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View Full Version : Aftermarket Thumb Suggestions?


thepawnshop
03-21-2006, 09:21 PM
OK, I played a bit more on my buddy's 50D today and I have to admit, I was not too impressed with the Deere hydraulic thumb. So I am looking at aftermarket thumbs and was hoping some of you folks may have some suggestions. I like this one, it seems pretty stout, but the placement of one of the hydraulic hoses seems like it may easily get damaged:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7598082580&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&rd=1

Lemme have it...who makes the best aftermarket thumbs?!?!?

JDSKIDSTEER
03-21-2006, 09:43 PM
OK, I played a bit more on my buddy's 50D today and I have to admit, I was not too impressed with the Deere hydraulic thumb. So I am looking at aftermarket thumbs and was hoping some of you folks may have some suggestions. I like this one, it seems pretty stout, but the placement of one of the hydraulic hoses seems like it may easily get damaged:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7598082580&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&rd=1

Lemme have it...who makes the best aftermarket thumbs?!?!?

Try rockland manufacturing or weldco beals. I just got a 36" tooth bucket from Weldco Beals and it is awsome bucket. I am not sure if they make a thumb but you can see.

Construct'O
03-21-2006, 10:51 PM
What was it that you didn't like about the Deere hydraulic thumb????

thepawnshop
03-21-2006, 11:01 PM
The hydraulic cylinder looks very thin and "light-duy". I actually think it is a C&P thumb, though. The teeth and the actual thumb apparatus look fine...it's just the hydraulics...it may be quite stout, but it definately doesn't look it.

Do you have one (a John Deere)?

Construct'O
03-21-2006, 11:41 PM
Don't have excavator ,but looking at them????????? Do have Deere CTL 332

Werk Berk (spelled something like that) use to make sturdy buckets and thumbs

tylermckee
03-22-2006, 12:10 AM
So was the actual performance of the thumb not up to par, or does it just look like a weak link?

Gravel Rat
03-22-2006, 12:17 AM
If you are going to order a new machine from Deere order it with a bare stick no buckets and go to a aftermarket company to supply you with a thumb and quick connect. For use in the B.C. and Pacific Northwest area we have companies like CWS that make quick connects,buckets and thumbs.

You don't want a thumb that welds to the stick you want something like on the CWS Page.http://www.cwsindustries.com/products/excavators/thumbs/hydraulic.htm

ksss
03-22-2006, 02:20 AM
Pawnshop that is a very good observation. I have seen many JD mini's go through auctions with the thumbs bent, broke and twisted. I also did not care for the quick attach if you can call it that. As some one mentioned, I have used Werk Brau buckets, QC and thumb on my last two excavators. My only ***** about the thumb is I wished it articulated further, however it sucks up tight against the stick and so it is very nice to dig with which is unusual with a thumb. The WB manual QC is the best on the market that I have found. Very quick, safe, and secure. The WB stuff costs money but it is quality. The factory JD thumb and QC is without a doubt a POS. The buckets are also very light duty.

Scag48
03-22-2006, 02:35 AM
Werk Brau is pretty good, as well as CWS, they're made out here in the PNW along with PSM, I actually know the owner of PSM. HPF produces an excellent link thumb for a mini which might be worth looking into, I wish I had a link thumb.

www.hpf.com

www.cwsindustries.com

www.psmcorp.com

www.werkbrau.com

thepawnshop
03-22-2006, 07:44 AM
You don't want a thumb that welds to the stick you want something like on the CWS Page.http://www.cwsindustries.com/products/excavators/thumbs/hydraulic.htm

I hope this doesn't sound like a dumb question, but why is that?

thepawnshop
03-22-2006, 07:45 AM
The factory JD thumb and QC is without a doubt a POS. The buckets are also very light duty.

