Bought a 550 Ford TLB

   / Bought a 550 Ford TLB #1  


Super Member
Oct 23, 2012
North Idaho
Rhino 554, Ford 550 TLB (JD X500, MTD, Gilson riding mowers) Ford 3000-Sold
Posted some questions in another 550 Ford thread.

Thought I should start my own for this high hour used TLB

I got it home with my nephew's help.
Never would have got it on my 80 inch wide trailer but his flat bed worked Great.
I have to say Very impressed with how their 2015 gas hemi 2500 RAM pulled the load.
We calculated that gcw was right around 24500 lbs.
( assuming the rear tires are not loaded-something that needs checked as well) And other than revving a bit higher than my 5.9 Cummins 1 ton it handled it just fine.
This thing has a huge One yard bucket

Pic of the load


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   / Bought a 550 Ford TLB
  • Thread Starter

Some success. spent a good day using engine cleaner and a pressure washer getting things cleaned up a bit. Engine has a slight miss at idle and thought maybe an exhaust valve might be a bit tight checked the clearances , which were loose if anything . head work will have to wait... Running more than well enough to do some work, especially what needs done soon.

Changed oil and filter also cleaned out all of the radiators. Topped up the fluids. Still need to grease the tractor but just had to try it out on a decent sized stump.
The backhoe controls are a learning experience for sure but after digging was able to pin the stump to haul it to the burn pile with the hoe and fill in the hole and smooth it out.

Started ordering some parts that are needed like a new dash (Tach fuel gauge, coolant temp, and idiot lights) adding a voltmeter and still need a good wiring diagram /schematic- for some reason the 660+ page service manual is weak on the electrical items.


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   / Bought a 550 Ford TLB #3  
550s are old, but still get the work done. I have one and it does more than I can ask it to do. It has paid for itself many times over!
   / Bought a 550 Ford TLB #4  
Looks like it is going to work out well. The picture makes it look like a LONG reach. Very Nice.
   / Bought a 550 Ford TLB
  • Thread Starter
Looks like it is going to work out well. The picture makes it look like a LONG reach. Very Nice.

Thanks ,
The 550 models were apparently available with a few different Hoes. This 550 has the 755 model which has a 216 inch reach from the pivot
I am liking the power of the hydraulics although compared to the large Ford / NH TLB's with another step up in hoes this unit is still on the small side.

But I am still really happy for the initial $8k to get these kind of specs.

Bucket force and dipperstick beat what I would have got with a mini/midi ex I was going to bid on, although I doubt the mini ex would have any weld repairs on the backhoe like this old Ford does.

here are the hoe specs from tractordata

Digging depth184 inches
467 cm
2-Foot flat digging depth177 inches
449 cm
Reach from pivot216 inches
548 cm
Loading height120 inches
304 cm
Bucket Rotation186
Swing Arc185
Bucket force8300 lbs
3764 kg
Dipperstick force6190 lbs
2807 kg
   / Bought a 550 Ford TLB
  • Thread Starter
550s are old, but still get the work done. I have one and it does more than I can ask it to do. It has paid for itself many times over!
Hi TractorTech. Hoping you can help me with a couple questions on the 550.

First from running into a problem of a restricted screen possibly on the hydraulic pump.
The pump whines a bit more than I think it should.

I read in another forum that the tank has a mesh screen in the outlet tube and that in some cases when older they will cave in and restrict flow. Not sure on "how" to pivot the oil cooler forward to gain access. Is the tank on swivel connectors or do the connections need removed or loosened some way to get to the hydraulic tank lower fitting?

Secondly I did get a 600+ page digital service manual with the tractor. After scanning through it only found passing mention of the wiring.
What I need is a full wiring diagram with color codes. Maybe that is in the standard operators manual which I have ordered. The wiring that actually functions is limited to the starting circuit right now, and I would like to get the charging circuit and gauges and some lights up and functional.

Third question on the 201 three cylinder Ford diesel. I thought this engine was basically a bored and stroked version of the 3000 175 cubic inch engine but have found reference to cylinder liners. Have also found reference to multiple oversize bore pistons. Do you happen to know whether this is a parent bore engine or if it is in fact a linered engine block from the factory?

Thanks for any info you might be able to help me with.

So far really impressed with how solidly built the 550 is and what a game changer the power reverser torque converter shuttle shift transmission is.
Beats the daylights out of my Rhino's non syncro manual.
   / Bought a 550 Ford TLB #7  
The cooler swings forward after loosening the hydraulic fitting locknuts. The tank is supported by 2 brackets on either side mounted to the front cowl by carraige bolts. Remove the oil and lines, then remove the mounts.

I can get you a copy of the wiring diagram, but may not be anything more than what you have.

The Ford BSD engines were parent bore from the factory. The liners were service parts OR you could bore it out and install oversize pistons. Anymore, they are sleeved and a standard piston installed as the oversized pistons are not stocked. Also, the rebuilt engines are usually sleeved as cylinder pitting is sometimes the reason for the overhaul. The older block design however, had more meat than the newer blocks so this wasn't as common
   / Bought a 550 Ford TLB
  • Thread Starter
TractorTech Thanks for the info.

Greased the multiple zerks yesterday morning and then dug out our trench burn pit.
The controls did get easier to be smooth with after an hour or so.

Decided to add a fixed thumb for the backhoe. After using the grapple on the Rhino so much, think it will be a nice addition


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   / Bought a 550 Ford TLB #9  
Be sure you grease the two fittings on that front pump driveshaft, two of the most neglected ones on a hoe, can cost thousands to repair the damage that shaft can cause if it lets go!
   / Bought a 550 Ford TLB
  • Thread Starter
and I have not greased them yet...
My 3000 Ford's FEL had a front Vickers pump with the flex joint. When it had lots of hours pretty much everything including the pumps own splined shaft had to be replaced.

I will DIG into the tank outlet and screen soon and will also get the main axle pivot and inner tie rod to ram zerks as well. Need to order a selection of zerks as well the lower boom pivot one and a couple others are snapped off as well.

Owners manual should be here early next week which should have some helpful info as well.
Thanks again