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I posted this as a reply to an old thread but got no response, so I thought I would start a new topic.  Maybe replies don't get highlighted like a new topic.

I have read most and maybe all the posts regarding this accessory, but have not found a solution to my problem of expanding the total range of motion.

I have been adjusting my 342 loader by bending  (twisting) the sweep arm pivot bracket as suggested by other posters and the tune up video on this site by Jim Barrett which also suggested the bending technique. I have the culverts landing in the car pretty good.  I confirm speed (voltage) is important for proper working. 

However, the overall travel of my grabber on the conveyor (gantry) is not long enough to work properly at both ends.  Adjusting it to drop correctly makes it stop short of picking up the culvert by 3/8 inch on the other end of travel.  Bending the pivot bracket to make it pick up properly from the ramp end does not allow it to move far enough to get over the waiting car ramp, being short by the 3/8 to 1/2 inch of travel.  So I can get one end to work, but not both.

I tried extending the sweep arm by adding some length to it but cannot make it long enough before it binds up on the conveyer, which isn't surprising.   One poster suggested bending (pushing) the vertical pivot shaft (where the sweep arm attaches) toward the gantry to get more travel.  I tried this while it was operating and pushed with my thumb until it hurt, maybe 3/8 inch and got very little change, certainly not enough to pick up the culvert.  The shaft bounced back anyway after I released it.

The vibramotor seems to do its job, turning the gears smoothly and extending the linkages at a good speed.

Any suggestions on how to increase total travel, short of making a new linkage on the gear??

Thanks, Bob

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So here is the results of tinkering.

I think you are right Chuck, I don't believe you can get any increase in range of motion from kinematics of the linkage system with minor adjustments.  However I did three major changes to make this unloader work pretty good.  (90%).

1.  readjusted the pivot bracket to get the claw very close to grabbing the culvert from the rack.  This is instead of adjusting the bracket so the claw drop the culvert into the waiting car perfectly.

2. Cleaned the claw, gantry and traveler with contact cleaner and blasts of air.  Previous owner had used some type of lubricant in it and had turned slightly gummy on close observation.  This may have allowed an increase in ROM just by reducing friction)

3.  Widen (bent) the rails of the waiting culvert car so the culvert has a bigger landing spot.  This is still the area where failures occur, causing the culvert to land tilted and some roll down that way. (or get stuck).

It now runs very good at a pretty low voltage (11-12), so I'm pleased with this old accessory.  It runs much faster that the 345 unloader at the same voltage, so I cant run them simultaneously.  Not sure if it was the intent originally).

Thanks for everyone's help!


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