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MasterBuilder in training
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Discussion Starter #1
I recently completed the majority of my FEL build for a Husqvarna GT48XLSi. I'm a computer/IT guy by trade and picked up welding last year. Built a few accessories to drag behind my mower and after breaking a few of my contraptions, I found this site and started reading. Of course once I saw a FEL on a garden tractor, I decided I needed to build one. After blowing up the motor on a John Deere SST16, I bought the Husqvarna GT48XLSi and immediately began planning the FEL build. I have a Ferris Z2100 for mowing grass and the Deere/Husqvarna were really for doing everything else, including moving dirt where I wanted it, which was an ongoing battle in my back yard. I get alot of runoff from a field and it cuts a 3' deep washout in the back that I need to move dirt around to fill. Thus the contraptions that broke and now the FEL.

I read through many posts by Tudor and read through RidgeStalkers build a few times, then started ordering parts and welding things together. Attached are a couple of pics of the before/after of the Husqvarna. I'll add a few more posts here with a few pics of the different stages of the build, but I didn't get many pics throughout the process and do better at answering questions than writing well thought out posts.

I have a counterweight mounted on the back of it currently and I'm planning on a hydraulic hitch, wheel weights, power steering, ROPS, smaller bucket and a few other things for next summer.

Let the questions fly and I'll try to post information on the materials and different parts of the build.
 

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Super Moderator
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Well I see You found out about the front end already from your other Posts. Up until about 1994 Kwik-way Made a Loader Kit for Husqvarna Tractors That loader kit Had a Upgrade kit for the Front axle even back then. Kwik-way stopped the Loader Kits Because they decided the frames & front axles on the 1995 & after tractors could not handle the loader anymore. But it is nice to see you seem to be successful with your loader so far. I suggest Building a ballast box for the tractor to counter balance the loads in your bucket:thThumbsU
 

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With a 600 lb tractor, I can understand why you want a smaller (lighter) bucket.

It looks good!! :thThumbsU
 

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MasterBuilder in training
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Discussion Starter #5
For ballast/counterweight, I have a box mounted on back with 160# of concrete. I have also filled the rear tires with washer fluid. I can get a little over half a bucket before it gets tippy. And, yes, I've already had to replace the front spindles. I went into it knowing that the front axle/spindles/wheels/tires would need some work. I tried bending the spindles back into position, then welded a small brace on them which worked for a couple of days. Then the front wheel broke so I went ahead and replaced it all with 1" trailer spindles and 4 bolt wheels. Those are holding up well so far. I also got some 6 ply tires for Christmas which will go on pretty soon as well.
 

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MasterBuilder in training
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Discussion Starter #6
Looks great, and that lawn!
This is how my lawn looks like now
Regards Nils from Sweden
I'm still working on the lawn. Took 2 years from seed to get it that far and when you get up close to it, it's still pretty patchy. However, even a patchy lawn looks good with some nice stripes, so I built a roller for my Ferris Z.
 

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MasterBuilder in training
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Discussion Starter #7
Not much designing happened on my part before actually starting to weld things together. I had done a lot of reading through posts here and based it off of the FEL builds from this site, making adjustments as I went. By “not much designing” I really mean, my design was just a list of parts and tasks in an excel spreadsheet.

My tasklist was something like:
1. Remove mower deck
2. Build Subframe
3. Posts
4. Arms
5. Arm braces
6. Build Hydraulic tank
7. Mount Hydro pump/valve/cylinders
8. Bucket mount
9. Bucket
10. Counter weight

From there I just started cutting/welding based on what I’d read and what looked like it would work. When I hit a roadblock, I’d get back to the computer and see how it was done on other builds.

So needless to say, this isn’t the best design, and I don’t have it documented anywhere (reason for making this post), but it is working for me and I wanted to share it so others would know that you can build a FEL on a new Husqvarna GT.

If you’re looking to save money, you can easily spend the fabrication and research time doing something else that makes money for you and buy a used FEL, but what fun would that be? For me it’s more about the journey, learning new things and having an end product that I produced.

To get started, here are a few of the materials, I either had or purchased for the build. I’m sure there are some that are missing though as I also used the local Lowes/HD and Rural King when I needed something quickly. I’m omitting the hydraulic lines and adapters because that’s a long list, but I used 2wire ¼” hoses and JIC-6 adapters.