If I am not mistaken, our dealer uses only C&P buckets...POS also or are they ok? MIne seem to have held up ok, but they only have a few hundred ours on it.

ksss
03-22-2006, 12:33 PM
If your dealer uses CP that might be better. Although my neighbor has managed to bend both of his CP buckets that he has on his TB53. He has a Wayne Roy type coupler they want to bend across the top of the bucket. The Deere QC and thumb I believed were Deere's but maybe not. They are easy to spot. Very light duty thumb wtih two "prongs" that project from each side of the thumb, and the buckets are very light with no additional reinforcement. The ones I have seen were all painted yellow from the factory.

janb
03-22-2006, 02:29 PM
I hope this doesn't sound like a dumb question, but why is that?

IIRC

that would be like these 'USA thumbs' as per previous post
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7598082580&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&rd=1
note that they are a 'modular' system, (whole assemble welds / bolts to boom) and the thumb doesn't hinge relative to bucket, as per CWS type, Kind of an 'after-thought-PITA' way of working (usually more restrictive, take up more space, and have less range of movement) better than a 'fixed' thumb attachment (no Hyd) but not as good as one keyed to bucket rotation

jb

ksss
03-22-2006, 03:20 PM
They are similiar to that only not even that well built.

Construct'O
03-22-2006, 08:19 PM
Pawnshop that is a very good observation. I have seen many JD mini's go through auctions with the thumbs bent, broke and twisted. I also did not care for the quick attach if you can call it that. As some one mentioned, I have used Werk Brau buckets, QC and thumb on my last two excavators. My only ***** about the thumb is I wished it articulated further, however it sucks up tight against the stick and so it is very nice to dig with which is unusual with a thumb. The WB manual QC is the best on the market that I have found. Very quick, safe, and secure. The WB stuff costs money but it is quality. The factory JD thumb and QC is without a doubt a POS. The buckets are also very light duty.

Kaiser do you mean the thumb doesn't travel far enough ,like if you wanted to pick up cement using it and the bucket?????? Is your Werk Brau thumb hydraulic not the pined kind right?

thepawnshop
03-22-2006, 11:37 PM
Here are pics of the thumb the dealer offers as stock:

thepawnshop
03-22-2006, 11:38 PM
I also noticed...the stock bucket on this machine is a brand called "TAG"....I'm not too familiar with them...has anyone here heard of them?

ksss
03-23-2006, 11:55 AM
The last picture is the Deere branded bucket that comes with the machine that I was refering to. My WB is hydraulic and yes as far as picking concrete that is right next to the machine it is difficult. Further away is easier. I wish I could get a progressive link for a 12K machine. I have not found anyone that makes one. They say the sticks are too short.

ksss
03-23-2006, 12:09 PM
What I have seen after use is the two prongs wear down and bend. The top of the thumb where the hyd. ties to the thumb tends to break. The cylinder itself seems small. I didn't recognize the thumb until looking at it from the front. I would try and at least get a CP if your dealer would let you go straight across. The QC requires you to loosen the wedge to remove the bucket. It is time consuming. It is a secure QC but the time required to fight with it to change buckets makes it a no go in my book. Unless you don't change buckets much then maybe its not an issue. We change all the time.

Construct'O
03-23-2006, 01:32 PM
What I have seen after use is the two prongs wear down and bend. The top of the thumb where the hyd. ties to the thumb tends to break. The cylinder itself seems small. I didn't recognize the thumb until looking at it from the front. I would try and at least get a CP if your dealer would let you go straight across. The QC requires you to loosen the wedge to remove the bucket. It is time consuming. It is a secure QC but the time required to fight with it to change buckets makes it a no go in my book. Unless you don't change buckets much then maybe its not an issue. We change all the time.

My nephew works for a company that has new Deere 50D series excavator and the QC on it was one of the things he didn't like also.

