A little help here – and more on Newgren hydraulics

We need some help
It has been 4 months since our last update.  We have been busy working on the Newgren lift and attending both farm machinery and jeep shows.  But before we get to those topics, we have a favor to ask.  We need some suggestions for redesigning farmjeep.com to make it more useful. 
We started the site back in 2002 to record our jeep adventures and to share what we have learned along the way.  Recording our successes and our many failures has been great fun and we revisit pages when we find ourselves repeating a task.  It has also been a place where we have chronicled our family’s Jeep history.  We plan on continuing to make these types of updates.
Because this isn’t a business, despite the .com label, we haven’t spent a great deal of time tracking hits or visits.  But we do know that most people come looking for information about items that make a jeep a farm jeep.  We also know that there are lots of people looking at the links and resource page.  So we are thinking we need to update and make those more relevant.
If you have ideas or suggestions of how we might improve the site, drop us a note.  In the mean time, we will begin making changes to the site over the next few months.
Barry & Evan
Now back to our regularly scheduled program…

Spring time in Indiana has been wet.  Unable to get any outdoor work underway, we spent a lot of time in the garage getting Ole Blue ready for the spring show.  Before we relate our efforts, we need to go back to last fall.  And maybe a low point for Farm Jeep Fun.
Barry had taken Blue to a favorite show in late August.  He had unloaded the jeep with the plow and parked it in the display area.  After a walk to the registration area, he decided move the jeep to another spot.  The plow would not lift.  Well this is another fine mess…
Among the handiest tools on the farm is the high lift jack.  Barry returned the next day with his jack, some pieces of angle iron and a portable saws-all.  He was able to jack the rear of the plow up and place a couple of pieces of angle iron between the ram and the lift block.  In true 21st century style, the angle iron was held in place with cable ties.  While it worked well, it was a pain, since it took 4 uses of the jack to get the jeep safely home; jack up to allow loading, down for travel, up for unloading and finally down for parking.
Time to walk away.
Evan reminded Barry that this is supposed to be fun and when it isn’t we walk away.  And Barry did walk away for a couple of months.  Luckily. Evan was still having fun and after the cooling off period, had Barry back in the garage.  Barry started the jeep and – the lift worked perfectly.  Words were heard that are not suitable for a family friendly site.
After further questioning and analysis, we determined that we were sucking air and “foaming” the oil.  The months of sitting had allowed the air to leave the fluid and operations returned to normal.  Finding the solution is still an ongoing project.  Rather than bore the reader with all the steps taken, we will simply outline efforts to date.
1. Added an external pressure relief valve between the pump and Newgren valve.  This is an insurance policy against blowing more pump seals.  We placed a “T” in the bleeder line.  The jury is still out on use of the “T” in the bleeder line.
2. Replaced the plug in the filler pipe with a breather cap.  The original instructions call for a closed system, something most hydraulic experts have never seen.
3. Used a thread locker specially formulated for hydraulic systems and remade all connections.
4. Dropped the lift and put a new gasket and additional sealant between the control valve and the reservoir body. (We welded up a fixture to fit on a transmission jack that allows easy installing of the lift)
Items 1 and 2 are a move toward modernizing the system.  None of the hydraulic experts we have talked to can understand the Newgren system.  Therefore we have had little success in getting help solving our issues.
Items 3 and 4 were direct attacks on are air sucking problem.  All appeared to be working well, until we unloaded at the latest show.  Once again, we are “making hydraulic fluid”, with fluid mixed with air filling up and overflowing the reservoir.  We have had enough experience to know how to drain enough fluid to allow the lift to work while loading and unloading.
An opportunity to talk with the pros.
We had two objectives while visiting the Midwest Willys Jeep Rally (http://www.mw-willysjeep.com/). The first was to get some help setting up our Newgren plow and to put the plow in ground.  As stated above, we ran into issues unloading the jeep and decided to forego the plowing exercise.  The whole idea of putting our farm jeep to the test was made possible because of one of the unique features of the Rally.  John Ittel provides demonstrations and the chance to use your own machine on the turf farm.  John also freely shares his expertise and experiences.
Thanks to Nick_ over on the CJ2a forum, you can see some of the 2016 demonstrations –
The second objective of the show visit was to talk to other Newgren, Monroe and Startton lift owners and anyone with hydraulic system experience.  The Rally features jeeps of all years, sizes and shapes and also draws visitors from various backgrounds.  We were lucky enough to meet owners, engineers and mechanics, all willing shared their knowledge.  We learned much and hope to share it with you in future posts.
Not an objective, but a great outcome was meeting may people who regularly visit farmjeep.com.  This was the motivation we needed to make the site a better place and the reason for the opening paragraph.
Thanks to all of you who stopped by to see us.  We look forward to hearing more from you.

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