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  1. #1
    Gold Member jcliburn's Avatar
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    Kubota MX5100

    Default W.R. Long kit plus Gator grapple

    Recently, I decided to acquire and install a W.R. Long third function valve kit (electric over hydraulic) and a Gator Attachments 60" light duty grapple on my kubota MX5100 with LA844 front-end loader. I'm not a hydraulics expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I have a superficial understanding of how it works, and I'm occasionally handy with mechanical and electrical things, so I thought I'd have a go at the installation myself.

    If I had known then what I know now, there are some things I would've done differently, hopefully getting the job done right the first time and saving myself a good bit of time, aggravation, phone calls, google searches, and running hither and thither to buy piece parts. I thought I'd share my experience here for the next guy who comes along looking for information.

    Please note that everything you read here is applicable to MY tractor and loader, and may not be applicable to yours.


    BACKGROUND INFO

    1. I purchased a W.R. Long kit with the optional bulkhead mounting plate. (Pic 1) I didn't ask for anything other than the kit and plate; I made no additional specific requests.

    2. The Long kit must be purchased through an authorized W.R. Long dealer.

    3. The Long valve, hoses, and bulkhead plate are all fitted with 3/8" ag-type quick disconnect (QD) couplers. All hoses are 3/8".

    4. The Long kit does not come with QD dust caps, presumably unless you specify them when you order. After opening the box and realizing there were no dust caps, I called W.R. Long and ordered three pair, although only two pair are actually needed for the kit. (I've discovered it surprisingly difficult to find 3/8" dust caps in my part of the country, so I wanted an extra pair.)

    5. I ordered, received, and installed the Long kit BEFORE ordering the Gator grapple.

    6. From what I have read on TBN, the Gator grapple comes with flat-face QDs unless you specify otherwise. I specified "ag quick disconnects" on my order with Gator, because I knew the Long kit was fitted with ag-type QDs.

    7. The Gator grapple was delivered fitted with 1/2" ag-type QDs. See #3 above and note well that a 1/2" QD will not mate with a 3/8" QD.

    8, The hoses on the Gator grapple are 3/8". The 1/2" QDs delivered on the grapple were connected to the grapple hoses at the factory with a 90 degree 3/8" JIC male to 1/2" NPT male adapter. (Pic 2) Since these QDs wouldn't fit my W.R. Long QDs, I had to purchase a 90 degree 3/8" JIC to 3/8" NPT male-to-male adapter from a local hydraulic shop in order to thread the 3/8" ag QDs onto the grapple hoses. (I happened to have a set of 3/8" QDs from a hose pair provided in the Long kit that I didn't need.)

    9. About 2/3 of the length of the grapple hoses came sheathed in cloth. (Pic 3)

    10. The grapple was delivered by Fedex Freight to the main Fedex terminal 60 miles from my home. When it arrived there, Fedex called the telephone number I gave Gator when I placed my order, and we set up a date for delivery to my home. The grapple arrived on an 18-wheeler that could not negotiate my 820 foot gravel driveway -- the loop at the house end of the drive was too tight for him to make the turn to get out. We decided to leave the truck on the (isolated, seldom traveled) blacktop and unload the grapple there. My tractor has a skid steer quick attach, so I uncoupled the bucket that was on it, drove up to the road, and eased up to open door of the semi trailer. Using a pallet jack kept inside the trailer, the driver positioned the grapple at the trailer's edge, with the rear of the grapple facing the open door. I drove up to the edge, connected to the grapple, locked the pins, and that was that. (Prior to delivery I had fretted a good bit about how we were going to unload the thing. I don't have pallet forks, and I was dreading chaining the new grapple to my bucket hooks and lifting it out that way. Probably would've been fine, though.)


    SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS (or, stated another way "Learn From My Mistakes")

    1. Specify dust caps when you place your order with W.R. Long. If you don't, you'll have to remove the QD couplers installed by W.R. Long in order to install the dust caps later.

    2. Specify 3/8" ag-type QDs when you place your order with Gator Attachments.

    3. Be prepared to unload the grapple yourself when Fedex Freight delivers it, or make some other arrangements to get it unloaded.

