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"Beach Monster" Made From Combine
Neighbors can tell when Tom Nelson arrives at his cottage on the Michigan shore of Lake Huron in spring by the roar of his "Beach Monster."
  "Every spring, we have to level the sand in order to have a useable beach area," he explains.
  Most of his neighbors hire someone with a bulldozer to level and clean their beach areas, but Nelson made his own machine out of a Massey Ferguson 300 combine.
  "It's a 1974 model, with a Chrysler 225 gasoline engine and a variable speed belt drive," he says.
  "I paid $400 for the combine," he says. "I had trouble getting the engine started and when it finally did start, it just barely ran. I rebuilt the carburetor and the generator. It needed a voltage regulator, and I thought it needed a starter, but after I'd made the other repairs, the starter worked fine."
  Nelson stripped out the combine's guts and removed the grain tank and most of the sheet metal, leaving only enough of the combine's shell to make a rough wagon box. "I sold 2,000 lbs. of steel to the scrap yard. I kept some of the shafts and other parts that I thought might come in handy for other projects," he says.
  With low tree branches around the lake, overall height was a problem and Nelson figured he didn't need heat or air conditioning for beach grooming, so he cut off the top half of the cab. The original steel roof makes a good weather cover to protect the operator's station when it's not in use.
  Once he had the old combine cut down, he made a sturdy dozer blade from wood 4 by 4's and attached it to the header lift. "It makes a good dozer that I can use to push sand and even rocks," he says. "It does a good job of leveling, but it doesn't dig because there's no down-pressure on the header lift."
  Another use for the Beach Monster is to launch a 20-ft. Sea Ray boat, which he transports on a single axle trailer. It's a half-hour drive from his cottage to the nearest ramp where he must pay to launch his boat. With the old combine engine mounted several feet up in the air, he figured he'd be able to get far enough out in the water to launch his boat right by his cottage without a ramp or boat hoist.
  To make the old combine more sure-footed on sand, he inflates the drive tires to only about 5 psi. He also filled the wagon box with rocks for added traction.  
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Tom Nelson, 638 N. Edgar Rd., Mason, Mich. 48854 (ph 517 676-3482).

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2003 - Volume #27, Issue #1