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:howdy: Howdy. First I'd like to thank Brad for inviting me to this new site, I am enjoying it. And looking forward to meeting new friends.

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Before I start, I would like to point out that this post is the result of my personal observations, fabrications, experiments, and conclusions (only), and does not reflect the opinion of the members of the Case/Colt/Ingersoll community from this site, or other sites.

I am not a master fabricator, hydraulic guru, master technician or a master of anything. I am just a guy who spent some leisure time fabricating his own light duty Garden Tractor loaders, from both electric and hydraulic applications. I am French Canadian from Eastern Ontario Canada and I am afraid my English is somewhat limited. My choice of words may reflect that.

I picked this 200 series Case/Ingersoll tractor for this project because It already had hydraulics available. (Hydro-drive)



Now, a little background to qualify myself. I have been involved in the Outdoor Power Product maintenance and repair since 1982. I have worked with a number of hydraulic "full size" tractors, skid steers, and the like for years. I helped tear down IH equipment and replace power-packs and hydraulic parts for several years.

I even fabricated my very first light duty loader on a Husqvarna YTH180 using nothing but electrical actuators, and double pole double throw switches.




But...Nothing, however, seemed to have prepared me for the "mysterious" world of Case/Colt/Ingersoll HYDRIVE-TRACTORS and Hydraulics.

Purchase day: I took possession of my "One Eyed Beast" as I called it, in the fall of 2009.


I brought it straight home and, using my electric loader, I unloaded the few parts that had come with my new tractor, the SnowCaster, and a massive counterweight that I had to drag along the ground, ruining my lawn.


I immediately compared the two frames. I knew there were 3 classes of Lawn tractors, Yard tractors, and Garden tractors out there, and here I had the top 2 categories: a Yard tractor and a Garden tractor. The Case was very well build compared to the uni-frame of the YTH180 and I felt extremely proud of my purchase.


I immediately started looking up all kinds of information about building a Hydraulic loader. I figured all I need is a source of hydraulic fluid flowing trough a control valve and hook everything to a couple of cylinders and it would be easy.



Well, again, not so easy for this type of tractor.

I started the fabrication almost right away. I removed the mower deck and started looking for a way to attach a set of loader uprights without compromising the tractor.


It turned out there is only one good place to bolt on a suitable frame bracket plate and that location is between the frame rails and the foot rests. I had to notch a little on the right hand bracket to clear the lifting rod bushing, but using the frame and light cardboard as a template, I transferred the mounting screw hole locations.


Then, Using a low profile "C" channel iron, I cut a recess in the 2 side rail brackets to bring everything as tight as i could to the frame in hopes of being able to use the mower deck while still keeping the uprights in place.

I had to move the loader sub-frame "C" channel Iron forward of the plates to clear the steering linkages inside the frame rails. I tack welded everything, and once satisfied, I removed it and gave it a good bead all around. I even used a scrap piece of smaller "C" channel iron and welded it turned inside the original C channel. I welded every 2 to 3 inches with 2 to 3 inches in between. Turns out, this combination was extremely solid and still kept everything very tight to the frame rails.



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Just a note to pass along: I kept my uprights very tight to the footrests. A little breathing room here would not hurt anything.

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Also, I used scrap pieces of "C" channel to use as fillers between the uprights and the frame brackets, again reinforcing everything.

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Building the front support arms turned out to be another hurdle as there didn't seem to be anywhere to attach them without compromising the front hinge point of the hood or the mule drive attachment point on this tractor. After consideration, I decided I was going to pass a long flat bar under the oil cooler bracket and the frame rails and cut the oversize arms once they were tack welded to a small piece of angle iron.

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Notice also the arms are pulled inward to make room for the lift cylinders later on.

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Next comes the loader arms. I opted to continue using 2" by 2" square since this loader was to be a light duty application, hoping it would stay together at the time of use. Some years later, and dozens of hours of use later, I see no signs of wear, bend or stress of any kind on the entire structure.

I cut out an "elbow" bracket to fit the joint and reinforce everything. This way, the lift cylinder will be pushing on the two lift arm halves at the same time. Again, this seemed like the best solution, very easy to fabricate. Then, I cut a square piece of 1/2 inch iron and welded it inside the elbow bracket to where the cylinder pin goes.

