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Discussion Starter #1
Last week I blew a hydraulic line for the front end loader on my Ford 540A tractor. The loader is an aftermarket (but can't think of the manufacturer at the moment.) When the line blew I noticed the fluid had a dark tint to it and the hydraulics don't seem to be working quite as well as the did when we first bought it 15 some years ago. I figured this would be a great time to change the fluid as well but I've never done this before on any tractor so any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated. I know I have downloaded the service manual a while back but after searching for a few days now I have no idea where it ended up at and need to get this done, hopefully today, before the weather really turns crappy here in Michigan.

I picked up 15 gallons of hydraulic fluid and the new line last night, will be stopping by Napa this morning to pick up the hydraulic filter. That is mounted under the floorboard and have changed that a few times in the past. I know where the fill ports are on the rear differential, am going to look again but have never been able to find the level plug on the side of the tractor and not sure where or if there are drain plugs on the bottom but going to look for them today.

I read on one of the forums that talks about using a few gallons of diesel to flush the system out a few times and kind of like that idea. Any input on that and/or any other tips or advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you everyone.

Specs on this tractor:
http://www.tractordata.com/industrial-tractors/000/1/0/107-ford-540a.html
 

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I wonder if you could change your hydraulic oil and push the old fluid through the cylinders by disconnecting the return hose and routing it into a bucket?!? Or maybe just warm up your rig and then change the oil and filters. After the next few services you should be fine.
As for the oil level indicator, is there a filler plug or such on the transmission cover that may have a dipstick on it?
 

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You state that you purchased 15 gallons of hydraulic fluid? This should be Universal Tractor Fluid (UTF) equivalent to Ford/New Holland specification 134D. Check the label on the buckets. If it's not the right spec, return it and get the proper fluid.

You can try the flush, most guys add some ATF to the diesel for cleaning and lubricity. You can only run it for a few minutes to avoid damage to transmission and rear end.
 

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I wonder if you could change your hydraulic oil and push the old fluid through the cylinders by disconnecting the return hose and routing it into a bucket?!? Or maybe just warm up your rig and then change the oil and filters. After the next few services you should be fine.
As for the oil level indicator, is there a filler plug or such on the transmission cover that may have a dipstick on it?
I was thinking something exactly like that, extending the rams fully then disconnect the return lines to drain out. Just not sure if the pressure buildup will let me disconnect them. Going to give it a try.

On this tractor the transmission/clutch is separate from the rear end/hydraulics. The transmission does have a nice, easy to access, oil dipstick right in the gear shifter plate. For the rear end there is supposed to be a plug that you remove then fill until it comes out. I have never been able to find that but going to look again. Capacity is supposed to be 11 gallons so Ill start out with that and go from there.
 

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You state that you purchased 15 gallons of hydraulic fluid? This should be Universal Tractor Fluid (UTF) equivalent to Ford/New Holland specification 134D. Check the label on the buckets. If it's not the right spec, return it and get the proper fluid.

You can try the flush, most guys add some ATF to the diesel for cleaning and lubricity. You can only run it for a few minutes to avoid damage to transmission and rear end.
I think we picked up '303' fluid but going to double check the spec to be certain, if not I will def return/exchange it.

I really like the adding the ATF fluid to the diesel tip and the idea in general. But I also have this tendency of overdoing things in this regard and wondered if it might turn it into more of a nightmare then it's worth. Meaning getting all of the diesel/ATF out of the system or actually causing issues to the pump. I might pick up another 5 gallons of hydraulic fluid and use that to help flush out the diesel before doing the final fill.

I also read something about the pump possibly air locking during this process. Anyone know if that's common to happen? What/if the procedure is to bleed it? I'm still searching for the service/workshop manual.
 

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This is the fluid we picked up, it states the following although I don't see the specifc ford spec listed. " field-tested and is suitable as a replacement fluid for the following manufacturers where a tractor hydraulic fluid is recommended: Allis Chalmers, JI Case/David Brown, Allison, John Deere 303, Caterpillar, Kubota, Deutz, Massey Furgeson, Ford Tractor, Oliver, International Harvester White."

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/p...03-tractor-hydraulic-fluid-5-gal?cm_vc=-10005


 

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Before you start disconnecting hoses, make sure your bucket and boom are supported or they will drop on you.....if you go this route, BE CAREFUL!!
 

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Bring me up to speed on this tractor. Doesn't this tractor have a separate hydraulic tank and pump arrangement for the loader?
 
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