FitRite Top and Tilt on MX6000 - My Experience

   #1  

BackRoad

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It's satisfying to have a plan finally come together...

I added Top and Tilt to my Kubota MX6000...but it wasn't straightforward.

The following was my experience...putting it out there as reference only.

As background, my original do everything tractor is a 1960 MF-35. Lots of hours together, but other than the basic 3pt lift, it didn't provide much exposure to hydraulics...but what a fun to use, easy to work on, dependable tractor it has been!

The other is a fair number of hours in the seat of well used 1970's Case 580 backhoe.

Then I got the new Kubota MX6000.

It's a whole new game entirely and I'm moving my skill level from a user of hydraulics, to learning the intricacies for how it works, as fast as I can!

The TnT journey started with Messick's adding (3) Kubota factory rear remotes to the MX last fall. My logic for using Kubota parts and Messick's was to keep the Kubota as "factory" as possible and I'm not yet willing to personally hack a hydraulic install on a $30k tractor.

It's said the average non-farmer uses their tractor somewhere between 50 and 100 hours a year. I've had the MX for a year and it has 400 hours. With 4 times the average use, the last thing I want is downtime due to my screw-up.

For the MX, Kubota factory hydraulics provide for a valve with Float in the 2nd position with positions 1 and 3 as standard valves - no float.

Other than a fast leaking O-ring which Messick's made right, adding the rear remotes was painless (well sort of - more on the Kubota factory valves later).



Brian at FitRite fabricated custom Top and Tilt cylinders and hoses to fit the MX6000 lift and weight capability.

Great guy to work with and responsive...which I'll mention later.

Brian indicated with his quote that delivery was running 23 weeks out. Knowing this upfront, I still CHOSE to go with him.

There's not a lot of love on TBN for suppliers who require payment up front and then require a wait for delivery. Personally, I don't mind waiting to get quality.

So I ordered last November, and started to patiently, (OK, maybe impatiently) w..a..i..t..

The kit was received in (3) boxes, each cylinder was well packed in its own individual custom sized box with padding, and the hoses, connectors and install details came in a 3rd box.

Just for reference, it is recommended to move the original Kubota manual adjust Tilt from the right side to the left side, then put the hydraulic Tilt cylinder on the right side. Brian mentions this in his instructions. This adds additional "Max tilt" if someone is inclined to manually adjust the left side to utilize the full movement available with the extreme combination of tilt on both sides.

Brian provides the required hoses and fittings with quick connections. He also recommends trying different angles with the cylinder to hose connectors to find what works with your specific equipment (I use a Quick Hitch, for example.)

All in all, installing the TnT was straight forward. Maybe an hour, just taking my time.

Some pictures follow of the rear remotes on the MX, the new TnT kit and the initial fitment.

But my experience didn't end here.

More to follow in the next post...
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#2  
OP
BackRoad

BackRoad

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The Challenge...

I started using the new TnT with my 7' rotary cutter. It was HEAVY enough to load up the TnT system, and very quickly I noticed the right side Tilt cylinder was not holding level.

It was noticeable with the cutter lower edge repeatedly dragging, which required lift to be applied every 15 to 20 minutes of use. So I moved the Tilt Quick Connectors to another set of the remote ports.

- Same result -

Logically, the symptoms were pointing at the Tilt cylinder leaking...based on the same results on two different sets of valves and remotes.

...Hello FitRite...we've got a problem...

On my first post, I mentioned Brian was responsive: We live on opposite sides of the country, it seemed like only 15 minutes between my email to him and his response!

He provided me with 2 simple tests...

Test 1:
Connect everything as normal...lift the mower...mark the cylinders with painter's tape...turn off the tractor...measure the static drop on each cylinder after 1 hour.

Both the Top and Tilt cylinders each leaked down ~1.5 inches...

Test 2:
Same set up...after lifting the mower and marking the cylinders...disconnect the Quick Connects from the rear remotes. This isolates the cylinders from the rest of the hydraulic circuit for holding up the load. So no tractor remotes or valves were involved...measure the cylinder movement after 1 hour.

Neither cylinder had moved...

So, GREAT cylinders from FitRite!

Not so great valves from Kubota...

Next post - The Final Fix!

More to follow...
 
   #3  

ptsg

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Yeah, Kubota valves are known to be leakers. They have a crazy internal leakage.

Double pilot operated check valves solves that issue, however, it also disables any float function you may or may not use.
 
  
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BackRoad

BackRoad

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Mr. PTSG, you win!

The Fix...

Kubota replacing or fixing the leaking valves was not going to happen.

Brian indicated having past experience dealing with Kubota Corporate and even after proving the leak down root cause was with their valves, Kubota indicated leak down was not considered to be a warranty fault.

