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Old Pickup Converted Into Self Propelled Feed Wagon
"If you can get there with a 3/4 ton pickup, you can get there just as a fast with this self-propelled, self-unloading feed wagon," says Gerald Athorp, Cleveland, Wis., farmer-inventor.
It features a 1967 Ford 250 3/4 ton 4-WD pickup chassis, the pickup's 350 engine mounted on a frame behind the chassis, a 16 ft. long wagon box, and a cab salvaged from an old road grader.
Overall, the rig is 22 ft. long, 8 ft. wide and 7 ft. high (low enough to load with a skid steer loader and to slip under a silo chute). There's 16 ft. of load space but only 12 ft. of apron.
Above the engine, Athorp built a 4 ft. long, 3-1/2 ft. high raised floor section. Its floor is hinged at a point 1-1/2 ft. in front of a hydraulic cylinder (see arrow). As the main box is unloaded, the cylinder raises the floor, bringing the endgate forward so that the endgate and floor form a one-piece floor slanted at a 45? angle, forcing feed to slide down onto the apron for unloading.
Athorp, who farms with his sons, uses the "go anywhere" wagon to feed cattle on three farms, all having fence line bunks. "The total round trip between farms is five miles so it wasn't practical to haul feed back and forth with a tractor and wagon."
Athorp, who bought the used pickup for $500, estimates he built the entire unit for less than $3,000. After removing the engine and mounting it, he made the box, installed the front unloading conveyor from an old Rex silage wagon, then mounted the cab.
The rear-mounted engine keeps the rig as short as possible, notes Athorp. "A front mounted engine would have been too awkward with the cab setting so high."
To transfer power from the rear-mounted engine to the front of the transfer case, Athorp built a gearbox with reverse rotation.
A hydraulic motor powers the unloading apron and the cylinder that lifts the raised floor section. The motor, positioned underneath the front unloading conveyor, is driven by a hydraulic pump mounted on the front of the engine. The hydraulic pump, in turn, is driven off the engine crankshaft with a chain coupler. To activate the system, Athorp flips a lever in the cab.
If he had it to do over again, he says he'd build his own straight frame instead of using the pickup chassis. "It would be easier to mount the axles on a straight channel frame. There'd be no cutting or welding."
In the field, Athorp pulls the wagon behind his silage chopper, backing the chopper to the wagon and hooking it to a piece of channel iron welded on front of the cab. Silage blows over the cab into the wagon.
Contact FARM SHOW Followup, Gerald Athorp, Box 346, Cleveland, Wis. 53105 (ph 414 565-3274).

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1988 - Volume #12, Issue #2