/ FEL #1  


New member
Sep 9, 2021
M-F 1440
I bought a slightly broken M-F 1440V from a friend, but he was replacing it with a brand new one so kept the FEL and rear mowers. IIRC the loader was an M-F 1466 but I believe that it has a brand-specific attachment system and no "parallelogram" correction of bucket angle with boom lift. So, thinking of building my own FEL to use SSQA (or whatever they call the "Bobcat" system) that keeps the bucket set angle when lifting (as I want to use forks for moving little stuff around the yard). 2,000 psi hydraulics, so will obviously have to size cylinders for that, but realistically: what challenges do I face, suggestions to overcome? What is realistic target lift capacity about 18" ahead of "pins" location (1466 rated for 1200 at pins - but not sure if that if for empty or ballasted rear tires). Any other suggestions regarding arm, mounts, pivots? is there an over-the-counter SSQA frame rated around one ton? (won't be lifting that, but prefer more rather than less beef in such things)
   / FEL #2  
I would say that if you are not already familiar with the dynamics of an FEL system - you're in for quite a challenge.

Safety of anything designed by other than a competent/knowledgeable person would be my first concern.
   / FEL #3  
I am unfamiliar with all of the "numbers", but it sounds like you bought a complete loader that's supposedly worn out?
If this is the case I'd first investigate your loader. Pins at the various pivots do wear out and can be ruined by neglect but pins are replaceable.
Building a proper mounting would be only 25% of the job vs. a complete build.
Moving "little stuff around the yard" does not really require a self leveling loader. There's very little correction (to maintain level forks) from ground level to 4' and the complexity added to designing and building.... a couple of hours in the seat will get you there for around the house.
   / FEL
  • Thread Starter
no loader at all, the old one is on a new tractor. I design and build a lot of equipment and structures, so that part is no big deal. However, since I have never built a loader I don't want to miss any details that users are familiar with or wish they had. Non-levelling is completely out of the question, I can't stand inferior design when a better way is available. BTW: one of the loader's main functions will be to feed concrete materials into a chute to mixer, so do not want to be spilling material going up the ramp.
   / FEL #5  
Self leveling is a function of geometry, not level. The name is a little deceptive as it only keeps the bucket (or attachments) at the same angle throughout the loaders radial arc. Actual level to the ground is up to the operator with the tractors movement (front to back) +/- from level.
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   / FEL #6  
I'm sure it could be done with a lot of electrical solenoid valves and a controller of some kind. This would be similar (hydraulically) to what's required for automatic grade control.
   / FEL #7  
   / FEL #8  
When I decided to build the FEL for my tractor, I started by looking at other loaders on similar sized tractors to get an idea how the loader mounts are built, how the entire loader is put together, etc.

We don't get the so called "OEM loaders" here. Only aftermarket ones. So I went ahead and looked some of those up closed, checked the specs, details, etc and built mine to match the same capacities pretty much.

On mine, I went ahead and build the cylinders my self, mostly because I have the tooling to do it. I managed to do it by less than half of what 4 new store bought cylinders would've cost me, plus the store bought cylinders would need modifying regardless.

At the time, I didn't bother with the self leveling feature. If it was now, I would've definitely built the loader with self leveling feature. It's honestly a must since it brings up so many advantages like not having to bother with two functions at the same time or even safety features since you can't dump the load (logs, bales, whatever) on top of the operator by lifting all the way up with the attachment curled all the way back.

On the quick attach, I went with the Euro quick attach, mainly because that's what's used here but also because it's a lot easier to use, single lever operation (some will even have a spring actuated auto latch function) and it's like 1000% safer than the SSQA is. I mean, you can even forget to latch the pins, that the attachment won't come off unless you bump so hard that the hook pops out the shaft.

If you are interested on check my build to get some ideas, here is the link: Homemade loader for Branson tractor
   / FEL
  • Thread Starter
At the time, I didn't bother with the self leveling feature.

If you are interested on check my build to get some ideas, here is the link: Homemade loader for Branson tractor
Thanks for the link. Will try to answer your post and some above in one go. I have been doing a lot of work with a 7890 that has simple bucket control (i.e. no geometric correction for lift). Great field tractor but total PITA for bucket work. In my case, I will be hauling sand and gravel to feed to the mixer. I was going to do this with my 941 but it is a bit too big and no way to see the bucket when loaded. So, once I put about 1,000 lb. of sand or gravel into the bucket, I need to roll it up to be able to SEE the level, then at top of dirt ramp lift it over the edge of the feed bin without spilling then dump it in.

Like you work in building your Branson bucket. Particularly like the finish on your turned pieces. Great work. My plan for the pivot joints is to rough machine close to final bore, put dummy (soft steel) pins in place and withdraw one at a time and do final finish with reamer to fit G&P 1040 pins.

Big problem is wife fell and broke arm 2 months ago and that was my time to spend in the shop getting the tractor up and going. Coming into my busy season for main client now.
   / FEL #10  
Technically a self-levelling loader linkage is simple but in reality it is not pure parallelograms at work and usually the bucket does not actually stay at the exact same pitch throughout the lift travel. I think the trick with self-levelling is getting sufficient range of motion from the bucket without losing too much force at the bucket edge. Well, that and not adding too many hundreds of lbs of junk and driving the loader cost up by 40%, i guess.:)

You might consider designing a loader which could function either way (self-levelling or not) and try using it a bit as a non-levelling design before you build 'the rest of it'. That way you identify any huge issues before you're fully committed. In my mind it's mostly just some extra-long bracketry and conspicuously empty pin holes holes to build a non-levelling loader that could be self-levelling if you installed the rest of the pieces on it.