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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Back in June I was finally able to attend the yearly Gravel Club of Americas mow in as it was within a reasonable driving distance from my house. The location varies from year to year and this year it was held in Rhinebeck New York.

Just like other brand get togethers there is no shortage of vendors selling all kinds of things from whole machines to pieces and parts. I went looking for specific things I needed and the loader wasn't really one of them but the wife saw a vendor we've bought from in the past and said to ask him if he knew of any loaders for sale. Turns out he had three but not with him. In case you haven't guessed this yet, getting a loader was just as much the wifes idea as it was mine.

Back story, I had been thinking of getting a loader and was looking at the usual places but I never said anything to the wife. One day we were driving down the highway and a truck hauling a trailer with a GT and loader was going the other way, the wife sees it and says to me we need one of those.

After giving her the who the heck are you and where's my wife look I told her I was already looking but hadn't found anything I liked yet.

Back at the mow in, I make arrangements to meet with the vendor at his house the following weekend and see what he has. Two he had were older models, well used and had been sitting outside for a long time, both needed work. The third was NOS, the newer model and needed nothing more than some maintenance.

The NOS one he wanted $2000 for, it was worth it but it was more than I wanted to spend, the better of the two older models was $600 and was the one I bought.

Also while there my wife pointed out a Haban sickle mower he had, something else I had been looking for that she knew about and it too was loaded in the truck. But as they say that is another story.

The good: the loader is pretty complete, the only thing missing is the braces that tie the supports to the tractor body.

The bad: it's rusty, needs new rods for the bucket cylinders and all new hoses and seal kits for the cylinders.

Here it is sitting behind my storage tent.

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This is for Gravely then?? What kind of tractor model, need pictures? A good tear-down and blast/paint will make it new again. Hoses from farm stores aren't that expensive, or many shops can make just the length you need. If mine, would first try to clean-off the rods, get the burrs off, it will leave pits for minor leaking maybe, but I would be trying them as is first and see how it goes. After clean-up, maybe just replace the top seals on each one to try it. I bet rods cost as much or more than a whole cylinder might. I DO like those extra long levers on the control, wish more brands had that decent size. Tennis ball has to GO!
 

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Nice save, but by the time you get it all cleaned up, cylinders fixed/re[placed and new hoses, you will probably in to it for more than the $2000 NOS one.....just saying,,,
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I knew I needed new bucket cylinder rods and seal kits all around but I also need to tear the hydraulic components to inspect them for more problems, if any and put together a repair parts list. So dis-assembly of the loader is underway.

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I brought the cylinders into work because we have a better work bench there than I do at home. It's all steel and very strong. I will need this to get the cylinders apart. The end caps are aluminum and held in with a snap ring. From sitting, the aluminum oxidizes and forms a strong bond to the cylinder itself. Here's one of the bucket cylinders, apart showing what I'm talking about.

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Both cylinders apart and the loader valve cleaned up.

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This shows the damaged rod and the oxidation better.

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The loader arms cylinder. These were the worst to get apart.

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This picture tell me the loader has sat probably outside for a very long time. This is some serious pitting, fortunately it doesn't effect the strength of the cylinders.

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This is for Gravely then?? What kind of tractor model, need pictures? A good tear-down and blast/paint will make it new again. Hoses from farm stores aren't that expensive, or many shops can make just the length you need. If mine, would first try to clean-off the rods, get the burrs off, it will leave pits for minor leaking maybe, but I would be trying them as is first and see how it goes. After clean-up, maybe just replace the top seals on each one to try it. I bet rods cost as much or more than a whole cylinder might. I DO like those extra long levers on the control, wish more brands had that decent size. Tennis ball has to GO!
I'll get to the tractor pictures soon enough. The rods are toast and not worth fussing with plus I'm getting new rods pretty cheap.

Nice save, but by the time you get it all cleaned up, cylinders fixed/re[placed and new hoses, you will probably in to it for more than the $2000 NOS one.....just saying,,,
Believe it or not with paint and new parts, hoses, rods and seals I'll be at about $1100 that's including the purchase price. Other than making the rods I'm doing all the work myself. I'm keeping the unit so I don't factor in my labor.

Some how or other I ended up quoting one post twice. Sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Next on the list is fitting it to the tractor. This loader was made specifically for the Gravely 400 and 800 series riders so it should go fairly easy.

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I used clamps to hold the sub frame up in position so I could get some measurements, I was told on another forum the sub frame worked well as is for the 400 series but was somewhat lacking on the 800's. Kwik way re engineered the sub frame to go back to the rear snow plow mounts and I will be doing the same to my sub frame.

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Loader arms and bucket in place.

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The test fit was a success. Everything looks good.

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gl, when your hands get stiff and hurt with arthritis you will appreciate a larger knob that a little dinky ping pong ball sized one.
Been there and still there.
 