Steel:
• Subframe – 2”x2”x3/16” square tube
• Posts/Arms – 2”x4”x3/16” square tube
• Bucket – 10 gauge sheet with trim cut from ¼” sheet
• Blade – 4”x3/8” bar

Primary Parts:
• Pump - Dynamic Fluid Components High Pressure Hydraulic Gear Pump - 3650 Max. PSI, 3/4in. Shaft, Model# GP-F20-06-P1-A
• Control valve - 2 SPOOL COMPACT 10 GPM JOYSTICK CONTROL VALVE w/FLOAT
• Bucket Cylinders - 2X12X1.125 DA HYD CYL WWCL2012-S
• Lift Cylinders - 2X18X1.125 DA HYD CYL WWCL2018-S
• Filter - 3/4" NPT 9 GPM FA1100-25 SUCTION FILTER

I was lucky and got my square tubing really cheap. It was scrap from one of the bottling lines that Anheuser Bush brewery in STL was replacing. Probably $15 for the tubing that I used in this project.

I’m going to guess the rest of the materials, parts and consumables for fabrication was around $2500. This also took me about 250 hours to get to where it is today. I was a wood worker for many years, but just picked up welding a year ago. This was the first fabrication project I’ve done, so I’m sure many of you can do it faster, especially if you have plans to go off of.
 

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MasterBuilder in training
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Discussion Starter #8
I started with the subframe. I initially planned to use the 2x4 tubing, but ended up going with the 2x2 to allow for more ground clearance. In hindsight, it would have taken a bit more time, but the 2x4 for the subframe would have provided more protection for the pump/filter/belts that were installed. I would have had to cut a few holes in the subframe to run hoses through, but it offer better protection for the hoses and would have cut/drilled where needed instead of trying to route the houses around the frame.

The subframe consists of 2-2x2 rails that are bolted to the Husqvarna frame just behind the front wheels, in the middle and right next to the rear axle. I added reinforcement to the front by mounting 2”x3/8” steel bars from the front of the subframe to the front of the Husqvarna frame, then connected them with another 2x2 tube cross brace that is also used to mount the braces for the posts.

At the rear, I butted the 2x2 up against the rear axle, then connected it using the existing axle mounts and some 2”x3/8” bar welded to the subframe. I thought about putting braces both the top and bottom of the axle and planning for the hitch build, but that was one of those days where I just wanted to get that part finished and move on. I had a few of those days where I should have taken more time, but I was ready to use it before I even started. If the rear connection ever break, or possibly during the spring build of the hitch, I’ll add more mounting points and make sure the axle can’t torque it’s way out of anything.

For the cross brace that support the posts, I used a 2x4x3/16 tube that I bolted to the subframe. If I was a little more patient, I would have welded it to the subframe, but I’m no master welder and most of my welds tend to warp the piece. Welding was an area where I had a lot to learn, but youtube was my friend as well as RidgeStalkers build thread. That dude knows how to weld.







 

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MasterBuilder in training
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Discussion Starter #9
Pictures of the front tire clearance for the subframe. I couldn't continue the 2x2 tube to the front because it interfered with the steering and axles. So I stoppped it just before the front wheels and then attached the 2" x 3/8" bar to the front of the frame. Everything is connected with existing holes on the Husqvarna frame. The only piece of the original tractor that needed modification was the plastic shrouding in the first picture that I had to cut so the mount could be bolted directly against metal. Other than that, the mower can be put back together just as it was when I bought it.

 

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MasterBuilder in training
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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks Ted. I still have a lot to learn with welding. Been reading everything I can find and I think I’m to a point where the welds are fairly solid, but I know there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

Next I welded the posts on. I was going to use posts and cross brace as the reservoir, but after deciding to bolt on the cross brace I was then going to use the posts and connect them with a hose. Well, I didn’t have a good way to clean out the posts so I eventually decided to just make a reservoir and attach it to the left post.

Looking back, I probably should have bolted the posts to the cross member to make taking it off much easier. I can still get everything taken apart just by jacking up the front end and working the posts/cross brace around the front wheels, but a few bolts would have been much easier.

Sizing em up on the cross brace.


Squared up the posts and welded em to the cross brace.


Back on the tractor


Another with them mounted. Here you can see how I tied the subframe into the piece that wraps around the front.
 

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MasterBuilder in training
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Discussion Starter #12
Next came the Arms. For some reason I was more worried about looks than I was with functionality on the arms. The finished product ended up working really well, but during the process, I kept focusing on keeping the upper arm parallel with the top line of the vents in the mower hood.

First mockup with cardboard and tape.


Another mockup.


Another with the hood up to check for clearance of the arm cross brace.


And yet another mockup, but this time with 2x4s and a steel plate for the bucket (funny how that is much smaller than my final bucket). In this pic, I have the hood opened just enough that I can remove it from the tractor entirely.


At this point I was comfortable that I had the right angles. There was enough clearance in the front that I could open the hood and remove it easily. It wouldn't open all the way, but to remove it, just unplug a wire and open it to the correct angle and lift it off. Makes engine work easy now.