He mentioned less than 1/4 inch leakdown an hour was generally desirable, where mine experienced 1.5 inches of leak down in an hour. He said some of his customers have had worse...

Brian suggested 3 options...4 if you include "just live with it"!

1. Least Cost: Manual On/Off Shutoff to isolate the cylinder from the Kubota valve when not in use.
2. Medium Cost: In line Check Valve (no manual action required during use, but eliminates the Float feature).
3. Highest Cost: Electric On/Off Shutoff, allowing the TnT to be activated or deactivated from the operator station.


My objectives were to minimize additional complexity, while maintaining the float option for the Top link, so Option 3 was not interesting due to complexity and risk of malfunction.

...For the Top cylinder, I decided on using the manual shutoff, installed in line on the hydraulic hose attached to the ram end of the cylinder.

The manual shut off was configured to plug directly into the Rear Remote, is easily accessible from the ground and can even be reached from the seat if required.

...For the Tilt, I went with the check valve option, since there was no Float dependency. It allows the desired operation of the Tilt function, yet prevents unwanted leak down, with no manual intervention required.

Usability:
For the 60% of time when Top link adjustment is not needed, such as doing grapple or bucket work, I typically have my 1/2 inch steel, 900# box blade on the 3pt for extra ballast.

Simply shutting off the manual valve keeps the box blade stable and in place with no leak down. It can still be raised and lowered with the 3pt hitch control.

When mowing or actively using Top Link adjustment such as with the box blade, rear blade or landscape rake, simply opening the manual shutoff makes the full Top adjustment and Float capability available.

In summary, I ended up with the Top and Tilt capability desired from the start, it just required a few extra components.

There is an extra step added with the manual shutoff to band-aid the Kubota "leaky valves", but it is insignificant in the grand scheme, while the value of having the Tilt, plus the Top adjustment with Float is outstanding in time savings and improved results when mowing and ground engagement.

I can't say enough about the value-add from working with Brian.

He was highly responsive and provided additional background information to help make informed decisions and find a way forward.

While it took a while to receive the initial cylinder kit, he was quick to respond after the sale and I received the additional valves in a week.

Pictures of the manual shut off for the Top link, plus the check valve added to the Tilt cylinder are included.

One more post is coming with details on an additional 30 minute, no cost modification that improved the final configuration.

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BackRoad

BackRoad

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Additional Modification for the TnT Install...

As background, the Top and Tilt cylinders built by Brian at FitRite for the MX6000 provide a large amount of movement, with the Top Link having about 12 inches of adjustment and the Tilt having about 8 inches of adjustment.

Combined, they provide a substantially increased range of motion, further extending the range already existing in the 3pt hitch.

The MX also has a Land Pride 1.5 Quick Hitch (QH), which seems to work reasonably well with most of my implements.

The additional movement introduced by the TnT resulted in the Quick Hitch easily coming in contact with the hydraulic Quick Connects plugged into the Rear Remotes when raising the 3pt hitch. It was something I had to watch pretty closely.

To help reduce the risk...

I ended up cutting off about 1.25 inches of the Kubota provided silver mounting bracket used to attach the Rear Remotes to the tractor, just under the tool box. I had to redrill the (2) bolt holes on each side. (Before and after pictures are provided with my finger pointing to the silver bracket).

This effectively raised the Rear Remotes by about 1.25 inches from original.

Kubota also provided a black plate just below the silver bracket (as seen in the below photos) which the Rear Remotes are physically bolted to.

I drilled (2) new holes in that black plate for the mounting bolts which attach it to the silver bracket, which moved it inward, towards the front of the tractor.

This effectively moved the Rear Remotes further under the mounting rail (further away from the Quick Hitch) by maybe 3/4 of an inch.

Combined, the two mods provide enough clearance to remove most (but not all) of the conflict between the Quick Hitch frame and the Rear Remotes.

...The operator still needs to be aware to not raise the 3pt hitch up to the highest level if the Top Link or Tilt rams are retracted to the max...damage can still be done!

But the risk is worth it!

Before and After pictures are attached below.

Hope this helps somebody in the future...

Enough of the keyboard, I'm going out to enjoy using the tractor now!!
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   #6  

bdhsfz6

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I totally agree about the responsiveness and product quality at Fit Rite Hydraulics. Brian made a T&T kit for my L3430 back in 2015. I'm still using it today on my MX5800. I tried the Kubota T&T kit and it was total crap! Can't say enough about Fit Rite!

A word of caution when using the manual shutoff valve on the top link cylinder. I use this same approach to deal with the leaky Kubota valves. I was returning from a remote field with my heavy Brushog on the 3 pt. I had the valve closed to keep the implement from bleeding down the top link cylinder. The road was fairly rough and I hit a bump. The weight of the bouncing brushog caused a spike in hydraulic pressure which blew out a rod seal on the top link cylinder. It was my fault and I should have known better. It was a fairly easy fix to replace the O ring seal but I had to drag the implement back to the shop on it's trolley wheel. Lesson learned.

