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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I live in the pacific northwest, where blackberries are delicious, yet noxious in their spikey unpleasantness. Because I enjoy the delicious side of this satanic vine, I also have to deal with the noxious side. Also because boredom, I decided to convert the BXpanded backhoe thumb on my 1025R 260 backhoe from manual to hydraulic to ease in the task of pulling and gathering the vines for transport to their fiery demise. And it's good for so many other things. They say the 1025R is a toy, so I figure I might as well play with it.

Cutting to the chase for those who are just curious, here are a few pics of the result. Read on for further details on how this was accomplished.

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Parts

The total cost of the conversion (parts purchased July 2017) is around $450. Nearly all of the parts were acquired through surpluscenter.com, with the exception of the diverter valve (eBay), 45 degree elbows (eBay), and the hose sleeving (Amazon).

Desc Part # (Source)QTYUSD Price each (July 2017)Notes
1.5x6x.75 DA Hydraulic Cylinder9-4410-06 (Surpluscenter.com)195.551.5" bore, 6" stroke, .75" rod, 2000 PSI, 11.5" retracted length, .75" mount
Hydraulic solenoid operated selector diverter valve 12 volt DC(eBay - industrialsales719)112812 volt DC voltage. #8 SAE o-ring boss ports. 13.2 GPM @ 3600 PSI. 2.5 amps. -4 degrees to +158 degrees F working temperature. Six ports, supply, return and four work ports. Does not require an additional case drain line.
1/4" x 96" JIC 6F Swivel x JIC 6F Swivel SAE 100R16 Hydraulic Hose Assembly 5800 PSI921-2296 (Surpluscenter.com)120.95Routed valve work ports through boom to quick connects.
1/4" x 24" JIC 6F Swivel x JIC 6F Swivel SAE 100R16 Hydraulic Hose 921-2224 (Surpluscenter.com)29.70Routed from quick connects to cylinder 45 degree JIC elbow
1/4" x 12" JIC 6F Swivel x JIC 6F Swivel SAE 100R16 Hydraulic Hose Assembly 5800 PSI 921-2212 (Surpluscenter.com)47.50Connects diverter to control block, and diverter to original stick hoses
1/4 in Two Wire Dual Hydraulic Hose Clamp9-A2-14-D (Surpluscenter.com)13.45Welded to thumb mount plate. See pictures
1/4" NPT ISO 7241-B Quick Disconnect Hydraulic Couplings / Couplers(eBay – summit-hydraulics)2 sets39.95 for 4 setsPrice for 4 set combo, only 2 set needed.
Apache 39020518 1.59" ID x 15 -Feet, Nylon Protective Hose SleeveApache 39020518 (Amazon)119.00Protects 96” hose through boom and at pivots. Both hoses fit together in this sleeve. More than enough is included with purchase.
Apache 39020508 1.14" ID x 15 -Feet, Nylon Protective Hose SleeveApache 39020508 (Amazon)113.54Protects 24” hose around stick, and 12" hoses at controls. More than enough is included with purchase.
SAE 8M To SAE 6F Adapter9-6410-8-6 (Surpluscenter.com)22.15Converts valve both upper-side input and output ports, and extends them out to clear the ports underneath. See photos.
JIC 6M x SAE 6M 90 Elbow9-6801-6-6 (Surpluscenter.com)22.20Elbow that goes on the SAE-8M to SAE-6F straight adapters, on the upper-side input and output ports of the diverter.
JIC 6M x SAE 8M 90 Elbow9-6801-6-8 (Surpluscenter.com)42.20Elbow that adapts lower-side input and output ports, and the middle work ports of the divert valve.
JIC 6M x 1/4 NPTM Connector9-2404-6-4 (Surpluscenter.com)41.25Adapts 96” JIC hose to fit the quick connectors on the stick.
JIC 6M x 3/8 NPTM 90 Elbow9-2501-6-6 (Surpluscenter.com)22.60Elbow at hydraulic cylinder
6502-06-06 3/8" Male JIC X 3/8" Female JIC 45 45-degree elbow6502-06-06 (eBay - rnlhydraulics)25.7545 degree elbow to clear cylinder ports and thumb. See pictures.
K&S Technologies 12-0101 Honda CR Style Engine Kill Switch12-0101 (Amazon)1
Total443.50Calculated using $10 per set for quick connects. Does not include cost of the BXPanded thumb ($350.00 as of Feb 2019)