    4. Test the W.R. Long solenoid ground before mounting the valve assembly on your tractor. Ordinarily I would never consider doing this, because I figure everything will Just Work right out of the box, but, as usual, whenever *I* undertake a project, something frequently goes bizarrely wrong, and in my case, it did: One of the solenoids failed to operate because it had no ground. YOU PROBABLY DON'T HAVE TO DO THIS TEST, but if I'd done it, I'd have saved myself a boatload of time later when I had everything put together only to find one of the solenoids wouldn't work because it was missing ground.

    There are two solenoids: One moves the valve spool one direction, the other moves the spool the opposite direction. To verify good solenoid ground, place the valve assembly bracket vertically in a vise so the whole assembly is oriented in the direction it'll be mounted on your tractor (see the orientation diagram provided in the W.R. Long installation instructions). In this position, with the mounting bracket clamped vertically in your vise, the valve assembly itself will actually be inclined about 45 degrees since the mounting bracket is angled.

    Remove the fluted, threaded plastic cap/nut at the end of the valve shaft -- it should not be terribly tight; mine came off by hand -- then pull the solenoid along the shaft away from the valve body. Do the same thing with the other solenoid. Pic 4 shows the solenoids and endcaps after they've been removed.

    Next, pop off the black, rectangular, plastic cover (Pic 5) that protects the narrow connector block mounted to the top of the valve body. There are two black wires feeding through a slot in one side of this cover, and there are two phillips head screws on top of the cover that appear to hold the cover on, but they actually don't -- the cover just snaps on and off. You should be able to use your fingers and work the cover off, or use a flathead screwdriver and pry upward lightly until it releases.

    On the exposed connector block (Pic 6) you'll see a terminal connected to the end of each of the two black wires, and each terminal inserts into a tunnel in the connector block. This is the solenoid hot connection. On the top of each raised end of the connector block you'll also see a flat, square metal tab with a phillips head screw running through the middle of it. A narrow extension of this tab makes a downward U-turn and runs into another tunnel right next to the hot connector tunnel. This is the solenoid ground connector. When assembled, each solenoid plugs into a pair of these tunnels at each end of the connector block. Pics 7, 8, and 9 show the assembly with both solenoids off, with one solenoid on, and with both solenoids on.

    [Important Note about Picture 6: You'll notice washers under the screws in the picture. I installed the washers as part of my troubleshooting efforts. You should NOT install washers. They're not required, and the cover won't fit on the connector block correctly when you reinstall it -- the washers will be in the way.]

    The phillips head screw passes through the connector block and threads into the metal valve body beneath; this grounds the screw, which should contact the metal tab and ground it, too. However, if the head of the screw is not firmly seated against the tab, you may not have a reliable ground for the solenoid that mates with that particular end of the connector block. That's what happened to me.

    Don't loosen or tighten the screws yet. Use your finger and gently try to move or wiggle each metal tab. There should be ZERO movement if the screw is making good, solid contact with the ground tab. This is the desirable condition. Just to be sure you've got a good connection, you can test for continunity using an ohmmeter with one lead touching the screw head slot and the other lead pressing down moderately on the flat face of the ground tab. If the screw is sufficiently snug, pressing the meter lead on the tab shouldn't cause the tab to lose contact with the screw head. If you don't have good contact, carefully tighten the screw until you do. (This is MUCH easier to do on the bench than on the tractor. Trust me.)

    Once you've verified ground at both tabs, replace the cover, install the solenoids, and thread the fluted endcaps back on.

    You're now ready to install the valve assembly.


    ADDITIONAL ITEMS YOU MAY NEED

    The following are some items I picked up to complete the job.

    1. One (1) crimp-on ring terminal for 14-16 gauge wire. (Pic 10) This is for one end of the W.R. Long orange, 14 gauge, 10 amp fuse lead. Per dealer recommendation, I connected this lead to the starter post that also connects the battery to the starter. You don't *have* to connect to the starter post, and some people may argue you should connect to another place anyway, but I don't have a wiring diagram for my tractor, and I was loathe to begin ripping into sheathed wiring bundles to try and find a wire that's hot only when the key is in the "on" position.