The problem with isolating the cylinder from the tractor is, you also isolate it from the hydraulic relief valve. It's not normally a problem unless you play rough with your implements. I suppose a bypass relief valve could be rigged but with a little caution, it isn't necessary. I now chain up my heavy implements during transport to prevent this problem
 
  
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BackRoad

BackRoad

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Great to know and appreciate the suggestion on the manual shutoff Mr. BDHSFZ6.

I try to not abuse the equipment, but we do have lots of "bumps" on the property!
 
   #8  

ptsg

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I totally agree about the responsiveness and product quality at Fit Rite Hydraulics. Brian made a T&T kit for my L3430 back in 2015. I'm still using it today on my MX5800. I tried the Kubota T&T kit and it was total crap! Can't say enough about Fit Rite!

A word of caution when using the manual shutoff valve on the top link cylinder. I use this same approach to deal with the leaky Kubota valves. I was returning from a remote field with my heavy Brushog on the 3 pt. I had the valve closed to keep the implement from bleeding down the top link cylinder. The road was fairly rough and I hit a bump. The weight of the bouncing brushog caused a spike in hydraulic pressure which blew out a rod seal on the top link cylinder. It was my fault and I should have known better. It was a fairly easy fix to replace the O ring seal but I had to drag the implement back to the shop on it's trolley wheel. Lesson learned.

The problem with isolating the cylinder from the tractor is, you also isolate it from the hydraulic relief valve. It's not normally a problem unless you play rough with your implements. I suppose a bypass relief valve could be rigged but with a little caution, it isn't necessary. I now chain up my heavy implements during transport to prevent this problem
That would happen without the shutoff valve as well.

The relief valve will only take effect when actuating the lever. Once the lever is in the middle position, the relief has no effect on the remotes anymore.

There are valves with relief valves on the work ports that would prevent that issue, but those are not used on this size of tractors anyway.
 
   #9  

MtnViewRanch

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To the best of my knowledge, :unsure: when a spool valve is in the closed position, there is no relief valving connected to the work port side. So the blown seal that you had because of the load spike would have happened with or without the on-off valve.

Like you said, should have know better than to travel at the rate of speed you were moving when the path was so rough.

I see damage done again and again simply because people are in such a hurry.

Lesson learned. :)
 

bdhsfz6

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That would happen without the shutoff valve as well.

The relief valve will only take effect when actuating the lever. Once the lever is in the middle position, the relief has no effect on the remotes anymore.

There are valves with relief valves on the work ports that would prevent that issue, but those are not used on this size of tractors anyway.
I'm not sure of the tractor hydraulic plumbing but I never had the problem until I installed the manual valve. Maybe the leaky Kubota spool valve offers some protection.
 

LD1

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ALL valves will leak down.

Cylinders have seals. Valves do not. Its simply a VERY close tolerance metal on metal. But no actual seals.

How fast a valve leaks down ultimately depends on manufacturing tolerances and (cost). And what is acceptable to one may not be acceptable to others.

For me....NO amount of leak down on the side link is acceptable when mowing. I may be mowing for 6 hours straight.....and even at 1/4" per hour leakdown is gonna require adjustment several times during the job....just not as many adjustments as 1.5" per hour. However.....neither is acceptable in my book for mowing.

The toplink however doesnt matter when mowing for me. For starters when the tailwheels of the mower are on the ground....its not under any kind of load to induce movement. And second.....its a floating clevis for the toplink of the mower....so the toplink mount isnt rigid. Its allowed to "float" based on terrain.

To solve the sidelink issue....I simply go back to the factory setup for everything that does NOT require tilt adjustment. And when I want to put the blade on....it takes maybe a minute to throw the sidelink back on. And since when blading....Im constantly adjusting the sidelink and toplink anyway.......slight cylinder creep throughout the day is not noticeable due to constant adjustment anyway.
 

bdhsfz6

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ALL valves will leak down.

Cylinders have seals. Valves do not. Its simply a VERY close tolerance metal on metal. But no actual seals.

How fast a valve leaks down ultimately depends on manufacturing tolerances and (cost). And what is acceptable to one may not be acceptable to others.

For me....NO amount of leak down on the side link is acceptable when mowing. I may be mowing for 6 hours straight.....and even at 1/4" per hour leakdown is gonna require adjustment several times during the job....just not as many adjustments as 1.5" per hour. However.....neither is acceptable in my book for mowing.

