I got a call earlier this week from my dad asking if I was available to take a look at one of his Bobcat loaders that apparently didn’t work anymore because hydraulic fluid was vomiting out of the side of it like a 21 year old on his first night downtown after he was dumped by a red head. After I finished up with my coke zero and 5 hour guitar solo, I tossed a few things into the Gray Pearl and headed out to assess the situation.
Now if I had thought about actually writing this article before I was 70% complete with this job I probably would have taken about 20 more pictures, but that may have robbed you of some of the wonderful descriptions.
After I arrived I could see the filth plaguing the right side of the machine where hydraulic oil had leaked out and the blackest dirt had jumped off the ground to hitch hike on what used to be a glorious white machine. When I said used to be, I meant back when Kurt Cobain was still alive, but white none the less. Of course the location of this machine was terrible, and it barely had any fluid in it, so relocating it was a prayer short of a Turbine Jesus miracle. Luckily my dad has a few other machines there that actually work sometimes, so I was able to “encourage” the arms into the up position so I could insert the ram lock on the left side lift cylinder and could feel somewhat less fearful of a crushing death while removing a main component of the hydraulic system.
I had watched a YouTube video before I started that made this job seem like it was going to be a big ol’ ladle full of gravy work, but the video was for a tilt cylinder on a tiny bobcat from the 80’s that only half way resembled my journey to the center of a hydraulic ram.
I removed the to pin fairly easily and disconnected the hydraulic lines before the 95 degree weather really started to disturb my calm. Since I didn’t have the special tool to unscrew the cylinder seal part, I improvised with a harbor freight pipe wrench and that is pretty much where the easy part stopped. Now I’m not really sure why someone would think it would be a good idea to put wheels that are half the size of the original ones on the back while leaving the jumbonormous ones still on the front, but that rear wheel had to go after I fought that bottom pin in weather that was hotter than a witches tit on a tin roof. Finally cylinder removal was complete and it was back to Janky Shack where the real fun (and pictures) began.
Apparently you can’t just pull the 2 pieces of a hydraulic ram apart, so I was in my garage flexing my brain muscle as I looked around for a contraption up to the task of divorcing these 2 without a lawyer. I turned around and was blessed with an engine crane, that just happened to be exactly where I put it. A few minutes and a few feet of el chepo rope is all it took to convert an actual tool into a medieval mechromancer torture device.
I finally separated the pieces after a few considerably loud sounds that may or may not have concerned some nearby residents and a floor full of nasty old fluid that did its best to avoid the drain pan. After that I encountered the worlds tightest nut. I’m not even sure what size this nut really was, but it was bigger than a 41mm and smaller than a 45mm/1 3/4″. I really should have taken a picture of this to better explain how ridiculous this was. I recently bought a mid-rise 2 post car lift for my garage but I don’t have a vice… and the 2 nitrous bottles in the background were only there for moral support. Anyways, I took off one of the arms of the lift and stuck the pin through the top side of the ram so I could try to take this nut off using some creative method I fabricated out of lulz and beer. Even cranked up to 11, my snap-on impact’s 800+ ft/lbs of torque got the same response you would get from sending a message containing only “Hi” on plenty of fish, nothing. It was time again to dismantle actual tools and play-doh them together with other ones for that refined look only achieved by Janky Shack. A breaker bar, socket, floor jack handle, and car lift later, I had something I could really be proud of. Unfortunately it was so awesome, my phone couldn’t even contain it, it just displayed as a searing light surrounded by a blissful aura when photographed.
With the nut removed it the rest of the components were easy to remove and the disgraceful seals that brought shame to their family were exposed and voted off the island. With nano surgical precision and butterfly grace the seals were replaced with some cheap part from ebay that will definitely last at least 10 to 15 days. After the transplant, it was hammer time with my favorite orange dead blow and with my arm up over my head 78 hits later the piston was still only about 1 inch into the cylinder.
The engine crane was great for removing the piston, but it can only lift up so I had to again re-purpose something in the garage. I decided it would be a good idea to stand the cylinder on one of the lifting arms of the 2 post lift while tying the top eye hole to down to the top of the post on a part of the lift that doesn’t move. After tripping the 15 amp electrical breaker from starting the lift motor too many times out of fear of certain death and destruction the ram came together like a family at the end of a Disney movie.
And that, my friends, is how to make a huge mess in your garage and re-purpose your expensive tools into piles of parts so that you can write an article about it and become internet famous in your own mind.