As posted on the Chinese Tractors Owner Association board (CTOA)
We've looked at both FEL's and we've sold both. We sell the ZL-20 by special order only. Our standard FEL is the KOYKER K160. The ZL-20 winds up costing about $1,000 less than the KOYKER because it's lighter duty. Does it work? sure, but the KOYKER is higher end.
Here are some of the differences. The ZL has only a "4" point mount, the KOYKER has "6". The sub-frame extender bars that run from the center pylons to the rear axles with the KOYKER, protect the bell housing from sudden shear or torque loads should you hit something with the bucket. The pylons handle some vertical shear load while the forward supports handle the majority. The center pylons are fastened with grade 5 bolts anchored in cast iron receivers. These pylons, without the rear mounting points handle ALL the lateral shear load. On a PSI basis, steels, any steels have a much wider elastic range that cast ferrous metals like iron. Translation, when you shear load a steel bolt anchored in cast iron, the casting cracks first, not the bolt. With the (2) rear mounts the shear load is transferred back to steel plates attached with steel bolts to steel fenders or receivers. When installed properly the rear mounts will protect the bell housing casting.
The older K150 KOYKERs used bolts as hinges for the loaders pivot points. They used to wear and get sloppy so the hinge points would have run out. The ZL20 still uses bolts. The K160 now uses 1.25" I think, floating hinge pins and 1"+ wide steel collars welded onto the arms. This means that the load is distributed over a much larger area and the hinges last much longer. They seem to be precision drilled too, so the swing is much more precise.
The dinol joystick KOYKER uses, is much softer with a shorter stroke than the (2) handle unit on the ZL20. You will also probably have to build a custom mount for the ZL valve for ergonomic reasons. The ZL20 is a perfectly functional FEL but we find the KOYKER to be a more refined product, which of course costs more. The KOYKER, aside from the lifting capacity and break pressures has a little more rollback, lift height, digging depth and reach than the ZL20 and has a larger bucket. The ZL20 bucket doesn't cover the full tire track of a JM254/284 while the 5' bucket fitted to the K160 does. Much handier when plowing or digging. Personal choice really...
Regards Graham Slieker of Bolton Power Equipment