Bolt on Bucket Grapple

   / Bolt on Bucket Grapple #1  


Elite Member
Nov 24, 2012
Near Johannesburg MI but in the middle of nowhere
2019 LS XR4140 HST Cab; 2020 Kawasaki Mule SX; 2021 Bad Boy 54" ZT Elite
I have an old JD 855 with pin on bucket. Adding a quick attach and grapple is more than I wish to spend. I saw the Thumb bolt on unit and was wondering if anyone here has experience with it, or another device that will work for me. My plan is to add a diverter valve off the curl circuit to power it.

My loader is rated for 700 lbs. I want to limit the weight of the grapple. I use ballast (500 lbs in a carry all) and have about 375 lbs of fluid in the rear tires. Tractor weight is 2000 lbs. Any idea how much I could safely lift?

My uses include moving logs for firewood processing, clearing brush, and putting large rounds onto my splitter. I also purchase logger cords of wood and it is stacked when delivered, so I need to pull logs off the stack.

I am having my property select cut next year and hope to turn the tops into firewood.

Thanks for any advice.
   / Bolt on Bucket Grapple #2  
I do all the same things you want to do with my tractor. I had my place logged off last year, and seeing all those tops laying around looked like a very daunting task. I also have a pin on bucket, so a grapple didn't seem practical. so last spring I added a tooth bar and a thumb from Greens Machine. What a work saver and time saver! I pick up logs, brush, rounds for the splitter, rocks and anything else that I can think of. I run mine off the rear remote, because it was already there. I just unloaded a tandem trailer load of slab wood, which would have taken hours and a whole lot of hand work
Because of your limited lift capacity, a quick attach and a grapple would not leave much left of your lifting capacity, you would also have to alter your bucket for ssqa. Get the Thumb I love mine, wish I had done it a long time ago. You could go with just the thumb first to save weight and add a bolt on toothbar later if you feel you need it.
   / Bolt on Bucket Grapple #3  
I have had ATI bolt on grapple for over 15 years. I have found it tremendously useful in the woods and around the firewood landing. Logs, brush, rocks, stumps and what ever. It is similar in function to the Thumb. Mine is on a loader rated for about 1000 lbs and a 30 hp tractor. I don't think you can go wrong adding a bolt on grapple. Watch the weight like you are doing and with your 500 lb ballast and loaded tires you should be well set up. If you can keep the weight you lift centered there is no reason you won't be able to safely lift to the full capability of the loader.




   / Bolt on Bucket Grapple #4  
I have the thumb by green machines. It’s welded on but has pins too. It makes the bucket so much more versatile.
   / Bolt on Bucket Grapple
  • Thread Starter
Thank you guys for the feedback.

Gordon, I looked at the ATI and it looks like a better built unit but it is also more than double the cost. If you were selecting a unit for my application, with the tractor limitations I have, would you still pick the ATI or would the Green Machine unit be a better choice?
   / Bolt on Bucket Grapple #6  
It is hard for me to say since I have only seem pictures of the Thumb. My first priority would be weight. I don't see any big advantage the 3 tine ATI has over the single tine Thumb as far as grabbing and holding stuff goes. (EDIT: Except for rocks maybe.) But I think the ATI's curved shape is better than the flat shaped Thumb. Over the years I modified the ATI tines so they were even more curved so it wasn't perfect either for my use. If you are picking stuff like brush and logs that are wider than your bucket you have to consider that the vertical sides of the bucket and the grapple tine define the gape opening and its shape. An opening that is U or strongly hook shaped works better than one that opens like scissors for grabbing fat stuff because the U grabs from both sides where the scissors has a tendency to force fat stuff slip out before it grabs.

But to answer your question I would probably get the Thumb and change it if I thought I could make it better. Either the Thumb wasn't available or I just didn't know about it when I bought my ATI unit. There are probably some other units out there too.

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   / Bolt on Bucket Grapple #7  
Do you need to plumb in a 3rd function valve for that to work or is it using the bucket curl valve?
   / Bolt on Bucket Grapple #8  
Do you need to plumb in a 3rd function valve for that to work or is it using the bucket curl valve?

Mine uses a third function. I added a manual valve to do it. Much cheaper than a electric button kits. You could use the curl lines but w/o the curl function you would be limited.

   / Bolt on Bucket Grapple
  • Thread Starter
Do you need to plumb in a 3rd function valve for that to work or is it using the bucket curl valve?

In my case, the JD dealer will not install a third function valve as JD no longer supports it on my 855. So I would need to buy a kit and install it myself...which is likely going to cost over $800 and tax my limited knowledge of hydraulics...LOL. So I have decided to go with a diverter valve on the curl circuit. It should be about half the price and a lot easier for me to do. It will be slower than using a 3rd function but it will work.
   / Bolt on Bucket Grapple #10  
I'm with ya, go diverter valve.

When you get your attachment look closely at where it mounts on your bucket. You may want some reinforcement added. The grapple will try to pry up and back on the top edge of your bucket.

If you think it needs strengthened and don't feel capable, talk to a local welding shop. They can guide you on what's needed and do the job for you or sell you the material.

You won't be a happy guy if you bend the crap out of your bucket.

You have no idea how much you are going to enjoy this attachment!!! :)