This winter, a tree fell on my backhoe. It’s not a high end backhoe, but a really cheap Chinese made 3 point backhoe I bought new for only 3000 dollars…but it digs well and does what I need it to. It was detached and sitting all alone at the edge of the woods, waiting for springtime jobs….not bothering anyone,just sitting there inoffensively when a half a tree fell on it. Not the largest half, which was good, but the half that fell was over a foot and a half in diameter and it smacked right down on the big hydraulic cylinder that is the dipper cylinder that bends the thing for digging.
When the errant tree fell, it smacked right on the end of the cylinder, then bounced and broke the hose off at the retract port.
The good news: it hit right on the mounting ears for the solid end of the cylinder and did not appear to have damaged the cylinder itself.
The bad news: It appears that the ears that mount the cylinder are bent and the pin itself is bent. The ears are made of 1/2 inch-ish steel and the pin is whatever the Chinese metric equivalent to an inch and a half diameter, more or less.
Not a big deal, I moved the tree with the loader bucket and I got my brother to come help…we put a sling under the knee and bent the arm so we could fish the hose out. The hose was actually easy to remove and the other end was easy to get to rather than buried in the rats nest of hoses where they connect onto the valve setup.
The good news: I took it to a hydraulics place and got a new end on the hose for a price of $8.77. Modern manufacturing is a wonderful thing….I can get a fairly precision part installed for dirt cheap.
The bad news: The fitting where the hose screws to the cylinder was also damaged and cracked and broke off while trying to fit the new hose end onto it. Shit.
The good news: I have an “Easy Out” that fits into the remains of the fitting.
The bad news: Not a chance in hell is that fitting gonna move without some love from the Blue Wrench. And probably two people…and a vise. Maybe some other shit….I dunno And for that to happen, the cylinder is gonna have to come off of the backhoe. The moving end is undamaged, that will be easy. the other end, the fixed end with the bent ears and the bent pin…not so easy.
Well, dammit. I had hoped to not to have to take the cylinder off, as, while the pin was bent, the cylinder did move in the ears and there isn’t too much movement (like only a few degrees) at that end when the backhoe is operating….I was leery of pulling the pin because of the sprung ears that hold the pin and the cylinder….I might have issues getting them to line up again after being bent once I removed the pin to get the cylinder off…..Plus I wasn’t sure the bent pin would even come out of the bent ears.
The good news: Once I removed the retaining bolt, I was able to get the pin out easily. It wasn’t even bent!
The bad news: The pin wasn’t bent, it was broken. I put a drift pin on the end and whacked it with a hammer and the other end of the pin came right out and fell into the mud. Huh…..Shit.
I’m not sure where I am gonna get a replacement pin for a one-off Chinese manufactured backhoe. I no longer have access to a larger metal lathe, so making a new pin is not really an option. Ain’t likely I can get a pin from the Chinese factory that made it, either.
I do have the cylinder off now, so I SHOULD be able to get the remains of the broken fitting out and should be able to find another one to replace it with. I am looking for a pin to replace the broken pin with….And I have a plan to straighten out the ears so that I can get the pin back in when I put the cylinder back. Maybe. If all else fails a torch should soften the steel enough that I can bend the ears enough…maybe. Worst case, I take it to the hydraulic shop and have them put a new fitting in, but that gets somewhat pricey…they are a really good shop. but they aren’t cheap. But maybe they can source a pin for me….
We shall see. But hey, this activity is getting me out of the house and yet letting me stay away from everyone….so far, anyway.