New LS MT125 Mods. Bucket Level Rod and Fuel Transfer.
I have been playing around with my new MT125 now that the weather is starting to break (a little bit). I have hit upon two Mod Projects that some folks might find interesting and I don't recall seeing them posted elsewhere. So hopefully these are fairly fresh ideas.
1) Bucket Leveling Rod.
For some unknown reason (maybe even to LS), the MT125 is the only tractor LS makes (at least as far as the ones I have looked at), that does not come with a bucket level indicator rod. No idea why either because I can assure you that it is virtually impossible to tell when your bucket is level while sitting on the tractor. The good news is, after some thought it appears that retrofitting the leveling rod from the XJ onto the MT125 will be reasonably straight forward. Now I have not completed this project yet so I don't have any pictures or fine details YET, but I am hoping to have this Mod done maybe in the next two weeks. I have however started to gather some items and the necessary information to begin. Here is what I can tell you for now.
The two piece leveling rod assembly off of the XJ was $34 + Tax. $44 drop shipped to my house. Where this will attach at the bucket end of the MT is a bit different than on the XJ. There is a bolt and washer that holds the grease-able pin in place. This is the first real modification that will need to be tackled; but It looks to me like a slightly longer bolt along with the addition of a 2nd washer and a bushing (which I will have made for me by a local machine shop), will take care of it. Where the assembly attaches to the Loader arm on the MT is also a bit different than the XJ. But here again, I think this should be corrected with a minor Mod. The pin that is used to connect the hydraulic cylinder to the loader arm at the point in question, is 3.5" long. The Pin further back on the boom towards the drivers seat is 4.5" long. I am going to order one of those pins to replace the shorter one. That should give me roughly an inch of pin sticking out the right side. To this extra bit of pin, I will add another specially milled bushing and a washer (Or maybe Ill just have the bushing milled to have a flange on it, we will see) and a Jesus clip (Or maybe just a hole in the pin for a bolt or roll pin, we will see), should do the trick. Then,,, HEY PRESTO, I should have a functional Bucket Level Indicator. I figure for less than $100, I can rig this up to look just like a factory install.
Unfortunately the parts won't be in until at least the end of the week, and I have to make a sketchup drawing of the bushings I want milled with the measurements to be sent to the Machine Shop. Then there will be a bit of turnaround time and all. So I will update this with pictures once I get this Mod all worked out. I think this could actually be useful to MT125 owners.
2) Fuel Transfer from the 5 gallon can to the tractor.
Fueling my tractor has always been a pain in the you know where. I have been trying to figure out a better way to dump fuel in the awkwardly placed tank under the hood of my old J for years. Especially with these new useless cans they have, this is a frustrating and often messy chore. The MT125 fix's part of the issue by placing the fill down on the fender. But still, there is room for improvement. To that end, I revisited an Idea that I had years ago, which I had then given up as impractical.
This starts with a "Go and Flo" 14 gallon "Fuel Caddy". You guys may have seen these or various other versions of the concept. There are several out there. The basic Idea is that you have a large gas can (14 gallons in this case), with a plastic imitation of a gas pump nozzel attached to it. This Nozzle really is just a gussied up siphon hose. The problem with these cans is that for them to have any chance of really working, the fuel can has to be above the level of the tank you are trying to fill. But even under optimal conditions, the flow rate is just abysmal. They say you can also use the pump handle to, well, physically pump fuel from ground level into a tank that is higher than gas can. But this requires you to squeeze the handle repeatedly. Needless to say that pumping 6.5 gallons in this manner is,,,,,, impractical. So years ago I had the idea of rigging up a 12v fuel transfer pump to the Fuel Caddy. But after looking at it for a bit, there was no good way to fix a pump directly to the plastic gas can, and the cost of the gas can just to start with ($120), was a bit out there. Not to mention the cost of a fuel Pump and frogging around getting it to work was turning into a rather expensive proposition; so I dropped it.
But I have had a few years to think about it and having more money than brains, I decided to have another go. I first had to agree with myself that price would not be a primary concern. With that hurdle out of the way, how could I actually make this work. Well, I am happy to say that I succeeded; but is the result practical? That is a matter of perspective. From a price standpoint, I have $330+ into a 14 gallon diesel gas can. But this contraption does solve two issues. It makes filling the tractor positively simple, and it's small enough to be (relatively speaking), portable enough to tug around the property at need, or lay in the bed of the truck. Is that YOUR idea of "Practical"? If you asked rather or not I would spend the money all over again, I probably would (Depending on how durable this thing turns out to be), because first I just love gadgets. And second, I value being able to easily fill my tractor. I can see where others however would think $330+ is more than a little coo coo. All the same, I will attach pictures later tonight when I get home of the finished product. For now however, Ill give you the run down on parts used.
