Case Construction King 586C Forklift

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Case entered the construction equipment market about 1960 with the Construction King series of backhoes. The very first ones were very much their farm tractor with some equipment added. The oldest backhoe I've seen was a farm tractor body with a steel 'grill guard' in front of the farm tractor grill and a hydraulic pump sort of exposed on the front, with a loader and backhoe attached.

The second generation from Case still had the farm tractor underneath but had most customization. Our Case 430 backhoe of about a 1964 vintage is typical of this. Still very much a farm tractor underneath, but the farm tractor grill is gone and a 'hard nose' has been added, and of course the yellow paint on the outside but the traditional Case red is retained on the wheels and chassis.

Ultimately Case separated their construction equipment lines and have separate dealers for them and ultimately the company even separated the ownership of the case construction equipment from what is now known as 'Case-IH' farm equipment.

Featured here is a Case 586C forklift which is approximately a 1979 or 1980 model. There is still a lot of farm tractor buried deep inside, but the frame is all for the industrial model, and of course as a forklift it has a massive steering axle. The chassis itself is identical to the backhoe models of the time, but instead of having a backhoe and loader, it has a forklift attachment on it and related modifications. Not only is the seat facing the back, but the switches and instruments are also turned around, unlike some earlier models that left many of the controls and instruments facing the other direction.

Often called a 'rough terrain' forklift, this type of forklift is designed to work off the asphalt. While it is a poor choice for getting a pallet off a top rack at Lowe's, they work reasonably well outside. This particular model lifts to 15 feet which is really quite a ways up there. Optional masks for this model go to 22 feet. This type of machine is fairly popular in the South but rarely seen in the Pacific Northwest. I suspect because lots of the new ones are sold to rental companies and the rental demand in this area is more for construction site forklifts, and the telescoping boom lifts do this job better. In California, this type of lifttruck is called a 'field forklift', because it is quite suited for working in agricultural applications, where crops are palletized.

The evolving change of the past 10 years or so is that most of the newer models (Case now has a 586G ) following the trend of farm tractors, are 4 wheel drive. We are sort of used to how well farm tractors get around and assume that one of these that sort of looks like a farm tractor will get around similarly under wet conditions. Unfortunately, that is not entirely accurate. A traditional farm tractor is designed with most of the weight on the driving wheels. With the fork lift this is deceptively untrue. The problem is the counter weight. To give the machine the 6,000 lbs of lifting capacity, there is nearly 4,000 pounds of cast iron in the form of a counter weight on the steering end of the machine, all on a machine that has a total weight of around 13,000 lbs. Practically speaking this machine has a weight distribution of about 50-50 (when empty). To be sure it works better than a classic forklift that really won't operate very well in loose gravel, but don't expect to wollow though the mud with it like you might with a farm tractor. One sort of expects a lift truck like this to in fact get around as well as a farm tractor, but the weight balance is wrong. The massive counterweight makes them too heavy in the wrong place if you don't have a load on the forks.

Once of the nice things about this machine is that the mast is short. It is only 9 feet high when the folks are 'down'. This means that you can haul it on a standard flatbed truck (which usually has a bed height of around 4 feet) without being over height.-- a good thing. It is also moderate in its headroom demands which is a good thing if you work partly inside a building. This contrasts to some lifts that have masts so high that you can't haul them without being overheight, and that quickly get into overhead problems.

The engine is a classic Case Diesel. I'm not sure of the HP. The 586G has 75HP and I surmise this is some less but probably in the 60 hp range. The transmission is a standard 4 speed. It has a converter and a power shifted johnson bar. The transmission itself is manual. The brakes are the traditional Case disk brakes, but are hydraulic activated with two master cylinders--- one for each wheel. The controls include 3 brake pedals. --- A 'two wheel' brake pedal on the left and individual pedals on the right. A differential lock is provided, but with steering brakes its usefulness is doubtful. There is a foot throttle for either foot, and a hand throttle as well.

