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How To Motorize A Pedal Tractor

"I thought your readers would like to see the motorized pedal tractors I put together. They really work great," says Tom Demers, Bethlehem, Conn., who in recent years has motorized Deere, Oliver and other brand pedal tractors.

    The first one he modified was a 1965 Deere Pedal Trac. Demers cut the center part out of the hood and installed a 1981 Echo 21 cc weed trimmer engine, which is hooked up to the transmission off a Troy-bilt mini rototiller. The transmission chain-drives the tractor's rear axle.

    The tractor still has its original front and rear wheels, seat, and steering wheel. An add-on, spring-loaded throttle lever is used to control tractor speed.

    "The weed trimmer engine has a built-in clutch so when you let off the gas, the tractor stops dead. It's like putting on the brakes," says Demers. "When it's running, the tractor moves at walking speed."

    To build, Demers put the engine and transmission together first. Then to make room for them, he split the tractor apart lengthwise and used a sabre saw to cut out an opening for the engine.

    The rototiller transmission has a worm gear drive with a 36:1 ratio. The 2-cycle engine doesn't have much torque unless it's revved up, and would have run too fast for the pedal tractor so Demers had to gear it down. To do that he cut 1 tine shaft off the tiller and shortened the other, then mounted a sprocket on it to drive the tractor's rear wheel.

    "I'm happy with the way it turned out. It looks cool because the engine and muffler are black and orange and just the right size so everything looks proportionate," says Demers.

    "I used the chrome pipe from a motorcycle handlebar to make an exhaust pipe, and the knockout from an electrical box to make a flapper. The flapper bobs up and down with the exhaust just like on a real tractor, which people really get a kick out of at parades.

    "My son and his teenage friends like to drive all my motorized pedal tractors. It looks funny to see grown boys and men driving such small tractors, but the tractors have no trouble handling them because they have so much torque and a high gear ratio."

    The tractor's throttle cable runs from the engine up to the steering column. "I only have to turn the steering wheel 1/2 way each way to steer, so the throttle can't get tangled up. However, on my most recent pedal tractor I mounted the throttle on one of the tractor's foot pedals, so that as soon as you take your foot off the pedal the tractor stops," notes Demers.

    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Tom Demers, 267 Hard Hill Rd. N., Bethlehem, Conn. 06751 (ph 203 266-5767; tdemers350@hotmail.com).


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2011 - Volume #35, Issue #3