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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ford 3550 Backhoe [Fluids]
I always buy manuals for my tractors, but I haven't had time yet in this case.
Does anyone know what fluid the transmission uses on this tractor. I believe it's called a shuttle shift. There is the gear shifting lever and another shifting lever to the left that is forward and reverse. I didn't run it through all the gears but did check all the hydraulic movement.
It has a 3-cylinder diesel that runs well.
Any input is appreciated.
Right now, the tranny fluid is my question. It may not be low but before loading it to haul it home i want to check it and fill.
Ill change all the fluids when I get it home.
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I haven't investigated where to check and fill the tranny yet. I purchased it yesterday! Its wearing almost all original paint and isn't covered in oil and grease from leaks. I prefer buying something that hasn't been pressure washed and poorly painted. No coverups.
I have the hood but haven't found the grill.
Tell me what you know about my new Tractor. I need those manuals.
Thanks Mike



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Most guys use Universal Tractor Fluid (UTF) that meets or exceeds Ford Fluid Spec 134D in the transmission, rear end/hydraulic, and power steering reservoirs. Many use the Travelers Brand UTF, available from Tractor Supply in 5 gallon buckets. Whatever fluid you choose, just check the label on the bucket to ensure that it meets or excceds Ford Spec 134D.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thats great to know. I was at Tractor supply this morning and had one hand on a 5 gal. pail of that but hesitated to buy. I will pick some up.
It's been cold and windy here, so I haven't spent a lot of time looking over details. Cold is ok but wind and cold sends me indoors.
I don't see an Intake heater like my Perkins on the NH. or a block heater. It could be hidden.
It started at 35F on Thursday but took a minute too fire. Two 30 second cranking sessions.
The battery was weak so i used jumpers. I brought the battery home and got it warmed up and charged up for my journey to go get it home tomorrow morning. The battery took about 10 hours at 2 amps to fully charge. Its not an old battery but sat for 9 months since last start.
The temperature is supposed to be low 30's F. Hoping she starts. Its only about a 35-mile trip to get it home. I have the grill facing south for less wind exposure. I never use starting fluid to start. I'll come back another day if it won't pop. I'll have that big warm fresh charged battery to help. Hopeful!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My N.H has that thermostat type heater. Sizzles vapor and ignites.
I also prefer block heaters. Nice warm block no matter what the temperature. I also cover with a tarp when block heaters plugged in.
Thanks for the help. I'm anxious to get it home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My N.H has that thermostat type heater. Sizzles vapor and ignites.
I also prefer block heaters. Nice warm block no matter what the temperature. I also cover with a tarp when block heaters plugged in.
Thanks for the help. I'm anxious to get it home.
Big T
I found a short video online that shoes the location of that manifold heater. It's to the front as you said close to where the hoses hook on going to the air cleaner. It's on the side facing the engine of the manifold air inlet. I'll check it for voltage in different key positions. Some are activated by a key turn back one click and some have a key position to pre heat one click before the start/crank position. I'll also take a jumper wire with alligator clips as a backup plan. Old ignition switches and wiring get old. TLC is in order.
I didn't see a hand prime lift pump yet but if it's there it will be easy to see. I didn't get a lot of time to look over the engine. It's not a leaker. The injector pump is dirty but dry.
I'm learning some from searching the internet but still need a manual. I want a real book, not a pdf file.
Tomorrow, I bring it home as long as it will start. It should start but it's been in the low twenties F. here at night the last couple days. The tractor is in cold open pasture. It runs good but older diesels and cold can be tough. I don't know the tractor well yet.
When its home a block heater is on my priority list along with fluids and filters.
It appears the 3550-tractor a lot carried over from the 1960's 4,000 tractors.
Thanks Mike
 

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My 4500 has a rubber elbow on the intake manifold where it comes down from the air cleaner assy. I loosen the hose clamp and twist the elbow 90 degrees allowing me to stick my hand held propane torch in the intake and have someone work the starter. Everything from that elbow forward is metal, works everytime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Now thats a good Idea. In the past on my NH skid steer I have put a propane torch to the outside of the intake for a minute.
Your method is better.
The manifold heater on the 3550 is burned out. I tried a jumper wire right to the battery and got nothing. I have a new one ordered. It started at 30 Deg. F yesterday without help but takes about 30 seconds of cranking and to me that's more than desirable cranking time.
I'll look for the most convenient freeze plug for a block heater and install one. It's easier on the engine to start with the coolant and cast iron warmed up some.
Thanks for the great suggestion.
 

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Now thats a good Idea. In the past on my NH skid steer I have put a propane torch to the outside of the intake for a minute.
Your method is better.
The manifold heater on the 3550 is burned out. I tried a jumper wire right to the battery and got nothing. I have a new one ordered. It started at 30 Deg. F yesterday without help but takes about 30 seconds of cranking and to me that's more than desirable cranking time.
I'll look for the most convenient freeze plug for a block heater and install one. It's easier on the engine to start with the coolant and cast iron warmed up some.
Thanks for the great suggestion.
I think sucking the flame right into the cylinders provides the direct heat that a diesel needs and they have using propane additives for years so no possible harm like ether. The propane additive does not seem as popular as it use to be though. Rodger
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Starting fluid will often detonate at the wrong time in cylinders. When it fires in a cylinder that's not at full compression stroke. Bad damage happens. I won't use either even when desperate. I have warmed oil pans with steno. Cautious with fire. The oil pan needs to be clean of grease and oil.
I converted a continental gas engine in my Hyster fork truck from gas to propane. If you ever take an engine that has only ran on propane, they are clean inside. No carbon. I like propane engines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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The circled freeze plug in the picture is on this 3550 Industrial 3-cylinder tractor. I have the manual now but I can't find the diameter of the freeze plug. As you can see it is pretty easy to access. I'll use an autobody dent puller [slide hammer] to pull it out of the block.