    2. Three (3) crimp-on splice connectors for 14-16 gauge wire. (also Pic 10) One is for splicing the other end of orange 14 gauge fuse lead mentioned in the previous item to the red 16 gauge hot lead that connects to the thumbswitch. The other two splice connectors are for splicing the two black 16 gauge leads from the thumbswitch to the two black 16 gauge leads coming out of the W.R. Long valve/solenoid/connector block assembly.

    NOTE: If you use these crimp-on splice connectors on the black leads, offset them by about 2 or 2.5 inches. If you splice them side-by-side, they won't fit inside the protective plastic wiring sheath provided in the Long kit. The diameter of the sheath isn't large enough to accommodate both the splice connectors side-by-side.

    You can also solder the leads together or use some other splice method. (I soldered and covered with shrink tubing.)

    3. Nine (9) feet of hydraulic hose sheathing. This sheathing -- I used the black cloth kind -- should be large enough to accommodate a pair of 3/8" hydraulic hoses. I bought 8 feet of sheathing and came up about a foot short. (Measure twice, cut once, they say? I didn't measure at all, and just guessed when I was standing at the counter about to buy the stuff. <kicks self>) Alternatively, you can obviously use some other type of sheathing -- or none at all -- but 9 feet is about the right length if you want to sheath your hoses. Best advice: Lay out and measure the hoses before installing them on the tractor.

    4. Four (4) plastisol coated 3/8" hydraulic hose hangers. (Pic 11) (I'm not sure what the stuff is actually called, but in the submarine service we called it "plastisol." It's that rubberlike dip-coating that, in this case, prevents your hoses from chafing against the sharp metal edges of the hangers.) I used two hangers on each of the two pipe brackets that were factory mounted on the inside of my right-hand loader arm. I routed the hoses running from the W.R. Long valve out to the front of the loader through these hangers. There may well be other options for hanging hydraulic hoses, but these hangers are all I could get locally.

    NOTE: There are actually two hangers shown in Picture 11. Each hanger provides passage for a single hose.

    5. Two (2) M8-1.25 x 40mm bolts. These are used to mount the W.R. Long bulkhead plate (Pic 12) to one of the FEL torque tube pipe brackets. The bulkhead plate is designed to fit over the hardline keeper that's already mounted on the pipe bracket (Pic 13), but the existing M8-1.25 x 35mm bolts on the hardline keeper are a little too short once you add the W.R. Long bulkhead plate. And forget about trying to get the washers off the old bolts. I have no idea how they got them on at the factory, but after 15 minutes trying to get the stupid things off, I decided it wasn't worth any additional effort and I bought new washers (see items #7 and 8 below).

    6. Two (2) M8-1.25 x 20mm bolts. These are used to mount the new hose hangers (item #4 above) to the two empty brackets on the inside of the loader arm. You need only one bolt per bracket.

    7. Four (4) lock washers to fit the 8mm bolts in items #5 and #6.

    8. Four (4) flat washers to fit the 8mm bolts in items #5 and #6.


    INSTALLATION NOTES

    1. Follow the instruction sheet provided by W.R. Long. The instructions are not terribly detailed, but they're accurate.

    2. One question I had during installation was exactly *where* along the FEL frame spar I should mount the valve. Should it be slightly inboard? Outboard? Or maybe right in the middle? After hooking everything up, mounting it in the middle of the spar worked best for me. (Pic 14, 15, 16)

    3. The angle of the bulkhead plate that mounts to the FEL torque tube threw me off for awhile. I wasn't sure how it was supposed to be mounted (angled up? angled down?), but a call to W.R. Long set me straight: The plate is designed to be angled down. (Pic 17)

    4. I routed the thumbswitch wires down the joystick while the joystick was in the detent float (all the way forward) position to make sure I had a little slack in the wires at the back edge of the FEL valve shield. I then drilled two 5/16" holes through the inboard side of the shield to which I could lash the wire run after sheathing. (Pic 18) I used UV zip ties through the holes to secure the run. Eight inches or so below the lower zip tie, I separated the thumbswitch hot lead from the black solenoid leads and sent the hot lead across the tractor in the void space behind the firewall. Pic 19 shows the split on the right-hand side of the tractor, and Pic 20 shows where the hot lead emerges on the left-hand side next to the bottom left corner of the fuse box.

