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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello all

i'm working on plans for my new to me (but very used) garden tractor (here's the build thread, not much built yet but will get there soon enough) and i'm starting to want to accumulate parts for adding hydraulic lift. i've seen a few threads on here where people use power steering pumps from GMs or Dodges to set their systems up but then mix and match with new hydraulic stuff. i want to try to get all my parts from the junkyard so that i can keep the cost down. i don't need a lot of lifting strength so i think automotive stuff should do fine. the question is where to get it.

- power steering pumps: what are the stronger units put into common automotive applications? at my local junkyard there are a couple of delivery box trucks but it's not reliable to count on them for parts. i can usually find lots of GM, Mopar, Ford, Cadillac, etc. stuff without much trouble though. i've seen a couple of set ups that mention saginaw pumps but not being a GM guy i don't know much about them. are the saginaw style pumps all pretty similar or are there some applications that require a more powerful setup?

- cylinders: not sure what options there are for sourcing cylinders used in automotive applications and what the specs would be for stuff that would be common enough to pop up in a junkyard. any ideas?

help and ideas would be much appreciated
 

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Well you wont find many cylinders used in cars. So one stop shopping might not work. As for PS pumps.. well a lof of the import stuff and later US stuff uses remote resavores on the PS pumps. That may or may not help in mounting. Also some trucks have hydroboost power brakes powerd by the PS system. If not more output, then normaly have a larger fluid tank on them. valves also will be tough... no realy auto use for them.

So not saying it wont work, Ive done it before and had good luck. But its going to take some digging.
 

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You might want to look for old pickup trucks that were set up for plowing snow. They usually have a separate hydraulic pump and a cylinder or 2. Or smaller dump trucks (pickup trucks with dump beds) would have hydraulic pumps and cylinders also.
 

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Maybe you are looking in the wrong scrap yard. Look for old farm machinery instead of autos. I would be wary of old hoses or connectors mostly because of contaminated fluid. There are, however, a lot of machines that use small cylinders for lifting or extending equipment. Good luck.:fing32:
 

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A good source for hydraulics and pumps are some of these reel type mowers that are driven by hydraulics and also alot of golf course equipment is hydraulically driven.I have a homemade hydraulic set up off a MTD that seemed to work pretty good to raise and lower a front blade using an old style (60's) Ford power steering pump that has its own resvoir.
 

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GM used pretty much the same P/S pumps right up till around 1987,the ones in trucks with diesels and 1 tons often had hydroboost brakes powered by the P/S pump,which had more output and volume and were equipped with larger fluid resiviours and multiple retern line ports,otherwise they are all pretty much the same--and any of them will be more than sufficient to power anything on a garden tractor..

Older convertibles had a neat self contained motor/pump combo and the cylinders they used to raise and lower the top make great hydraulic cylinders for things like raising a plow blade or tiller,etc...the motor/pump is reversible ,so all you need to do is get the switch for "up and down" and the pump/motor combo and the lines and cylinders and your all set...unfortunately most junkyards have not HAD any convertibles from the 60's and 70's here in decades,your results may vary...

The Fisher plow pumps and valve body's work well ,but are kind of bulky to mount anywhere on a tractor...some older Jeeps used a hydraulic pump with a built in control valve,that are V-belt driven,those are compact and work well,but you will only have lifting capeability,they rely on gravity to lower a blade,etc,so if you wanted down pressure,you'd have to get a more elaborate valve setup--a Fisher plow control valve can be used for up/down and down pressure if its a power angle type setup with two levers though...

I've seen some hydraulic power pack units that have a starter type motor and a pump used on power tailgates and dump bodies used on garden tractors--they draw a lot of amps though,most stock charging systems wont be enough to operate one too much..while the small permanent magnet motors on the convertible top pumps dont draw much more than a heater blower motor on a car does,and you could probably get away with one without modifying the charging system or battery--you could get a older GM altenator while your at the junkyard and adapt it to the tractor and use anything electrical you want though too--..electric heater anyone!..:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
great ideas folks, thanks! will have to do more exploring. the junkyards i go to are strictly automotive so i might have to find new places to better fit my search (the wife will love that).
 

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Just to add to what others have said about truck power steering pumps. Google with different phrases, you will find where people can change flow, and pressure with small modifications. May not give info you want but, some times interesting things comes up with other peoples ideas.
 

