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260A Skip Loader Adventure

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  • 2 weeks later...

Peter, yes. That is the differential lock mechanism.

Started the repair on the hood. Used a grinder to remove the poor excuse for a hood patch. The hood steel was 12ga sheet metal. I couldn't find any 12ga sheet metal locally but I found some slightly thicker steel. I cut out a patch piece to fit into the opening. I have never claimed to be a welder, but I am getting better. In hopes not to warp the hood I welded short beads on alternating sides of the patch.


After finally getting weld all the way around the patch, I flipped the hood over and did the same thing on the top.


Unfortunately I did warp the hood a bit. Kinda frustrating. I went ahead and ground the welds flat and primed the bare metal.


To locate the exhaust hole I installed the hood and bolted it down to pull the warpage out while I trace the exhaust pipe on the underside. I center-punched the center of the circle and drilled a 1/4" pilot hole. Using a 4.5" hole saw I cut out the hole for the muffler. 


I installed the muffler and started the engine. Although it works okay a fair amount of exhaust leaks out between the pipe end the muffler under the hood. Seems like the exhaust pipe may not be long enough. (I also turned the flapper around to point forward)


On a separate note, my engine side panels/ducts are missing. Does anyone have a 260A with original engine side panels that could send me pictures of them? I have searched but not finding any used ones. Might have to make some if I can find some good pictures and measurements.

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  • 6 months later...

An update in case anyone cares...

Now that I have a functional machine I have been making small improvements to it. One part that was annoying to me was that it didn't seem to run as smooth as I thought it should and smoked more than it should for a new engine. I didn't have much faith in the injection shop that did the pump and injectors, and one injector seemed to leak. I priced rebuilt ones and was surprised to see $170+ each plus core charge! I was lucky enough to find a set of NOS injectors for $150 each! Score! ? They were the magic ticket! Started and ran like a dream with the new injectors!

I stumbled upon a Gannon hydraulic box scraper on an online auction site and managed to get it bought and hauled home. It needed some new teeth and the ripper cylinder rebuilt.


The 80" Gannon fit nicely behind the 260A but it has CAT 1 hitch connection while the 260A has a CAT 2 hitch. With the use of reducer bushings I attached the Gannon.


Nearly $1000 in valves, hoses, fittings, and hardware later I had the tilt, angle, and ripper cylinders functioning!

The new ripper teeth were H&L 1 3/4SP crimp on teeth. This was my first experience with crimp on teeth and I am not a fan. Thankfully the old teeth were so worn that a hammer, chisel, and prybar got them removed. The new ones took a second person, acetylene torch, anvil, hammer, and punch to install.

Before installing all of the Gannon cylinders I took them apart to check the seals and check for contamination. Wouldn't want anything bad getting pushed into my hydrostatic transmission's oil system. All were beautiful inside except the ripper cylinder. Filled with rust, pitting, and slimy goo I decided it needed some attention.  Unfortunately the new cylinders are about $500 IF you can find one. The new barrel section was no longer available, and re barreling the cylinder at my local machine shop was likely to be more than the new cylinder. No good used ones to be found. I decided to hone the cylinder bore really well. That got rid of the majority of pitting and since it wont be seeing any heavy use I decided to reseal the cylinder and run with it.


With the new teeth and ripper cylinder installed I was almost ready for some field trials! But the front tires needed attention. One was a pickup truck tire I bought in California just to get the machine onto my trailer, the other was literally falling apart while I drove it, yet still stayed up. Before putting new tires on wheels that were painted the wrong color I decided to have the wheels sandblasted and painted IH cream white, proper IH Payline colors. Oddly enough the wheel with the disintegrating tire weighed 4x as much as the other. My tire shop told me it was "foam filled" and I would need to take it off the wheel myself with a Sawzall and a chisel. Oh joy! An hour and a half of sawing, prying, and beating it was finally off. Doesn't look much like foam to me. Just a slimy rubbery blob. I hope I dont ever have to do that again! Although I am now concerned the rears are foam filled too.


With a new set of Firestone Industrial tires on shiny white wheels I gave in to the girlfriend, and took the rippers to her horse arena.


The engine performed great! And I gave it a workout! The Gannon did very well breaking up the hard layer a few inches down. I did identify two areas needing attention. The 3 point hitch didn't lift the Gannon as high as I would like. Maybe this can be adjusted somewhere, but when loading and unloading the 260A onto my gooseneck trailer the Gannon digs a hole at the bottom of the ramps.