    5. W.R. Long supplies a 10 amp fuse connected to a circular 14 gauge (orange) lead in the kit. I snipped the lead a few inches off center and spliced it into the thumbswitch hot lead near the starter. The other end of that orange lead got the ring terminal. Pic 21 shows the final hot lead run, including the fuse in the little soft plastic box. The starter post is under a rubber boot on the bottom of the starter.

    Pics 22 and 23 show the completed hose run, and Pic 24 shows the finished product.

    Best regards,
    Jay
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -1-kit-jpg   -2-half-inch-adapters-jpg   -3-grapple-hoses-jpg   -4-solenoids-jpg   -5-cover-jpg  

    -6-connector-block-jpg   -7-assy-wo-solenoids-jpg   -8-assy-w-cover-one   -9-valve-w-cover-both   -10-crimp-connectors-jpg  

    -11-hangers-jpg   -12-bulkhead-plate-jpg   -13-pipe-keeper-jpg   -14-valve-position-jpg   -15-valve-location-front-jpg  

    -16-valve-location-rear-jpg   -17-plate-angle-jpg   -18-fel-shield-jpg   -19-wire-split-jpg   -20-wire-left-side-jpg  

    -21-final-hot-lead-jpg   -22-hose-run-1-jpg   -23-hose-run-2-jpg   -24-finished-jpg  
    Last edited by jcliburn; 01-02-2011 at 08:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member srs's Avatar
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    Kubota B3030 HSDC

    Default Re: W.R. Long kit plus Gator grapple

    Jay, great post with pictures. I'm sure many members will follow your instructions and advice should they purchase the WR Long kit.
    Stanley----Kubota B3030 HSDC

  3. #3
    New Member
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    Kubota L35 TLB

    Default

    This is a very helpful post. I am considering a similar installation.

    Thanks.

  4. #4
    Gold Member jcliburn's Avatar
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    Kubota MX5100

    Default Re: W.R. Long kit plus Gator grapple

    Thanks.

    Go for it. You can do it. If I can, anyone can!

    Jay

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Redbug's Avatar
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    Default Re: W.R. Long kit plus Gator grapple

    Just wondering Jay...On my WRLong valve, the electricity is always on or live. Is yours like that, too? Or is it tied into the switch circuit...where you turn your key to the on position it then works. I think I want mine tied into the keyed in position and was just wondering...
    Dave

    "If your sport does not put grease, blood, or dirt under your fingernails, then it's just a game!"

  6. #6
    Gold Member jcliburn's Avatar
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    Default Re: W.R. Long kit plus Gator grapple

    Quote Originally Posted by Redbug View Post
    Just wondering Jay...On my WRLong valve, the electricity is always on or live. Is yours like that, too?
    Yes. I hooked mine directly to the battery connector post on the starter, so it's hot all the time. I actually prefer it that way.

  7. #7
    Gold Member ericdube's Avatar
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    Default Re: W.R. Long kit plus Gator grapple

    Great job on the write-up and thanks for including all the pictures!

  8. #8
    Veteran Member Redbug's Avatar
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    Default Re: W.R. Long kit plus Gator grapple

    Thanks Jay! And one of the best write-ups with pics I have seen also!
    Dave

    "If your sport does not put grease, blood, or dirt under your fingernails, then it's just a game!"

  9. #9
    Gold Member jcliburn's Avatar
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    Default Re: W.R. Long kit plus Gator grapple

    Thanks guys. Glad you find it useful.

  10. #10
    Gold Member jcliburn's Avatar
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    Default Re: W.R. Long kit plus Gator grapple

    One more thing for anyone considering a grapple...

    On multiple occasions while operating my grapple in heavy brush, stray limbs kicked an SSQA lock lever into the unlocked position. On one of those occasions, the grapple actually detached from one side, twisting and bending the cross tube between the SSQA plates. I had to cut out a section of the tube and weld it to accommodate the bend. (There are other ways to fix such a thing, but that was the quickest way for me personally with the equipment I had on hand.) If you look closely, you can see the two cut/weld points on the tube; one just to the left of the U-bolt, and the other a few inches inboard of the QA plate.

    In the aftermath, I decided to rig up a lever lock system to prevent anything from knocking a lever into the unlocked position. Pic below. (It's painted now.)

    Jay
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -lever-lock-20110226-1-800x600  

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