Thank you all for the quick replies. Very much appreciated.
To mikebramel: I only blow snow with this tractor... that's why I loaded it with 5W-20. I will do as you suggest... load the system as much as possible.
It also occurred to me that the line going to the gage may have trapped air. I'm a hydraulics dummy... do I need to pull gage off of line to make sure fluid is up against gage?
To JDBrian and KennyP: Thank you both as well. I will look in the manuals area for diagnostic procedure.
Kevin, I have left you an eMail at your business mail address.
I believe the 5W20 is your root cause ... simply not viscous enough for this application. Even thin for winter in your area. I recommend 15W40 for year round in SE Mich, and 10W30 if winter only oil. For sure, 5W20 would not cut it during August ...
Further, I suspect you are tapped in to a lift cylinder circuit, not the main supply circuit. Try exercising the lift while looking for pressure. Up to 600 psi would be normal at lift relief.
This oil will work fine in the lift, but simply bypass the clearances (and not demand much pressure) in the hydraulic motor. Happy to help locally, old friend, if you would like to do that.