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Articulated Tractor FEL from Scratch #310 02/19/2019 12:18 AM
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GatorS Offline OP
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Skid Steer Wheel Loader Build

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Last edited by GatorS; 02/19/2019 09:09 AM.

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Re: Articulated Tractor FEL from Scratch [Re: GatorS] #1477 08/12/2020 11:15 PM
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GatorS Offline OP
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Well this is the right thread this time at least.

Last year I swapped the tires from my SXS to the loader. The tires were too aggerssive for the SXS and I was afraid that I was going to break stuff. The loader had mud tires on it from my old silverado. Anyway the SXS tires are Outback Max and have very aggressive tread. They really changed how the machine works. It has great traction with the new tires. I am running them way above their stated pressure to handle the weight of the loader. Anyway the tires are apparently too aggressive / I was trying too hard to push a burn pile of trees together. I heard and felt a pop and knew I had broken something in the back.

I was still pulling with the front axle, but it was clanking. I managed to limp it back to the shop with just the front axle pulling. I then proceeded to plant the bucket in the ground and spin the tires trying to figure out what was wrong with the front. It was working wierd also. Anyway I heard another pop and broke the front also. At this point I don't have any motion from the axles. This was all about 2 months ago.

I finally got around to pulling it into the shop Friday. I used the tooth bucked to crab walk it into the shop. Them my tractor to finish pushing it in.

On the back the drive side axle was the one broken. The shaft was snapped right at the internal spline.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

On the front I had taken the axle and cut out the universal joint. I turned down the ears on both side and welded in a spool piece. On the shaft on the passenger side the weld broke, and the shaft was cracked. I have started making another one on the lathe. I'm going to leave more of a shoulder to that can weld it up better this time. Here are the pics.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

Here are all three. The ears on this shaft are bent due to a break that facilitated me making the solid shafts in the first place.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

Turning it down.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

This is a pretty rough operation for the lathe. I'm trying to take it slow to keep from messing up the lathe. I am going to leave a good shoulder on it so that I can weld it up good this time. That way something else can break next time smile

I received the new axles in the mail yesterday, pressed in the studs and put the differential back together. Tonight I put the back cover on. Tomorrow i'll refill it with oil and start back on the shaft for the front.


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Re: Articulated Tractor FEL from Scratch [Re: GatorS] #1478 08/12/2020 11:28 PM
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GatorS Offline OP
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All the axle troubles have been going on for awhile. When I first started using the machine, I had truck mud tires on it. I got stuck pretty easily. Because of this I put lock rite lockers into the front and back axles.

Very shortly after that I broke the from axle universal. This was several years ago and may be documented in the original site post above. Anyway I decided to make the axles solid. I also replaced the locker in the front with a limited slip. I kept the locker in the back. Because the machine makes a much tighter turn than a regular truck, the locker in the back would make the whole loader jump when it's teeth indexed. It sounded terrible, but nothing ever broke till this event.

Earlier this year I put the truck mud tires on my SxS and the heavy mud tires on the loader. The traction on the machine is awesome with the new tires. It's very rough on the yard now though.

With this rebuild I am taking the locker out and putting the open differential back in. I am going to loose a lot of traction, but I hope that it will still be good enough with the limited slip in the front and one wheel drive in the back. The tread on the tires is 2.5" deep so it is basically like a tractor tire. I have a real tractor now also so if it gets stuck I have something to pull it out with.

Heres the new tires.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

It's a shame we lost the threads on the old site. I had 1.6 million views on the old site, and that was with the counter stopping working with several years.

More to come

Last edited by GatorS; 08/12/2020 11:28 PM.

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Re: Articulated Tractor FEL from Scratch [Re: GatorS] #1480 08/13/2020 10:14 AM
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sonny Offline
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Lookin good there! At least you have an idea what the weak point was.
Ya that is a mean machine to say the least ---- for its size it must be a monster for work!--I love the way it looks! ---I always thought it looks factory made! GREAT job on it!