The toplink however doesnt matter when mowing for me. For starters when the tailwheels of the mower are on the ground....its not under any kind of load to induce movement. And second.....its a floating clevis for the toplink of the mower....so the toplink mount isnt rigid. Its allowed to "float" based on terrain.

To solve the sidelink issue....I simply go back to the factory setup for everything that does NOT require tilt adjustment. And when I want to put the blade on....it takes maybe a minute to throw the sidelink back on. And since when blading....Im constantly adjusting the sidelink and toplink anyway.......slight cylinder creep throughout the day is not noticeable due to constant adjustment anyway.
In my case, I put the manually adjustable link on the opposite drag link from the tilt cylinder and adjust it to match the fully extended length of the cylinder. With the cylinder fully extended, there is no fluid left to bleed down. Yes, this limits the lift height of the implement somewhat but the top link cylinder can be used to raise the implement higher if necessary.
 
   #13  

clarksvilleal

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In my case, I put the manually adjustable link on the opposite drag link from the tilt cylinder and adjust it to match the fully extended length of the cylinder. With the cylinder fully extended, there is no fluid left to bleed down. Yes, this limits the lift height of the implement somewhat but the top link cylinder can be used to raise the implement higher if necessary.
I have just installed a Fit-Rite top-n-tilt kit on my new Kubota LX3310. I keep a JD iMatch quick hitch always installed. I just noticed the bleed down of the tilt cylinder when the tractor is not in use - about an inch overnight. I'm guessing the bleed down will be faster when operating with a heavy implement like my Woods 65" box blade or 6' landscape rake, and may even interfere with grading operations depending on how fast the bleed down is.

I don't like the idea of having to remove the tilt cylinder whenever I don't need the tilt function. Maybe I'm missing something; but doesn't your method of adjusting the manually adjustable link to match the fully extended tilt cylinder length limit you to only being able to tilt the implement down to only one side - i.e., the side opposite the tilt cylinder?
 
   #14  

K5lwq

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On my Fit Rite tilt cylinders I used pilot operated check valves. They never leak down no matter how I adjust them.

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   #16  

K5lwq

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I used two so I could adjust the height for different implements. It makes using the quick hitch easier swapping between the finish mower and bush hog. Before I got the two cylinders I had to drop the finish mower on blocks so the quick hitch could get low enough. Now I can lower it plenty low to just back under.

On the bush hog it was so tall the 3pt lever was right in the curve and my stop would not hold. I can just adjust the Cylinders higher and keep the lever in a spot the stop works well.
 
   #17  

bdhsfz6

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I have just installed a Fit-Rite top-n-tilt kit on my new Kubota LX3310. I keep a JD iMatch quick hitch always installed. I just noticed the bleed down of the tilt cylinder when the tractor is not in use - about an inch overnight. I'm guessing the bleed down will be faster when operating with a heavy implement like my Woods 65" box blade or 6' landscape rake, and may even interfere with grading operations depending on how fast the bleed down is.

I don't like the idea of having to remove the tilt cylinder whenever I don't need the tilt function. Maybe I'm missing something; but doesn't your method of adjusting the manually adjustable link to match the fully extended tilt cylinder length limit you to only being able to tilt the implement down to only one side - i.e., the side opposite the tilt cylinder?
Yes, it does limit the tilt to just one side when adjusted this way. Whenever I need 2 way tilt, IE when using a stone rake, I simply adjust the manual link to match the half extended tilt cylinder. Takes about 30 seconds to adjust when using a portable drill to crank it.
 
   #18  

LD1

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Pilot operated check valves would work as long as the cylinder is of good quality and not already the source of the leak down. But you do give up the option to use float.

Everything in life is a trade-off. Just gotta find what you want and what works best for you
 
   #19  

K5lwq

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The cylinder is great quality and I have never had a leak down using the checks.

Yes, you can not float but I have never had a situation that I wanted to float a tilt cylinder. The entire three point floats. The top link is a different story.
 
   #20  

LD1

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The cylinder is great quality and I have never had a leak down using the checks.

Yes, you can not float but I have never had a situation that I wanted to float a tilt cylinder. The entire three point floats. The top link is a different story.
IF you never have a need to float a sidelink its great. But some like floating it when just surface grading or plowing snow with a rear blade while trying to maintain the crown in a road or driveway.
 
   #21  

npalen

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On my Fit Rite tilt cylinders I used pilot operated check valves. They never leak down no matter how I adjust them.

View attachment 712518
Nice setup! Looks like you could use all those cylinders to jack up the tractor and change a rear tire.
Edit: Especially if you had an attachment on the 3PH
 
   #22  

npalen

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Keep in mind that a cylinder leakdown measured in, say, inches per hour is greatly dependent on cylinder bore size as well as the load on the cylinder.
 
 
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