Every fall I have to remove the backhoe from my Kubota BX tractor to make room for the snowblower. Because I do this just once a year it is not what I would classify as a routine job. So this year I decided to make up a new video on the procedure I follow. Hopefully this will also be useful to other tractor owners as well as myself for future years.
The new video is in the next Step
(Note that the Steps in the video will not be aligned with the Steps in this Instructible)
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Step 1: The Video Shows That I Set the Backhoe on a Firm and Level Surface
I set my backhoe partly on a sheet of pressure treated plywood and partly on an unused concrete walkway. If you are leaving the backhoe in a shed or garage you will generally have a firm and level floor and of course you also get the benefit of protection from the weather. But if set outdoors it is worthwhile using a nice hard surface that is already level... but having a tractor enables you to create your own level surface if required.
Step 2: Following Instructions
Kubota has placed a printed set of instructions directly on the backhoe panel just below the joystick levers. They also give the same instructions, along with illustrations, in the manuals.
Kubota directs you to let the main frame and the swing frame of the backhoe rest on the ground. I follow most of Kubota's instructions, but I let axle jacks and wood blocks carry the main load of the disconnected backhoe.
It is "normal" for hydraulic cylinders to leak down over time, so if you were to let the backhoe rest on the stabilizers and bucket, after disconnecting from the tractor, eventually the backhoe would settle down to the ground. This, being an uncontrolled action, is perhaps the least desired option.
So I elect to use the jacks and wood blocks to take the backhoe load so that when spring comes around, the backhoe is pretty well lined up and in place ready to reconnect to the tractor.
Step 3: Setting the Parking Brake and Putting Shift in Neutral
Putting the gear shift in neutral is a definite and recommended safety step. If the tractor is on perfectly flat and level ground you might elect to leave the parking brake off as this allows a little bit of tractor wheel movement when going through the backhoe disconnect procedure.
Lowering the bottom of the front end loader (tractor bucket) to make firm contact with the ground is another option to consider (if you have flat and level ground) as this will let the tractor move a little (but with rolling resistance) to help with disconnecting the backhoe. Just some thoughts to consider.
Also, when it is necessary to have the engine running during the procedure, set the engine to a low idle speed.
Step 4: Set the Swing Lock Pin!
"Step 2." in the video above clearly shows how to set the swing lock pin. In terms of running into trouble removing (and installing) the backhoe this is, I think, the most important step. One year I didn't install the lock pin, and to put it mildly, everything went wrong! I'm guessing here, as when things went wrong I didn't exactly have the wherewithal to take notes, but somewhere in the procedure I accidentally activated the swing joystick lever and swung the heavy (disconnected) backhoe way off to one side. The hydraulic lines were connected but the mounting pins were removed and the stabilizers were off the ground. In the end I needed a small garage crane and two other people to help me get it all put back in shape. (There is no reason to operate the swing function when removing or installing the backhoe.)
If I had the swing lock pin properly set in place the situation described could not have happened.
Step 5: Some Backhoe Storage Considerations
Because my backhoe is exposed to some pretty severe winter weather I always cover it with a tightly strapped down tarp.
But before that I also take these steps:
- Make sure the hydraulic connectors have the dust covers in place
- Grease the exposed hydraulic cylinder rods (all the chrome parts)
- Cover the joysticks with a medium size plastic garbage can (see the video link at the end of the main video shown here to see how I do that)
So hopefully this instructible will be of use to you. Please ask any questions or make any comments you like related to this instructible. Thanks.