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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    5
    Location
    Quesnel
    Tractor
    Massey Harris 44

    Default Putting a MH 44 to work

    I posted here a few months back about getting a Massey Harris 44...my first tractor. Since then it's been collecting snow and sitting quietly.

    I'm not really a restorer, but I do want something that can do some jobs for me. It doesn't have any hydraulics, but it does have a PTO and a home-built not-complete three point hitch.

    Ideally, I'd like to get a front loader on it and eventually get the 3pt working. Are there kits I can buy for the front loader that will fit? Can I just use a PTO hydraulic pump? Is there a reservoir kit? Any advice you can give would be welcome....I'd rather not admit to my wife that I'm not sure what I can make this do after I bought it.

  2. #2
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    4
    Location
    Kalispell, MT
    Tractor
    Massey-Harris 44G

    Default Re: Putting a MH 44 to work

    You sound just like me! Are you sure we weren't separated at birth or something? I'm still trying to persuade the wife [AND myself] that I haven't bought a white [red and yellow, actually] elephant here...Mine has a manual boat winch/cable operated front snow blade which works OK but it shore ain't no FEL...

    First thing I did was buy an eBay reprint manual, very helpful on capacities, maintenance, tuneup, etc. but zilch on hydraulics.
    Second thing was to build some chains-too cheap to buy new. For $130 total investment in a set of semi chains and ~200# of rusty/broken ones, I now have heavy-duty ones all the way around, a 40+ foot tow chain, and enough parts/pieces to build several more sets to fit the lawn tractor and 4-wheelers.

    I've had my 44GS about a month now and so far I've not found any easy answers regarding adding hydraulics for a FEL. Conflicting info as to whether there was a front [or Lside mounted, conflicting info] hydraulic pump available on these things. As far as specifications, I've found nothing.

    Saw a hydraulic pump on eBay [supposedly came off a 44] but when I emailed the seller he knew little about it. Have nearly bought a couple used Prince PTO pumps there but glad I lost 'em as they were probably too large for my intended use.

    I THINK [but do not know] that a PTO-mounted pump like a Chief or Prince will work OK. THINK [but do not know] that a flow rate of 8-10 GPM is about right for a FEL. THINK [but do not know] that too much flow is bad as it causes excessive heating of hydraulic fluid and makes fine bucket control difficult.

    So far, the guys with 44's and having detailed firsthand knowledge about these matters have not responded with particulars on a couple of other forums where I've posed questions.

    What I'm hoping to find out centers on several topics:

    1. How difficult and expensive will it be to get hydraulics on a 44? I'm handy, have tools and know how to scrounge parts and pieces for many things, but hydraulics is a completely alien landscape for me. Wondering how hard it would be to mount a belt-driven pump on the front L [driver's side] and just using a longer belt...

    2. How difficult and expensive will it be to build a FEL that will be safe, sturdy and functional [not necessarily pretty]? Don't think I need or want one that will hold more than about 1/3 of a yard, this thing is hard enough to steer with my snow blade, can't imagine having another half-ton or more of dirt hanging off the front end!

    3. How difficult and expensive will it be to add a 3-point hitch since I presently have only a drawbar on the rear? Have not yet seen a picture on any 44 with a complete 3-point hitch and no one appears to sell one prebuilt.

    4. How difficult/expensive to add a backhoe attachment? I don't want to dig canals, just waterlines, footings for retaining walls and the occasional rock out of the yard. I see 'em new on eBay for $1,500-2,000 but have no clue how to attach one to the 44.

    5. How difficult/expensive will it be to add power steering on some kind? [See #2...]

    I've looked at the CADPlans site and have read mixed reviews of some of their offerings, emailed them with detailed questions about 10 days ago with ZERO response. Makes me wonder if there would be any customer support after purchase if they can't bother to reply to a potential new buyer...
    Last edited by MEMEMEME; 02-03-2013 at 05:16 PM. Reason: Edited for readabilityy

  3. #3
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    5
    Location
    Quesnel
    Tractor
    Massey Harris 44

    Default Re: Putting a MH 44 to work

    I'm not expert, but since no experts are replying....

    > You sound just like me! Are you sure we weren't separated at birth or something?

    Clones!

    > First thing I did was buy an eBay reprint manual, very helpful on capacities, maintenance, tuneup, etc. but zilch on hydraulics.

    What'd you pay for the manual? I've considered doing the same, but the prices seemed stupid.

    > Saw a hydraulic pump on eBay [supposedly came off a 44] but when I emailed the seller he knew little about it. Have nearly bought a couple used Prince PTO pumps there but glad I lost 'em as they were probably too large for my intended use.

    I saw that one...I wouldn't do it. According to a bunch of people I know who do mechanics for a living, a PTO pump will work, or you can drive one off a belt, or the Rockwell pulley, or even off the crank start.

    > I THINK [but do not know] that a PTO-mounted pump like a Chief or Prince will work OK.

    I'm pretty sure this is what I will end up doing. One of the guys I talked to said you can run a FEL off something as small as a vehicle power steering pump (if I could figure a way to mount and run it).


    > 2. How difficult and expensive will it be to build a FEL that will be safe, sturdy and functional [not necessarily pretty]? Don't think I need or want one that will hold more than about 1/3 of a yard, this thing is hard enough to steer with my snow blade, can't imagine having another half-ton or more of dirt hanging off the front end!

