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Thoughts on the Thumb for the 260 backhoe

1241 Views 35 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Mikauai
Any thoughts out there on the thumb JD as come out with for the 260 backhoe on a 1026R? Are their other options folks would consider? How much is it to get installed at the dealer? Is it worth the cost or not. I do have a lot of tree and brush clean up. Thanks much.
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That is what grapples are made for.
I do have a lot of tree and brush clean up.
Ah, you’ve never used a tool for a job it wasn’t best suited for before? 😆 Sure. 👍🏼😉

@Tulkas, @rtgt does have a good point. A grapple is far better suited for brush cleanup. But a thumb on a backhoe can certainly be used for the job.

Are you looking for mechanical or a hydraulic thumb?
That is what grapples are made for.
That would be pallet forks.
Ah, you’ve never used a tool for a job it wasn’t best suited for before?
Ah, pallet forks are the screwdriver of the tractor world. Hammer, punch, chisel, prybar, heck, you can even use the screwdriver for driving screws. Imagine that!
That would be pallet forks.
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Hydro thumb would be my vote.

Any thumb is better than none.


With a fixed thumb.......things need to be in perfect spots to "pic" them.
As in you need to move a few inchs forward or reverse to get to the grab spot.
This is easier done in a mini ex than a tractor.
Learning curve for sure....
Then realize you can only move (object) x degrees left or right....Unless the plan is to carry the object.

Grapple for the similar money is likely a better buy.

Not sure what projects your going after.

Hydro thumb on my mini ex was 1800$ 15 yrs ago nearly......No clue on todays cost for your machine.
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A grapple is the channel locks of the tractor world.
Ah, pallet forks are the screwdriver of the tractor world.
I have the mechanical thumb BLV10750 for the 260B backhoe.
If I could have had the hydro one I would have, but it was not available for me.

Likewise I want a grapple, but have yet to find a suitable one that I can get in (or to) AustralIa.

That said. I have used thethumb a heap. In the first year it was on The backhoe the whole time and I’ve done 120hrs, 40% of which was backhoe operation. In fact I have only just taken it off. That was for digging up higher than ground level over a retaining wall.

The thing you need to realise about the mechanical thumb, which I didn’t realise because I’d never even seen a picture of one, is that it’s maximum retracted position is about perpendicular to the dipper arm.
So it restricts your digging ability a bit at full reach even when fully “back.” Because it hits the ground first.
And taking it off, to get it out of the way means pulling the bucket pin, dropping the bottom half of the thumb, then repinning the bucket. Then either tying the top half of the thumb back to the dipper stick. Or unbolting it.
And then reversing the whole process for reattaching.

From what I’ve seen of the hydraulic one on TTWT. It retracts more.

Here are some photos of the mechanical one:


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Both of these photos have the thumb in the most retracted position.
Bxpanded makes a great thumb! The worst problem is the geometry of the backhoe makes its lifting power weak. At full reach, the boom struggles to lift itself + about 200 lbs of junk in the jaws

Install is simple. You need a hammer to drive pin out (260B version), wrenches, new grease, and about 20 minutes.

I have the 260B thumb. They also make one for a 260.

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BXpanded Barracuda Backhoe Thumb for John Deere 260 Backhoe
I have the same setup I am very happy with it. A hydro thumb may be a bit better, I haven't used one, but for the price difference I don't think you could ever go wrong with a mechanical thumb.
Jimmy Walker is correct on the install for the 260B it took me less than 30 minutes. Many people don't realize how much more useful a backhoe is with a thumb on it so getting any of the ones available is a good choice.
Bxpanded makes a great thumb! The worst problem is the geometry of the backhoe makes its lifting power weak. At full reach, the boom struggles to lift itself + about 200 lbs of junk in the jaws

Install is simple. You need a hammer to drive pin out (260B version), wrenches, new grease, and about 20 minutes.

I have the 260B thumb. They also make one for a 260.

BXpanded Barracuda Backhoe Thumb for John Deere 260 Backhoe
The BXpanded does tuck out of the way much further on the 260 and 260B here are a couple pictures with the different model's

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I have the mechanical thumb BLV10750 for the 260B backhoe.
If I could have had the hydro one I would have, but it was not available for me.

The thing you need to realise about the mechanical thumb, which I didn’t realise because I’d never even seen a picture of one, is that it’s maximum retracted position is about perpendicular to the dipper arm.

Both of these photos have the thumb in the most retracted position.
I think I remember someone saying you could drill another hole to make the thumb retract further?
With the way my trees are a grapple bucket would be unwieldy. So does anyone have the John Deere made thumb?
Any thoughts out there on the thumb JD as come out with for the 260 backhoe on a 1026R? Are their other options folks would consider? How much is it to get installed at the dealer? Is it worth the cost or not. I do have a lot of tree and brush clean up. Thanks much.
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@Arrrghh posted his in post #8.
So does anyone have the John Deere made thumb?
I started out with the Bxpanded thumb on my 260B but wanted to go hydraulic. I didn't like the JD design where you had to get out of the seat to hit a switch or something to activate the thumb so I designed my own hydraulic system with a rocker switch mounted on the operator station.
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AND they are about $800 bucks.... much better off with the BXpanded one. Takes a few weeks to get it but they really are well built, quick to install and do retract better with no modifications at half the price.
@Arrrghh posted his in post #8.
That's a great setup I have been thinking of doing almost the same thing... my thought was to put a diverter on either the boom or swing hydraulics and add a button to the handle. I haven't really looked at it yet to see if it may be possible. If it is it will keep all the hydraulic components with the hoe when I remove it and just have a power wire to disconnect. If I had use for a 3rd function on the back I probably would do what you have done it's really a nice clean setup. I saw your write up I like the way it's integrated, well done.
I started out with the Bxpanded thumb on my 260B but wanted to go hydraulic. I didn't like the JD design where you had to get out of the seat to hit a switch or something to activate the thumb so I designed my own hydraulic system with a rocker switch mounted on the operator station.
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Thanks very much Vinny. If you do want to go the route of a third function, I have all the instructions in a PDF I could send you.
That's a great setup I have been thinking of doing almost the same thing... my thought was to put a diverter on either the boom or swing hydraulics and add a button to the handle. I haven't really looked at it yet to see if it may be possible. If it is it will keep all the hydraulic components with the hoe when I remove it and just have a power wire to disconnect. If I had use for a 3rd function on the back I probably would do what you have done it's really a nice clean setup. I saw your write up I like the way it's integrated, well done.
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I have a manual thumb on the 260B back hoe on my 1025R...totaly worth it. Makes handling rocks, stumps and logs a breeze. Want to build a rock wall, the thumb is your friend.
Any thoughts out there on the thumb JD as come out with for the 260 backhoe on a 1026R? Are their other options folks would consider? How much is it to get installed at the dealer? Is it worth the cost or not. I do have a lot of tree and brush clean up. Thanks much.
Great I'll let you know. I'm in the middle of another project but will probably pull my hoe out in another month or so and take a look at it. I just did a manual diverter, my own build, for my snow plow but for a thumb will definitely go with an electric one. This is my plow setup... wanted it to stay on the frame with the single point and didn't need an electric because I'll never use a grapple or anything.



Sorry OP didn't mean to steal your thread!!
Thanks very much Vinny. If you do want to go the route of a third function, I have all the instructions in a PDF I could send you.
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