The other issue was more troubling. At certain points in the ripping when I hit a very hard spot the wheels would stop and the transmission would whine loudly momentarily or until I lifted the Gannon slightly. It was a large arena and when I was close to done I could tell that it was getting weaker but still ripping the soil. I don't have a transmission temperature gauge but I'm sure it was pretty warm after all that hard ripping. When I went to load it on the trailer once the rear wheels started up the ramps the wheels would stop, and the transmission just whined. ?  It wouldn't even load itself. We went to lunch and about an hour later I tried again and the 260A pulled itself up the ramps and onto the trailer. It seemed fine the next day but I need to look into it further.


While at Red Power Roundup I spoke with Raleigh from Herrs Machine about my 260A. I bought one of their pressure gauge kits to check everything out. I'm glad I did because now I have some troubleshooting to do. Maybe I just got it too hot? I think next time I need to do extensive ripping I will use my gear drive Farmall.

Earlier this year I managed to find a NOS wiring harness for my 260A! I got it bought and have worked with Porch Electric, one of the advertisers in Red Power Magazine that makes new wiring harnesses for our IH tractors. We are working to make these new 260A harnesses available to others.

I have already dumped double the value of the machine into it, but its not the first time I have ever went overboard just because I liked something, probably not the last either. It has been a fun project so far, and a useful machine.

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Thanks for the update! There are a lot of us that just like when things are repaired properly.


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  • 1 year later...

I geeked out a little on this project and y'all are the only ones who would understand.

Ever since I picked up this 260A it was missing a few pieces. Not important ones but I want a complete machine. One thing in particular that bothered me was the missing side screens for the engine. I have been calling salvage yards, and searching other avenues to find these panels with no luck. Parts #3, 16, and 19 consist of a screen and side duct with two trim pieces on each side. Each side shows the same part numbers, part just flipped over. (#3) 115240C1 Screen, (#16) 155244C1 Duct, (#19) 103789C1 Leg, and (#19)103788C1 Leg.


One day while playing with part numbers online I found 2x NOS screens!! So I ordered them, now I had the basic mounting dimensions for the duct. The screens are the same material used on the 66 and 86 series IH tractors with the round holes. A few months later I was at a friends house looking at his clapped out 260A backhoe when I noticed that it had one of the side ducts still installed, although slightly damaged. He let me borrow it for measurements! With measurements from the part I was able to cut the pieces and bend them just as original.


I don't have a spot welder so I drilled holes where the welds were on the original and plug welded the holes with a MIG welder. Then marked, drilled, and welded a nut on each side for the air fairings, and I drilled and slotted the mounting holes.


Pretty satisfied with my creations I degreased the pieces, primed, and painted with Case IH Ironguard 483 Federal Yellow.


When I took the duct back to reinstall in the clapped out 260A something caught my eye. I looked closely and one of the original side trim pieces (#19) was being used as a bracket elsewhere on the machine! So I borrowed it too, repeated the process, and installed my new reproduction pieces onto my 260A! I was so excited I forgot to take a picture of the end product! I'll update later.

Plan now is to disassemble, medial blast, and reassemble the machine now that it is complete. But I'd like to find a better hood first as mine is warped from the patch I did. I also need to check pressures and troubleshoot the hydro first. It gets weak when warmed up.

I am working on getting a decal kit made for these machines available for purchase through a Red  Power sponsor, and I have successfully got the wiring harnesses recreated and available new for the older serial number machines like mine. Contact me and I'll put you in touch to purchase if you need one.


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good going

I run foam filled tires for brush hogging

the last ones I removed with a chain saw (wearing a motorcycle helmet)

when I took the rims and tires up to the foamer dude he said he would remove them for free.........


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  • 8 months later...

Yikes! I could see removing those with a chainsaw, its a brutal job. Not looking forward to replacing the rear tires which are also foam filled.

I'm sure nobody cares but since I got free time and I love posting pictures... Here is the completed cooling air ducts installed on my 260A. These were made from an original I took measurements and made an exact copy of all pieces. Even being identical copies the dog legs didn't line up well with the front, but maybe that's just how they were. The screens themselves were NOS.



An update on this machine while we are on it...