I need to order a block heater to install and need to know the diameter.
Does anyone know the diameter? I may be able to get the digital caliper in there, but it will be difficult, and it needs to be accurate.

Someone here that has rebuilt one may know the size. It has the 158 C.I. 2.3-liter 3-cylinder Diesel engine.
Thanks Mike
 

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There has been different plugs during the years and engines/blocks may have been swapped. I would measure the hole first, and then place an order. Old style inside calipers work fine for this task.

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Thats excellent Information, Thanks
I was hoping to have the block heater ready to install when I pull the frost plug. Your information helps narrow it down. I have inside calipers and bore gauges.
If I clean it better, I should be able to measure to the edge of the plug flange and use your information to verify.
It's a 1972 tractor that has confirmed history.

It was owned by Bear Grove Township Illinois then bought by a local general contractor in Mo. and he owned it until about 23 years ago. That third owner used it to do footings and prepare for flat work on a 50x100 retirement building. The owner got hurt putting the last piece of sheet metal on the building and it hasn't used it in 23 years. Sad story! He fell and crushed his pelvis at 60 years old. I bought it out of that building buried behind machinery.
A long story to say that I believe the engine came with the tractor. If it was ever changed it was early in its life while Bear Grove Township owned it. I don't see any evidence of ever had any wrenching on. Never know.
The hour meter works well. It shows 1,645 hours I would like to think it's true, but it may be 11,645 hours.
I talked to the contractor that sold it. He said it had low hours but couldn't remember how many. He was getting away from doing dirt work.
There aren't any weld repairs. I haven't found cracks but could. I know where the FEL's crack

The paint is thin and original. Someone sprayed some primer on some paint blisters on the loader boom and hoe boom. I have repainted quite a few tractors and do it right. I would rather start with thin paint like pictured than three sloppy dealer repaints. No hy. hoses have any paint on them.
She is no beauty but she in mine. I do have the hood
I worked it hard yesterday pushing a stump back up into the woods dodging trees. The stump had a lot of dirt with a flat bottom. The weight of the hoe on the tires are the only reason it even moved it. No lugging by the engine.
I think I'm getting carried away here rambling and bragging.
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Yes, you are, but you are entitled to with that nice piece of machinery.

I am not familiar with the different heater styles in the US, more than one with a sealing O-ring and a butterfly at the backside, and one that is knocked into the hole. Both need even and smooth surfaces to seal.

Did you get the Thermostart working? It is very good to have, you do not always have electricity at hand. And things can be forgotten.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
The thermostart is not working but i have one ordered. Thermostart heats and vaporizes fuel in the intake and that works most of the time but the block heater heats the engine coolant. That makes radiant heat and warms the whole engine, mostly the upper half. That makes starting a sure thing as long as we have electricity and a good battery. There is also less wear and tear starting a pre-warmed engine block. I often bring my battery in the house. This tractor has a battery that I won't be removing. Big and heavy! I could put a light bulb near it under the hood to help warm it.
This tractor is starting at mid and lower 30f as it sits but cranking for 30 seconds to start it. Wearing on the starter.
If it's -5 F degree and the cast iron is cold thermostart doesn't always get it running.
As far as forgetting to plug the heater in that doesn't happen. I often have to clear 3/4 mile of private road to get the state road. 14 other households sometimes have to wait on me to clear snow to get out. Some have 4x4's and do ok but we get snows that have to be plowed. I'm not obligated to do it but I have done it for years. I also do the road maintenance on our road. I had one young lady call me and ask why I didn't have plowed yet. I gave the young lady a lecture about looking the gift horse in the mouth.
I grew up on a farm, I may be overdoing some of this, but I was taught by a wise man, as a young man. I'm 67 so I'm stuck in my way of doing things.
I live about 50 miles northwest of St. Louis Mo. We get a week or two of single digit temperature in Jan. Otherwise 20f to 30f average. Not too bad
I'm sure to many members on the forum our winters are easy. There are much more severe winters to the north. I enjoy the lifestyle

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I have some old quilts that I throw over the hood. Tuck the baby in for the cold nights. I wont admitt to telling them goodnight
 

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Wow. Cool machine, but the previous owner's story is heartbreaking. That is a cool building and it looks like he had a TON of retirement projects lined up. I hope he found something else he enjoyed as much..

The size of cylinders on the backhoe looks like it means some business. Bucket is lucky to still have 4 out of 5 teeth. :ROFLMAO:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It has more teeth than I do. I have a 12" bucket that will work also.
So far, I haven't found any big hidden Issues. It's always a gamble with old machinery. We shall overcome!
When I got it home, I sunk the teeth and put some weight on the boom and curled out 3/4 of a full bucket. I thought that was cool. I have clay that is pretty ugly.
My list of projects
Ground source heat pump. #1
Water line rerouted
Good size Koi Pond.
Rip rap my pond levee.
Demolish old eyesore mobile home.
I have five acres to do those things that retired guys do. The hoe and loader pins and bushings are tight accept bucket pivots. Expected but not too bad or hard to repair, yet. That 24" bucket needs the seams rewelded in places. Thats easy stuff, someone did something drastic to break that center tooth out. They used the bottom bucket and that tooth to lever against something. I think! I'm already shopping ebayy for a tooth. Lots of choices
First, I have in the missing piece of plate to weld back in. I think they bent it then torched the tooth and piece of the bucket out.
The loader bucket cutting edge is bad. Not complaining, its 50 years old
 
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