We often need to move our trailer around in the yard, or put it into the shed for storage or maintenance. We have found that a front mounted hitch provides a few key benefits for these quick moves.
First, using the loader to hook up means that the trailer jack does not need to be raised and lowered. The loader can raise the trailer hitch, move it around and sit it back down again very quickly.
Second, it is easier to hook up when driving forward rather than backing up, as left/right adjustments can be more easily attained.
Third, and likely the biggest benefit is how the trailer can be precisely positioned when necessary. For instance, our shed is small, every inch counts. When we put the trailer in, we need it to be optimally placed. It is MUCH easier to control the trailer when hooked to the front of the tractor. The video below will demonstrate the ease of navigating the trailer when driving forward.
Front Hitch Options
I’ll focus on the loader mount versions rather than the frame mount versions because of the additional flexibility of lifting the trailer with the loader rather than raising/lower the jack.
However, if you have no loader, you can still claim the benefits of precise trailer navigation. One of our favorite vendors, Heavy Hitch offers a
2 inch receiver option for the front of 1-series Deere tractors. If you have no loader, this might be a great option for you.
Ken’s Bolt On Hooks
Let’s examine some of the loader options. Ken’s Bolt On Hooks offers a simple and effective bucket mounted receiver hitch. With this option, I would recommend getting the ‘backing plate’ option as the loader bucket is somewhat thin on the top where the receiver would be mounted.
This option is great as long as your trailer tongue weight is relatively light. The lightweight steel on the bucket cannot handle heavy forces applied to the top/center of the bucket.
I have this hitch on my bucket. Check out some videos, such as ‘Shirley’s creek bank’ to get a view of it.
Artillian offers two options for their pallet fork frames. If purchasing new forks, the latest generation of the 3000 lb capacity frame has a 2 inch receiver built in. If you already have the 2300 lb capacity frame (like me), you can add a 2 inch receiver hitch adapter to the frame. Either of these options will provide a
strong and flexible receiver hitch option. Christy calls this the ‘cadillac option’.
If you haven’t yet purchased Artillian forks, the receiver hitch may be a good reason to upgrade to the 3000lb capacity frame.
Another approach is to use a dedicated JD Quick attach receiver hitch. The ease of removing your bucket makes this option attractive. This plate would lay flat for storage, and could be easily picked up with the loader tilt feature. This approach might make it difficult to see the hitch ball as you are attempting to hook up the trailer, as the large plate will likely block your view. (Thanks to Christy for pointing this out)!
Titan also sells a skid steer attach version of this receiver plate.
Finally, the option we demonstrate (and modify) in this video. This option adds the 2 inch receiver directly onto one of the forks. This option is inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to install. Christy’s least favorite part are the obnoxious Christmas colors!
The one I purchased also came with a safety chain. However, at the time of this writing, this version is not available. As you’ll see in the video, a safety chain IS necessary. Any high strength chain will do, and I do not think it needs to be as heavy as the one included with our package.
While this option worked very well for our older trailer, our newer trailer has much more tongue weight. As you’ll see in the video, this additional weight puts a lot of stress on the end of the fork. So, in this video, we modify the ‘clamp on forklift hitch adapter’ to allow it slide further onto the fork. This reduces the overall distance from the fork frame by about 20%, from 45 inches to 36 inches. This reduces the leverage on the fork and makes me much more comfortable using it with our trailer.
Take a look at the video to see the fork mounted receiver, and to see our modifications to it.