This article serves as a basic introduction to what is possible with hydraulics for your garden tractor. There are a wide variety of pumps, valves, motors, hoses, etc. I hope this article inspires you to research more of what you can do with the physics of fluid.
In 2015 I built a Front end Loader and a backhoe for a 1974 International Harvester Cub Cadet 149. I built the reservoir into one of the loader towers, and ran an 8 GPM gear pump off of the engine’s front PTO Shaft. This pump was connected to a 2 spool directional control valve with a power beyond port. This power beyond port supplied oil to a 6 spool control valve that controlled the backhoe. My hydraulic system is set to have a maximum pressure of 1,000 psi.
A great feature of many DMM’s is the continuity setting. The continuity function measures resistance, and if there is a complete connection the meter will give an audible beep. If there is no continuity your DMM will show “OL” on the display meaning there is an open line. You can use this to test for electrical shorts in wiring or components. I commonly use this function to quickly test for shorted ignition switches and ignition coils.
The engines in our beloved garden tractors have enough power to push hydraulic oil to 2,000 psi or more. By pushing this oil into different sized hydraulic cylinders we can build almost any tool imaginable.