So how does the WB QC fasten,do they use a bolt on wedge, or does it use a pin setup?????????? Thanks

ksss
03-24-2006, 11:21 AM
The WB QC has a rod that runs through the mechanism secured by a hitch pin. To unhook you pull the pin and using a steel rod that they provided (looks like a concrete stake) you rotate the coupler up and reinsert the rod this holds the coupler open. You then pickup your new bucket, remove rod holding qc open and reinsert it holding it closed. Hopefully I explained it well enough. It takes less time to do it than it does to explain it.

Construct'O
03-24-2006, 10:10 PM
Thanks for the info!!!!!!!!!!!!

Land&LawnDev.
03-24-2006, 10:32 PM
I owned a JD 35D last year with a hydraulic thumb; never had any problems with the hydraulics. I however did bend the shanks when handling rail-road ties. That could be repaired easily by welding in some gussets. Don't get scared of the hydraulic cylinder though, It is designed to be overpowered by the bucket to prevent any major damage. As for as the hoses are concerned zip tie them up and watch for tree limbs, other than that run the tar out of it.

thepawnshop
03-24-2006, 10:38 PM
I owned a JD 35D last year with a hydraulic thumb; never had any problems with the hydraulics. I however did bend the shanks when handling rail-road ties. That could be repaired easily by welding in some gussets. Don't get scared of the hydraulic cylinder though, It is designed to be overpowered by the bucket to prevent any major damage. As for as the hoses are concerned zip tie them up and watch for tree limbs, other than that run the tar out of it.

From the sounds of your post, you don't own the 35D anymore...what did you buy to take it's place?

coopers
03-24-2006, 11:02 PM
KSSS, you can't find a PGL thumb for your mini excavator? I think I read that right. Try HPF.

Blake
WA

thepawnshop
03-24-2006, 11:06 PM
I just tried to google "HPF Thumb" and I could not find it...where can they be found, Blake?

coopers
03-24-2006, 11:12 PM
http://www.hpf.com/home.asp

There's the link.

As for quick couplers, I think the best ones out there are the ones made by CWS in Canada and PSM. We have those on our excavators (the hyd. QC's) and they are very nice. They work all the time, we've had zero problems with them and the thumbs that PSM and CWS make are very nice. The progressive linked thumbs that is. Other manufacturers I don't think seem to hold up as well as I've seen from others testimonials. Hertz for soem reason has the oddest QC's for their mini excavators and their large case and JD backhoes. I've seen them and IMO they seem to be built poorly and just ask for trouble.

Blake
WA

Land&LawnDev.
03-25-2006, 12:05 AM
From the sounds of your post, you don't own the 35D anymore...what did you buy to take it's place?
I traded it and the 320 for a CT332. I work alone and the loader was doing three times the work. So now I only rent a mini when I need it. I was very happy with the hydraulics on the 35, they were very smooth. Funny though I was happy with the machine, but found out after I traded it that it was supposed to have another couter weight for the long arm. I was told that it was much more stable after that, although I wouldn't know.

JDSKIDSTEER
03-25-2006, 04:44 AM
I traded it and the 320 for a CT332. I work alone and the loader was doing three times the work. So now I only rent a mini when I need it. I was very happy with the hydraulics on the 35, they were very smooth. Funny though I was happy with the machine, but found out after I traded it that it was supposed to have another couter weight for the long arm. I was told that it was much more stable after that, although I wouldn't know.
John Deere sent us the weight at no charge to put on. We put it on after he traded it in. It did not hang around long. Land&dev. keeps his machines in excellent shape. Sold his 320 real quick also. He is one of my best customers.

thepawnshop
03-25-2006, 09:36 AM
John Deere sent us the weight at no charge to put on. We put it on after he traded it in. It did not hang around long. Land&dev. keeps his machines in excellent shape. Sold his 320 real quick also. He is one of my best customers.

Just curious...and you can PM me if you want, but how much did you get for his 35?

