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416 series 2 backhoe hydraulic problems with lifting loader bucket

I have a cat 416 series II backhoe that has been working well, but last week I started having problems lifting with the loader bucket. All other functions are good, the backhoe all works as normal, and the front has no other issues, the bucket opens/closes, curls in and out with proper power, and I can drive the loader bucket down and properly lift the front end of the machine off the ground. All these functions will create engine labouring when they reach the end of their travel, indicating a build up of system pressure.

The loader lifting does not strain the engine, it gradually got worse over about an hour of operating time, and running other functions as I try lifting doesn't really change the way it trys to lift, it gives a momenary half second pulse of a little more up movement but that is it even if the second command results in motor labouring. 

hydraulic tank is full, no leaks to speak of, other than this it is in really good operation condition.

the serial number of the machine is: 5PC15434.