I never rush upstairs to write a Dodge Retort post, but this morning I triumphed over my Kubota B2100 tractor by removing an incredibly stubborn hydraulic line. I am so pleased with myself I am inspired to shout it out!
A hydraulic line can’t be that hard, right? Well, it’s taken determination and thinking over since the machine started spewing hot hydraulic fluid 15 days ago. Seeing the broken down thing every day on my lawn is seriously bumming me out, especially with no solution on the horizon. The removal of the line in tact was a huge first step (click on pics for enlarged view).
[>>Update, June 7th: I picked up the new hydraulic line at MB yesterday and got it into place in 15 minutes without stressing it. That's big step 2. Unfortunately, I need two copper washers and an O-ring to complete installation and MB did not have them on hand. I wished they had the wherewithal to tell me this when I ordered the line two weeks ago, but overall, MB, namely Jerry, has been helpful. So the wait to complete the job could be another week. There's no sense in rushing the job now no matter how long my lawns gets. I must be Zen about this.<<]
By stubborn, I mean buried under myriad other components. To remove this metal line running from the pump on the engine to the rear of transmission without destroying it is an achievement. After all, I can’t force the new one into place lest I risk another leak.
Here’s a list of what I had to remove: both brake pedals, forward/reverse pedal, parking brake draft gear, entire three-piece throttle, dashboard and panel beneath it, right side operator deck, a hydraulic hose, hydraulic hose block junction and second metal line which runs from the pump to just under steering wheel (it was replaced last year).
None of this stuff easily comes off a 15-year-old tractor. With a mere 550 hours on it, this little a diesel 4WD beast has been extremely reliable for mowing, snowplowing and other sundry duties. To my way of thinking, it’s just getting broken in.
Getting all this back together from memory may prove challenging, but I am still savoring this morning’s unexpected victory. I had nearly given up trying to get the line out and was ready to ship the tractor to MB Tractor in Plaistow, NH.
The line has a visible leak at the neck of what they call a banjo fitting. At 126 psi, you can imagine what a mess that creates. I considered soldering it, but Jerry at MB says that won’t work and I believe him. So I have ordered and expect to receive a new line for a mere $127 which should arrive Monday.
One observation about Kubotas: They are incredibly overbuilt in this day and age of cheap junk. The steel is hardened and thick. Everything moving part has o-rings or bearings.
Fellow Kubota owner Dan down the street says they’ve been cheapened a bit, by, for example, a plastic operator deck instead of the steel one on mine. But in my experience, they are tough and sturdy machines prone to over-achieving.
This has been the most difficult job I’ve undertaken since college roommate Jim Gage and I took the engine out of my ’65 Chevelle 300 in 1972 to replace the oil pan gasket. No wonder, Jerry at MB says this is really “a sh– job.” He wasn’t kidding, but I liked his advice: “go slow.” I did and it paid off.
So stay tuned for the next episode of this unfolding drama.
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