You'll also need some long 1/4-20 or similar bolts and nuts for the diverter mount, and a 3/4-10 (or 3/4-16) x 6" Grade 8 bolt. You'll also need to reuse the grad 8 bolt that came with the thumb. These two bolts mount each end of the cylinder to the thumb mounting plates. There's enough power to bend a non-grade 8 bolt, so although they're much more expensive, go with grade 8. I found this at my local hardware store (I happen to have a good small-chain store close by) for $8.50.

Oh, and primer and paint. Deere green and blitz black, of course.

General Description of the project

You'll need basic welding skills for the quick connector mount, diverter valve mount, and hose mount. The 96" hoses are routed between the control box and the quick connectors mounted to the stick through the boom. The quick connector mount on the stick was fabricobbled from some black iron pipe and a piece of scrap rod, cut at ~50 degrees and welded back together. This is a place where you'll be improvising.

You won't be able to use the existing hole in the thumb where the manual adjuster is mounted. You'll need to drill new .75" holes. For this, start by using a long drill bit that can go through both thumb plates (see photo), preferably done on a drill press. Then you can work up to the .75" hole on each side independently. Where you drill this hole will take some experimentation. I made a cardboard template, but I didn't keep it, so you'll need to figure this part out. I included a photo from the side, which you may be able to use as a very rough guide. To figure out where to drill the hole, with the elbows installed on the cylinder, retract the cylinder completely, then mount it to the stick. Pull the thumb all the way back to the maximum retracted position. Choose this carefully, ensuring you'll have clearance for elbows and hoses on the cylinder when doing this hydraulically. Use your method of choice to mark the thumb where the thumb side of the cylinder mount lines up. Transfer this mark to the outside. Check and adjust this mark no less than 10 times before drilling. Once drilled, it's a really hard step to undo.

You'll also want to weld some stops to the thumb using some scrap steel. See photo. This ensures the thumb can't be pulled back into any vital hydraulics.

The diverter valve was mounted to rear of the control box using some 1.5" angle iron ground in some strategic places. Mount up the elbows to the valve, then drill and mount the angle iron to the valve so that you can trial fit and mark the control box for final location. Mark the mount locations for the angle iron after ensuring that the boom cannot make contact with the valve throughout its full range of motion. Once confident in the position, remove the angle from the valve and tack weld to the control box. Double check clearances before fully welding. See photos. Note that the connector for the diverter needs to be off to the side in order to clear the boom. See the final picture of the valve above.

The rest of the project is routing hoses, threading and tightening elbows and couplers and whatnot, and wiring the valve's solenoid to the button on the stick control and ultimately to the ignition. I used a standard SAE power connector (like you'd find on a battery tender) for the power wire for backhoe removal. I won't go into details of the wiring. See pictures for coupler locations.

Pictorial
Note that the BB software automatically shows photo previews in landscape. Sorry.

Kit.jpg
"The Kit" - Most of the parts from surpluscenter.com. Cylinder was back-ordered, so it came separately.

Tacking Diverter Mount.jpg
Tacking the diverter mounts. Triple check the diverter mounting spot for clearance when boom is fully retracted and at full left and full right.

Diverter Mount.jpg
Diverter mount ready for cleaning.

Diverter Routing Center.jpg

Diverter Routing Left.jpg

Diverter Routing Right.jpg
Details of diverter elbows and routing. Note that the upper left and upper right elbows are threaded into straight adapters to add some length to clear the lower elbows. The left side of the valve is inputs from the control block (stick control) to the diverter via 12" hoses. The middle ports go to the thumb via the 96" hoses, and the right ports go to the existing stick lines. Note that the solenoid needs to be turned 90 degrees so that the connector clears the boom. This isn't shown in this photo, but is in the photo up top.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Pictorial Continued...


