Build Your Own Tractor 3 Point Hitch Carry-all.
A Tractor Carry-all is a very useful little item. Typically, I use my front end loader to carry bulky items, such as
firewood. However, there are a few drawbacks to this. First of all, the bucket is pretty small to carry relatively light and
bulky items. In the winter, I want to use a snowblower instead of the FEL, and I am too lazy to keep switching between
these two attachments. Also, in the winter in deep snow, it is easy to get stuck going out to the woodpile, so I like to
have the FEL to "push" my way out. If I get stuck, and if I have it full of wood, I need to dump it, push my way out
and then reload it. So for these reasons, I wanted something to carry things using the rear three-point hitch.
I shopped around a bit, and found the best deal at Tractor Supply Co. The sell their own brand "CountyLine" which is
actually made by "King Kutter" and then re-labeled. It costs about a 120 bucks and is rated to lift 1,000 lbs. Be careful
if you don't live around a Tractor Supply store and want to by one of the web.....shop around a bit. I first tried to buy
one through "everythingattachments.com" which is actually the exact same item (just labeled as "King Kutter") which
they sell for over $200, plus they have a sneaky shipping policy. Every page of this website says "Free Shipping" but if
you read the fine print, it is only free to a business with a loading dock! So after shipping to a house, this would cost
over 300 dollars!
Anyway, the frame is the single biggest investment. The other materials I needed were.
4 Pressure-Treated 2X10 in ten foot lengths
2 Pressure-Treated 2X4 in ten foot lengths
3 Pressure-Treated 2X4 in an eight foot length
Eight 1 1/2" galvanized bolts and nuts
A few dozen 3" galvanized wood screws
A few lock washers
A "Tractor Supply Store Brand" bushing kit for "quick-connect" hitch systems (optional)
The first thing to figure out is what the basic dimensions of the carry-all should be. I settled on 4 foot long, by 5 foot
wide. Now, don't get too crazy with the length and remember the leverage on the 3-point hitch. The further you get out
from the hitch the less lifting power you have. My JD2320 is supposed to lift about 1,200 lbs at the hitch arms. However,
four foot out, this lifting power is much reduced. Therefore, I have no concerns about overloading this carry-all (again,
rated at only 1,000 lbs).
At any rate, rather than buy a whole bunch of bolts and bolt each board directly to the carry-all, I opted to bolt a couple
of backer boards to the carry-all and just screw the rest of the boards in. I put the bushing kit on and built the carry-all
on the tractor as it was easier to lift up and move around during construction. This way I could be certain as I was
building it, I would have appropriate clearance for the real wheels and the ROPs. The first step was to cut an 8 foot 2X4
in half for the bottom boards.
Now, I wanted to countersink the bolts for obvious reasons. So, I drilled a hole for the bolt and then used a 3/4"
spade bit so the bolt would sit flush.
Now I had to be careful with the upright backer boards.. If I left them at four foot they would hit the ROPs when it is
folded down, so I had to cut these to exactly 33" each.
Here is another good reason to build the carry-all actually on the tractor. Using the John Deere iMatch system, there
is no way I would have cleared the iMatch hitch without having the 2X4 as clearance. I would have been really mad to
build this whole thing, and then realize it wouldn't fit! I have also heard of folks that build one, and then realize it hit
the rear wheels of the tractor.... So be careful!
Although there are some ready-made carry-alls available, the
vast majority of these carry-alls are "kits". Basically, what you
get with the "kit" is a metal frame made out of angle-iron that
attaches either directly to the 3 point hitch or with a
quick-connect system. It is up to the purchaser to buy either
wood or sheet steel to custom make the size and shape of the
The next steps are pretty simple, I merely cut all the 2X10s in half and used four sections for the floor and three for
the top and simply screwed them in. I also build a small "lip" out of a few 2X4s. Lastly, I cut a 2X4 10 foot in half to
make the two corner braces. I was tempted to build and entire "box" on the sides... However, this would increase the
weight, require more lumber, and not allow me to carry very long items (such as brush, fence posts etc.) So I opted
for just a simple brace on each side. So, here we are, all ready to go.
Now I ended up having the bolts be a bit too long. Since I was too lazy to go back to the store, I just "fixed" it with a
few extra lock washers... I definitely recommend you measure these carefully. I estimate 1 1/2" bolts are fine.
This works great! It can easily carry a few hundreds of pounds of rocks or firewood!