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The best forklift brand to buy…from a parts perspective

Looking for a used forklift? Visit our Forklift Buying Guide.

Intella’s Perspective

Often we get customers who ask us what the best forklift brand is to purchase.  Since we supply forklift parts, our customers think we may have some insight in terms of what brand is best.

We’ll start by stating the somewhat obvious (since this is a blog) comment that this is purely opinion.  Not fact,  but something more than conjecture since we’ve been in this business for over 30 years.

Important Points When Choosing a Brand

Here are what we, forklift parts experts, consider the top areas to consider when evaluating one forklift brand over another.

  1.  Good parts support.  We sell forklift parts and every day we get phone calls from customers looking for parts that are either backordered by the forklift manufacturer, or simply out of stock.  If we were buying a forklift, we’d want to make sure that parts are available and your equipment won’t be down and inoperable because a part is backordered.

Parts support comes in a few different forms.  Certainly having inventory of a part is the most obvious measurement of whether or not the manufacturer supports the equipment.  But other real world scenarios involve the support the manufacturer provides in the form of parts and service manuals.  We’ve seen plenty of instances where the manufacturer couldn’t even come up with a part number for the part needed, let alone give an answer on whether or not the part was in stock.

What sort of components are used in the forklift? Suppose you’re buying an electric forklift. Ask who manufacturers the electric motor. Ask who makes the control system. Certain control systems are easy to find parts for (such as GE, Curtis, Zapi) but others can be real difficult to obtain parts for. Years ago Yale used Mazda diesel engines. Not a bad engine, but Mazda Japan’s only customer for diesel engines in the USA was Yale forklift. That became a problem years after the trucks were sold as there was virtually no aftermarket support for Mazda diesel in the USA.

  1. There are forklift mechanics who will work on the model and brand of forklift you’re looking at buying.  This seems pretty simple.  But some newer models sometimes require unique software which is only available to the dealer.  That fact alone is not enough to condemn a particular brand of equipment since sometimes the software is only required for quite obscure repairs.  But there are certain brands and models of equipment that forklift mechanics don’t like to work on for various reasons.  Ask your mechanic if they’re OK working on the model of forklift you’re considering purchasing.  If there is only one dealer or one mechanic willing to work on the brand/model of forklift you’re considering, you’ll have very few options in case your mechanic can’t figure out a particular repair. Ask whoever is selling you the forklift if there are non OEM mechanics that work on the brand of forklift you’re considering.
  1. Good parts pricing.  We supply aftermarket forklift parts for most brands and models of forklifts.  We see parts prices every day and we  can make some general statements regarding parts prices of various brands. In general, forklifts made by American companies tend to be less expensive than European or Japanese brands.

Exceptions to this rule can be found but in general it holds true. Historically Japanese forklift manufacturers would keep their parts prices very high and defend those prices by pointing out to customers that their forklift was more reliable. The argument went something like this: Sure our forklift’s torque converter is expensive at $2200.00 but we only sell one torque converter for every 10,000 forklifts in population. Not a bad argument but pity the poor guy who indeed needs a torque converter and it costs 5 times the amount as an American built forklift.

  1.  Easy to work on — not proprietary systems. Some brands of forklifts are difficult for mechanics for non OEM dealers to work on. Or for your own mechanic to work on. Check out if there are service passwords required to access key maintenance information on the forklift.
  1.  Built in the region of the world where you are located. If you’re thinking about buying a forklift that has rarely been sold in your country, you’re probably asking for trouble. We’ve seen this countless times with obscure European brands coming to North America, and obscure American brands arriving in Europe. It’s very difficult for manufacturers to support equipment that is rarely sold in your area. Today they might say they have plenty of parts on the shelf, but what happens in 5 or 10 years when you still have the forklift but priorities have changed, parts for your forklift are considered ‘dead stock’ for lack of sales, and no one remembers the promises made to you. Which leads us to our final point.
  1.  Lots of forklifts sold—you’re not a buying a unique or rare model of forklift.