Thanks,
Kode
 

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MasterBuilder in training
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Discussion Starter #13
Here are a few pics of the arms getting mounted. Trying to weld them without warping was a challenge and I ended up at least warping them the same amount so it worked out.

first fit up of the arms. I used 1-1/4 tube 3/4 inner diameter for the bushings then 3/4" rod for the pins. Still haven't cut the pins to final length and added cotter pins to hold em on yet. :tango_face_grin:

Oh, and initially the towels were there to keep metal shavings off of the mower, but I ended up welding near them and caught one on fire. Decided it was no longer a good idea to weld near towels.:Stop:

Few more pics of the arms getting fit and the bushings and tower plates getting tacked.



And a few pics of the arms mounted with the lift cylinders in place.



Here's a shot of the hydraulic pump mount tacked onto the subframe cross brace. The pump mount is behind the crossbrace. Wanted to put it closer to the PTO in the front, but it interfered with steering up there.





-Kode
 

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MasterBuilder in training
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Discussion Starter #14
I only found one pic of the bucket during construction. Guess I'll throw it in here as well. I dont have much to say about it other than it started as 18" tall x 18" deep, then I decided to add the 5" piece at the back/bottom which pushed it to 21x21. I believe it's 45" wide. Took a while to weld up the bucket because I welded the panels together, then framed the sides and back for addtl support.



And... then I seem to have forgotten to take pictures until it was almost done. Installed the valve, pump, built the reservoir with filter, etc, but no pics of that.

Here are a few pics of me trying to figure out the hose runs. Just used some wire to tie things on so I could make sure the hoses were the right lengths. This took alot longer than I expected. Would have been great if I would have had hoses custom made to length. Might do custom on the next project, but for now it was standard available lengths.
 

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MasterBuilder in training
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Discussion Starter #15
Here's the nearly finished product, which was posted at the start of the thread, but with a few different angles and closeups.




bucket hose runs. I've added a couple of 45 degree adapters since this pic to better align the hose on the top right. Doesn't stick in as far and has a better angle going into the hose clamp.



I didn't really like just looping the hoses over the cylinders like this, but unless I threw out some of the longer hoses and added a few couplers, it seemed like the best route for now. My initial plan was to have the cylinder in/out connections facing up. That didn't quite work out after I welded the mounts on because the fittings would hit the post. Was another one of those times when I just found a solution that worked instead of redesigning.



here's a shot of the reservoir. it has a breather cap with a strainer in the top, then the block at the bottom was added so I could add another strainer to the reservoir out. You can also see here that the bucket pin is a little long. I'll eventually get it cut down and add cotter pins to it, but they really dont move that much. I've put 25 hours on it so far and had to adjust the pins on the posts twice.



I'm definitely not a photographer. This is the valve. 4way joystick with float... While I'm mentioning float... I'm guessing my geometry isn't the best or the tractor is too light, or both. When I set it to float, the bucket will float a little, then eventually it will raise the front wheels off the ground as the rear wheels drive toward the bucket. I figure to solve the problem I either need to add weight to the front of the tractor to keep the front wheels down, or adjust the geometry, which means rebulding the posts and arms. Neither of which sound like something I want to do.



-Kode
 

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MasterBuilder in training
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Discussion Starter #16
The most frustrating part to figure out was this mess of hoses. I've changed it up since this picture, but it's not much prettier.




Had an issue with this hose getting in the way of the reverse pedal. This is my temporary fix. :tango_face_grin: This has since been rerouted so I dont have to have the wire holding things in place.



Pump mounted under the middle of the mower. Not the optimal place I know. I'll probably throw a belt a few times when dirt/debris gets under there. Pump life will be shorter as well because the pump shaft isn't made for side loading. I'll let everyone know how long it lasts.



Filter. Also a bad shot of the pump connected to the PTO.



Took a picture of it in the garage today. Really just to show the temporary rear weight. Have 160lbs of concrete in the box and the rear tires are filled with windshield washer fluid (50 lbs each side).







-Kode
 

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My compliments on a generally well thought out and clean build. :fing32:

Your original size for the bucket was a better fit for the tractor. The extra depth and height that you added plus the angle corner reinforcement added about an extra 30 lb to it's weight. That extra weight comes off of the payload potential.

The extra bucket volume that you built is only good for snow. With a struck volume of 7 cu-ft, it will hold more than the 6.75 cu-ft bucket for my SCUT, and dirt weighs 90 lb/cu-ft. Your original bucket design capacity would be 5.4 cu-ft.
 

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Thanks for sharing your project. I enjoyed reading about your progress.
 

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I break things
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Wow. Great project. Hope the frame and transaxle hold up for you.
 

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MasterBuilder in training
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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks. Forgot to mention that in the last pic I posted, you can see the new front wheels... or at least you can tell they're a different color. I replaced the front wheels with 4 bolt trailer wheels and the spindles with 1" trailer spindles. No breakage with the heavier stuff. I have a video of this thing in action. Trying to get it edited and put out on youtube.
 
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