1994 - Volume #18, Issue #6, Page #11[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Mobile Power Unit Operates Silo BlowerDuane Checkalski, Weyerhaeuser, Wis., couldn't justify spending $7,000 to $10,000 for a used 80 plus hp tractor to operate his silo blower. Instead, he built a mobile "power unit" out of parts from an Oliver 70 tractor and a Ford F-150 pickup.
"I spent only about $400 to build it," says Checkalski, who put the power unit together five years ago.
Checkalski paid $150 for the tractor and $100 for the pickup, which he bought without an engine. He cut off the front part of the tractor frame, keeping the rear axle, seat, steering rod, gas tank, and transmission. He bolted the front half of the pickup frame to the back half of the tractor. Then he mounted a 351 cu. in. V-8 gas engine and automatic transmission from a 1971 Ford LTD car on the frame. He replaced the tractor's 38-in. rear wheels with 20-in. truck tires to level up the frame, cutting the tractor wheel rims out to fit the smaller truck wheels. The 15-in. wheels in front are off the original pickup. A driveshaft couples the car trans-mission to the tractor transmission which he uses to engage or disengage the pto shaft.
"It's pretty ugly but it does the job. I only use it to fill silo," says Checkalski. "The first time I tried it I was really surprised how well it worked. Dynanometer readings show that it has about 120 pto horsepower. It has no trouble at all handling my International 56 silo blower and is fairly fuel efficient. I can unload two wagon loads of silage per gallon of gas. It took about 50 hours to build and an-other 50 hours of thought.
"The tractor engine didn't have enough horsepower to operate the blower, but I couldn't replace it directly with the car engine because there wasn't enough room on the tractor. The tractor engine ran at 2,500 rpms, but the car engine runs at 4,000 rpm's which is too fast for the pto so I use the tractor transmission to slow it down.
"I mounted the car's ignition switch and cruise control on an aluminum control panel that I bolted onto the frame behind the battery box. I removed the instrument panel from the pickup and mounted it next to the battery box. I keep the speedometer at 50 mph in order to operate the pto at 540 rpm's and use the cruise control as a governor.
"The two transmissions provide 10 different travel speeds, but top speed is only about 5 mph because of the small wheels. By putting the car transmission in reverse and the tractor transmission in forward I can go in reverse. If I put both transmissions in reverse I go forward."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Duane Checkalski, W 14706 Frenchick Lane, Weyerhaeuser, Wis. 54895 (ph 715 353-2736).
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