What is a tractor third function valve kit, and what are the benefits of one?

TFK2 Deutsch (1)

A Third Function Valve is a hydraulic control valve that’s installed on your tractor in order to add an additional hydraulic function. It’s often called a Third Function as it’s used to control an additional third hydraulic cylinder, the first two cylinders being on a front-end loader (Tilt/Curl). A hydraulic control valve allows fluid to flow in and out of cylinders or hydraulic motors to extend/retract them with the push of a button or moving a handle.

Most commonly these Third Function Valves are installed downstream from a loader valve via the power beyond port, and can be used for a wide range of implements such as:

  • Grapples
  • Augers
  • Snowplow tilt
  • Snow blower
  • Broom

A common configuration of third function valve setups is shown below. They are typically connected to the power beyond of your loader valve, or they can be connected directly to your hydraulic pump.

Hydraulic Solenoid Directional Control Valve, Double Acting, 4 Spool, 27 GPM, 12v

We sell Third Function Kits that can be installed onto any machine. If you have a Kubota, John Deere, Kioti Bobcat, or LS Tractor, we may have a machine specific kit created that will be everything you’ll need to install a third function. If you have a machine that we don’t have a kit for yet, a Universal Third Function Kit will work great.

Third Function Valve Vs. Diverter Valve

An alternative to installing another hydraulic control valve (Third Function Valve), is to install a diverter valve. These valves divert the flow of fluid from one hydraulic cylinder to another, either manually or electronically. Another way to think of this is to imagine a tractor with a front-end loader that you want to install a grapple. You could remove the hydraulic lines from the tilt circuit of your loader and attach them to your grapple every time you wanted to open and close your grapple, however this doesn’t make much sense. Alternatively, you could install a diverter valve in-line with your tilt function. When you activate that diverter, the flow of fluid would divert away from your tilt function, and go to your grapple. See the illustration below.

Hydraulic Solenoid Selector DV50 Instruction Diagram

What’s the benefit of a Third Function Valve over a diverter?

Summit Hydraulic Product Kit BreakdownThird Function Valve KitDiverter Valve Kit
Location on Tractor?FrontFront
Solenoid or Manually Operated?SolenoidBoth
Continuation or diversion of fluid?ContinuationDiversion
Link?Learn MoreLearn More

Diverter valves must divert fluid away from another hydraulic implement, in order to provide fluid to the new implement. However, with a true third function, you are installing a new control valve which can be used in conjunction with any of your other hydraulic implements.

Summit Hydraulics employee installing a grapple to a Kioti tractor using our third function kit.

27 thoughts on “What is a tractor third function valve kit, and what are the benefits of one?

  1. Robert Harris says:

    I am wanting to run a hydraulic post hole digger and a grapple on a 675 John Deere skid steer. Will your third function valve allow me to lift and tilt the bucket and drill a hole at the same time?

    • Ryan Shumakker says:

      Hello, Yes the 3rd function kit will allow you to lift and tilt the bucket and drill a hole at the same time.



  2. Brant says:

    I have a Kubota L5740 cab tractor. It didn’t come with rear remotes so I added 2 using a diverter valve kit made by tractor innovations. Can I now just run the grapple lines to the rear remote without needing a 3rd function remote?

    • Steve Sandefur says:

      Hello Brant,

      A hydraulic diverter valve allows you to individually control two double or single acting cylinders from a single control valve by diverting fluid from one cylinder to another when activated, giving you a simple way to add auxiliary components to your system. Another way of thinking about diverter valves is this: Imagine you want to add a grapple, but you don’t have any hydraulic lines connected to your grapple yet. You could Disconnect the lines from you tilt function, and plug them into your grapple every time you wanted to use the grapple, but that would get old really quick. So instead you install a diverter valve, which allows you to electrically “switch hoses” from your tilt to your grapple and back again with a push of a button.

      A true third function kit allows you to independently control the flow of hydraulic fluid in and out of a cylinder (or a number of cylinders), using a series of either separate switches or switches contained within a joystick. When the button is pressed, the solenoid opens the flow of fluid to the cylinder, either extending or retracting it. Our third function valve kit is is connected via the power beyond port of your existing loader valve which will allow you to use multiple functions at the same time (i.e. curl bucket and close grapple). This allows full control of additional circuits/cylinders without losing control of other hydraulic systems.

      A diverter valve will divert fluid from an existing implement to control a new one. So, you could use your diverter kit for your grapple, but this means that your existing implement will be inoperable while using your grapple. If you do not want to lose any functionality to your implements, you will want a true third function kit.



  3. rick a says:

    do you have a third function kit package set for a Mahindra 1626 that i know i would be getting the right parts so as not to order the wrong stuff and a price for it thanks

  4. Russell Ralston says:

    I have a jd 3046r with mid mount mower. I want to add a grapple function when the mower is removed. Do you have any suggestions?

  5. Robert Dunn says:

    I have a JD 4510 with 460 loader. In the rear, I have a Power Beyond Setup that was used with back-how ( now removed) do I need a third thumb or can I come off the power beyond unit?

  6. Chuck in Washington says:

    Hi, I have a Kioti PX 1153 Tractor with Loader, factory 3rd function and two rear remotes.
    I want to add a SkidPro 6 way Dozer Blade on the front loader but I’m not sure what I need to make the Tilt and Angle work, can you help me figure it out? Thanks

  7. Rod Richeson says:

    I recently purchased a Massey GC1725MB with backhoe and a mechanical thumb. I would really like to change the thumb to hydraulic, but it seems it is a little more complicated than adding a third function. Any roadmaps to accomplish that?

  8. Mauro Dalla Bona says:

    I have a Daewoo Mega loader 200 III
    Do you have a specific kit for this machine?
    Looking to install a hydraulic snow plow

    • Steve Sandefur says:


      We do not have a kit with adequate flow capacity for your machine at this time. Sorry about that.



  9. Robert Horta says:

    Hello I have a John deere 4320 with a 400x front end loader and I’m looking to buy a root grapple from titan item111210 and I need the 3rd function valve do you know what kit I need to buy?

  10. Everette Ramsey says:

    Does Summit have a specific 3rd function control valve for a M7040 Kubota tractor? Adding a grapple to the loader would recommend a third function or a diverted control valve.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *