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Home-Built Forklift Doubles As Snowblower/Snowblade
Joe Odenwald does a lot of building in his shop and often carries supplies or equipment in and out of it. He decided he needed a heavy-duty forklift to make the work easier.
    "I've used it to haul engines, transmissions, loads of steel, and many other heavy loads. I can't imagine how I would get along without it," says Odenwald.
    "My gravel driveway has a steep grade where it enters the shop. That's why I needed something with big 15-in. drive tires on front to provide good traction."
    The forklift is powered by a Kohler 25 hp 2-cyl. engine. The front wheels and axle came off the back of a 1983 Chevy 1/2-ton pickup. Odenwald narrowed the axle down to 4 ft. wide, then hooked up a 1-ton, 4-speed Chevy transmission to the rear end, "gearing it down enough to get the speeds I wanted. " He bought the rear wheels at Fleet Farm.
    The body was made from 4-in. wide I-beams and 1/4-in. thick sheet metal. A steel pin at the center of the rear axle allows the forklift's rear wheels to ride smoothly over bumps.
    The mast is raised and lowered by a single hydraulic cylinder and can lift 10 ft. A set of 24-in. long weights on back counterbalance the front load.
    He made the steering wheel by rolling some steel rod and then gluing some rubber hose onto it. "I designed it as a tilt steering wheel. To change the position of the wheel I just rotate a lever," says Odenwald.
    He even uses the forklift to remove snow around his shop and driveway. A 4-ft. wide snowblower off a Case garden tractor mounts on the mast and is operated by a 13 hp Honda engine. The direction of the spout is controlled by turning a small steering wheel located next to the forklift's steering wheel. Odenwald used 3/8-in. round rod to make the steering wheel, which is fitted with a small knob that lets Odenwald turn the wheel with one hand. A 3/8-in. univeral joint located at the bottom of the steering column allows the snowblower to flex as it's raised and lowered. "When I'm done I just pull a hairpin to remove the steering column," says Odenwald.
    A 7 ft., 6 in. snowplow off a 1978 Ford pickup can also be added on front. He welded lengths of tubular steel under the snowplow blade to fit the forks. "I just drive into the blade and chain it on," says Odenwald. "I added an auxiliary hydraulic outlet to the forklift that lets me automatically change the blade angle."
    Odenwald says the forklift didn't cost much to build. "Almost everything I used was stuff I picked up for free over the years. My only expense was for the tires and a 2-stage hydraulic pump and hoses."
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Joe Odenwald, N6372 Hwy. PS, Hartford, Wis. 53027 (ph 262 629-5164).

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2011 - Volume #35, Issue #4