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Tractor Speeds Hay Raking
"There wasn't anything on the market that would do the job," says Ontario farmer Doug Crown, of St Alms who built his own high speed tractor that'll pull an 18-ft. wide hay rake at speeds up to 15 mph.
Crown used parts from a 1969 Chevrolet Impala car, Cockshutt self-propelled combine, and Massey 30 tractor to build the 2-WD tractor. It's powered by the car's 150 hp, 6-cylinder engine and has the car's coil spring suspension system and front wheels and axle. The rear drive wheels and axle were salvaged from the combine. The tractor has two transmissions - the car's 3-speed automatic transmission and the tractor's 4-speed transmission, providing 12 different speeds.
Crown got the idea after building a hitch assembly that lets him hook two 9-ft. finger wheel rakes together. "It works great. My neighbor and I used it last year to rake almost 1,500 acres with no problems," says Crown. "I can rake up to 20 acres per hour. A single rake pulled by a conventional tractor can do only two to three acres per hour. I had been pulling the 18-ft. rake with a conventional 2-WD tractor, but I couldn't go more than 6 mph because the ride was too rough. The car's suspension system on my new tractor keeps me from bouncing in the seat even at high speeds.
"Another advantage is that I can leave the rake on my home-built tractor all through the growing season. My home-built 6-ft. wide rake hitch assembly was hard to hook up because it's so wide. If I wasn't on perfectly level land I had to jack upon side of the hitch assembly until it lined up with the tractor's 3-pt. hitch.
"The car's 150 hp, 230 cu. in. engine is very fuel efficient. One time I raked 300 acres of hay and used only 30 gal. of gas. I've also used the tractor to pull my 3-pt. grain drill. It worker' great last year because we had a wet spring and the tractor is light enough that it floats on wet soil. However, it doesn't have enough weight or power for tillage work."
The tractor has the car's power steering, brakes, and radiator as well as the tilt steering wheel off an old Oldsmobile car. The hood, dash, 10-gal. gas tank, and grille are off the Massey tractor.
Crown used 2 by 5-in. rectangular steel tubing to build part of the tractor's frame, then cut 3 ft. off the front frame of the car and welded it on one end. He welded the combine's front drive axle on the other end. He widened out the front part of the hood and grill to make room for the radiator and left the rear part narrow where it covers the gas tank. He used 1 1/4-in. sq. steel tubing and 1/16-in. thick sheet metal to build the rear fenders and checkerplate steel to build the operator's platform.
Crown mounted the combine's 4-speed manual transmission behind the car's automatic transmission to gear it down to a 3:1 ratio. A foot-long drive shaft extends from the manual transmission to the rear end. "I can go from a crawl to 40 mph on the highway," says Crown. "I keep both trans-missions in second gear when raking. On the road, I put the manual transmission in third or fourth gear and the automatic trans-mission in drive."
He used 2 by 4-in. sq. steel tubing to build the 3-pt. hitch and 4 by 4-in. sq. tubing to build the hitch assembly. Each rake 3-pt. mounts to the hitch assembly which is raised or lowered by a pair of hydraulic cylinders salvaged from the combine. The cylinders are powered by a hydraulic pump (also salvaged from the combine) that's belt-driven off the engine's front crankshaft.
Crown spent $1,500 to build the tractor and $700 to build the 3-pt. hitch and rake hitch assembly.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Doug Crown, RR 1, St. Anns, Ontario, Canada L0R 1Y0 (ph 416 957-7256).

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1992 - Volume #16, Issue #2