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You might want to look for old pickup trucks that were set up for plowing snow. They usually have a separate hydraulic pump and a cylinder or 2. Or smaller dump trucks (pickup trucks with dump beds) would have hydraulic pumps and cylinders also.
i agree with this the old fisher power angles had good pumps. couple of my friends used these for different projects. there are two types ive seen theres one with the pump and resivor is all in one and it doesnt hold much fluid then they have a pump with a pulley and a line running to a resivor that you can hook up to any tank. try to find one of those. like i said my friends used them for tow truck style builds on tractors and for loaders
 

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The older Fisher pumps that were rebuildable, used the exact same "guts" as an older GM power steering pump--I used to sell dozens of rebuilt P/S pumps to a Fisher dealer back in the 80's when I worked a auto parts store counter...the only real difference is the amount the resiviour can hold,a stock P/S pump doesn't hold quite enough fluid to run both the lift piston and the two power angle ones---..

----but you can tap into the return line and add a small tank, to gain enough fluid,to operate them with a standard pump off a car,I've done it on my own truck once when my Fisher plow pump started leaking badly--I had the later pump that was brazed together as one unit,so I couldn't just swap the guts from one of my spare P/S pumps into it--I had to jerry rig a bracket up to mount it in the place of the Fisher and I could only lift my blade at first,I didn't have enough fluid to run the angle cylinders,so I added a Tecumseh gas tank in line with the return hose so they all could work..I ran that thing all winter,till I found another "junkyard" Fisher pump cheap to replace the plow one..

I recently saw a neat log splitter a guy made using a 300 Ford six engine and a C6 tranny--he used the pump in the tranny to power the splitter,I think all he did was tap into the "test" ports on the side of the tranny case that had little pipe plugs in them...I didn't think that would have enough pressure--but it worked pretty darn slick !...I wish I could have gotten a closer look at it,it was getting dark out..and he wasnt very interested in talking about it as it was cold and he was using it!..
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The older Fisher pumps that were rebuildable, used the exact same "guts" as an older GM power steering pump--I used to sell dozens of rebuilt P/S pumps to a Fisher dealer back in the 80's when I worked a auto parts store counter...the only real difference is the amount the resiviour can hold,a stock P/S pump doesn't hold quite enough fluid to run both the lift piston and the two power angle ones---..

----but you can tap into the return line and add a small tank, to gain enough fluid,to operate them with a standard pump off a car,I've done it on my own truck once when my Fisher plow pump started leaking badly--I had the later pump that was brazed together as one unit,so I couldn't just swap the guts from one of my spare P/S pumps into it--I had to jerry rig a bracket up to mount it in the place of the Fisher and I could only lift my blade at first,I didn't have enough fluid to run the angle cylinders,so I added a Tecumseh gas tank in line with the return hose so they all could work..I ran that thing all winter,till I found another "junkyard" Fisher pump cheap to replace the plow one..
nice - i'm leaning towards an automotive power steering pump from the junkyard and a new cylinder but we'll see if i get lucky next time i go out to the junkyard

I recently saw a neat log splitter a guy made using a 300 Ford six engine and a C6 tranny--he used the pump in the tranny to power the splitter,I think all he did was tap into the "test" ports on the side of the tranny case that had little pipe plugs in them...I didn't think that would have enough pressure--but it worked pretty darn slick !...I wish I could have gotten a closer look at it,it was getting dark out..and he wasnt very interested in talking about it as it was cold and he was using it!..
man, that would be really cool - you gotta go back out there and get some pics of that (and more details). after i sort through the 3 point lift on my tractor i'm going for a homebuilt splitter!
 

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for a Saginaw pump look for one on or off a 1960s Caddy, Olds, or Pontiac full size car, they were the largest ever offered by GM. same pressures but alot more volume.
The output volume was slightly higher because those cars had hydraulic assisted steering. There was a cylinder attached to the steering linkage and the reservoir was larger to accommodate the cylinder. I used one for my plow lift on my MF12H in the 70's.

GM power steering pumps are based on a Vickers designed vane pump for aircraft from before WWII. GM bought the license to produce them as power steering pumps after the war. To the best of my knowledge, they have the highest relief pressure setting of all car and light truck p/s pumps and are internally flow controlled at 2-4 gpm, depending on the requirements of the vehicle. I've heard that the rock crawling crowd routinely modifies the flow control for their suspension systems. I did the calculations many years ago, and that little pump could be modified for up to 9 gpm flow at 5000 engine rpm in a car with stock pulleys. How long it would last dealing with those numbers is an open question.

Convertible top hydraulic systems would not be a good choice for GT use. The cylinders are thin wall aluminum tubing and would not survive any rough handling. The pressures aren't all that high, either. I have a complete set from a '65 Canadian Pontiac in storage under my workbench that I haven't looked at in years.
 

