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Has anyone used a 12 VDC hydraulic power unit to operate a hydraulic lift bucket? I have worked on liftgates on pick ups and big rigs and it would seem a natural fit for a small tractor.

Would need to beef up the electrical system with a larger battery but I see no reason why it would not be doable. The price for a hydraulic unit starts around $400.00

Hoses, hydraulic cylinders, etc could be fitted to a small framework on a garden tractor. I have seen some on the forum using a winch to assist with the lift but hydraulics makes a lot more sense and is versatile in how you set it up to operate.

On a commercial unit, lift and bucket speed may be an issue but for a homeowner just moving dirt and trying to save his back I don't think it would be.

Anyone done this so I don't reinvent the wheel?
 

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I've seen talk about this, and this is only my opinion. Many little tractors have a VERY limited charging system, so putting in a larger battery isn't the whole picture. You may want to consider belting up a hi capacity alternator to the engine.

I'm actually considering going the "other" way. Around here, things are pretty basic--no frame up restores, just useability. I recently bought a 102 Cub Cadet, and am considering "beefing" it in some ways. One is adding hydraulics. I've got a Toyota steering pump---remote resevoir--and a small dual spool valve.
 

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I use them andI think they are great... If you use it alot it will run your battery down fast...
 

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Not so long ago, we rented a 5 ton straight truck with a large cargo box that had a tailgate loader on it. The tailgate loader was powered by an electro/hydraulic unit just like the one you are talking about. Right next to the switch that operated the tailgate was a decal that warned users to keep the engine running while operating the tailgate multiple times.

This diesel truck had three heavy duty 12 volt batteries in parallel. Those electro/hydraulic systems draw a huge amount of amperage every time you operate them. Before going down this road, you need to find out the size of alternator in your engine and what the current draw is for the electro/hydraulic unit you're considering. Ignore that and you will constantly have battery issues.
 

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Not so long ago, we rented a 5 ton straight truck with a large cargo box that had a tailgate loader on it. The tailgate loader was powered by an electro/hydraulic unit just like the one you are talking about. Right next to the switch that operated the tailgate was a decal that warned users to keep the engine running while operating the tailgate multiple times.

This diesel truck had three heavy duty 12 volt batteries in parallel. Those electro/hydraulic systems draw a huge amount of amperage every time you operate them. Before going down this road, you need to find out the size of alternator in your engine and what the current draw is for the electro/hydraulic unit you're considering. Ignore that and you will constantly have battery issues.
I looked into these briefly sometime earlier this year. The 12VDC power units offered by northern tool draw around 200 amps. Most lawn and garden tractors only have a 15Amp alternator. It may work if you add on another "truck sized alternator", but unless you do that, the battery will be dead quickly.
 

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I think for the money you could just as well add an engine driven hydro pump.
 

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If you can find an older convertible top motor,from a 1950's to 1970's full sized car,they work great for a snowplow lift or small bucket loader on a garden tractor..they dont draw much amperage,not much more than a typical heater blower motor on a car does..they wont set any speed records lifting a full bucket however,but work very well on a snowplow blade or 3 point hitch--and they can have down pressure too,since they had to operate the convertible top pistons in both directions to raise and lower it..

We used an electro-hydraulic pump off an old 50's Packard convertible for a plow lift on a lawn tractor ,(this car had hydraulic windsheild wipers and windows,in addition to the roof!)--and we arranged the plow frame & lift so it was connected by linkage,rather than chain,so it could apply down pressure as well as lift it..it had no problem hoisting up the blade,with me and a friend standing on it,and it would lift the front of the tractor off the ground easily too..we used it around the building to plow where our pickup couldn't fit,and we did not have any battery issues..

I recently visited a junkyard,and saw about 50 ride-on pallet fork trucks there,and they had a pile of the electric-hydraulic pumps already removed from many of them..most were 36-48 volts though,but the motor was removeable from the pump and had a 5/8" keyed bore,and I thought they would be simple to adapt to a gas engine..had the control valve and resivour all in one unit too..

But adding a power steering pump onto most tractors isn't that difficult either,and wont have the drawbacks of the slow speed,and potential electric motor problems and battery drain the hydro-electric ones have..there is no perfect way out,each has disadvantages and advantages..
 
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