Installing a Front End Loader on a Case GT

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Installing a Front End Loader on a Case GT

Postby grummy » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:49 pm

I figured my first post could be about whether it is "proper" to install an aftermarket or home made Front End Loader on a Case Garden Tractor. It seems there is no end to the number of individuals who desire a loader, and I cant blame them! The rigid opinion of some is that Case made dedicated garden tractor sized loaders and people should just jump out of their chair and go buy one rather than "waste their time" putting a loader on a regular Case GT. I disagree completely. Although I happen to have a Case loader tractor and a gaggle of regular Case GT's, I must say that a Case GT would be a far and beyond better choice to install a loader on than most other GT's.

For many, building a loader or installing a factory made one pops up because a loader in search of a tractor crosses their path, or they have all the tools and equipment to make one. Some might have one already and noticed how nice it would be if it had some sort of quick attach system like the modern skidsteer, then decide to make their own better loader. Mostly, I think it comes down to something simple like they WANT one, and at the same time, they might not have the money to search out a worthy loader tractor. I've noticed that the majority of whats available in used Case loader tractors come heavily used,... machines really in need of work/repair. They were hard working, successful machines and they did get used hard by the contractors who bought them. To find a really nice one,not only do you need to have available a nice satchel of cash, but you also need TIME to find one. Good ones don't show up very often, and when they do, you usually don't have much time to make a decision. They seem to go FAST !

The nitty gritty:
Well, you need a loader. If you build one, make sure you do your homework on every aspect. Plenty of people have already built successful designs and have discussed their experiences in forums. USE that information to formulate your plan, and include the design issues that will be necessary to fit the Case specifically. If you intend to install a factory built loader, then your only goal will be to build an adequate mounting method or system. Some that I have seen on Case GT's did very little to help alleviate frame twist or breakage, yet, surely put hours of smiles on the owners face as long as he operated within the boundaries of safe operation. I will attempt to include a photo of such a tractor/loader combo I picked up some time back.

To do this right though... if you want to be able to lift a full width bucket of wet sand, you really should build a subframe of sorts that helps take the strains off the tractors frame. I've come across a few, and have heard of a few broken frames, right above and forward of the rear axle. I believe this happens when you just continue to add weight to the rear of the tractor in order to lift heavy loads in the bucket. The frame thins out in that area and it cant be expected to be pulled down on each end without complaining. Again, the answer to protect this area from damage is a subframe that ties the bottom of the axle TO the frame and essentially the loader. There are 4 accessible bolt holes under every Case rear transaxle that was used to mount a sleeve hitch. It is easy enough to use these bolt holes for a solid mount.

Next, one needs to be aware that the front spindles are going to be a little lightweight for a loader that is going to lift much over 300lbs. The Cast axle should be heavy enough, but just the axles and the way they only slide in from the bottom will need your attention. The goal here will be to build some boxed, caged spindle mounts that slide over the end of the spindle, capturing both the top and the bottom. A new full length pin needs to connect this mount rather than just slide in from the bottom as it originally did. The spindles themselves can be off the shelf trailer stubs, to which you can easily match new trailer hubs and rims of your liking. While you're pondering these new spindles, consider leaving enough space for thrust bearings. Because you're building these new cages to hold and mount the spindles, you can find some full sized ball bearings from cars and trucks that had straight axles up front. is always fast and easy to order from and has a decent selection of traditional thrust bearings and washers.

Hydraulics are another issue. There are a couple of ways to go about connecting your loader valve to the tractors hydraulics. You can do what many of us have done, and put a second factory travel valve in line with the original, then use the 1/2" ports to feed your loader valve when you want to. Using a travel valve will allow you to turn it on and off if you decide to make the loader removable. The downsides to using one CAN be mildly noticeable travel speed changes when your using the loader, depending on where in the circuit you actually put this valve. Using one of these will also give you a second set of ports for another cylinder (the lift section of the valve), but note that the float option will not always work, again, depending on exactly where you install this new valve in the circuit. Keep in mind that ALL valves you use need to have open centers. A likely better option is to try and find a used 600 series valve because it has a proper power beyond port. This too is difficult because very few loader tractors get parted out.

Some more challenging options would be to purchase the power beyond fitting if it is available, and have a machine shop attempt to locate it to a 400 series valve. The 600 and 400 series valves are the same, with the 600 series simply adding this port. Note though that installing this port will not be a simple machine shop operation though. There need to be threads, proper tapers and o-ring seal bosses located at very precise locations. Impossible ? No. "Some Guy" did it for the 600's, so "some guy" can also do it to the 400 valves. And of course there is always the "add a pump" method, which, on a Case, you'll find SPACE to be the real challenge. A Kohler powered Case can find room to mount a pump up front by eliminating the belt PTO, or a belt driven pump hanging out to one side like the early starter/generator tractors. The second pump method is probably best to have its own oil reservoir, but that can be addressed in the loader itself or a tank on the back of the tractor. This is how the Kwick-Way loader I picked up was powered.

I think that is about all I can add to this post. For those desirous of a loader on a 400 series, don't get frustrated by those who say you shouldn't do it.... and send us photos throughout your project.
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Installing a Front End Loader on a Case GT



Re: Installing a Front End Loader on a Case GT

Postby Greg H » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:27 pm

I've had the Lifting arms and vertical posts built for a FEL for my MF-branded Ing4016 for a few years now, and hope to get back at it this winter. I bought the four cylinders and double spool valve with float at my local Princess Auto (man's candy store), and my next step is finding a suitable mounting system, that can be removed if needed, without too much un-bolting, similar to the quik-mounts seen on the 'factory jobbies'. I've crawled underneath my tractor and studied a few things, notably the lack of open area to bolt a sub-frame across the tractor frame, so I'm considering using the rear tangs beneath the rear transaxle, together with a front mount, possibly the front mule mount quick-pins. This may not be rugged enough alone, even using either 3" channel or 2" sch.80 box tube for the main loader subframe running beneath the tractor, without a mid-frame bracket, extending wide enough to hold the upright posts.
-I also hope to incorporate a quik mount for the bucket(s), as I plan to build a smaller one for digging or loading dirt, 44" wide X 14" high, and a larger one for snow removal, 48" wide X 18" high.
My FEL photos are on my work computer, will add them later.

Greg Hiltz
Greg H
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Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:48 pm

Re: Installing a Front End Loader on a Case GT

Postby tchyted » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:35 am

i own a 446 that is apparrantly identical to the one pictured above. i believe the front end loader attatchment was a product offered by sears. it has a unique feature that keeps the bucket at the same angle with respect to earth at any height that the bucket is raised, so there is no need to adjust the bucket angle as it is raised to prevent spillage. in the sears manual for the loader, it rates its capacity at 500 lbs. this rating is really about as much as the tractor can take. also, this loader is difficult to dig down with, due to one way hydraulics. the bucket can also be a challenge to fill for the opperator who is inexperianced. it does, however work great as a sort of motorized wheelbarrow with a lift. i have also used the bucket to stand the bottom of a ladder on, leaning against a wall. it was very convenient, expecially with someone to opperate the hoist action wilst i stood on the bucket. boys and girls, please ask permission from an adult before you attempt anything like this.
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