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I dont know about how long the convertable top pistons would hold up,but a co-worker at the junkyard made a cool V-plow for an MTD we had there and he used a old Packard power roof top motor/pump and the top pistons for the lift setup--it would lift both of us standing on the blade like nothing,a good 400 lbs!..it worked great for a whole winter,then it got sold to an impressed customer who saw it...you may be right about the pistons,they did look rather dinky and dainty,thats why I was so surprised at what they would lift!..

I suppose if someone found one of those old power steering cylinders off an old GM from the 50's,that those cylinders would be beefy enough --I think some Ford trucks used that setup into the 70's too,on 4x4s..

I have seen a tractor someone used a GM power steering pump & the integral steering box on, to lift up the plow,they used a steering staft with u-joints from a chevy van and a small "steering wheel" to lift the blade ,the P/S box had a chain going to the blade from the pitman arm...the guy used a chain with a hook on the steereing wheel spokes to "hold" it in the up position..crude maybe,but it did work well,you'd be surprised how much a steering box can move!...I like seeing others ideas at engine shows and swap meets,some guys just have fantastic imaginations and are very talented at using regular parts to do things they were never intended for,and its amazing when they work out so well..
 

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GM used pretty much the same P/S pumps right up till around 1987,the ones in trucks with diesels and 1 tons often had hydroboost brakes powered by the P/S pump,which had more output and volume and were equipped with larger fluid resiviours and multiple retern line ports,otherwise they are all pretty much the same--and any of them will be more than sufficient to power anything on a garden tractor..

Older convertibles had a neat self contained motor/pump combo and the cylinders they used to raise and lower the top make great hydraulic cylinders for things like raising a plow blade or tiller,etc...the motor/pump is reversible ,so all you need to do is get the switch for "up and down" and the pump/motor combo and the lines and cylinders and your all set...unfortunately most junkyards have not HAD any convertibles from the 60's and 70's here in decades,your results may vary...

The Fisher plow pumps and valve body's work well ,but are kind of bulky to mount anywhere on a tractor...some older Jeeps used a hydraulic pump with a built in control valve,that are V-belt driven,those are compact and work well,but you will only have lifting capeability,they rely on gravity to lower a blade,etc,so if you wanted down pressure,you'd have to get a more elaborate valve setup--a Fisher plow control valve can be used for up/down and down pressure if its a power angle type setup with two levers though...

I've seen some hydraulic power pack units that have a starter type motor and a pump used on power tailgates and dump bodies used on garden tractors--they draw a lot of amps though,most stock charging systems wont be enough to operate one too much..while the small permanent magnet motors on the convertible top pumps dont draw much more than a heater blower motor on a car does,and you could probably get away with one without modifying the charging system or battery--you could get a older GM altenator while your at the junkyard and adapt it to the tractor and use anything electrical you want though too--..electric heater anyone!..:D
true as for gm power pumps being basicly the same, however 60s BOP (maybe even some from the 70s) pumps had a MUCH thicker ring, rotor, and matching vanes, hence more volume. the truck pumps were the same as passenger car pumps during the 70s on, not sure of 60s. i worked on the machines used to build them and the difference is Very noticeable almost 50 percent greater if not more.
 

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Interesting!--bet those 60's Buicks,Caddy's and Pontiacs did have beefier pumps,those 3+ ton barges needed them!..I have a '66 Bonneville or Grand Prix P/S box that I bought for a full size Chevy Impala I had,it was larger that the one it had and wouldn't fit--guess they had different sized steering gears too!..
 

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tudor i used a Convertible top hydraulic system to level the back of my 19 foot motor home it weighed 7300 pounds
i could only lift one side at a time with my 2 ton floor jack hope this helps someone
 

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tudor i used a Convertible top hydraulic system to level the back of my 19 foot motor home it weighed 7300 pounds
i could only lift one side at a time with my 2 ton floor jack hope this helps someone
No doubt in my mind that they can do that job. It only takes about 1000 psi. Crank the pressure up to 2500 psi where most our cylinders can survive comfortably and see what happens. Don't stand close! Shock loads from impact can easily top 2000 psi on some GT hydraulic attachments, and there is no relief valve on the cylinder side of the circuit.

Anything that uses clear plastic tubing instead of steel braided hose for hydraulic lines is not what I would call strong, and unless the cylinder is made from titanium or magnesium, instead of aluminum, I would want it fully guarded against accidental impacts if used on a GT. Aluminum tubing dents too easily.
 
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