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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

I've been mulling this one for awhile.....I have a Massey 12H and have always thought about putting a front end loader on it. I think I would have to build it from scratch seeing that used ones are expensive and hard to find locally. I rebuilt the engine last year. Would the hydraulics put a lot of atrain on the motor? And roughy how big a bucket could I put on? I know hydraulics can be a whole crash course.

Just looking for something economical that will help with chores in the yard.
 

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I don't know you GT, but most FEL's have a seperate hydraulic pump because the hydro pump just isn't capable of handling the additional hydraulic need.
 

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I did this in 1978 with a MF12H and used it extensively for 7 years. I also learned a few lessons in the process.

Lesson #1 - The subframe MUST be attached to the rear axle. I broke my tractor in half 3 times before I figured this out and how to prevent it from happening again.

Lesson #2 - Be carefull of how and where ballast is applied. I snapped an axle tube when I hit a large bump at speed with too much weigh riding in a bucket behind the tractor.

Lesson #3 - Heavy ballast applied properly is key to effective use. Load the tires with the heaviest fluid available. In those days it was calcium chloride. Today, the best choice is the slightly lighter Rim Guard. Windshield washer fluid or RV antifreeze are poor substitutes for loader work with a light GT. Wheel weights are also essential, as is a certain amount of weight at the rear of the tractor. Duals for the rear tires are NOT a good idea.

Lesson #4 - Do not play in mud with a FEL equiped tractor. There is a lot of weight on the relatively small front tires . . . before picking up 400 - 500 lb of payload. Have good 4 ply tires on the front. They will be overloaded on a regular basis.

Lesson #5 - While I never had a problem, others have found that the 3/4" front spindles were sometimes a little weak. The front axle pivot in the frame is subject to a lot of strain as well. Keep at least 2 tie rod ends on hand. The steering box and tie rod ends are subject to accelerated wear.

The bucket that I had was 40" wide and barely adequate for my tasks. If I was to do this project again, the bucket would be no less than 42" wide and no more than 45", which would be pushing things a bit far, depending on the tasks involved.

The hydraulics put considerably less strain on the engine than the mower deck. There is a maximum of 3 hp required . . . and you'll never use it all.

Your wallet, on the other hand, may not survive the project. The price for new components for the hydraulic system is north of $1000, and the steel could easily be as high as $600.

Is it worth the money? Oh, yeah! Aside from the knowledge and skills gained fabricating a loader, The uses it can be put to are impressive. The fact that it does all the back breaking chores is pure heaven! I have had a loader on the 12H, and the identical loader arms on a MF1655 for another 22 years of service, and now have a MF GC2310 TLB that won't lift as much as the 1655.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Tudor,

Thanks for the well thought out response. I didn't realize the hydraulics were so expensive. Almost makes it worth a deposit on a GC. The strain on the front end and rear axle is a concern for me. I've found that the POs of this tractor used it heavily for plowing and blowing snow. The frame under the seat has been rewelded. The front tires are the original. I don't know if thoses are 4 ply or not. Im glad to hear to the hydraulics are not a strain. Although I do have a couple hills in my yard.

Thanks,
Mike
 

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Machines with FELs come up several times each year for reasonable prices(under $1500 running). You are better off finding a factory built set up and fixing it up. A tube frame Bolens with FEL in nonrunning condition went for $300 at the Haul of Fame Swap Meet(this weekend) 4 years ago. Last spring a non running Wheelhorse with FEL went for $400. I missed both, but they are out there. The Swap on Saturday is on RT12 in Plainfield about a mile from the Griswold Town Line. Its a nice little show and I usually find something good. Good Luck, Rick
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Rick,
Thanks for info. I have thought about going that route. I would rather fix something then build it. Do you know of any swaps that these in New Hampshire? I have a house there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Never mind I found the website. I'll have to stop at one and check it out thank you.
 

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Tudor,

Thanks for the well thought out response. I didn't realize the hydraulics were so expensive. Almost makes it worth a deposit on a GC. The strain on the front end and rear axle is a concern for me. I've found that the POs of this tractor used it heavily for plowing and blowing snow. The frame under the seat has been rewelded. The front tires are the original. I don't know if thoses are 4 ply or not. Im glad to hear to the hydraulics are not a strain. Although I do have a couple hills in my yard.

Thanks,
Mike
The single, and I use the term loosely, most expensive component of the hydraulics system of a FEL is the collection of hoses, lines and fittings. There are a minimum of 10 pressure lines, all but possibly 1, 4' or longer, and 1 suction rated line. They all require at least one fitting for each end to connect to a cylinder, the pump, the reservoir, or the spool control valve set. I would be ecstatic to get a 4' hose and 2 fittings for $30 in this locality. The 1' - 2' hoses that I needed for my GC cost me an average of over $20 each with tax.

Plowing and blowing snow isn't much of a workload on the rear axle of a GT. Traction is too iffy. The true stress when using a FEL with all the counterweight necessary to lift a payload comes from the resulting traction when pushing the bucket into dirt or gravel. Even then, and with chained tires, the little 12H would still spin the tires at 2/3 throttle. Total rear end ballast was 350+ lb, and consisted of liquid ballast, wheel weights, chains , and rear end counterweight. That tells me that the rear end had lots left, but the rear axle torque windup caused the splice in the frame under the seat to fail 3 times beforel I figured out how to control it.

It took me 3 solid years of experimentation to find the limits of that tractor/FEL combination. Building on that knowledge base, it took 4 months to find the limits of a MF1655 with the identical hydraulics and arms. Lifting capability was double, as was rear end ballast.
 
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