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4-WD,4-Wheel Steer Utility Truck
Robert Mahany, Dansville, N.Y., used the frame and engine from a 1979 International school bus, the cab from a 1985 International 2 1/2-ton truck, and a pair of 2 1/2-ton steering axles from old Army trucks to build a 4-WD, 4-wheel steer "utility truck" for jobs around the farm.
Mahany paid $900 for the bus which was equipped with a 392 cu. in. V-8 gas engine and a 5-speed transmission. He paid $2,500 for the truck cab and frame and $5,000 for the two Army truck steering axles as well as a transfer case and winch. He doubled up the truck frame and mounted a steel plat-form on back. The Army truck axle's remote transfer case splits the driveshaft to go to both axles.
"It's a handy rig and cost only about $15,000 to build. If we'd have known it would work as well as it does we'd have looked for a bus with a 466 cu. in. diesel engine to provide more power," says Mahany. "We grow about 600 acres of potatoes scattered across several farms and use the truck to tow hose reel irrigators and other heavy equipment from farm to farm. It goes a lot faster than a tractor and lets us reduce road wear on tractor tires. The rig's 12.00 by 20 all-season 12-ply tires are spaced 72 in. apart so we can drive right down the rows. Also, the truck body is high enough that we can pull a hose cart through the field without damaging the crop.
"We also use it in winter to plow snow. We can mount a blade on back of the truck as well as on front so we can push and pull. Both blades are raised or lowered by a hydraulic cylinder attached to the blade mounting bracket. Power is supplied by a hydraulic pump that mounts under the hood, con-trolled by a toggle switch in the cab. The rear blade works great for removing snow in an enclosed area or next to a garage door or wall, etc. The operator simply backs up to a wall, drops the rear blade, and goes.
"The rear axle turns independent of the front axle so it turns very short. The front axle is controlled by the steering wheel while the rear axle is controlled by a hydraulic cylinder that's hooked up to a re-mote valve. A cable-operated gauge in the cab tells us where the rear wheels are positioned. The Army truck axles have a load rating of almost 18,000 lbs. The bus's 5-speed transmission and Army truck axle's 2-speed transfer case provide 10 forward gears and two reverse.
"The hydraulic-operated hitches allow the operator to hook up to an implement hitch regardless of its height. The hitch can be lowered to within 2 in. of the ground or up to 28 in. high. A 20,000-lb. winch on back lets the operator pull the truck out if he ever gets stuck."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Robert Mahany, 10046 Rt. 36 South, Dansville, N.Y. 14437 (ph 607 295-7298).

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1997 - Volume #21, Issue #3