Help Solve the Mystery of This Incredible Front Loader Bolt-On Pickup Accessory
Not even the company that marketed it remembers. Do you?
Adding a front-end loader to a truck seems like a good plan to me, a person who doesn't have to pay for your collapsed suspension. Because I'm not talking about some snowplow rig. What I'm talking about is a full-on hydraulic bucket, the sort of earthmoving machinery that can lift a whole bunch of gravel over your head. Before you accuse me of being full of bad ideas (first off, guilty!), know this—a hydraulic front loader bolt-on attachment for your workaday pickup truck does indeed exist.
Or did, at one point in the 1970s. Somebody made one, as these recently surfaced pictures of the product brochure make clear. But we reached out to Mailhot Industries, the French Canadian hydraulic cylinder manufacturer whose logo is plastered on the pages, and a company representative told that no one there can recall making or marketing anything like this. The who, why, and how many regarding this eminently useful (and probably damaging) bolt-on remain unknown.
The first image shows the brochure's cover, with a Ford F-Series pickup in the process of dumping a load of earth from a decent height. Note the very obvious stress the rig puts on the front suspension as the back tilts up. It attached somewhat like an extra subframe using "conventional tools," bolting directly to the truck's frame in four places on both sides of the front axle. Meanwhile the hydraulic pump was powered by the engine's crankshaft, with controls located in the cabin.
Bless your eyesight if you can pick out any of the figures on the table at right—we can see the diameter of the hydraulic cylinder was two inches, and that's about it.
These images came to us via a Facebook user named Jaason Rios, who couldn't provide higher-resolution versions or any other information about the brochure. As I mentioned at the outset, Mailhot Industries says it has no records related to this project.
There are some obvious downsides to turning your pickup truck into a front loader, namely the wear and tear on your frame and front suspension and the risk of tipping forward with an unbalanced load. This is also not something I'd recommend attempting on any newer pickup with an independent front suspension—the solid front axles on these older F-Series trucks was probably just strong enough to make someone think this could work on a larger scale.
The friendly man from Mailhot Industries told me they've received several messages concerning purchasing an accessory like this, so we can't be the only people to have heard of the multiple use loader, or at least pictured the concept. But we've hit a dead end in learning more about this truck. Know something? Get in touch here.