Long hose routing 1.jpg

Long hose routing 2.jpg

Long hose routing 3.jpg

Long hose routing 4.jpg

Long hose routing 5.jpg
Routing of the pair of 96" hoses that connect the diverter to the quick connects on the stick. I'm physically touching the hose in question in the pictures for clarity. Use the nylon sleeving and take care to protect the hoses from chaffing.

Quick Connector Mount Fab.jpg

Quick Coupler Mounting Back.jpg

Quick Coupler Mounting Front.jpg
Quick connector mount detail. The clamshell design was welded together from 3/4" black iron oxide gas pipe and some scrap rod cut at 50 degrees and welded back together. Worked out nicely. Also note the hose mount welded to the side mounting plate. Do this later in the project, when you can experiment with getting the hose mounting position for compactness and clearance from chaffing. The 24" hoses go between the thumb cylinder and the thumb-side of the quick connectors. The quick connectors are adapted from 1/4" NPT to JIC 6.

Thumb Drill.jpg
Use a smaller, but long, drill bit to drill the guide hole. This should be done on a drill press, and should go through both sides of the thumb in one go so that the holes are properly aligned. After these guides are drilled, you can step up to the 3/4" hole on each side individually. See description above for figuring out where to drill.

Thumb Side.jpg
Side view of the thumb to give you a rough idea of where the new holes are drilled. Take super duper care in marking these holes, making sure that the fully retracted cylinder won't pull the thumb too far. See details in overview for more info.

Thumb Stops.jpg
Thumb stops welded on to protect us from the possibility of over-retracting the thumb. See next image for further considerations.

Cylinder Elbow detail.jpg
Make sure the cylinder elbows clear both the thumb, and any other attachments (like the tip of the ripper in this case, which is very close). Make sure your thumb stops are carefully located.

Stick Control Button.jpg
A Honda motorcycle kill switch serves as a diverter button. I used some vacuum hose as an isolation mount for the button. Inside diameter of hose matches control stick. Can be doubled to give the button something to squeeze.

Summary

There's definitely some additional detail left out. I'll do my best to answer questions and will edit these posts for clarification.

It's a blast to use. I hope you enjoy it like I do!

-Mark
 

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Wow quite the Hydraulic Hose Set Up! Great job on the assembly. I have not done much in the hydraulic world yet you have done well in my eyes! Yes I lived on the Coast and glad we do not have wild black berries here. We did plant some along with other types to eat and preserve.
 

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Nicely done. How much time do you think you spent on the project figuring where all the parts went, fabricating, and installing?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Nicely done. How much time do you think you spent on the project figuring where all the parts went, fabricating, and installing?
Hmm. a day of planning, measuring, and parts finding, and two days in fab. Call it 24 hours total. This includes trial and error, and was spread out over a couple weeks, so its hard to say. The guide above might knock it down to 16 hours.
 

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That is an incredible build congrats and thanks for sharing.:greentractorride:
 
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Now that is Slick as Silk, kind of makes me feel a whole of inadequate with my tractor projects. Very well done total project. Thank you for the very complete write up and pictures. :bigthumb:
 

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Do you have (and can you post) photos of what the thumb looks like in the retracted (stowed) position, and also in the fully extended position? Would like to get an appreciation of the full range of motion.

Thank you kindly

Sincerely
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Do you have (and can you post) photos of what the thumb looks like in the retracted (stowed) position, and also in the fully extended position?
Totally. Here are a few more shots. The range increased. It both extends and retracts further than when the thumb was manual. And though I didn't weigh it, the cylinder and 24" hoses seem roughly the weight of the manual pin setup that it replaces, so it's not too much more load on the stick that costs you capacity.. Next time I pull the cylinder, I'll weight it and the 24" hoses for a more accurate comparison.

Errata: there's an error in the parts list. You'll need 2x the 96" hoses. This also adds another $20.95 to the total cost. I can't edit the original post anymore.