Why?  We’ve all heard the expression “success breeds success”.  Well, it’s similar with forklifts.  The more of a certain type of forklift that gets sold, the more likely there will be competitively priced aftermarket forklift parts, and the more likely that there will be technicians that can work on your forklift, and the more likely you will have competitive choices when it comes to maintaining your forklift.

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Post by Intella Parts Company, LLC

How to reset a Toyota forklift maintenance light

.Do you need to reset the service interval on your Toyota forklift?  Read below to learn how to easily reset the service interval after you perform preventative maintenance on your Toyota forklift.

Q: How do I reset the maintenance hour meter on a Toyota forklift?

A: In order to reset the Toyota forklift maintenance light, an administrative password must first be entered in order to reach the administrator menu normally inaccessible to general operators. From this menu, the maintenance hour meter can be set.

In order to complete these steps, certain combinations must be entered in the dashboard display shown below. For reference during these instructions, the four buttons used have been labeled A through D. It may help to familiarize yourself with these instructions before attempting to complete the to reset a Toyota forklift maintenance light

Entering the administrative password:


1. Press and hold buttons B and D simultaneously for 2 seconds. A short beep should sound both at the beginning of the 2 seconds and after 2 seconds has passed.


2. Press button C within 10 seconds. Another beep should sound. Repeat this by pressing button C once more within 10 seconds, hearing again a short beep.


3. Within 10 seconds, press and hold buttons B and D simultaneously for 2 seconds. Like before, a short beep sounds when B and D are first pressed, but now after 2 seconds, repeated short beeps sound. The administrator menu should be to reset a toyota forklift maintenance light: toyota dash 2

Shown above is an example of how the administrator menu might look. To navigate the menu, button A moves down a  list of settings, buttons B and C move from list to list of settings, and button D selects a setting and moves to its individual screen.


Resetting the maintenance hour meter:


1. Locate the setting “MAINTENANCE HR” and use button D to select it. It should look similar to the menu to reset a toyota forklift maintenance light: toyota dash 3


2. To set the time for the maintenance hour meter, buttons A through D have certain functions. Holding Button A for more than 2 seconds resets the current value selected to 0. Button B reduces the set time for the meter, Button C increases the set time for the meter, and Button D returns to the administrator menu screen.

NOTE: Time can be set in 10-hour increments from 10 to 200 hours, then in 50-hour increments from 200 to 2000 hours. It cannot be set below 10 or above 2000 hours.


Locking the operator setting menu (DX model only):


1. Locate the setting “MENU LOCK” and use button D to select it.


2. Locking this menu limits the setting values that can be changed by general operators. Setting to “YES” will prevent the display of the setting menu for an operator. Button B selects “YES,” Button C selects “NO,” and Button D returns to the administrator menu screen.

For further reading, we also offer our article on how to perform basic forklift maintenance.

Get all of your Toyota forklift parts at Intella LiftParts!

Post by Intella Parts Company, LLC

Forklift chain failures


Recognizing Modes of Failure

There are many ways that chains on forklifts can fail. It is very important to recognize the signs of these many modes of failure before they result in further damage to the forklift, its load, or its operator. Listed below are a few of these types of forklift chain failures.


Q: What is normal chain wear?

A: This is the wear that is accounted for by the normal life of the chain and is caused by typical use of the chain. The sections of the chain that move over sprockets or sheaves (doing the greatest amount of work) should be most closely monitored for this type of wear.


Q: What is plate edge chain wear?

Plate Edge WearA: When a chain runs over a sheave, the side that is in contact with the sheave can be worn down. This decreases the height of the plate and makes the chain asymmetrical. An example is shown to the right.

Q: What are distorted or damaged chain plates?

A: If the plates of the chain are damaged or distorted, it can interrupt the running of the lift chain.


