Tuesday, April 11, 2017

More time with the loader

Dang Blogger keeps changing my posts. I checked today and my last two posts have black text even though my standard is supposed to be white. I had to go into each post and change it.

Anyway I've got a couple updates on the loader, when we last left our hero the loader was working as intended, well mostly anyway. I parked it behind the garage by where I keep the snowmobiles so I could keep an eye on it and of course we got some snow. I bought a new 12" cylinder for the bucket to replace the too long one so I decided I wanted to move the machine into the garage. Its a loader, it can dig itself out of the snow right? Well sorta.

I knew there was a tire with a slow leak and it'd gone soft but it seemed to be holding okay. After half an hour of digging out of the snow it finally let go and the tire spun on the rim. So everything went on hold while I bought tubes.

Fortunately (?) a tube is easier to install when the tire is already loose on the rim. I'll need to invest in new tires soon, these ones are badly weather checked but they'll do for now.

So with the tire back on and the wheel and wheel weight installed I made some more progress toward the garage until:

Cylinder top mount let go. Look close and you'll see some real booger welding there. Well fortunately its spring and the snow melted fast so last week I managed to get the tractor into the garage and got that link off the cylinder.

Wonder if somebody was really proud of that work?

I boxed it in and added a BUNCH of weld to make a new, stronger unit:

Boxed in sides mean I can run a bead of weld all the way around the outside so it'll be waaaaay stronger when I attach it. Unfortunately I don't have anything to attach it to yet...

On the learning front I've decided how to deal with the big hydraulic reservoir, you remember this one?

5 gallons of oil hanging nearly 2 feet off the rear of the tractor. I'd worried about using a smaller reservoir and still having enough capacity. So I went back to the loader plans I'd bought before from www.loaderplans.com. He uses the right side tower as a reservoir, I was still nervous so I emailed him, nice guy, he got right back to me and I realized that since these are double acting cylinders you don't need much extra fluid capacity since the cylinders are always full, just pushing in one direction or the other. So I'll drill some holes and see if the tower is water tight. Assuming they are I'll re-plumb everything and add in a filter which is conspicuously missing from the current system.

Turning my attention to the hydraulic pump, the system is REALLY jumpy, best I can tell I've got a 24GPM (gallon per minute) hydraulic pump which is way oversized. Correct for this machine would be more like 5GPM. So I'll be sourcing a smaller pump and building a new bracket.

Last thing, as I got the tractor into the garage I figured I ought to change the oil. I'd been running it pretty good and who knows the last time it'd had love? Hadta use a stuck bolt extractor to pull the plug:

The points were all rounded pretty bad. I think somebody had been putting it in way too tight and tried to get it out with a crescent wrench. A few minutes on the belt grinder got it back to shape:

Its a little undersized now but a 9/16" wrench fits on it with only a little slop and I didn't put it in crazy tight. It doesn't leak now and I'm curious why some ham-fist cranked it in but whatever, I'll take it as a win.
A little Mobil 1 5w40 synthetic oil made the engine way quieter, the stuff that came out was black as night and felt thin I don't know what it was but it amazes me people use cheap oil, after all the machine doesn't quite use a whole quart, why not spring for the good stuff?

Anyway we're making progress. I'm not going to be able to touch it for a couple weeks but when I get back I plan to work through our two major projects, the bucket rotate cylinder and the tower reservoir...