The good news is you don’t need a magic wand or a degree in engineering to get the right fork for your wheel loader, telehandler, forklift or skid steer. Even better, you also don’t have to pay high OEM prices for a set of forks either! While a set of calipers can provide the most accurate dimensions, a standard or metric tape measure will do the job for most fork applications.
When measuring, remember that most dimensions have a ± factor so finding your dimension to .001 isn’t necessary. Usually, any dimension ± of ⅛” (.125 or 3mm) on fork mounting hardware is acceptable. Auxiliary items like lugs or other features may require more precision and having a caliper on hand in these scenarios can be helpful.
ITA or hook style forks are by far the easiest to measure. This mounting style covers about 75 % of the forks in the world. In the US market, measuring the outer distances of the two bars is all that is needed since this style was standardized across the industry in the 1970s. See Illustration 1. Our Standard ITA spec sheet provides these standard dimensions. Additional spec sheets are also available for other ITA applications like rotator forks, fork positioners, non-standard clip type forks and negative drop forks for machines like Princeton and Moffat.
The significant remainder of fork mountings involves some variation of a shaft mounted fork. It is important to note that when measuring anything circular that measurements are taken from the center line of the object to a fixed point. An example is the horizontal center line of the fork bushing to the fixed point of the fork heel. See Illustration 2. This principle holds true when filling in dimensions for lugs and positioners. Use any of our Shaft Mount spec sheets to determine which measuring points you should use.
With the vital fork dimensions in hand, you can be confident that the fork you order is going to fit your machine properly. All supplied specifications are manufactured based on these dimensions with the guidance of our staff engineer and by our experienced, certified welders. For any questions or help with complex material handling solutions, call the expert fork technicians at All Pro Forks.