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Thread: Using my SEE for real work

  1. #11
    4 Star General The FLU farm's Avatar
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    Here's the difference between the old and the "new" fan. The latter has a drain, and the motor is larger.
    And I did make sure it runs before even removing it from the parts SEE.

    In retrospect, it might've been faster to swap in the entire left rear "fender assembly". It would've been costly because of the fluid loss, but the resulting better parts would probably have been worth it. Live and learn.DSCN1173[1].jpgDSCN1176[1].jpg

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    Something monumental occurred yesterday, I went to use my SEE to do actual work and all the major systems worked. Previously I had done work around the yard but yesterday I took it on the road about 15 miles away for some serious work. This is the first time I have taken it on the road to any extent. I live on a hill with a 400 feet elevation gain on either side, its steep for a major highway equipped with slow vehicle lanes and runaway truck ramps on both sides. The first goal was to make it down the hill. I picked third gear and motored down the hill and into town to fuel up. The highway is fairly flat and smooth but every time I got much over 30 mph the pucker factor kicked in. Despite all the steering system components appearing to be tight there is lot of slack in the steering wheel. If the road crowns the entire truck can get a side to side wobble. If a bump is hit then a front to back pitching can kick in. I didn't buy it for speed but those who willingly do 50 MPH either have a different suspension of are just braver than I.

    The next challenge was at the gas station. I have always filled mine from a wide mouthed racing style fuel can. Unfortunately the automatic pumps do not like the strainer and keep kicking off. I finally pulled the strainer and filled the tank. I then motored off. The area I live in has a very extensive ATV trail network called Ride the Wilds with over 1000 miles of trails with folks coming from all over New England and many of the local roads allow ATV traffic. I got a lot of thumbs up and folks stopping to stare as I drove by. There are few hills along the way and I learned that it can be real slow haul up some of them.

    When I arrived on site the projects for the day were varied. A couple of holes in bony soil and some log skidding off a steep slope. My SEE has what appears to be the apparently rare Hein Warner ripper claw bucket (I have yet to see another one on any ad). The ripper claw definitely makes for less than smooth holes but it really works well in loose ledge. I encountered it in a few spots and by pulling forward with the bucket, then rotating the bucket to engage the hooks against the hard stuff the ledge normally came out in chunks. The next project was stump pulling, I could get under the stump but was fighting the roots, what ended up working was to use the ripper claws to grab and break the roots on either side of the stump and then get under the stump and rip it out. Unfortunately the stump was grown over a price of solid ledge, good old NH granite. Unlike the prior loose ledge, this was solid. I raked the ripper hooks over it few times created smoke and decided that this ledge will require the drill and some slow dynamite to remove. I had left the drill home so on to the next hole. The next hole had a mix of solid and loose ledge. I was on a slope digging downwards and had some progress but one definite issue with a ripper hook is that its easy to get the bucket stuck on an outcropping and pull the backhoe forward, potentially down over the lip of the hole (a 6 foot drop). After getting the loose ledge clear I went to the final days activity, log skidding.

    The logs were 24" diameter pine logs about 20 feet long, they were on a steep 40 degree slope. I had to back up the slope to the butt of the log. I had to back in the ditch put it in 4WD and lock the diffs. I backed up the slope with the only issue was having to raise the backhoe blade significantly to keep it off the pavement due to the steep angle. We chained the log to the pintle and I drove off. I really couldn't feel the load and just drove down the road. This was repeated for two other logs. I now know how well these work as skidders.

    I then headed back down the road home. I stopped by to fill up and this time removed the strainer. The engine had been running for 7 hours with about 4 hours of high throttle for the backhoe and another 2 hours of low idle. The total fill was 6.7 gallons, I was impressed. The final drive was up the steep 400 foot hill near my house. I tried it in third but eventually shifted to 2nd in high gear and motored up at about 11 MPH. I pulled into the driveway and let it idle for awhile and shut it down for the day.

    So the only things that I noticed which are what I consider minor issues.

    The PTO lever likes to vibrate lose, I have a piece of wood that I use to hold it in.

    I have a leaky cylinder that I have wrapped with an oil pad, the leak seems to be reducing so it may just be that working it is the best thing

    The horn stopped working at some point prior to the day.

    Even with the heat off there is a lot of heat coming in through the foot well and the heater. Not bad on a cool day but definitely annoying on a hot one.