The parking brake simply activates the foot brakes. If the foot brakes are out of adjustment then the parking brake won't work. The difficulty in adjusting the brakes is mostly in getting to the adjuster. It is a nut you turn, but particularly the one on the right side which is covered by the master cylinders requires a lot of imagination to get a wrench on. These sorts of features have plagued CASE for a long time. They designed the tractor for one thing, and then adapted it to another use. When you do this there are always some things that seem insane, and a brake adjuster that you can't get a wrench on is one.

As for forklift controls there is a side shift of a total of 6 inches which moves the whole mask. The teeth themselves must be manually adjusted. The canopy has a screen on top. This protects you from falling things and is likely that way so you can see up as you need to watch for overhead clearance issues all the time, but it doesn't keep the rain out which is a nuisance in Oregon weather.


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Needle bearings replaced with Plastic
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Channel replacement parts
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Cut, fit and welded in place
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Roller Assembly for inside rail
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Well, you buy a 25 year old folk lift and not have some issues with it. Case made the C models in 1979 and 1980. As noted the tractors are similar to their 'backhoes' of the day--- the 580C, though I am uncertain if the converter was used in the 580C. Anyway the first thing that needed attention was the forklift itself. An examination of things showed that the 'headache rack' of the forklift (the bars that the teeth hang on) was rubbing on the mast. This shouldn't be so we took it apart. We found the inner channel (that slides in the outer channel on the outside and has the fork assembly on steel wheels running inside it was shot.

The first order of business was to dismantle the mast. This wasn't too difficult. First we removed teeth which just hang on the head ache rack (and have stopper bolts on the ends to keep them from falling off). Next the headache rack is bolted with recessed allen head bolts to the assemblies that have the wheels on them that run up and down inside the main lift channel. they have the lift chains attached to them so when the cylinder expands--it lifts the inner mast and pulls up the forks on the trackage, thus in use the the forks run up the mast while the mast extends, allowing a 9 foot mast to have around 15 feet of lift.

Anyhow, unhook the chains, and unbolt the headache rack and the roller assemblies fall out of the channel on the ground. Next you unbolt the top end of the lift cylinder from the mast, and then with your 25 foot boom truck you just lift the inner channel part of the mast about 10 feet straight up and it lifts out of the outer channel and you have it. The photos on the right are of this inner channel in the defective condition. It should be of uniform thickness as the wheels run on it. Here it is thinned badly on one side and completely broken away on the other side. --- not a good thing.

We wash up the steel wheels that the fork assembly rides on and find that 3 of the 4 steel wheels have bad bearings in them. These are integrated wheel/bearing assemblies where the outer race of the roller bearing is the 'wheel'. The Wheel part is OK, but the bearings have issues. It is either buy a new wheel/bearing assembly, or fix the one's we have. We choose the latter. We strip the rollers out, turn out the small flange that holds the rollers in, and then turn a piece of plastic for a bushing. Since we had 3 to do we put a piece of Delrin in one (the white one), for a control and put UHMW (the pink stuff) in the other two, and just washed and cleaned well the roller bearing that seemed ok. This machine has been run in the dust and dirt and not greased very faithfully and the bearings were packed with dirt and sand. Our take is that bushings will likely last better than needle bearings under these conditions. Anyhow that is what it is going to have. We could have used brass, but this plastic stuff seems to work as well as brass in may applications and is a lot cheaper.

Review of the inside rail suggests a replacement of 24" on one rail and 40 inches on the other rail. The defective part is cut out with a plasma cutter and a new piece of 2 1/2" x 1" is dubbed in and welded. OEM rail appeared to be only 7/8" but there was lots of slack to to wear, so we took the shaper and trimmed a few inching of the end down 1/8" as you can see in a couple of the photos and then lapped a a3/16" piece on top of that and scabbed it onto the rest of the length of the rail to fatten it up a a a bit. You will notice that at the end we did not cut away clear to the end but left an inch down there for something to align to. The welds were ground down smooth. Finally we turned the assembly around and installed it the 'other way' so the repaired part would be on the front instead of the back. It will receive little wear there based on the fact that all the wear we found was mostly on the back.

The message here is that forklifts are pretty durable things, but they do need some care which hadn't been provided here. You need to keep the wheels turning in the mast head and keep grease on the slides, things that simply were not done here.

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