Flo and Go 14 gallon fuel caddy, $120. Diesel xfer pump from Amazon, $80. (I got this set up because it came with a fuel pump nozzel and "All The Kit" you need, and because it was basically the cheapest option on Amazon. A word of caution on the pump however, mine is leaking around the cover plate to the pump housing. Not badly, but it is leaking. I might opt for a bit more expensive pump if I did it again. As it is I am hoping I can simply fix the gasket on the one I have). To solve the issue with mounting the pump to the gas can, I opted not to attach the pump to the tank at all. Instead, I bought a $40 two wheel hand truck from Harbor Freight along with a $10 set of 6' Pull Straps. (I used the straps to strap the gas tank to the hand truck. I swear the straps I got were made purposely for this job. They are the perfect length. They are pull straps instead of ratchet which just work better for this application. And hooks are just wide enough to fit around the 1" tube of the hand truck). The real kicker here was the hose that goes from the tank to the pump. You would think that the hose supplied along with the fittings would be all you need. BUT NOPE!!. My pump was pictured on Amazon with two 3/4" pipe thread to barbed hose fittings. As an additional option, they also supplied a barbed fitting with a screen so you could just dunk the hose in any ol gas can. But my pump only had one barbed fitting. And of course, the size of the fitting is not something that you just go out and buy at the local hardware store. I should know having gone to no less than 4 of them. Without ordering it from a website somewhere, I opted to cobble something else together. I found "A" solution using Pex fittings. Is this the best solution? From a money standpoint no freakin way. And the pipe ultimatly sticks out from the tank all Star Trek Borg style which sort gets in the way and must be guarded against banging it into things, lest it rips the valve out of the plastic tank. And let me tell ya, pex fittings in 1" are NOT CHEAP. I ended up sing 3 90's at $4.50 each. I added a shut off valve as close to the tank outlet as possible, so if and when I want to remove the gas can from the hand truck, I can shut the valve and prevent all the fuel in the pipe pump and the tank outlet from draining out on the floor. $16.50 for that gem. 1 Bag of 1" crimps, $8. And two 3/4" pipe thread to barbed hose fittings at $4.50 each. The 10' bit of 1" pex pipe was a bargain at $6.50. Got it all home and connected. Of COURSE there was a problem. I should have know this, I really should have. But the original hose and pump nozzle that came with the tank, connected via a water hose bib connection. This makes for removing the original hose very easy. I figured this was a great feature as bringing the whole contraption to the gas station would be much harder than just removing the tank off the hand truck and taking it to the station instead. But as we all know, pipe thread does not play well with a hose bib connection. OH IT WILL SCREW TOGETHER!! But it won't seal at all. So back to the store to pick up an adapter that goes from pipe thread to water hose threads. That was another $4.50, but it worked. Mounting the pump to the hand truck was accomplished by cutting 2 lengths of uni-strut. I attached the uni-strut to the hand truck using 4 u bolts. I attached the pump to the uni-strut using 4 flange nuts. The uni strut also provided a nice hole to hang the pump nozzle on. If you go to Lowes instead of Home Depot, Lowes sells 2' lengths of uni strut. I lost track of what these parts cost because at the point where I was buying them, it could have cost $1000 and I was going to spend it come **** or high water just to finish this project up. In for a penny, in for a pound as they say. The last thing that needed to be done was to adapt the 12v connection to something other than battery clamps. No way I am breaking into the battery compartment every time I want to use my pump. But the MT125 has a 12v cigarette lighter socket. I guess we are supposed to call these accessory sockets now. Anyhow, The pump says it's rated for 13 amps. (BTW, the more expensive pump I was looking at said it was rated for 24 amps). So knowing that the socket was only rated for 10 amps, that was not going to work. I looked all over for a 30 amp socket that I could mount in the dash. I did find a 25 amp socket and plug, but of course Amazon didn't have those in stock. Mostly because I wanted them. But as it turns out, I think I ultimately found a better solution to the problem anyhow. I found a wiring harness on amazon for an LED light bar that is rated to handle 25 amps. The harness came with a 40 amp relay, an inline fuse, a switch and 12 feet of power line with TPS water tight connectors. Mind you this harness was all put together, heat shrink-ed and lines were all in protective sheathing. I got two of these for $10.00 each. You just can't beat that price. The MT125 has a perfect spot with pre-exiting nut holes to mount the relays in the battery compartment. I ran the wire back to the rear fender and up through the cutouts in the fender next to the rops. The plugs dead end just above the fender. I bought some extra TPS plugs and filled them with epoxy to use as socket covers when nothing is plugged into them. I mounted the round rocker switches in the dash using one pre existing hole and drilling another. The pre existing hole needed to be made larger also. Now I have two accessory plugs at the back of the tractor. One will be used for a cab heater in the winter, and an led light bar in the summer. The other will primarily be used for my Fuel Pump. I converted the clamps on the pump to the TPS connector.
So now, when ever I want to fill my tractor, I plug the pump into this accessory plug and pump fuel like I a champ. I can tell you that it works PERFECTLY. The pump makes an excellent flow rate, as it's rated to pump 10GPM. And there is enough in the gas can to fill my tractor from empty twice.
As a final note on this project, the gas tank can be removed from the hand truck by unscrewing the fitting at the bottom of the tank (the Flow and Go has a built in shut off at the outlet of the tank) and removing the pull straps. It's a fairly simple and quick procedure to remove the tank and toss it in the truck. However, I have a few reservations about repeated coupling and uncoupling's of the fitting. The brass fitting is mounted in a plastic gas can after all. I have been thinking that it's not leaking, and maybe it would be best just to let it be. I can tell you that 14 gallons of fuel is,,,,, not impossible to hoist out of the truck,,,,, but it's certainly not light either. The Hand truck can lay down flat on the ground, holding the tank horizontal. I am thinking that it would be just as easy to pour 5 gallon cans of fuel into the larger tank. After all, you can get a nice big funnel in the fill port of the 14 gallon tank, and you can dump a 5 gallon can in at knee level instead of having to do it at chest level. Ultimately, this may prove to be the simplest practice. At any rate, pictures to follow.
Last edited by Singalo; 04-02-2018 at 04:15 PM.