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Cat 227FB (converted buncher) hyd thumb install

Discussion in 'Excavators' started by JMR-TBAY, Dec 31, 2021.

  1. JMR-TBAY

    JMR-TBAY Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2021
    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Hey folks,

    I got a line on an Esco progressive link hydraulic thumb for my early 90’s Cat 227. The thumb has never been installed, but has sat outside in the snow for several years. It will need some cleaning up.

    I got the guy down to $5500 CAD. From my research these go for $10k+. My hoe doesn’t have any auxiliary plumbing running down the boom, but should have tons of available valves/switches due to the many functions a buncher runs.

    It looks like the cylinder needs 3/4 - 1” hose.

    What would you guys estimate for installation costs? I’m guessing it would take a competent mechanic with a service truck and welder the better part of a full day for the install.

    The thumb is similar to this, minus the quick attach.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. JMR-TBAY

    JMR-TBAY Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2021
    Messages:
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    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    No input eh?

    I was fortunate to get the contact info of a good Cat mechanic. I was able to have a better look at the hydraulic plumbing and located some capped lines near the base of the boom. These lines appear to run back to the husco valves.

    I believe most hydraulic functions run off electric solenoids. Next step would be to figure out which joystick buttons activate which valve, then hopefully just move the pilot lines to activate the valve to these lines run to.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Tones

    Tones Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Ex land clearing contractor, part-time retired
    Location:
    Ubique
    One other thing to be aware of. You'll require longer new pins on the bottom end of the dipper. Ensure they are the same metal as the original pins. Over the years I've seen quick hitches fitted with the original pins left in the bucket and new pins fitted in the dipper of the wrong metal type. 1000hrs later every thing is flogged out.
     
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  4. JMR-TBAY

    JMR-TBAY Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    37C663E4-D70B-4829-A96D-8E1D6598D74F.jpeg 7B82769D-9B3C-4AE6-BA98-72FCD619518D.jpeg 61D4D6B2-AF14-4622-973F-DD2FEA94C724.jpeg

    The “new” thumb includes both extended length pins. I’m not sure I’m overly worried about metal types on this old clunker. Doubtful she will even see 1000 more hours. I’m not sure how many different kinds of hardened steel there are that would cause compatibility issues with the already worn bushings.

    Here are some more photos of the capped lines I’ll be trying to work off of on my 227.
    Hose clamps running up the boom and down the stick should be install fairly simple.
     
    Tones and Tags like this.
  5. John C.

    John C. Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
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    Location:
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    Thumb install on a new machine including the install of the thumb plus the tubing and clamps on the boom in a clean fashion was between 18 and 25 hours for a competent install guy. That included the new handle in the cab, the wiring, installing fittings on the tubing, installing the thumb to the bucket and the set installed on the stick. You might be able to save a bit of time by using the controls already in the machine but likely not because the mechanic will have to figure out what you have and then how to make it work in the new application.

    Sounds like an interesting project.

    Good Luck!
     
    John Shipp and JMR-TBAY like this.
  6. James Sorochan

    James Sorochan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    x-water & sewer construction Now farmer.
    Location:
    Lethbridge county, Alberta, Canada
    Are you planning on doing the work in a heated shop or outside? It doesn't warm up much in your part of the world until spring. Unless you are doing the work yourself which includes welding you might want to wait until it warms up.
     
  7. JMR-TBAY

    JMR-TBAY Member

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    Location:
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    I’ll be waiting until spring. The machine is shut down for the winter.
     
  8. JMR-TBAY

    JMR-TBAY Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2021
    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    90552CDA-4B03-4D3A-B2B3-5E8A1D8F8631.jpeg E840565D-3089-48EA-B277-1777CE95B7B2.jpeg 31F94860-F854-4E0C-8FC7-6529E19EDAAF.jpeg FA8DCD56-2793-4E1E-90E3-A5C2C29FD73A.jpeg I got the thumb home and into my tiny, messy garage. Blasted the diesel heater on it for a few hours to melt the frozen earth off it. Started getting grease pumped into the pins to help loosen them up as well as penetrating fluid. The progressive linkage is very seized. I’ve managed to remove several pin retainers and have got the two main pins to move.

    Looking at the data plate, looks like this unit was built specifically for a Cat 225. I’m guessing it would have been the 225 boom and stick/bucket that would have been installed on my 227.

    For size reference the thumb stands about 5’ tall and the tines are 1.5”.

    I definitely underestimated the weight of this thing.

    Now the big question is, do I paint this Cat yellow? Lol
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2022
  9. Tones

    Tones Senior Member

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    Yeah nah, Detroit green has to be a goa.
     
  10. Tones

    Tones Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Occupation:
    Ex land clearing contractor, part-time retired
    Location:
    Ubique
    Yeah nah, Detroit green has to be a goa.
     
  11. JMR-TBAY

    JMR-TBAY Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    After a day of working on the thumb I’ve got one pin removed and all others moving. Just need to get some round stock to keep driving the rest of the pins. Happy to know this restoration won’t need torches!

    Any ideas where I could find installation instructions? I just emailed Weir Esco to ask them. There are some spacers on the progressive linkage which aren’t currently symmetrical. Are there any rules of thumb for placement of the cylinder mount?




    A0A4F20A-A4E3-47D0-AE78-F5E968A7587C.jpeg
     
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  12. JMR-TBAY

    JMR-TBAY Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Lots of progress. Got it completely torn down and started painting.

    F288F993-10E5-47FE-A0EA-40CF18D84C6B.jpeg 7163EFC2-34E5-4A0C-80D7-44014762CC2A.jpeg 240EF425-B158-486B-8A7E-E20273FE8B7F.jpeg 19AE2EF5-98FD-4162-B38D-1CA711E87BCA.jpeg
     
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  13. JMR-TBAY

    JMR-TBAY Member

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    Location:
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    She looks good in new Cat yellow.
    3B2163C9-442D-43A8-8C3E-ED5AF22C73C6.jpeg


    Also got a local shop to drill grease fitting in this piece of the pro link. Can’t complain for an hour of labour.
    41048D17-B803-4F6D-B5E4-28B796B44DEB.jpeg