Swapping A Front End Loader

I suppose this page will have multiple updates as the work progresses.  And, although it isn’t strictly welding, there will probably be some welding/metal working involved.

The Original Story

To give some background…………..

The Disaster

The Beginning of the Solution

What I Have To Work With


Two virtually identical tractors.  They had to be identical because the loader will only fit an Allis Chalmers 190XT.  I thought this over when I built the loader, and figured that I’d have the tractor forever.  Well…….still got the tractor, but it’s slightly under the weather now, and I need to get a machine up and running presto.

Loader has to be removed from Tractor A.loader swapAnd installed on Tractor B.loader swap2 Start the work this weekend.

Removing the Main Assembly


This was designed as a quick attach loader.  However, it was really designed to be attached/removed with an operational tractor, and operational hydraulics.

Without power, the loader has to be removed with a crane.loader swap15I built the crane at the same time I built the loader.  The pieces of the loader had started to become heavier, and heavier, so I needed it to move stuff around while the thing was being built.

Hard to imagine it’s been almost 17yrs since I put all this stuff together.  I was just learning to weld at the time.  I needed a loader, so I built one.  Crazy really.  Did a lot of stuff not-quite-right back then, but it all worked out I guess.  If you can imagine,,,,I was running 6013 back then, AND RUNNING IT LIKE 6011 with a bit of whipping.  Just had an AC machine, and had to flip everything to weld it flat because I didn’t know how to run out of position welds at the time.  Was a real adventure.

Anyways……….The loader was designed with a lot of lift eyes.  Even back then, I still had a tendency to look to the future.  Figured they might come in handy some day.  The block and tackle are hooked to the eye on the bale spike attachment (the attachment is also quick attach like the loader) in order to lift the arms, and pull the main loader frame forward.loader swap7First the front lock has to be disconnected.  The pin, and L shaped piece, is the only means of keeping the loader on the tractor.  Really simple design.loader swap5Then the whole thing is pulled forward.  You can see how the loader actually rests on the subframe.  A large pin in front, and an inset pocket at the rear.loader swap8Closeup of the rear pocket to give an idea how it all comes together to unite with the subframe.loader swap6It’s an exceptionally strong design.

At this point, I have to raise the rear of the loader to clear the front axle of the tractor.loader swap9The crane has a full design lift height of around 12′, although working distance is decreased by the length of the block and tackle.

Hooked the “new” tractor to the broken down one, and started to carefully pull the “old” one out from under the loader.loader swap12This was a slow process because there’s only about 1 1/2″ clearance between the loader, and the hood on the tractor.  Baby steps.loader swap10loader swap11Thank God for K’kins.  She was the ground man, and hollered at me when things looked like there might be a pinch, or collision.

Tomorrow the subframe will be removed.loader swap14The whole idea behind such an elaborate subframe is to keep the weight of the loader, and what it’s lifting, off of the tractor frame.  The load is transferred to the front and rear axles, without ever stressing the frame of the tractor.  It’s entirely suspended on the subframe.

With luck, tomorrow will be a more reasonable day.  The heat index reached 113 degrees again today.  Ooooomph!!

Dropping the Subframe


This is where the actual labor begins.  All hand work from here on in.  I’d forgotten just how heavy all this crap was.

First the crossmember is removed (actually the bolts are removed on both sides, and it will drop to the ground when the side rails are loosened later, it’s that exact of a fit)loader swap21The front bolts on the side rails are partially removed, leaving one very loose to act as a hinge when the rear bolts are removed.loader swap23Finally, the bolts holding the rear of the side rails are removed while the rails are held up by jacks.  After the bolts are removed, the rails are knocked off the jacks (not scientific, but these things are heavy, I’m in a hurry, and they’re tough enough to take a little fall)loader swap24(The tie rod was bent prior to this job 🙂 )

Next, and last……..the front pin assembly is removed.  This is made of all 3/8″ plate, and very heavy.  The pins are 2 1/4″ cold roll.  It’s made heavy to absorb front impact when the loader hits something while operating, and to provide support for the front of the loader as it lifts.  In addition, it’s the support for the side rails.  It’s one honkin’ heavy piece of metal because there’s a huge amount of stress concentrated at this point.loader swap28K’kins had to help me lower it to the ground when the last bolt was removed.  It almost killed the both of us 😀loader swap26So, now it’s all ready to be transferred over to the “shop” for installation on the “new” tractor.loader swap27


smile-big Snapped off Bolts

The “new” tractor has a bolt in the bolster that’s been snapped off.loader swap16Mighty hard to snap off a 3/4″ bolt, but some hero managed to do it.


Do a few heat cycles on the bolt, with the heat concentrated on the bolt, not the surrounding casting (it could crack).  Use a small Acetylene rosebud.  Let it cool between cycles.  Hopefully this will break any rust bond that might have been formed, with the repeated heating/cooling-expansion/contraction.