Scag48
03-25-2006, 02:28 PM
Actually, I think JRB produces THE BEST hydraulic quick coupler available. Team that with a CWS bucket and thumb and go to work, you'll never have to worry about it ever again. I don't know if you can JRB stuff for minis, but on a 120 sized machine on up, that's what I'd buy.

ksss
03-25-2006, 02:42 PM
Coopers I appreciate the link. I saved it. That is the first progessive link I have seen for a smaller machine. thanks.

coopers
03-26-2006, 03:59 PM
No problem.

Blake
WA

janb
03-26-2006, 06:24 PM
Coopers I appreciate the link. I saved it. That is the first progessive link I have seen for a smaller machine. thanks.

yeah, nice pics of other attachments, and creative ideas !

BTW, What are the advantages of Progressive link? (since I'll probably have to make my own thumb ~$3500 for the 'store bought variety')

seems the range of travel and actuation speed might be primary advantage ??

ksss
03-26-2006, 08:37 PM
The range of motion and speed are both important. The trade off is having a thumb that has a good range of motion and stores out of the way against the stick when you don't want it. It sucks digging especially deep with a thumb that is in the way. That is one advantage with the WB. It is no wider than the stick. I know several guys who have built their own thumbs. The savings really isn't there for most guys. The thumbs for mini's are reasonable around 1500-2000K I don't know if it would be worth the hassle. you may save 500 dollars but your time is worth something as well. Unless it is not an issue resale value is also worth something. Nobody wants anything homemade these days (unless they did themselves).

thepawnshop
03-26-2006, 09:26 PM
OK, KSSS....is the verdict in yet? If it was for your mini...which way would YOU go?!?!?!?

ksss
03-26-2006, 10:21 PM
I would say that if you spend more than 50% of your time using a thumb finding one with a good range of motion would be be a priority. The Link Coopers provided may be an option. If your anticipate spending less than 50% of your hours using a thumb and more time digging I think the WB thumb is as good as any. I probably spend around 50% of my hours using a thumb. I like the WB thumb but I will definetly look at the link above for the next one. If your doing a lot of thumb work the progressive link is a time saver. It saves from having to reposition the machine and on jobs like rock wall construction allows for more articulation when placing rock. So in short I guess it depends on what you have planned for your machine.

thepawnshop
03-26-2006, 10:41 PM
I know this may sound silly...but I always want the best....that goes for whatever I buy, not just construction equipment. Which is why it seems I over analyze everything I buy.

Honestly, I have no idea how often I'll use the thumb, but when I do use it, I want to know that it does the job better than anything else on the market, which is why I posted the question here. I want/need input from folks that use thumbs day in and day out. I deeply respect everyone's (for the most part) opinions that are posted here.

I do want a thumb that will not be in the way whne not in use and will be able to work with both a 12 and 24" bucket.

thepawnshop
03-26-2006, 11:03 PM
I know this may sound silly...but I always want the best.....

Which is why I didn't want the factory thumb...the quality did not look that good. I feel pretty confident that MOST of the aftermarket thumbs would be a better buy.

ksss
03-27-2006, 01:55 PM
Well Doug you obviously have a sharp eye. Most would have rolled past the Deere thumb without a second thought. It is without a doubt something that you want to addressed. As far as which is the best, that is very subjective and largely dependent on your anticipated usage. The WB stuff especially the QC is excellent they also have different thumbs than the design I have perhaps they have one with more articulation. WB is quite common you may be able to locate a rental yard that has it on some of their mini's this would allow for a demo.