"A machine you build yourself is a vote for a different way of life. There are things you have to earn with your hands."
Re: Articulated Tractor FEL from Scratch [Re: GatorS] #1483 08/15/2020 11:17 PM
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I ended up turning the shaft back to remove the rust, I then bored the inside until it was cleaned up. This is the before view

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

I turned down the other side and left it about .003 interference. I then pressed the two together. This is the best way I can figure to keep it as straight as possible.

Test fit before pressing together.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]


Anyway got it all back together front back and also found a broken u-joint and a dragging caliper, fixed all that and it's running smooth, I think I was dragging the break on the frozen caliper and that contributed to the break of the front. May still have to replace the caliper.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]


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Re: Articulated Tractor FEL from Scratch [Re: GatorS] #1484 08/16/2020 08:15 PM
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sonny Offline
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The tires are meat-eaters!!!! LOL!!--LOVE-UM!!


"A machine you build yourself is a vote for a different way of life. There are things you have to earn with your hands."
Re: Articulated Tractor FEL from Scratch [Re: GatorS] #1486 08/16/2020 10:47 PM
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GatorS Offline OP
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I went out Saturday and moved several trees around. I have a large tree burn pile that I have tried to burn twice. The brake caliber must have been really dragging. It runs much better now. I really didn't notice not having a locker in the rear, I'm sure I will miss it eventually.

Several months ago before the front shaft broke, after driving it around for awhile the hub was hot, I thought that the bearing was dragging but took it apart and couldn't see anything wrong. I took two clamps and compressed the caliper. I got it back on but don't know if it will lock up again. If it does I will replace it.

As I was going along on Saturday I didn't have any brakes, I had to bleed the caliper to get it to compress and might have gotten some air in the line. It didn't seem to want to pump back up very good. The brakes on the loader have always been somewhat sketchy. For the brakes, a lever compresses a chevy truck master cylinder. There is no vacuum on the master cylinder so it's basically like braking with the truck engine off.

On the Jacobson that I took apart to make the mower, I have the brake master cylinder left over. I thought this might make a good replacement for the brakes on the loader. I took the lid off the brake cylinder. It was full of what looked like orange toothpaste. I cleaned it out, but I doubt it's usable. I am going to keep messing with it but it probably won't work.


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Re: Articulated Tractor FEL from Scratch [Re: GatorS] #1493 08/21/2020 11:37 AM
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GLyford Offline
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I think I would figure out what common vehicle had a brake master from before power brakes were everywhere, like vw bug or jeep cj or something that would still be heavily supported by aftermarket...

Re: Articulated Tractor FEL from Scratch [Re: GatorS] #1494 08/21/2020 06:41 PM
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bunkclimber Offline
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yup Gator I had a Dana44 quick-locker in my artic loader back axle (replaces the diff spider gears) and it would snap an axle shaft on regular occasion..then I went back to a limited slip diff and havent snapped a shaft since..the machine doesn't push like it did before but no more snapped shafts..I think a key element as well was I went to TIG welding the axles back together with 120K psi Cronatron Eagle rod instead of 70Kpsi MIG welding them..much better welds..I want to re-pack the limited slip diff($75 kit) maybe tighten it up a bit..worst break I had was in winter during a blizzard,broke an axle shaft which took out the wheel bearing and seals too.. needed to use the loader to clear 4ft snow drifts to get out but couldnt..too much to shovel as well..couldnt get out to get parts to fix it either so I called in the parts order and a buddy of mine picked it up and met me at the street in 12in snow and ice on top..what a mess

PS Gator it might be time to consider dumping the GM 1/2T axles and the steering axle and going with two 14bolt GM full-floater truck rear axles..you have a much heavier machine than mine..might solve your problem

Re: Articulated Tractor FEL from Scratch [Re: GatorS] #1496 08/22/2020 11:16 PM
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GatorS Offline OP
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Gylford, I decided to just keep the brake with the same setup. I never liked the petal, so I made a new one. The new petal looks much better than the old one. I think most of the brake problems are related to the stuck caliper. I bought then at Autozone years ago. I think they have a lifetime warranty, so worst case I will take it off and take it back, or get a new one. They are readily available rebuilt. I drove it around a good bit yesterday and today and it doing great without the locker. I haven't noticed any change in the traction, but it does ride a lot smoother.