20190211_220853627_iOS.jpg

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20190211_220946480_iOS.jpg
 

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:clapping::clapping::yahoo: Oh my, this is the exact set-up I've been looking for!!!! I have been holding off on buying the thumb for my 260B, and then you come along and make it a done deal. :bigthumb: Crap, now I have another project to do now.

How does the thumb work, do you have reach around and use the button on the loader and use the loader stick to open and close the thumb? Any videos of the thumb in action?
 

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Totally. Here are a few more shots. The range increased. It both extends and retracts further than when the thumb was manual. And though I didn't weigh it, the cylinder and 24" hoses seem roughly the weight of the manual pin setup that it replaces, so it's not too much more load on the stick that costs you capacity.. Next time I pull the cylinder, I'll weight it and the 24" hoses for a more accurate comparison.

Errata: there's an error in the parts list. You'll need 2x the 96" hoses. This also adds another $20.95 to the total cost. I can't edit the original post anymore.

View attachment 672270

View attachment 672272

View attachment 672274
I am very impressed with this setup. Nicely done! I am definitely going to model something after this on my 270B using the JD factory Thumb BLV10023.

Sincerely
 

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Discussion Starter #13
How does the thumb work, do you have reach around and use the button on the loader and use the loader stick to open and close the thumb? Any videos of the thumb in action?
It works better than i imagined for pulling, gathering, and loading blackberry vines, ripping out bushes, and the like. I used it to break up a pair of old couches and load the bits into a dump trailer for disposal. It's great for moving larger rocks out of a dig. It's a blast to play with. Like forks, when you have it, you find uses for it. It's definitely a luxury, but worth every penny and the effort, in my opinion.

I'll record and post a video next time I use it.

Growing up, I had a toy from Radio Shack called "Armatron," and a thumb on a backhoe (or excavator) is just like that, but for adult nerds instead of kid nerds.

s-l1600.jpg
 

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It works better than i imagined for pulling, gathering, and loading blackberry vines, ripping out bushes, and the like. I used it to break up a pair of old couches and load the bits into a dump trailer for disposal. It's great for moving larger rocks out of a dig. It's a blast to play with. Like forks, when you have it, you find uses for it. It's definitely a luxury, but worth every penny and the effort, in my opinion.

I'll record and post a video next time I use it.

Growing up, I had a toy from Radio Shack called "Armatron," and a thumb on a backhoe (or excavator) is just like that, but for adult nerds instead of kid nerds.

View attachment 672352
LOL, I know how a thumb works, what I meant was the actual hydraulic actuation of it. I saw the button on the FEL stick and was wondering if you use the FEL stick to open and close the thumb.
 

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Great job and documentation but best part.

A Vizsla in the picture
 
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LOL, I know how a thumb works, what I meant was the actual hydraulic actuation of it. I saw the button on the FEL stick and was wondering if you use the FEL stick to open and close the thumb.
Take a closer look at the pictures, broski. =) The button is on the stick/bucket control of the backhoe.
 

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It works better than i imagined for pulling, gathering, and loading blackberry vines, ripping out bushes, and the like. I used it to break up a pair of old couches and load the bits into a dump trailer for disposal. It's great for moving larger rocks out of a dig. It's a blast to play with. Like forks, when you have it, you find uses for it. It's definitely a luxury, but worth every penny and the effort, in my opinion.

I'll record and post a video next time I use it.

Growing up, I had a toy from Radio Shack called "Armatron," and a thumb on a backhoe (or excavator) is just like that, but for adult nerds instead of kid nerds.

View attachment 672352
Worked PT at a Radio Shack while I was attending college. I sold a *million* of these every Christmas. Very cool. I liked that it let kids actually do and learn something as opposed to most of today's toys.
 

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Oh Boy. That is tres-cool.

I found the mechanical thumb pretty much useless and it has been sitting in my shed now for a while. It's dang tempting to do this. I have an artillian diverter that i put in pace for a grapple. Seems like I could tap into that somehow, but the hydraulic lines would be very long. The switch is just a 12VDC switch to that would be easy to add. Hmm.

Thanks for the inspiration. :)
 
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