Gravel Rat
03-27-2006, 02:15 PM
If you plan on building alot of rock walls I can see a linkage thumb better as you have more range of motion. For us here we really haven't had any problems with the direct push thumbs.

ksss
03-27-2006, 02:35 PM
I have gotten along fine with mine and we build a lot of rock retaining walls. More articulation would be nice however. You kind of learn how to work with what you have.

janb
03-28-2006, 03:26 PM
HFP wants $3800 for progressive link and $3200 for direct
(to fit 12,000# rig - 16" wide, 3 fingers) 6 wk delivery

That seems to be comparable to CWS and others

I would think it best to stay under 12" width to avail 12" buckets, but wider is 'stabler'

Probably a decent deal, but being an 'unemployed / retired machinist' and my wife asking what the mill and lathe are doing to earn their keep... I doubt I would have over $500 in materials, (Cyl is ~$200) . but time !!!! (mine is pretty cheap on rainy days...281 of those/yr) I need some better pics of the link system, as rock walls and brush moving will be my 'mainstay'.

thepawnshop
03-28-2006, 07:32 PM
HFP wants $3800 for progressive link and $3200 for direct
(to fit 12,000# rig - 16" wide, 3 fingers) 6 wk delivery


Price isn't ALWAYS an indicator of quality, but my Deere dealer wanted $1,500for a thumb...INSTALLED. With that kind of difference in price, I think there may be just a bit more quality in the HFP than the deere thumb, what do you want to bet?

janb
03-28-2006, 08:54 PM
oh, yes, no question about it, I was only comparing similar to the quality of HPF

They have some pretty hefty looking attachments on their site, and they are their own distributor (they can't take a risk on reputation)

janb
03-28-2006, 08:59 PM
oh, yes, no question about it, I was only comparing similar to the quality of HPF

They have some pretty hefty looking attachments on their site, and they are their own distributor (they can't take a risk on reputation)

If your dealer really "loved you" he'd put one of these on for the same price :)

minimax
04-05-2006, 12:29 AM
I had my thumb retrofitted into a pro link thumb, by a machine shop up here for about $900.Made it a new machine.Before and after. http://www.lawnsite.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=54562&stc=1&d=1144207174http://www.lawnsite.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=54561&stc=1&d=1144207174
http://www.lawnsite.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=54563&stc=1&d=1144207661

thepawnshop
04-05-2006, 01:09 AM
What other attachments do you have on that trailer?

Scag48
04-05-2006, 02:53 AM
That setup is awesome! CWS is by far my favorite bucket/thumb combo. I still think JRB makes a better hyd. coupler for larger machines, but their buckets and thumbs are unbeatable. Period.

RockSet N' Grade
04-05-2006, 10:29 PM
I have a werk-brau thumb on my 9 ton mini and like it alot. I have used others, all the names are familiar, but would choose werk-brau again. To me, buying the best quality thumb you can buy is money well spent and money saved in the long and short run.

JDSKIDSTEER
04-05-2006, 11:24 PM
What thumb have you decided on?

minimax
04-06-2006, 01:16 AM
Pawnshop,I have a 12"dig bucket,20" bucket,30" clean up bucket,my railroad rail (grade beam), and a 40" brush mower.Weldco beales make the deere thumbs, but also make a pro link thumb for a 50 size, but not for 35's.http://www.lawnsite.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=54599&stc=1&d=1144296704

JDSKIDSTEER
04-06-2006, 07:27 AM
Pawnshop,I have a 12"dig bucket,20" bucket,30" clean up bucket,my railroad rail (grade beam), and a 40" brush mower.Weldco beales make the deere thumbs, but also make a pro link thumb for a 50 size, but not for 35's.http://www.lawnsite.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=54599&stc=1&d=1144296704Awesome thumb......how much? They do make buckets for Deere, but the ones I have been buyong are heavier built.....This thumb looks heavier?

janb
04-06-2006, 01:10 PM
"thx, but...enough of the duplicate large pics !!!, some of us pay by the minute for very slow 'dial-up' (in the boonies) geesh...:rolleyes: "

minimax
04-06-2006, 08:51 PM
Sorry, i don't know how I did 2 of the same pic.

minimax
04-06-2006, 11:29 PM
Pawnshop, that thumb is about $3000,I like cws buckets better because the curved side cutters, they handle log easer and come with a lifting eye.