2002 - Volume #26, Issue #6, Page #44[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
"When people see it for the first time most of them just shake their heads in wonder," says Weppler.
The one-of-a-kind rig is powered by a single row of nine 5 hp Briggs & Stratton gas engines. The engines bolt to a sheet of plywood that mounts on top of a frame made from 2 by 3 steel tubing. The rear axle and differential are from a 1964 Dodge 1/2-ton pickup while the front steering axle is off a 1948 Ford car. The 4-speed transmission is off a 1946 Ford car and chain-drives the differential.
The engines belt-drive a jackshaft that runs along one side of the frame and is connected to the transmission by a double pulley that serves as a clutch. There's a separate hand-controlled belt tightener for each engine.
To operate the tractor, Weppler first rope starts each engine and also activates the belt tightener on it. Then he gets on the tractor and operates a foot pedal to engage the transmission.
"It's built from a little bit of everything," says Weppler. "The brakes are off a 1964 Dodge pickup and the master cylinder off a 1979 Ford car. The hubcaps on the rear tires are off a boat trailer. It will travel at speeds up to 48 mph.
"It's quite a job to get all nine engines going. I plan to install a Ford ring gear and starter so I can use a button to start all the engines at the same time right from the tractor seat. At first the tractor was quite noisy and with all the engine fumes I could hardly stand it. To solve the problem, I added an exhaust manifold above the engines. A series of curved pipes lead from the manifold down to an automotive muffler underneath the tractor's frame. Now the tractor runs so quiet I can hardly hear it."
The rig turns surprisingly short. Steering is provided by a power steering pump (off a Chevrolet car) that's belt-driven off the jackshaft. The pump sends oil to a hydraulic cylinder that's connected to a tie rod on the front axle.
"I mounted a padded seat over the rear end housing and use a shift lever to put the transmission in gear. I used 1/8-in. thick sheet metal to build the fenders."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jim Weppler, Box 60, Morse, Sask., Canada S0H 3C0 (ph 306 629-3569).
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