop make the repairs and I'd sure like to make it into the HD version if it's possible. While I can weld it's not pretty and want to make sure I don't have any more issues. Any pics close up of the HD version would be greatly appreciated. I'll post a few pics of the damage(tomorrow) so you guys see what not to do.

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I have a HD 72" I can get you pictures of, but I never looked at a LD one to compare. Sorry.
I don't want to be the bearer of bad news but many times heavy-duty loader buckets have a number of differences which begin with design details that you may not be able to see...thicker steel sheet, tubular sections at the heel and the top for torsional strength, thicker cutting edge, and reinforcements along the end sheets.

Many John Deere compact loader buckets had thicker (3/4") cutting edge on the HD buckets while the standard buckets only used 1/2" cutting edge. Yes, drilling the edge is pretty easy with the right equipment. I wouldn't recommend it with a regular hand-held drill, it is a job for a magnetic drill press. Your welder may have a magnetic drill press or know where to source one.

I would recommend that the welder "box" the heel and the top portion of the bucket...if the bottom isn't already. You will lose some bucket capacity after creating the boxed tubular sections, but it will make that bucket much stronger. Also, have the welder run 3/8" x 2" flat from the base cutting edge along the front edge of the end sheet and end it at the top "boxed" section. The resulting bucket will be much stronger, but not indestructible.
Thanks for the replies. I stopped by a local dealer to see the difference for myself. The buckets look identical except the added top and side plates. The cutting edge thickness was knowhere near 3/4 thick. A pic of you bucket would be helpful though. I'll upload some pics later tonite.

If you are talking about the 61" heavy duty.That,and the fact it is drilled for the removable cutting edge,which is 1/2" thick.

The buckets look identical except the added top and side plates.


I bought my tractor used and it had the light duty bucket on it. I decided I am the HD kinda I bought a tooth bar, boxed in the top of the bucket (hard to tell in the pics), added straps along the sides of the bucket....and added weld-on hooks and a center receiver. I'm quite happy with the bucket as it is now. :good2:


Nice fab job and welding.:good2:
Nice job, Foggy. I suggest you buckle your seatbelt and go teach that dirt a lesson!
Thanks for the comments on the bucket. Strange tho.....this summer I don't think I had the bucket on but for one dirt work job (moved a big dirt pile)...the rest of the summer I used my grapple. Not sure how I ever lived without it. It's the most used "implement" I have.

I just finished my FEL snow plow that is now installed for the winter....but come spring I bet the first thing I use will be that FEL grapple. Priceless! :thumbup1gif:
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