Get ready for the longest and most detailed update yet! Before you jump into an enormous amount of photos that concludes the finale of the hydraulic conversion project, I recommend throwing a bag of popcorn in the microwave as you're going to swear that you know this tractor in and out better than I do by the time we're done here.
To start things off, it's a little sad in a way as this update wraps up this summer project. It was A LOT of fun and one of the most satisfying and enjoyable projects that I have ever done by far. It was always on my mind, even at work where I would find myself thinking about more things that I could do to improve it further. It has not only made me grow a completely new appreciation for tractors like this but persuaded me like never before to search for another tractor project similar in nature to this (think Bolens large frame); it was a really enjoyable experience for me. That Bolens project won't be right away, but it will happen and part of the fun will be the research and finding the right machine.
This update will be a bit more involved and detailed than previous updates in the way that it'll put you in the driver's seat and show you firsthand the step-by-step process of the entire installation of the hydraulic system. If you make it to the end, you'll find a surprise photo during the first attempt at bringing it home that surfaced and hasn't been shown yet. I think it'll make for a good finale.
Well, go grab that popcorn and let's get started:
A lot of these the parts had to go on in a particular order. I have to admit that I found myself taking a few things apart multiple times during the process to get it right.
As you remember, I took advantage of having an area of rust fixed while things were a part. I told my bodyman that part of the intent of this project, appearance wise, is to preserve the original paint as much as possible yet fix the areas that need to be fixed such as the this rust area. Sure, some may argue that leaving this type of thing alone makes it that much more original and could be saved a for a future full resto. Me being me, I wanted it be structurally sound as much as possible while enjoying it in this state. That is just how I am.
The hydraulic tank had dents in it so I had the tank sandblasted, dents fixed and repainted- (I did this part). There was not much of the original paint on the tank left to begin with.
I decided not to paint the cap as the experience that I've had with past restoration projects like this, no matter how durable the paint is, the first place it's going to chip is the cap. Maybe it's partly because of the fumes.
These are the NOS parts that I ordered from Jerry Frank (PowerKingTractorBarn). One piece is a shorter hydraulic lift arm and the other is a foot guard. The foot guard has a fair amount of shelf wear and has scratches.
Before we begin installing those new parts, we'll take this opportunity to change the oil in the transmission. There's no easier and better time to access it than now with the body off.
In the Powerking community there is a well known trick to making the non-synchronized transmission shift smoother. By using a thicker weight oil (a lot of folks who do this will run straight STP engine additive) as it will slow the gears down quicker which not only helps prevent grinding but also quiets the drivetrain. They say the thicker oil also provides increased protection on the gears against wear.
As I've said before, this is one of the handiest tools to have in the garage. In case you're wondering, the color of that oil is a very dark green.
While the body was off I decided to mount the spotlight and begin routing the wiring. This photo shows the new terminals installed on the light.
The hydraulic tank also needed to be installed to the body before I could mount it back on the tractor. This is how you prevent the hydraulic tank strap from getting scratched during installation! It's pretty neat how the tractor is all setup for the system so things like these slots are already there. Remember that tool tray that resembled Mom's home biscuit tray (see below)? It sat directly on top of these slots.
Okay now that the light, wiring and hydraulic tank are installed onto the body, it can now be mounted back onto the tractor. The next step is to install the control valve which you can see directly under the seat. The original bolts were long enough to fit through everything, again, just as if it were made for it.
Next we install the pump.
If you've been following from way back when I first got the machine, you'll remember me mentioning how for some odd reason there was a hydraulic pump belt stored inside the bell housing. Well now is its big day, it's going to finally get to be put to use after all these years of sitting static in there. When I noticed it sitting in there I zip tied it to the side. As you can see it has some factory paint on it!
This is how I know this tractor has never seen a hydraulic system installed. Take a look at that mounting hole for the adjuster on the pump! I had to re-drill it round for it to work. Sheesh, I'll say!
Installing the belt- what an exciting day for it! :) Time to throw a party!
Up next is the installation of the cylinder. This is the mount that it connects to in the back. The manual lift setup did not make use of it before.
Careful here. It is crucial these parts go on in a particular order; cylinder, lift arm, mounting bolts and foot guard. Trial and error here for sure.
Preparation of the new hoses is next. Wrap the threads with Teflon tape.
It's good that we didn't use the old factory hoses, here are a couple of the bad spots!
Now the hoses can now be routed.
Gotta' love those factory grommets too! It's nice to see they're getting put to use too and just for show.
This is where the saved photos definitely pay off!
The ends of the hoses connected to the pump.
All hooked up!
Alright, we're nearing a fire up! Now we can fill the system up for the first time. Turns out that extra gallon won't be needed (even after fully pressurized), it took one full gallon exactly. I was a little concerned about the pump running dry for this first few moments of start up so I jacked the back of the tractor up in the air which allowed the hoses to fill up to the pump.
This part in the project is always nerve racking and my hands feel like they have sand flowing through them . Did all that hard work pay off? What if I have to retake everything a part again? These are the types of thoughts that always start rolling through my head.
Let's see how it works!
How about a quick walk-around of that LED spot light at night while we're at it?
Initial impressions about the operation and general characteristics of the system:
I must admit that I was half way expecting (and preparing myself) for the pump to draw a HP or two and make a noticeable drop in power, maybe not a lot, but noticeable. I was also wondering how loud the whine of the pump would be. Turning the key for the first time and the starter sounded the same and cranked the engine over at the same rate of speed. I was figuring that I would for sure have to turn the idle speed up just a bit at the very lowest setting. It turns out that it still has no problem at all running at the lowest setting where you can count the strokes. While I have not really worked the tractor yet and put it under a good load, from what I can so far, there is actually no real noticeable difference in power. The pump is extremely quite as well, in fact I don't even know that it's there unless the idle speed is very low and you can detect a faint whine.
The operation of the hydraulic system itself is very smooth. The moving parts (mowing deck & 3pt.) do not jump when you press the lever in either direction and overall has a composed, yet, strong feeling. I'm excited to find a blade for it someday and put the 3pt. to work.
Below are a few more photos to wrap things up.
It's surprising how much the engine cover makes the pump disappear! You hardly notice it there now.
Looking at this photo makes me want to cry. This is when it was dragging its feet (literally) and wasn't sure where it was going and what was going to happen to it.
Edited by Austen, September 09, 2013 - 10:46 PM.