Q: What are turned or protruding forklift chain pins?Turned Pins

A: Forklift chains are held together by pins placed within plates. If a chain is not sufficiently lubricated or is under unusual tension, its plates can create enough friction to turn a pin. This may cause the pin to protrude from the chain, eventually screwing out of the plates and resulting in failure. An example is shown to the right.


Q: What is forklift chain pin head wear?

A: If a chain is not aligned correctly, the heads of the pins holding the plates of the chain together can be worn down.


Q: Why might a chain plate crack?

Fig 1

A: There are many reasons that a plate may crack. Fatigue cracking is due to the chain bearing a greater load than it is able to bear, and its cracks begin at the pin hole in the plate or perpendicular to the chain pitch line. Stress corrosion cracking is due to the chain being used in a non-ideal environment. Cracking may also be due to certain combinations of both environmental conditions and stress. An example is shown to the right.


Q: What is a tight forklift chain joint?

A:  If a joint within a forklift chain is too tight, the chain may not rotate as freely as it should. Friction builds up in the joints of the forklift chain and speeds up the process of wear on the chain. Tight joints can be caused by bent or rusty pins and plates.

Q: What is forklift chain tensile failure?

Fig 4A:  Repeatedly loading a forklift chain beyond its elastic limit can cause tensile failure. This form of failure stretches and bends side plates. It also stretches the plate holes and may cause them to break. An example is shown to the right.


Q: What causes enlarged chain holes?

Fig 5A: Enlarged holes in the plates of the chain are likely due to misalignment of the chain. To fix this problem, replace the forklift chain and fix the misalignment. An example of enlarged holes is shown to the right.

Need to Know How to Install a Forklift Chain

Installing new forklift chain?  Check out our how to video on Youtube here.



Post by Intella Parts Company, LLC

How to clear Caterpillar and Mitsubishi forklift error codes

Q: How do I clear Caterpillar and Mitsubishi forklift error codes?

A: Clearing codes for Caterpillar and Mitsubishi forklifts is a very precise process. It helps to be familiar with these steps before attempting to clear forklift codes. It is also suggested that you use a stopwatch to time yourself accurately, as many steps require precise amounts of time before proceeding to following steps. The diagram shown is meant to present these steps visually.    Be patient–even seasoned Caterpillar and Mitsubishi forklift mechanics get tripped up at times on these procedures!


1. Start the stopwatch and turn the forklift key switch on simultaneously. Do not press the accelerator.


2. Wait 3 seconds, then press the forklift accelerator five times in
succession, ending the set of five with the pedal released.  You need to do this within 5 seconds–if pushing the accelerator five times in a row takes longer than 5 seconds you risk never clearing the codes.


3. Wait 7 seconds, then press and hold the accelerator for 10 seconds or more until the malfunction indication light starts flashing.


4. Immediately release the accelerator pedal. This starts a self-diagnostic test, and the dashboard display will show one or more blinking forklift DTC codes.


5. Leave the pedal released for 10 seconds or more.


6. Press and hold the accelerator for 10 seconds or more. Doing so erases the results of the self-diagnostic test, successfully clearing the forklift codes. Only the current hour meter will be displayed on the dashboard; no codes should be present

7. Release the pedal and turn the key switch off.


8. Restart the forklift’s engine and make sure operation of the forklift is normal.

Important note!  Any service code related to the pedals themselves (such as brake light switches, etc) will never be cleared by this procedure.  The only way to resolve those codes is with the dealer provided service software.

Working on a Cat or Mitsubishi forklift?  If you need parts, Intella can help.  We have thousands of parts available for most models of Cat and Mitsubishi forklifts.  Click here for more information.

Having trouble with error codes from another brand? Check out these other helpful links:

Check out Intella’s Youtube channel for how-to videos and product demonstration videos.

Post by Intella Parts Company, LLC

Forklift engines

Note: Shop Perkins engine parts now!