    I think I would attempt to find one and hack it to your tractor than build one outright.

    > 3. How difficult and expensive will it be to add a 3-point hitch since I presently have only a drawbar on the rear? Have not yet seen a picture on any 44 with a complete 3-point hitch and no one appears to sell one prebuilt.

    It's been done...I can show you the mostly complete one on mine that someone built. This is kind of hard to see, but the tractor is up to its axles in snow right now, so it's the best I can do. Massey Harris 44 with Farmall grill - Imgur

    > 4. How difficult/expensive to add a backhoe attachment? I don't want to dig canals, just waterlines, footings for retaining walls and the occasional rock out of the yard. I see 'em new on eBay for $1,500-2,000 but have no clue how to attach one to the 44.

    Get the 3pt working first, and you can buy ones that attach properly.

    > 5. How difficult/expensive will it be to add power steering on some kind? [See #2...]

    Hmm...I wouldn't bother. Once you are moving, steering is easier. I can say this after doing many summers haying on old tractors.

    > I've looked at the CADPlans site and have read mixed reviews of some of their offerings, emailed them with detailed questions about 10 days ago with ZERO response. Makes me wonder if there would be any customer support after purchase if they can't bother to reply to a potential new buyer...

    I never knew about that...some interesting stuff there.

  4. #4
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    4
    Location
    Kalispell, MT
    Tractor
    Massey-Harris 44G

    Default Re: Putting a MH 44 to work

    Old age and CRS have struck with ferocity-I could NOT, for the life of me, find where I'd bookmarked this site-finally found it under "Chainsaw Stuff"...[-;

    Think I only paid $15 for the manual, it's a reprint but clear enough to see any details needed. If you don't yet have one I'll scan it for you-

    Thank you for the 3-pt picture-I never realized they were mounted OVER the rear PTO, I kept looking for a way to mount above and in FRONT and could not visualize it-mine is missing the PTO shield, guess that was removed for the 3pt in your picture?

    I DID end up getting an email from CADPlans a couple of weeks later, their ballpark guesstimate of costs to build both a FEL and a backhoe attachment using their plans was between $3500-4000, using all new material. Forgot to ask about # of hours but have seen others comments that it was about 200 hours total labor.

    Since my post here I've managed to find 3 NOS Fram oil filters on ebay for about $20 delivered {NAPA wanted $38 for 1] and do the oil change [not too far from driveway sealer in color/consistency but NO metal flakes-yay!]. I misread my crankcase capacity in the manual, thought it was 2 gal, but that's overfilled by about 1.5 qt.

    Changed the oil in the air cleaner cup, oil was not too murky but there was about 1/2" of tenacious thick mud in the bottom.

    Bought a tuneup kit off eBay [points, condenser, plugs, plug wires, cap and rotor] since it was kinda hard starting and bogged down/belched smoke when I put any load on it-like even trying to drive on level ground. Added 5 gal of fresh, non-ethanol gal, threw in a bottle of Heet, fiddled with the idle mixture screw, got the choke cable unfrozen with Tri-Flow [GREAT stuff!], and now it starts first push, idles like a dream and now will PUSH DIRT with the 7' snow blade! I need to unlimber my old digital camera and take a couple of pics and post 'em here.

    Now I've decided to try to go the el cheapo route and modify the existing blade setup rather than build/buy a FEL, at least for now.

    I put a new winch cable on it but after only about 3 hours of desperately trying to crank it up and down to try and follow the ground contour while pushing dirt [and having gotten cracked soundly and repeatedly on the back of the hand with the whirling winch handle when I'd lose my grip on it and it would freespool out due to the blade weight], I need a better plan.

    I have a wrecked Craftsman garden tractor with a 22hp Onan engine that Dad had put an electric/hydraulic setup on. It drew way more juice than the little alternator on the tractor could supply, so he had a deep-cycle battery bungeed to the R floorboard. It would run the hydraulics for maybe 2 hours before needing a recharge.

    He had a front blade and a back blade and I recall being able to put the front blade down and pop the front wheels off the ground easily-sort of a redneck lowrider setup. I put in 2 long driveways using that tractor before the transaxle finally gave up.

    I think I can scavenge the hydraulics to raise and lower the front blade by using it's 1" mounting bolts as pivot points [probably need to add a grease fitting to each bolt somehow or else plan on frequent replacement], and by adding a third small cylinder to the center of the snow blade I will be able to rotate it close to 90 deg around it's long axis to allow for dumping a load of dirt. Downside is I'll either need to convert the tractor's existing 6V setup to 12V or else add a bracket, alternator, 12V battery and longer belt.

    Last week I went to the steelyard and bought an 18"x84" piece of 3/16" plate to make a bottom for the front blade and turn it into a bucket of sorts. I plan to support it on 1/4"x2" angle iron bolted to the back and sides of the blade, and the existing 1"x6"x84" cutting edge on the back of the blade will be mounted on the new bucket bottom for stiffening and abrasion resistance.

    Hey, these tractors are good mudders! my neighbor is adding about a hundred yards of gravel to his mudbog driveway and I went up there to see if I could spread it for him without getting stuck. I had it close to the rear axle and it never seemed to even come close to getting stuck, although I may have just been experiencing beginner's luck-

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