Then grind a bevel in a one-size-smaller bolt, and weld it to the snapped off bolt.  I like to use a small flux core welder for this.  Self shielding wire (runs hotter than MIG).loader swap17loader swap20I like the small wire welder because it doesn’t have a large cold start like a stick electrode would.  Remember this  is a very short weld.  The wire welder allows you to run a bit to heat the weld up before you’re out of weld joint.  Preheat the bolt to almost red in color before welding, this allows for proper fusion.

Back the bolt out with a hand wrench.  It’s less stress on a basically weak weld.  Impact wrenches can very often break the weld (bolts are a hard to weld metal).loader swap183/4″ drive ratchet works nicely for this.

And if the planets are aligned…………….out she comes.loader swap19

Hard To Turn Bolts

Sometimes a bolt is frozen, and you can’t get to it with a ratchet, breaker bar and socket, etc.  It’s only accessible with a standard wrench because of clearance issues.

But you still need the added leverage a breaker bar would provide.  And you don’t have a large enough pipe to slip over your standard wrench to add leverage.  Simply go to your toolbox, and grab a big enough wrench that the box end will slip over your smaller wrench.loader swap25Be careful, and apply a steady pull while making sure the larger wrench doesn’t slip to one side, or the other.  We at Uranus try to come up with ways for you to save Uranus 😀

Geezer Day Off


Aches, pains, and general stiffness from the day before told me (and her) that it might be a good thing to leave all this iron sit for a day.  Start up again at daybreak (beat the heat)

Front Pin Assembly Installed

7/29/15 (AM)

loader swap29Had to cut off some sorta thing on the top of the axle.  Have no clue what it was for, but now it’s gone 🙂loader swap30loader swap31The other side involved some repair due to improper cutting on my part.  The air stream from the cutting torch diverted downwards, and took out about 1/16″ from the axle top.  Might have been the way I was holding the torch, or not…….dunno.  Crap happens.loader swap32loader swap33Cleaned it up, preheated to about 600 degrees, and filled the imperfection.  No biggee.

A solid PITA to get the bolt holes to line up, but then the light went on 🙂  Loosened the bolts holding the front weight to the tractor, which gave the assembly a little wiggle room, and PRESTO!!  (Looking up from the bottom of the bolster)loader swap36Sometimes it just takes a tiny bit of room to make it fit.

All final torqued, and the side arms are ready to install.loader swap38HAD A REAL PLEASANT SURPRISE!!loader swap37

Stinkin’ radiator leaks.  More I get into this gem, the worse it’s looking.  About par for the course I guess.

Side Rail Installation

7/29/15 (PM)

Heat is slowing the process.  105-115 heat index daily makes for a slow go with frequent breaks to get out of the sun.  The bulk of the work is being done in the early morning, and about 1 1/2hrs before sundown.

Preliminary fitup required that I remove the steps on the right side of the tractor to provide clearance.loader swap44Hopefully the left side will clear the side rail.  Hate to have to spend time/money building new steps.

The original top strap from the old tractor was built to accommodate a cab, and had a brace which ran up to the underside of the cab frame.  This tractor has no cab, so the original top straps will be left on the old tractor, and new ones made for this tractor.

3/8″ plate/flat, like the originals, will be used.loader swap40The old guy can still run a torch I guess 🙂loader swap41Pieces are beveled on both sides, then welded.loader swap43loader swap45Night time welding sucks.  Light bounces off your clothes, and comes back under the hood.  Tis what it is.  Beats 100 degrees at 2 in the afternoon.

Punch some holes in the plate today, and finish the mounting process.


Holes punched, and plates fit.loader swap47All done except for changing hydraulic fluid to prevent contaminating the loader cylinders with possibly either the wrong fluid, or contaminated fluid.  And some plumbing changes to be made.loader swap46Fix the “Leaning Tower of Pizza” exhaust stack later, along with some other stuff.

The highlight of the job, if you can say there COULD be a highlight to this mess………………..Finding out that the previous owner probably had a collection of World War I nuts and bolts 🙂loader swap48It would kill some guys to go out and buy a decent nut/bolt.

Attach (hopefully) the loader this evening.

Up and Running


loader swap49Had the wrong type of fluid in the transmission/hydraulic system.  90w gear oil.  Supposed to be Trans Hydraulic Oil, a whole different animal.  Other things I’m not happy with, but it’s available to move hay and feed cows now.  Could be worse I guess.

Stupid truck tires on the front won’t last long with this kind of loading.  It should have 10.00 x 16 3 Rib Steering Tires.  Cost about 450-500 bucks to switch them out.  Wheels, and tires.  Geeeeez!loader swap50Almost go flat when you put a load on them.

All-in-all………..I’m not terribly pleased with the tractor.  If it holds up until the other one is fixed, then maybe it’s off to the auction with this one.  Time will tell.  Might keep it for a backup, or get a better one for a back up…..dunno.

Thanks for watching the whole thing unfold, I enjoyed putting it up.

Take care.


Any day above ground is a good day

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