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Nice tractor, think those are neat rigs. Like that guard over engine, never seen one before, makes good sense. Where's the weight box go then?? Maybe with all that engine and tractor out back there, won't need much more than wheel weights?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Nice tractor, think those are neat rigs. Like that guard over engine, never seen one before, makes good sense. Where's the weight box go then?? Maybe with all that engine and tractor out back there, won't need much more than wheel weights?
The tractor is a '72, it didn't come with the guard I modified this one to fit. It comes on the zero turns.

I may have to add some rear weight but so far the plan is tubing and filling the rear tires and adding wheel weights to both sides of the rims. 50's on the outside and 35's on the inside.

Look at my 816 thread, starting at post 34. It shows my weight idea and the modified guard.

http://gardentractortalk.com/forums/topic/43967-816-rider-rebuild-my-current-project/page-3
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here's the sub frame with the pump.

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Time to get into this. The cross arms that hold the uprights had gotten water in them at some point and it froze bulging out the side and blowing out one of the welds.

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A quick trip through my shop press

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It's square again.

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I still need to weld up the broken weld seam but leaf clean up has taken a lot of my free time so things are slowing down some.
 

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Nice work! That thing is the definition of neglect..what a shame. Glad to see it's being brought to service. Not much that is more fun than getting a loader up and going.

Around here I have found that hydro work is ridiculously expensive. 2 new rods and the cut open/reweld of the cylinders they go in was quoted to me at $550. um, no.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
$550 is nuts, if the cylinders are standard (mine aren't) then you can buy new ones cheaper than that. Assuming we're talking small loaders here.

If you think mine is bad the other one that was there was worse. All four cylinders were shot and needed new rods and the rust was worse too. But you're right about this being fun, I'm having a blast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I started working on clean up of the rest of the loader since the fit test went well. One method I had read about for rust removal is simply white vinegar. It makes sense because after all it's a mild acid.

I wanted to do a test run first so I gathered up some of the small parts and bought a couple of gallons.

Here's the coupling for the pump. Not a lot of heavy rust.

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Into a 5 gallon bucket where they sat for a few days. This is not a fast method but I assure you it's thorough.

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The coupling after.

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm hoping that in the next few weeks I can get the hydraulic parts I need, minus the new rods for now. Things are going to get crazy at work the first week of December so I may not be able to work on this as much as I'd like to. I'd like to have parts on hand for when I do have the time here and there instead of letting it sit.

Here's another favorite part of mine, paint. The larger parts I did with a wire wheel because I don't have a tank big enough.

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The uprights and pump. There's a transformer at work that runs a constant 98 degrees, I like to lay the freshly painted parts on it to cure overnight after the paint sets up enough to handle safely.

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The sub frame.

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The hard lines for the hydraulics and the mount for the loader valve.

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I still need to clean and paint the arms and the bucket, extend the sub frame and paint it plus the cylinders. I'm going to rebuild the cylinders before painting them so there's little to no touch up required.

When things finally slow down at work the tractor is going to get torn down and repainted, that will be put in the 816 thread. When all is said and done the tractor and loader will look good as new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well one more major hurdle done and it's the most expensive one. I went to a local hydraulic shop and had all new hoses made up along with a bunch of new fittings. I also picked up all new software to rebuild the cylinders.
I have to work over the thanksgiving holiday so besides painting more parts I'm going to go through and label which hose goes where and pull the hydraulic valve apart to clean it and replace the o rings. I still need to pick up a filter assembly too.
I'm still trying to figure out a good way to get the loader arms and bucket done. Those are really big. It's too cold to paint at the house right now and loading them into my truck I run a high risk of damaging the fresh paint.

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I've seen quite a few questions asked about the loader spool valves and figured while I'm at it I'd document the tear down and rebuild here in my thread for anyone who may have their own questions.
They're actually pretty simple to work on.

So lets take some of the mystery out of hydraulic valves.
I completely took this thing apart because of some rather interesting stuff I found inside. I did leave the relief valve alone as there was no need to take it apart.
Here are the pictures.

Before.

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Segments separated.

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A bit of corrosion happening between the aluminum ends and the bolts that hold the whole thing together.

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See what I mean. YUCK!

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This one is the loader arm valve.

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Bucket valve.

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The preliminary cleaning is done, I thought I had some scotch brite pads at work but no. I brought some in on my next shift and gave the bodies a good scrubbing and prep them for painting. The aluminum I'll leave as is.
I guess I need to go back to the hydraulic shop and get some more orings too.

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I did finally just figure out what's wrong with one of the spool valves. I kept reading that the loader arm valve has a built in float position. The evidence of that is the longer aluminum cap. However mine wouldn't stay in the float position so I started thinking maybe mine doesn't have float.
While doing some more cleaning tonight I was looking at the parts and thought it has to have a float position but why is it not working.
Answer, because the detente ball that holds the spool in the float position is missing.
I'll have to size it up and get a replacement. At least I'll have float for leveling material.

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