The front deck is in two pieces.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

I replaced the brake fluid and refilled it. I spilled some brake fluid on the lid and it peeled the paint. The brake petal pivots on the two steel plates you see in the pic below.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

This is a good looking pic if I say so myself....

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]


Bunk....like old times talking about broken axles.....I would love to swap to the 14 bolt axles, but that comes at a high cost, those axles are 8 bolt, and have 15" rims on them now. My current has 17" rims. So bare minimum I would have to buy new rims, or new tires. The rims that are on them now are generic crappy 1980 rims. I don't know if the length of the front axle housing is longer than the current ones, I believe that it probably is longer. The front drive shaft is only about 10" long including the two universals, the slip portion is only 2" long. If I had to shorten it more it might be a big deal. I think the rear would work fine.

Also I rebuild the brakes on all four corners of the current axles, (although as previously mentioned one is messing up) to get to the same state on the 14 bolt 1980 axles, it would probably be 5-600 dollars plus a couple hinders for rims. Hopefully this recent rebuild will hold up.

Today I decided to move the Komatsu D20P dozer into the shop for the engine repair. I lifted the blade with the loader, and chained it up. The hydraulics would hold it, but I didn't want to depend on that while moving it. I put it in neutral and pulled it off the blocks I had it on. I was able to push it into the shop with the loader. The dozer s about 8,500 lbs. I was impressed by how well it was able to move the dozer. It pushed it very well.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]


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Re: Articulated Tractor FEL from Scratch [Re: GatorS] #1499 08/23/2020 06:20 AM
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bunkclimber Offline
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Gator I see now that replacing your front steer axle would be a major refit to the tractor,with where the diff pumpkin is located in the front frame section..at least you made them removable with the uboltt design..mine are welded into the frame permanently..I thought long and deliberate about doing that thinking I would never break 30spline Dana44 axles..the only real drawback for me is they are semifloaters so when you break one it destroys the wheel bearing and seals quickly..I have some spare axle shafts to make up new ones but I have to say its been doing OK lately..your machine comes in a LOT heavier than mine..I think that and the new lugged tires will cause more axle problems for you.

Re: Articulated Tractor FEL from Scratch [Re: GatorS] #1962 01/03/2021 10:37 PM
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GatorS Offline OP
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I went and looked at the other set of axles at my father in laws and from what I can tell they are the same as the ones that I have now, I guess I was remembering it wrong.

The new solid front axles are doing good. I freed up the caliper and it's doing good now. Probably still needs to be changed but its not urgent. About a month ago I was messing around pushing down trees and broke the front drive shaft universal. Before I realized what had happened it had also tore up the drive shaft yoke.

This is a custom shaft I made during the loader construction. The issue is that between the face of the transfer case mount to the center of the yoke on the axle is only 8.5", so you have to fit 2 universals and a slip joint in that distance. I may have to loosen the axle to get the drive shaft in.

I dug through my extra axles and found a yoke that I think will work. I cut the shaft off it, drilled it, then bored it to the size of the splined shaft, then welded the splined shaft in. I also had to cut the splined shaft off the old yoke and turn it down in the lathe. I didn't document all this very well but here are a few pics.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]


[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

I haven't had time to put it in yet. I had to use the loader today in 2wd, with the backhoe attachment, with that much weight on the front the back didn't have much grip. I almost got stuck on pine needles on a slight hill. I'll take some pics as I put it in.

I also have one of the ubolt hangers on the front axle to replace. The u-bolt is broke off, there are two per side. When the axle torques up the rotation of the axle puts force on the bolts. The axle pad is pretty narrow. I am going to weld a flat plate on top of the axle pads, this will help reduce the force on the rotation of the axle, and also replace the broke bolt.


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Re: Articulated Tractor FEL from Scratch [Re: GatorS] #1968 01/04/2021 09:18 PM
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sonny Offline
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Right about not much room in there!--- looks like an excellent job machining and welding it up!


"A machine you build yourself is a vote for a different way of life. There are things you have to earn with your hands."

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