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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Mukilteo, WA
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    Default Any heavy equipment operators here?

    I'm looking at a backhoe, 1989 JCB 1550b 4x4. It's a hefty machine, ~16000 lbs. The transmission consists of a torque converter driving a syncro shuttle transmission, which i guess is really a manual 4 speed with a pump driven F/R selector.

    My question is should I be able to start from a stop on flat ground in any gear? Or am I supposed to shift through the gears like on a car? My belief was that it should start and drive in any gear, top speed is 24mph after all. In gear with the clutch out the engine will idle when stopped with the brake on. It will start in any gear but can never gain speed in 3rd or 4th.

    On a hill it will lug down and stop depending on the severity of the hill in higher gears. In 1st gear I can dig the bucket in and spin all 4 wheels. That makes me feel like it has good power, but on even small hills I feel like the engine is weak.

    I have not tested compression but it starts easily and has minimal blow-by from the crankcase vent. The exhaust is broken on the turbo outlet, but I can hear the turbo spool.

    In gear standing on the brake the engine is not able to reach full RPM, so I think the torque converter is working.

    I think the engine is weak (fuel?) but want to make sure I'm not trying to use the machine incorrectly. I have the service manual, but no operator manual.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    New Zealand's Far North
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    10,083

    Default Re: Any heavy equipment operators here?

    In general it is ok to move off in any gear that feels OK.
    Here is an operators manual for the 2CX model, the questions you ask aren't model specific, so it may be of some help:

    http://fermer.ru/files/v2/forum/132049/manualnajcb2.pdf
    Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell and have them look forward to the journey.
    Winston Churchill.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    On the river, Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    6,674

    Default Re: Any heavy equipment operators here?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Madison View Post
    I'm looking at a backhoe, 1989 JCB 1550b 4x4. It's a hefty machine, ~16000 lbs. The transmission consists of a torque converter driving a syncro shuttle transmission, which i guess is really a manual 4 speed with a pump driven F/R selector.

    My question is should I be able to start from a stop on flat ground in any gear? Or am I supposed to shift through the gears like on a car? My belief was that it should start and drive in any gear, top speed is 24mph after all. In gear with the clutch out the engine will idle when stopped with the brake on. It will start in any gear but can never gain speed in 3rd or 4th.

    On a hill it will lug down and stop depending on the severity of the hill in higher gears. In 1st gear I can dig the bucket in and spin all 4 wheels. That makes me feel like it has good power, but on even small hills I feel like the engine is weak.

    I have not tested compression but it starts easily and has minimal blow-by from the crankcase vent. The exhaust is broken on the turbo outlet, but I can hear the turbo spool.

    In gear standing on the brake the engine is not able to reach full RPM, so I think the torque converter is working.

    I think the engine is weak (fuel?) but want to make sure I'm not trying to use the machine incorrectly. I have the service manual, but no operator manual.
    Normally, any heavy earthmoving machine is geared to start from a standstill in any gear, other than those designed to move at speed over a distance, such as a motor scraper or dump truck they're not set up to change on the move.
    We used to do it on the D7s though, but not if the NCO in charge of the job could see us.

    John
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Valley of the Sun
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    108,625

    Default Re: Any heavy equipment operators here?

    rent a comparable new model for a day or a week to see two things:
    a. if the performance characteristics are similar
    b. do you-really need to buy such a piece of equipment, could you get by with renting

    another thought, you recently bought a similar piece of land as to ours in michigan
    and i often lamented not owning a backhoe, but honestly a tracked dozier would have been in many cases made more sense for and been faster at things like logging, stump and root removal, road building, grading and leveling, et al
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Posts
    288

    Default Re: Any heavy equipment operators here?

    I only driven an old worn out version, but it worked for the 2 months it was needed. It would also not climb much gradient in high gear. Even in low gear, progress up embankments was a very slow walking pace, which a 30hp David Brown had no problem with.

    You should be able to pull max revs in neutral, if not check the fuel filters.
    If there is a seperate oil system for the gearbox only, it would be worth checking, as they can put more pressure on the fluids than i direct mechanical box, there may also be a filter too, and water contamination is not unknown, a flush and fluid change has been known to make a noticable difference.

    A handy tool when fitted with a front bucket also. The ones i drove were bought in for particular large projects and the resold at much the same cost, which was cheaper than renting, so long as no major mechanical issues. Its a big spanner job for the gearbox if it has issues, it would be well worth getting a specialists opinion before sinking a a significant amount of funds.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Southampton Ont. Canada
    Posts
    6,993

    Default Re: Any heavy equipment operators here?

    We have a JCB 520-50 Loadall (small telehandler,ex Sunbelt Rentals,about 1997) with 3800 hours.
    It sounds like the drivetrain is pretty close except there is no clutch pedal. The clutch is electric and operated by buttons on the gear change lever and the boom lift control.
    We unload trucks,plow snow and dig holes with it.
    I only use 4th if I'm roading and only from 3rd initially.
    Plowing snow is the hardest use,but I commonly do it in 3rd,after warming up in 2nd.
    The plow is a 7' Fisher with  home hack detachable wings,for a total of 10 1/2'.If there is a bunch of snow, (12"+) or I'm stacking it, 2nd is the gear of choice.
    Same for dirt work,since it spins tires easliy in first.
    We've only had to change the hydraulic pump.No surprise since had been run without a filter for quite a while.
    One service guy(independent not factory) told me the transmissions start to have problems at 4000 hours.

    It's big, old,complicated,uncommon and parts are expensive.
    R
    Last edited by Ron Williamson; 12-28-2020 at 07:18 AM.
    Sleep with one eye open.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Mukilteo, WA
    Posts
    3,401

    Default Re: Any heavy equipment operators here?

    Thanks for the info, sounds like it should be able to take off and run in any gear. Looking at it more the transmission fluid is low, the air filter is dirty, the fuel filter glass has 1/4" of water in the bottom and the fuel filter is of unknown age.

    I think the issue is lack of power, not the transmission as I first suspected. Hopefully fixing the above items help, as I don't really want to do a real teardown of the engine.

    I've thought about renting, but getting a heavy machine on and off the island is a big deal, and I have a lot of work to do with it. Digging a septic system, excavating multiple foundations, utility trenching, road building, some logging,.... probably more.

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