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Forklift Tractor Built From Garbage Truck
Nathan Strubhar's home-built bale handling loader tractor can pick up and stack six 3 by 4-ft. big square bales three high on a semi truck, or nine high in a barn.
    "It's better than a conventional loader tractor because it goes much faster down the highway, in fact over 60 mph, and can lift big square bales up to 27 ft. high," says Strubhar.
    He converted an old garbage truck into the "reversed", heavy duty forklift tractor. They use the rig in their baling and hay hauling business which serves the export market.
    "We decided we could save a lot of time and haul more bales if we had a machine that would both load and unload the bales real fast," says Nathan.
    The truck has two steering wheels, and the driver uses two separate sets of controls - the forward facing ones for highway use, and another set of controls for operating the 3-stage forklift mast equipped with a squeeze clamp. When using the forklift, the driver just slides across the cab into the seat on the opposite side, which faces the opposite direction and has its own set of operating controls.
    The forklift is powered by a hydraulic pump that's driven directly off the truck's crankshaft. Hydraulic control levers for the forklift mount next to the seat. The clamp can be moved side-to-side by a hydraulic cylinder, and it can also be tilted up and down. There's a moon roof in the cab to see up above when stacking bales.
    "We can load a semi truck with double trailers in nearly five minutes," says Nathan.
    He started with a 1979 garbage truck powered by an IH DT466, 220 hp diesel engine and Allison automatic transmission. He stripped the truck down to the frame, reconfiguring just about everything on it. "Virtually nothing on the truck is original except for the engine. Even the body and cab are home-built," says Nathan. "We converted the automatic transmission to an electronic shift transmission. It lets us switch gears by simply pressing a switch."
    The machine is equipped with the same type of exhaust system found on semi tractors - a 4-in. dia. pipe on top of a 12-in. dia. muffler.
    Nathan says he spent about $50,000 to build the loader tractor, which includes the $3,000 he paid for the garbage truck. "A comparable new machine like this would sell for at least $150,000," he notes.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Nathan Strubhar, 14407 Whiskey Hill Rd., Hubbard, Oregon 97032 (ph 505 402-7898; fax 206 338-2559; wits1@emypeople.net).

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2007 - Volume #31, Issue #6