In the United States, counter balanced forklifts are split nearly equally between electric powered models and models powered by internal combustion engines.  In 2013, a total of 52,834 electric powered lift trucks were sold and a total of 66,473 engine powered forklifts were sold.  That’s a split of around 44% for electric and 56% gas powered.

Curious what a rebuilt forklift engine costs?  Click here for some ball park costs and click here for a vast array of forklift engine parts. Need propane regulators, we have them too!

Although you won’t read it on their websites or brochures, most forklift manufacturers do NOT manufacture their own engine for the forklifts they build.  Here are engines used in various makes and models of forklifts.

Hyster forklifts:

Hyster models such as S50FT and H50FT will frequently be sold with the GM 2.4L engine.  This forklift engine is built in Brazil by GM for another automotive application.

gm 2.4 vortec intella
Mzzda FE forklift engine
Mazda FE forklift engine

Yale offers the GM 2.4 as well in models like GLC050VX or GLP50VX though most Yale dealers have a preference:  the Mazda FE forklift engine.  Yale has used Mazda forklift engines for years and most Yale service personnel will tell you they think it’s a tough, durable engine.  Yale used other models in the past as well: the UA, VA in LPG and gas models and even Mazda diesel forklift engines.

Larger Hyster and Yale forklifts in the 8,000 pound up until 15,000 pound capacity frequently use the GM 4.3 liter forklift engine.  This engine is used in other brands of forklifts as well–even Toyota, Mitsubishi, and “Cat 50 forklift” uses this engine.  It’s a good engine, reasonably priced, made in America, and parts are easy to find.  Forklift manufacturers will rarely reference the brand of engine in their new brochures but you can usually deduce the brand by the displacement–if a forklift has a 4.3 liter engine, there’s a 99% chance it’s a GM 4.3

forklift engine gm intella liftparts

Caterpillar and Mitsubishi forklifts are identical except for the color and decals on the forklifts.  Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift builds both brands on its forklifts in Houston, Texas and Japan.  For heart of the line models, MCF used the Mitsubishi 4G63 and 4G64 engine.

These forklift engines were built in Japan and were also used in some other brands of forklifts.

4G64 forklift engine
MITSUBISHI 4G64 forklift engine

Mitsubishi, Caterpillar, and Nissan forklift divisions began using the Nissan K21 and K25 engines several years ago.  Typically fitted with a Nikki LPG fuel system, these forklift engines have proven fairly reliable.  K21 is 2.1 liter displacement; K25 is a 2.5 liter displacement engine.

K21 forklift engine
Nissan K21 K25 forklift engine

Toyota uses its own 4Y engine in its heart of the line forklift models such as 8FGCU15, 8FGCU25.  This engine has been the workhorse of Toyota forklift models for over 20 years and parts are readily found for it.  It will be typically equipped with an Aisan LPG fuel system.

Toyota 4Y forklift engine
Toyota 4Y forklift engine

The point of this posting was to highlight some engines used in forklifts that were built over the past 10-15 years.   In a future post, we’ll consider some of the engines used years ago such as…

Continental Y112, F163 (mostly used in Clark)

Ford (mostly used in Hyster)

Waukesha: D176 D155 (used in Clark)

Isuzu: (used in Hyster diesel forklifts)

Perkins: (used in Hyster, Caterpillar and a few others)

Cummins (current diesel engine of choice for Hyster, Yale, Taylor and Kalmar forklifts)

Peugeot XN1P:  this French engine used in Caterpillar forklifts built in the 1980s

Hercules: used in Caterpillar and a few Doosan engines

Hyundai: used in Korean forklift brands such as Samsung, Doosan (a.k.a. Daewoo) and Clark.

Nissan: H20, H25, H20-II mostly used in Nissan, TCM, and Komatsu

Volkswagen: used exclusively in Linde.

Buy remanufactured forklift engines here!

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Post by Intella Parts Company, LLC