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Also, the ends of the arms where the tower pins and bucket pins goes trough have to be stronger, so I cut out the square tubing wall and installed 1/4" plates on both sides.

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Next, I constructed a second identical arm for the other side, and while using Vise-Grip pliers, started tacking a few plates together and mounting the arms until I had the geometry necessary to go full stroke and not run out of room. (I used a 2 inch bore, 10 inch stroke utility agriculture cylinder.) Once everything seemed to function smoothly, I gave everything a good welding, making it permanent. (No changing my mind now!)

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The bucket also had to be made light and as strong as possible without weighing down on the front end, rendering the steering useless.

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I decided on using a 14 gauge steel sheet. I measured and cut what I figured was a good looking 90 degree heel bucket. Then, using 1" by angle iron, I reinforced every 2" with about 1/2" bead across every joint.

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Note: I have since built a center "former bracket" inside the bucket to prevent it from bending with down pressure from the hydraulics.

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I welded a lift hook, and this proved to be very valuable at times around the house. Also, the leading edge blade that I used is made of 1/4" stainless steel bar stock and makes a very good choice for a scraping bar on icy surfaces.

Lift cylinders are next. I wanted to have a reasonably strong lifting system but not so strong that it could bend and weaken the tractor frame at the first sign of trouble. The power of hydraulics is not very forgiving and can become very dangerous, very fast, especially on a light weight, Category 0 garden tractor.

The most economical cylinders are the agriculture series. They are very readily available in as many sizes and lengths as you might want. For my application here, and referring back to my electric actuator loader days, I kept it at 10" strokes. This gave me just the right height for my project. Additionally, the 2" bore was the most economical series available.

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OK, Now, we enter into one of my favorite subjects about these tractors. THE REALM OF HYDRAULICS!

Undisputably, one of the most debated subjects on the Case/Colt/Ingersoll forums has to be the hydraulics and the different applications between the 200/400 series, the 600 series, and the 3xxx/4xxx series produced. My article is going to be ONLY my observations, and, again I say, not the opinions of any other members of the Case/Colt/Ingersoll community out there.​

My interest in this tractor has always been its ability to deliver hydraulic flow to, in this case, my loader double spool valve without having to install a auxiliary pump/reservoir on the unit. Only what it was designed to do.

After some time I came to realize that this tractor had a very unique hydraulic drive system, consisting of the famous Travel Control Valve (TCV). And this valve has two distinctive hydraulic flow systems built into one body: The High Flow/High Pressure system and the Low Flow/Low Pressure system. Both of these systems carry out a very unique set of functions, but for my loader application, I concentrated on the Low Pressure/Low Flow circuits as it was the one used to control the mower deck lifting cylinder on my tractor. I wondered what would happen if I used the oil flowing to the lift cylinder into a continuous loop for an hour at high engine RPM.

Here's a pic of my tractor lift control arm pulled back all the way to create a flowing loop:


And here is a pic of the steel line loop I added, coming out of my TCV valve body with the lift cylinder disconnected and returning to the TCV valve body:​


The TCV flow schematics:​


One thing I need to mention at this point is that I did increase the inside diameter of the lift circuit hoses. The OEM "JIC" fitting coming out of the TCV was 1/4" inside diameter (ID), which created too much back pressure resulting in a squealing of the pressure release valve. I opened up the size by using brass compression fittings and 5/16" ID steel brake lines. Everything changed the moment I started using the 5/16" lines.​

The two size fittings, OEM on the left, and 5/16" on the right:


The system became manageable and did not produce any heat and/or release pressure noise what so ever. I concluded that if I use this system to power my loader valve, and used the original lift arm at the console to power off and on this system, I could have a functioning loader.​

My choice of loader control valve:​


Once I realized I was onto something, I started experimenting with flow and pressure in a variety of directions, with the lift lever pushing down, pushing up, loader pushing and pulling, and release pressure valve settings from the original 575 PSI all the way to 1000 PSI (do this only if you are very comfortable with turning the pressure release screw and taking readings as you go). I took the tractor for a test drive while pushing oil trough the newly installed valve on my right fender, only to discover that the two circuits must have very distinctive paths since the lift didn't interfere with the drive circuit what so ever.​


This kind of experiment can get messy very quickly. I discovered that when I tried to measure the pressure using a less than adequate clear hose.​


