How to turn your tractor into a fork lift

Written by graeme kay
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How to turn your tractor into a fork lift
You can equip your tractor with a fork-lift attachment. (George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

You can turn your tractor into a fork lift in two simple ways so that it can be utilised to handle goods on pallets or shipping containers that are designed to be moved with pallet forks. If your tractor is equipped with a front-end loader, a set of compatible pallet forks can be acquired and fitted. If your tractor does not have a loader, you can acquire a dedicated fork-lift attachment that is carried on the tractor's three-point linkage.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Loader forks
  • Rear-mounted ballast weight
  • Three-point fork lift
  • Front-mounted ballast weight

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    Choose Your Fork-lift Attachment

  1. 1

    Buy compatible pallet forks that can be used with your front-end loader. Check the loading capacity of your loader to make sure that it can handle the weight of the goods you want to move with the pallet forks. Note the loader linkage type so that you buy pallet forks that can be easily attached.

  2. 2

    Consider a fork-lift attachment that can be carried on the tractor's three-point linkage if you do not have a front loader or it is not capable of lifting the goods you want to move. Check your tractor's three-point linkage category and lifting capacity to help you determine the proper attachment.

  3. 3

    Talk to your local agricultural machinery dealer for advice or search for new and used examples on the Internet. You may also find both pallet forks and fork-lift attachments for sale at farm auctions.

    Attaching Pallet Forks to Your Front-end Loader

  1. 1

    Remove any bucket or fork attached to the loader if a front-end loader is fitted to your tractor.

  2. 2

    Attach the pallet forks and their carrier frame. If you have bought a unit that's compatible with your loader, this should be a straightforward operation. Ensure that any pins or latches that are needed to hold the new unit in place are in their correct positions.

  3. 3

    Add ballast weights to the back of the tractor to counteract the weight you will be lifting with the pallet forks. Simple ballast weights can be attached to the tractor's three-point linkage or wheel weights can be bolted to the rear axle.

  4. 4

    Test your new pallet forks.

    Attaching a Rear-mounted Fork Lift to Your Tractor

  1. 1

    Remove any attachments from your tractor's three-point linkage.

    How to turn your tractor into a fork lift
    If your tractor has front linkage, it could be used to carry the three-point linkage fork lift. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Reverse up to the three-point-linkage fork lift, connect the linkage arms, adjust and connect the top link and connect any hydraulic pipes. Check the operation of the pallet forks from the tractor seat.

  3. 3

    Add ballast weight to the front of the tractor, if necessary.

  4. 4

    Test your three-point-linkage fork lift.

Tips and warnings

  • If your tractor has a front three-point linkage, you might consider attaching a three-point linkage fork lift there instead of at the back of the tractor. Check the weight rating of your front axle before doing this.
  • If your tractor can be fitted with a reverse-drive kit, this could be useful for operating your new rear-mounted fork lift.
  • Ensure that any attachments you buy are suitable for use with your tractor. Exceeding the operational parameters set down by the tractor manufacturer could prove dangerous.
  • Also, do not use the attachments you buy to move goods heavier than those they are designed to lift. This could also be dangerous and lead to equipment failure.

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