    I have headlight out, in order to change it I have to pull the loader to get at the screws (definitely a PITA).

    I noticed that the wiring to the back end of the loader solenoids are very exposed and the terminals are crusty. I need to replace the connectors and build a shield to prevent damage to the wires and the loader controls.

    The one upgrade I need is a rear view camera, I waste a lot of time initially positioning the backhoe. A rear view cam would make it quick.

    I love it when a plan comes together. I expect some folks are getting frustrated with their new purchases and expect I will still have some surprises but this is what I bought a SEE for. It beats the heck compared to a Kubota. This one had the harness munched on by a rat and had fuel system issues as well as brake issues but working on it steady taking my time trying to figure out how and why the systems worked the way they did is the way to go. On the other hand anyone expecting to buy a flawless truck out of the box who doesn't do their own work is just asking for a disappointment.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 10-02-2016 at 09:06.
    Unimog SEE, Unimog 1300L Ambulance (for now)

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  5. #13
    4 Star General The FLU farm's Avatar
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    Sounds like you had fun, Peakbagger. And lived to tell about it.
    I haven't driven more than a couple of miles down the road, but do know what you're talking about. 20 to 25 mph is plenty for me, but more so because of engine rpm than handling issues. And I'm a habitual speeder, who some would say has a death wish when it comes to vehicles.

    You mention the poor visibility, which prompted me to put a large spot mirror on the left side and large European style convex mirror on the right side. That way I can see both rear wheels, which helps immensely when backing up. What really helped was removing the spare, but that's probably not an option for you.

    The ripper claw bucket sounds like a blessing and a curse. I have the separate ripper tooth, but only tried it once. It was hard to see what it was doing, but it may well have been a complete lack of experience.
    What I will do is cut one bucket down. If memory serves me they can be narrowed to 18 inches with relative ease. 12" would be ideal, but that's narrower than the pins and consequently not practical other than for shallow digging in soft soil.
    Then again, that's usually what my backhoe is used for. No NH granite here, just river rock, if digging deep enough.

    The low fuel consumption is impressive. I rarely run at the full 1,800 rpm, which also helps, but it's not often that the Jerry can needs to come out.
    I could start noting how many hours it gets on five gallons, but whatever it wants to drink in return for the work it performs is fine with me.

    But I have to ask, why do you need the headlights to be functional? Other than for possible legality reasons, they seem to be utterly useless.
    Admittedly, I've never tried them in the dark but unless raising the loader until you look under it, I don't understand how they could work for their intended purpose. The switch under the hood stays in work light position on mine, and with decent LED lights there are useful lumens to be had, for cheap.

  6. #14
    Sergeant Major Bikers33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The FLU farm View Post
    Here's the difference between the old and the "new" fan. The latter has a drain, and the motor is larger.
    And I did make sure it runs before even removing it from the parts SEE.

    In retrospect, it might've been faster to swap in the entire left rear "fender assembly". It would've been costly because of the fluid loss, but the resulting better parts would probably have been worth it. Live and learn.DSCN1173[1].jpgDSCN1176[1].jpg
    I'm thinking to change mine over to hydraulic motors for the cooling fans, Temperature switch to a solenoid valve.... No more draw on my electrical system. Better longevity.
    FLU 419 SEE
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  7. #15
    4 Star General The FLU farm's Avatar
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    Hmm, using heat creating hydraulic motors to cool the hydraulics. I'll have to think about that one.
    As long as electric fans are available and affordable, is it worth it?
    Longevity? Well, if mine go out every 30 years or so, I can live with that.
    Still, your idea intrigues me. Please keep us posted if you decide to try it.

    I suppose that I should add that this is from a guy who is about to try running the rear hydraulics in an application they probably were not designed for; continuous full power.
    That's to (hopefully) run a fully hydraulic snowblower.
    The saving grace might be that, unlike the backhoe, it'll only be used when it's cold.
    Last edited by The FLU farm; 10-02-2016 at 12:00.

  8. #16
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    Good idea on the mirrors.

    Considering that the fan issue is just a design flaw, I think I will stick with the electric fans I bought on Ebay (which by the way worked well yesterday).