The result of what flows trough the lift circuit of the TCV at 3/4 throttle. I measured 4.5 Gallons per Minute (GPM):​


When I realized I had it working properly, I plumbed in a permanent set of 5/16" steel lines from the TCV to the newly installed double spool Loader valve. Notice in this picture I have the return line from the loader going back to the Travel Control Valve (this is not necessary). I have replaced that with a line going from the Loader valve to the oil return at the cooler subsequent to when that picture was taken.​


This set of pictures can give you a pretty good idea what can be plumbed coming off of the TCV lift circuit.​




Hooking up the cylinders is very straight forward, however, caution must be used in that you do not use any joints or fittings smaller than 5/16" ID. I used 3/8" hose to a set of T-fittings that reduced it to 1/4" for each cylinder. This way, the hoses were kept small and tight. Also, notice where I routed the two hoses going to the left side lift cylinder below the oil reservoir at the top of the hydraulic pump coupler housing. This this is a good time to see the lower lift cylinder attachment to the upright tower. Notice I cut a piece of 1/2 inch steel there also, to weld inside the bracket for the cylinder pin to push against.​





OK, now we can discuss the front curl cylinder. In my first year, I used only one curl cylinder. I had intended on putting 2, but for a loader this size, it really is not necessary. I have used a replacement cylinder since then, it is a 2.5" bore, by 6" stroke (a 2" cylinder here would have been a little fast), and located it at the center of the lift arms (which I should have done from the start.) Money reasons.​




This cylinder is a Sure Lift and requires lubrication (grease) at the joints.​

I installed a suitable zerk (grease) fittings.​


And to keep everything flowing smoothly, I used 3/8" hoses to the curl cylinder and back.​

I feel at this time I should mention the pressure at which I am operating my loader system. I have increased my pressure from the manufacturing settings of 575 psi, up to 1000 psi by way of the smaller pressure release valve at the TCV. (This proved to be the best pressure for me.) I'll explain:​

This tractor has a regular hydraulic system with the potential to deliver substantial amounts of pressure to the point of blowing itself, a hose, or worse, hurt someone. Using anything over 1000 psi is very dangerous in a loader this size. I ended up lifting the front end off the ground while pushing forward and giving a little down pressure at the curl cylinder one day when I experimented with putting my loader valve in series with the TCV. It's very easy to over control so be careful!​

By no means, am I suggesting I know anything about hydraulics, or these Case Series tractor's hydraulics. These are only my observations. Some more knowledgeable members of the CCI community may have different opinions, but I can tell you this: I have tried 3 different types of plumbing solutions using this loader valve, but this type of configuration (using the lift circuit) seems to work the best.​

I have learned that using two controlling valve bodies in a series is dangerous because they each affect the others pressure release points, and using these same two valves in a power beyond other than the OEM 600 series tractors is also affecting each others flow performances. 600 series power beyond TCV's are very rare, but, would be the ideal choice for a Front End Loader application.​

Pictures show my experimenting with the different configurations:​





One thing I have come to realize, is that no matter what, hydraulic possibilities are endless and puzzling all at the same time. This tractor has presented me with some of the most challenging discussions to date simply because I decided to explore a little.​




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I have since then built a few attachments for my tractor. I use it all around the house, all year round, and it has saved my back time and time again.​







One more of my unloading my ice shack from my trailer, using my loader, an example of what can be accomplished using only 1000 psi hydraulics.​


A couple more of removing the tins, and painting after completion.​



I am glad I took the time to experiment with this tractor, because it gave me the opportunity to learn about something challenging. I am also glad to have been part of this Forum, and despite many differences of opinions over the years, I still feel right at home, here on M.T.F.​

Thank you​

JayVee43​

__________________​

Case/Ingersol 224​

YTH 180 Husqvarna Sold

DIY Electric F.E.L.​

DIY Hydraulic F.E.L.​

DIY 3 PT. Hitch​

DIY Cat 0 Rear Grader blade​


 

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Well, first off welcome to MLF!
I would not discount the "Master Fabricator" title :)

Very nice work and its nice to have a hydraulics guy on board. Thanks for sharing all the pics and stories.
 

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:welcome: to the site!

My gosh, what an awesome build!! You did a great job literally building it from scratch. What an accomplishment.

Thank you for the detailed write-up! Very good!
 
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