Up to this point, I have been fortunate to have the use of a neighbor’s Bobcat S185 for loading out the seasoned wood. He sold the business in the spring of this year, the sale to include the physical plant and all remaining inventory. Unfortunately, the Bobcat was listed on the inventory.
I’m not fully in business for myself so long as I’m dependent on another man’s iron for a key part of the operation.
He was kind enough to offer the use of his tractor, a large 4wd John Deere with a cab, A/C, heat, and 642 hours on the meter. Was no big thing to bolt my tine bucket to the forklift backing plate. At first I didn’t think it would work out very well, given it’s size, and lesser maneuverability.
To the contrary, the more I used it, the more I became convinced that what I needed to load out was not a larger skid steer, but a suitable front end loader. The tractor doesn’t tear up the yard like a skid steer, has higher lift, and can fully load the truck over the tailgate. So long as I park the truck in the right place (took a bit of practice) the tractor need only travel in a repeating arc to load and dump.
Kept an eye on my usual supply line (Craigslist), and eventually this turned up:
Decent tires, almost fully functional (3rd gear clutch pack is shot), and it’s not bleeding all over the place.
Even has the side curtains for the engine. Most of the time those go missing.
After topping off the master cylinder, even the brakes work, along with the de-clutch pedal.
Ran well enough to unload from the trailer, but something seemed a bit off. It has a six-cylinder gas engine, with a mismatched carburetor. The center intake port gasket was completely blown out, with the other two not far behind.
With the manifold leaks resolved, and the spare (original) carby rehabbed, it starts and runs like a champ.
Engine oil pressure is dead on, but it sounds like the valves are a bit loose.
And it fits into the operating theatre.
Need to make an adapter for the tine bucket, and we should be good to go. At some point I’ll need to take a look at the 2nd and 3rd gear clutch pack. Transmission charge pump pressure is right to spec, and the loader will shove my TD6 around in 1st gear, so it’s likely the frictions are simply worn out.
I found a bar-code inventory tag on the loader arm. Most of it was scratched away, but it looks like this rig was previously owned by a college. Goes a long way toward explaining the overall good condition.
Also moves snow like a champ.
Came with fresh factory parts and service manuals as well.
Loving the Hough. Oil pressure is slow to come up on a cold start, so I replaced the oil pump. Didn’t make too much difference, but the old one did have some wear.
With the motor mounts unbolted, there was enough give to get the pan off without disconnecting the driveline or hydraulics. While I had the coolant drained, I replaced all of the freeze plugs. Several were leaking. Also added an immersion tank heater for better winter starting.