I have worked with Porch Electric to reverse engineer some NOS wiring harnesses for these tractors. They are done and now available. There is an early serial number and late serial number split that use different harnesses. Mine is an early SN. The late SN harness has a couple differences from opriginal because a couple connectors were no longer available. Fuse panels on both versions of the harness are upgraded to maxi fuses instead of the old glass fuses.

Still working on decals but the basic ones for the loader arms are available now.

I had high hopes to disassemble, blast, and paint this machine with Case IH Ironguard paint back to its original Federal Yellow and Cream White once all the bugs are worked out. I have even bought 4 gallons of the (now discontinued) Ironguard Federal Yellow.  Then reassemble the newly painted machine with the new wiring harness and new Firestone rear tires.

However the issues with the hydrostatic transmission have gotten worse and after some troubleshooting I am concerned. Haven't given up but its not looking good. I did talk to Herrs Machine and unfortunately their experience with the foot control IH hydrostats is very minimal. The external plumbing is different so troubleshooting is not the same. Also these IH utility hydrostatic transmissions are the only ones that Herrs doesn't work on. So the parts availability is not good. I purchased one of the test gauge sets from Herrs Machine to help me troubleshoot.

All the oil and filters I removed from this machine was very clean, no signs of contamination. When I had the rear transmission apart (shared reservoir) it was the cleanest transmission I have ever seen! No metal or glitter in the oil, leading me to think its not a wear or catastrophic failure but maybe a leaky valve, bad O ring, or bent spring. I put in a new Case IH filter and filled with Viscosity Ultraction but the problem persisted. I took pressure readings. Servo pressure was within spec, as well as charge pressure. As I recall drive Pressure was good until I stalled the hydro then it would drop. I capped the Decelerator valve and Foot-N-Inch valve but the problem persisted, thus eliminating a leaky foot-n-inch valve or decelerator valve.


Still trying. I haven't given up but it sure is disappointing after spending that much time and money on this thing. I really like it, and want to finish but this transmission has to be correct first.


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Sure hope it doesn't spell the end to the machine after all that outstanding work, I think there was a post recently where a guy did his own hydro with pictures but you may still need parts

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  • 1 month later...

Another member of this forum sent me a listing of a IH 260A being parted out in Texas, it was a early serial hydro like mine but in backhoe form. I contacted the seller and we made a deal on the hydrostatic transmission that he described as "wouldn't pull anymore". It was south of Fort Worth, TX in a small town so it was going to be a road trip. The day before I made the nearly 13 hour drive to pick it up he called me saying he really didn't know how, nor want to split the transmission from the differential housing. So for an extra few hundred dollars I could have the whole transaxle. This was a pretty decent deal but all I had was a short bed 88 F150 so it depended on size and weight.

It barely squeezed into the bed of my old F150, which was now way overloaded. I also bought the hood that although wasn't perfect, it wasn't butchered like mine was. I also bought the air cleaner. I made the 9+ hour drive home to New Mexico I could only safely go about 70 mph but the trip went fairly smooth considering.

Why would I buy a bad hydrostatic transmission you ask? and drive 31 hours round trip to get it and take it home? I chock most of it up to my own foolishness and insanity, some to my refusal to give up, and some to my interest in learning more about hydrostatics.

This transmission gives me parts to swap with mine to test different things before I tear into it. It also gives me another transmission I could rebuild myself and swap into my 260A when I'm ready. Or it could be a learning tool to dissect and learn how it goes together and works. Maybe all of the above.

If you follow my YouTube channel you probably saw my video tour of Herrs Machine in Washington, KS. They were gracious enough to give me a tour, let me film, and teach me more about the inner working of a hydro transmission. Sadly this is the one IH hydro they don't work on.

A visit with a friend last week who was a retired Case IH mechanic told me a little more about them. He claims (yet unverified) that the inner workings of the IH hydros are not only based of Sunstrand hydrostatic pumps and motors but actually share internal components such as pistons, bearing plates, valve plates, etc. This was intriguing, and from what I have been told (still unverified) this hydrostatic transmission is based off of a Sunstrand Series 21 Pump, and Series 23 motor. Of which aftermarket internal pieces are available. Most gaskets, seals and O-rings are still available through Case IH.

So I see some hope here, as well as a huge learning opportunity. Now if I could get some time off work to make some progress on this!



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  • 2 weeks later...


you seem incredibly knowledgeable about these machines had injection pump questions solenoid died so I did the longer plunger thing and the pumps just trickling fuel there’s full pressure to the pump 

any ideas what’s going on 

thanks Mike 

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