I have had an idea for quite some time now to build a homemade front end loader (FEL) for my compact garden tractor. It is a Massey Ferguson MF-1450. I have been holding off until I found enough parts to build one. Just recently I came across the perfect scrap parts to build most of it so I am going to get started. I will show you step by step as I go and answer any questions you may have as I go.
What I found was a wheel chair lift from a small bus shown below.
This bus used to be my grandfathers, and my father was now scrapping it as it was beyond any form of repair. He removed the chair lift from it and as soon as I seen it I knew that it was the perfect start to my front end loader build. It had 2 Hydraulic cylinders, Hydraulic hoses and fittings, an electric power pack to run the hydraulics and also enough steel to build the arms of the loader.
My only concerns are the size of the hydraulic cylinders. The are a bit too long and I am not sure of there lifting capacity, but I am sure they will do as I do not intend to lift anything really heavy.
Another decision that I have to make is how will I run the hydraulics for the cylinders.
Option 1 – use the existing hydraulics on the tractor. My MF-1450 already comes equipped with hydraulics to run the 3-point hitch, raise and lower the mower deck and drive the transmission.
Pros – it would be easy as I could just tie into the existing hydraulics using a tee.
Cons – I am doubtful if they would be adequate to run the cylinders. (the reservoir for fluid would need to be made larger, hydraulics would be slow…….
Option 2 – use the electric power pack that came with the lift.
Pros – it is self contained, it was designed for the cylinders, and it would be easy to find a spot to locate it on the tractor
Cons – it still may be a bit slow for the application that I am using it for as the lifts normally operate at a fairly slow rate. I would need to verify that the tractor battery and charging system would be sufficient to run it.
Option 3 – Add a properly sized pump run off of a pully
Pros – I could source a pump that meets the specs I need for pressure and flow.
Cons – this would be an additional cost for pump, pulleys and belt, reservoir and would also require additional time for mounting.
At this point I have not decided which option I will choose, but will likely move forward with the build of the arms etc. and decide later.
If you have any input on which option You would use just use the comments below to express your opinion.