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Old 11-21-2010, 03:44 PM   #1
TangoYankee
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Hydraulics issue on IH 404

Greetings, all!

I hate for my first post to be one asking for help/advice, but I found this forum when doing a Google search on the problem so here I am.

I've got an IH 404 that my father-in-law gave me a few years ago. He'd had it since about 1967 or earlier, had bought it from his cousin, who in turn had bought it at auction--it had started out as a highway department machine down in Georgia or somewhere. My own background doesn't include tractors as I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles and lived there until 1980, when I joined the USAF. I've since retired, my wife and I live in what used to be her grandparent's house on 10 acres, hence the need for a tractor. At the very least those acres need to be mowed, and in the winter if it snows the driveway needs to be plowed.

The tractor is fairly beat up. Last year I had the engine rebuilt, so it's running strong. Unfortunately, towards the end of the season last year the hydraulics quit working--I couldn't raise the three-point hitch any more. The system does have a couple of leaks, one at the right axle and one from the PTO shaft, so I have had to add fluid regularly.

I finally got around to trying to figure out the hydraulic system. I'd had a couple of tractor mechanics recommend that the first thing I check be the mesh screen and filter. I did so, and found that there wasn't a filter in the system, just the mesh screen--and it had collapsed on itself. (Yes, I know, if I had done some regular maintenance I'd have found out about this lack of filter and cleaned the screen and might not be in this mess.)

I had my local (as in, about 65 miles miles from here) Case/IH dealer order the bits that go inside the filter canister. They weren't able to get the valve that goes inside of it (discontinued). When I tried putting it all together I found the filter wouldn't work without that valve. I don't know if the valve is missing because my father-in-law decided he wasn't going to pay $98 for a filter and chucked it, but there it is. I decided to put the unit back together with just the mesh screen and see what happens.

What happens is... nothing. I took the pump off and looked at it, but can't see anything obviously wrong. I put it back on and then disconnected the pressurized line and had my wife start the tractor (the pump being gear-driven and turns when the engine is running.) Result: instead of a strong flow I get a very small flow, with somewhat regular spurts of fluid.

Normally I'd just buy a new pump and see if that worked, but at just about $500 for a pump I'm a bit reluctant. I can't get the tractor to the IH dealer to have them work on it, but am thinking about taking it to an independent shop. You know the type: been there forever, junk lying around everywhere, that sort of place.

Anyway, any suggestions of things I can do or try before going down the "buy a new pump and hope" road or trying to get it to the independent guy? I don't have a truck or a trailer, so I'll either be driving the tractor the 6 miles down the state highway or hoping they can come and get it.

My wife is concerned about throwing good money after bad, suggesting we should buy another tractor (not much sentimentality there, I guess.) I argue that with the engine rebuilt, the transmission works fine, the only other system is the hydraulics and we'll be good to go for a while.

That's the story. Any suggestons?

Thanks,
Tom


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Old 11-27-2010, 04:32 PM   #2
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you could try a pump from a wrecker, most are pretty good about returns if that doesn't fix the problem. Look at your old pump closely, if there has been no filter in the system chances are debris has wiped out your pump. If there is any pitting or scoring on the gears or housing the pump is shot. The pump has to run with tight tolerances for it to do its job. Before you install another pump get your filter problem fixed and make sure to change the oil and flush the system, hope this helps.....dieselman



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Old 11-27-2010, 08:34 PM   #3
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Hi, Dieselman,

Thanks for the suggestions. I have pulled and looked at the pump but didn't see any signs of damage, but then again I didn't try taking it completely apart. I've gone ahead and ordered a new pump as I've not had much luck finding parts for the 404 from wreckers. I will be draining the fluid and replacing it (again) before I put in a new pump. I've just found out about a second drain hole for this tractor that I don't think my father-in-law knew about, so I'll definitely be wanting to drain it again.

So far as the filter goes, I'll have to fabricate a spacer to hold it in place since the valve isn't available. I'm thinking of using radiator hose or something similar.

I also ordered replacement seals so I can replace the one that is leaking around the right rear axle and the PTO as well. Removing a rear tractor wheel that is loaded with ballast is going to be fun, I suspect.

I'm not completely sure this is all worth it, but as the engine has already been refreshed I figure I may as well press on. The rest of the tractor is pretty well beat up, but I'm not planning on entering it into any beauty contests in the near future.

Cheers,
Tom

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Old 12-11-2010, 02:47 PM   #4
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Well, back to the drawing board. I installed a remanufactured pump today, with very little change in symptoms. I did note that the reman pump did feel a lot tighter than the freely-spinning one that came off the tractor, but as it didn't instantly fix the problem I'm thinking I may have just wasted quite a bit of money.

I drove the tractor around a bit, working the lift control. A couple of times the three-point came up, but not immediately in response to control movements.

That axle leak is losing a lot a fluid.

At this point I think I'm going to check with the local independent shop and see if they have the means to come get the tractor to work on it. I'll have them sort out the hydraulics and fix the leaks.

Regards,
Tom

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Old 12-11-2010, 05:08 PM   #5
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Sounds like it's sucking air in the return line.

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Old 12-11-2010, 06:19 PM   #6
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Do you know how to check/clear that if that's the case?

Thanks!

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Old 12-11-2010, 07:54 PM   #7
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If you are sucking air in the pick up, then it will most likely leak oil immediatly when the engine is off and for awhile afterwards, but not leak at all, from the same spot when the engine is running. Do you have any other hydraulic impliment other than the 3 point? It might also be that the o rings on the piston running the 3 point could be shot and allowing fluid to bypass the piston.



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