1992 - Volume #16, Issue #4, Page #01[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Old Car Hay HaulerOne of the most unusual machines we've ever seen for hauling round bales is this "car hay hauler" built by Iowa farmer Dave Schlenker, who turned a 1981 Chevrolet Citation front wheel drive 4-door hatchback into a self-propelled hay hauler that can pick up and load one round bale at a time.
Schlenker, of Ankeny, paid $200 for the car and figures he spent about $500 altogether, including modifications.
"It makes picking up and hauling round bales more of a pleasure than a chore and is easy for my wife to drive. Works so slick that my wife does most of the bale hauling while I do the baling," says Schlenker, a dairy producer who built the unit with the help of neighbor Earl Lagerquist.
Schlenker cut off the rear half of the car right behind the front doors. The front"cab" was then sealed off by installing the hatch-back rear window on back for wide open visibility. He also mounted a 161, gas tank directly behind the car's front
To haul bales, Schlenker made a lift cradle by welding a 6-ft. long piece of 4-in sq. steel tubing to the back of rocker panels on either side of the car, with a pair of 5-ft. long, 2 by 4-in. lengths of square tubing between and below them to slip under the bale. A pair of 15-in. tires off a 1976 Chevrolet 1/2-ton pickup are mounted on pivoting hub assemblies that attach to the bale cradle. Two 3 by 8-in. hydraulic cylinders, mounted on each side of the bale cradle, connect to a "rocker shaft" that pivots the cradle hubs, raising and lowering the bale cradle (and the entire rear end of the car) as needed to load and unload bales. The cylinders are powered by an electric hydraulic pump mounted behind the car seat.
To load a bale, Schlenker simply flips a toggle switch to retract the cylinders and lower the bale cradle to the ground, then backs up under the bale. Once he's under the bale, he raises it up and drives away.
"I built it because my wife doesn't drive tractor and I wanted her to haul bales while I did the baling," says Schlenker. "It handles comfortably and has air conditioning and a radio. The hatchback window provides a good view of the bale. She drives 25 mph fully loaded. The only limitation is that it'll get stuck in wet fields. It has small 14-in. tires in front and is powered by a 6-cylinder, 229 cu. in. engine.
"I used a front wheel drive car because there's no drive axle in back to get in the way of the bale. I used a 4-door model (instead of the 2-door Citation) because it has a unibody design and heavy sheet metal along the rocker panels and roof posts. The post behind the front door has a lot of strength and was a good place to attach the bale lifting frame. I reinforced the rocker panels with 1/4-in. steel plate. I also welded a piece of 4-in. sq. steel tubing across the front of the car to beef up the frame."
Each cylinder pivots on a 12-in. long, 1-in. dia. steel pin mounted inside the 4-in. sq. tubing. The other end of each cylinder is connected to a segment of leaf spring salvaged from a Chevrolet Nova. The spring allows the frame to flex up and down over bumps. The bottom part of the spring pivots on a 1-in. dia. shaft that's welded to the frame. A length of 11/2 by 3-in. rectangular steel tubing extends from the spring back to a spindle borrowed from the pickup.
The pickup's disc brakes are mounted on the rear wheels and are connected to the car's brake cylinder by hydraulic hose. Schlenker mounted the pickup's 16-gal. gas tank under the rear window, using a 1-in. wide steel strap to weld the tank to the car body. "It was the only place I could find for the tank. There isn't room under the car when it's lowered to the ground. I plan to weld a steel plate behind the tank to protect it," notes Schlenker.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dave Schlenker, 8545 N.E. 29th St., Ankeny, Iowa 50021 (ph 515 964-4868).
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