    I do plan on taking a look at the harness design when General Hood sends out the schematics and expect I may be breaking up parts of the electrical system to a auxiliary fuse box.
    Unimog SEE, Unimog 1300L Ambulance (for now)

  9. #17
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    Thanks for this. Didn't see it before today even though i've been lurking. I just (03/02/2017)got an FLU419 but the "Kubota" analogy is spot on. L45 Kubota or even comparable JD 110sare 28-32K even six to 10 years old with 2k hours. 45 horse compared to a FLU and 110 hp was a no brainer. Aside from the inherent uniqueness of design and possible upkeep a No Warranty situation easily shifted me over to the FLU. (not to mention, road use, aux hydraulics tools, scaring neighbors and the 15k after upkeep I saved),,,,,long and short thanks far a self confirmation bias post that makes me extra OK with my machinery choice!

  10. #18
    4 Star General Another Ahab's Avatar
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    First post!

    Welcome from here in Virginia.

    You know that there are some other SEE threads, also, right?
    M35A2 w/Winch SOLD

  11. #19
    4 Star General The FLU farm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lurkMcGurk View Post
    Thanks for this. Didn't see it before today even though i've been lurking. I just (03/02/2017)got an FLU419 but the "Kubota" analogy is spot on. L45 Kubota or even comparable JD 110sare 28-32K even six to 10 years old with 2k hours. 45 horse compared to a FLU and 110 hp was a no brainer. Aside from the inherent uniqueness of design and possible upkeep a No Warranty situation easily shifted me over to the FLU. (not to mention, road use, aux hydraulics tools, scaring neighbors and the 15k after upkeep I saved),,,,,long and short thanks far a self confirmation bias post that makes me extra OK with my machinery choice!
    Welcome, and I hope you got a good SEE. Or at least one that the rats haven't modified too badly. I still cringe when thinking of General Hood's and others descriptions of their wiring wars.
    Kubota vs. SEE? Now you got me thinking. Having a couple of each I'm not so sure I'd give up the Kubotas. Especially when it comes to loader work, I'd definitely take the Kubota over the SEE (although that could be because of a lack of operator skills).
    On the other hand, I had a 3-point backhoe for the tractor for a short time - not even remotely close to the SEE's Case 580 - and the reason I bought a SEE.
    Road use? Funny you mention that, as yesterday General Hood mentioned taking his SEE to the post office (presumably to show off its latest detailing job). That made me take the HMMH to the post office today. Yeah, it was fun, but did reinforce my feelings about FLUs on the road. Not that the tractor would be any better, just quieter and faster.
    Does this mean I'm willing to part with my FLUs? You'd have to pry them from my dead hands.

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  13. #20
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    [QUOTE=lurkMcGurk;1984834]Thanks for this. Didn't see it before today even though i've been lurking. I just (03/02/2017)got an FLU419 but the "Kubota" analogy is spot on. L45 Kubota or even comparable JD 110sare 28-32K even six to 10 years old with 2k hours. 45 horse compared to a FLU and 110 hp was a no brainer. Aside from the inherent uniqueness of design and possible upkeep a No Warranty situation easily shifted me over to the FLU. (not to mention, road use, aux hydraulics tools, scaring neighbors and the 15k after upkeep I saved),,,,,long and short thanks far a self confirmation bias post that makes me extra OK with my machinery choice![/QUOTE

    Wow another NNE SEE. SEE specific for northern climates is confirm that the alcohol injection system is functional and that someone didn't foolishly assume that the antifreeze label on some SEEs alchohol tanks meant glycol instead of methanol. Mine isn't functional and I have the parts to switch it to a desicant air dryer but haven't had the time to install. if you are going to use it below freezing make sure you drain the air system when you shut down. Water in the air system is a bad thing. If you haven't done so download the manuals and I uploaded a compilation of the SEE technical service tips from the military in the misc tech manual section of the website. Read the operators manual front to back and have one handy when you are learning how to use it. Napa supposedly stocks replacement ether cartridges. I personally plan to keep mine under a tarp during consistently cold weather.

    I attribute some but not all of the squirrelly road handling is primarily the radials selected for off road use versus stiff bias tires. I expect that it could be made more road friendly at the cost of losing its off road functionality (not a trade off I would choose).

    I just wish it would fit in my garage. I am seriously looking at jacking my garage up to add enough height to the doors.
    Unimog SEE, Unimog 1300L Ambulance (for now)

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