2008 - Volume #32, Issue #2, Page #25[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Deere Garden Tractor Fitted With Rubber Tracks
"I got the idea after seeing a Cub Cadet fitted with tracks," says Poach.
After a long time spent thinking it through, he began by slicing a track from a Deere 400 snowmobile in half lengthwise using a die grinder that sealed the edges of the pads as it ground.
"A saw would have left raw edges," points out Poach. "I also used a grinder to take off the ridge along the outside edge of the track."
With tracks in hand, he began to build a set of rear drive wheels to fit the 140H3 transaxle. It took a lot of calculating to get the wheel diameters just right to fit the cogs. While the original wheels were about the right width for the tracks, they needed more height and needed to match the drive pegs on the track exactly.
"I cut out circles of 1/4-in. steel plate and welded them to the rims," recalls Poach. "Then I cut two strips of 1/8-in. steel and rolled them to fit inside each rim. They provide a surface for the track to ride on."
After doing the same for the front wheels, Poach cut pieces of metal and welded across the drive wheels to create square holes for the track pegs. After finishing the wheels, he built a subframe out of 1 1/2-in. steel tubing. Guide wheels were salvaged off a junked snowmobile and mounted to the subframe along with the drive and front wheels.
The next step was to strip off the front axle, brake pedals, steering wheel and the center rock shaft meant to lift and lower the deck mower. Any holes were welded over and an hour meter was installed where the steering column had been. By the time he finished, it looked like the missing parts had never been there.
The 140H3, with its variable speed hydrostatic drive and a single lever controlling forward and reverse, was ideal for conversion to tracks. Individual rear brakes on the rear axle were converted to hand levers to steer the track unit.
Of course, once he thought he was finished, he discovered he wasn't. The track drive system that had taken him a month and a half to figure out was eating up track pegs. He realized he needed to tear them apart and grind down the edges of the cross bars that created the holes for the pegs.
"Figuring out the drive wheels was the most complicated part of the conversion," says Poach. "I have more than 60 pieces of steel in each drive wheel."
Aside from pulling his dad's Deere 60, Poach hasn't actually done much work with his 140H3 crawler. He had intended to use it with a blade to push snow.
"I built a blade for it to run off the two hydraulic outlets on the front of the tractor, but once I had it sandblasted and painted, I hated to actually use it," he explains.
Poach says he might be willing to help others build one, with plans or even building one to order. As Poach works a swing shift, it would be best to contact him by email or regular mail.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Todd Poach, 17 21st. Ave. S., Apt. 1, St. Cloud, Minn. 56301 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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