BXpanded Piranha Tooth Bar: Installation, Testing and Review

I wish I had bought the BXpanded Piranha Tooth Bar sooner! After trying it out, I consider this a must-have addition for all tractor front end loader buckets!

For quite a while now, I have had the BXpanded Piranha Tooth Bar on my wish list. Now that I have one and have seen what it can do, I sure wish I had bought it much sooner!

When I finally got around to ordering one,  I went to bxpanded.com and clicked on the piranha tooth bar.  The price is based on the length of the tooth bar your bucket will need, which is determined by the inside width of the bucket to the nearest ¼ inch.  Further down the page, they have a link to detailed instructions on how to measure your bucket width.  My bucket’s inside width measured 64.25” which happens to be one of the choices in the drop down list. 

Once a length is selected, the price is calculated.  So $309 plus no sales tax since I am out of state.  Shipping was $33.86 bringing the total to $342.86. Their lead time is 4 to 6 weeks, and I received mine in 4 weeks.

If you don’t have a step drill bit for drilling the holes in the side of your bucket, you can add one to your order.  Since I have several step drill bits, I didn’t order one.

Step Drill Bit

Finally, if there are any special about your bucket such as worn cutting edges or a bolt on cutting edge, you can add a note about it.  If they need more information or a picture of your bucket, BXpanded will contact you before making your tooth bar.

One reassuring touch is that they stamp the length of the tooth bar into the bar itself:

Along with the installation instructions, the tools you’ll need include:

  • Sharpie marker or a pencil (which is what I prefer)
  • Center punch or a 3/4” transfer punch
  • Hammer
  • Step drill bit that drills up to a ¾” hole
  • Drill with a 3/16” bit for the pilot holes
  • Two C-clamps
  • Dead blow hammer
  • 15/16” wrench
  • Impact wrench with a 15/16” socket. 

The loader bucket is the most convenient place to put your tools.  BTW, they recommend you have the bucket about 10 inches off the ground for installation.

When the tooth bar is centered it is normal to have a small gap between the mounting ears and the sides of the bucket.  Once the tooth bar is in position, I give it some firm taps with a dead blow hammer to make sure it is fully seated on the bucket’s cutting edge.

Next, I use two clamps to clamp the tooth bar in position.  The clamps must pull the bar firmly against the bottom of the bucket’s cutting edge.

Then I use a pencil to mark the outline of the elongated holes on the inside of the bucket.

Here’s where I cheat a little bit by using the transfer punch positioned 1/8” from the end of the elongated hole to mark where the hole will be.  Don’t worry, if you don’t have a set of transfer punches, I’ll show you how to do it with a regular punch per the instructions.

I take the clamps off and set the tooth bar on the floor for now.

If you don’t have a transfer punch set then you need to cut out the included adhesive backed circles.  Unfortunately, I found out you have to cut the circles out with scissors, so that gets added to the tool list.  Place the circle about 1/8” from the rear of the marked elongated hole, then use a center punch placed on the cross hairs and hammer to mark where the hole will be.  If you are wondering why they have elongated holes on the mounting ears, it’s to allow for wear of the bucket’s cutting edge when the tooth bar is not in use, which is pretty clever, in my opinion.

Using the 3/16” drill bit, I drill the first pilot hole, then the second pilot hole. 

Next, I use the step drill bit to enlarge the hole.  Oops!  Should have used a corded drill.  This eats up the batteries on a cordless.  The instructions call for a ¾” hole, but I found that a 11/16” hole was plenty big for the bolt.  I repeat for the other side.

I take a bolt with a washer on it and insert it in the hole from the outside of the bucket.  Then I put another washer on the inside, followed by a lock washer, then a nut.  I wish the bolts were slightly longer because it was a challenge getting the nut started.  In fact, I had to clamp the other side to get the nut started.

Once I finally got the nut started, I tightened it up with the impact wrench.  And repeated for the other side.

I decide to start by seeing how well the tooth bar can clear brush and saplings down near the creek on our property. 

Those teeth easily cut the roots of brush then I can push them over and out of the way.  This is going to be a game changer!  So for clearing brush, the tooth bar is great and passes the test.

The slideshow below shows how easily I can take down a skinny but tall tree.  Look at how the tooth bar cuts into the ground and through the roots with ease.  Nothing to it!    Awesome!

Next, I do a digging test.  I move a pile of dirt near the little pond at the bottom of our driveway.  This pile of dirt has been here for over a year and is well-settled, but the tooth bar slices right into it as if it were a fresh pile of dirt.  At last, I can finally dig very effectively with my loader.  So the Piranha tooth bar passes the test with flying colors. But, what really surprised me as how much the Piranha tooth bar improves back dragging.  The teeth breakup the soil while back dragging much like they do while digging, so it takes few passes to smooth the ground keeping the loader in float mode.  So the Piranha tooth bar also greatly improves back dragging effectiveness.

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