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"It's low-cost, trouble-free and maneuverability is terrific," says . Dave Schnittjer, Hopkinton, Iowa, about the hydrostatic self-propelled feeder-mixer truck he made from a stripped down III 403 combine.
Schnittjer bought the combine's drive axle and steering axle, motor, and cab at a salvage yard He remounted the 70-hp motor crosswise to make room for the mixer and cut 18 in. out of both axles to make the machine narrow enough to work through his feedlot. He also lowered the frame in front of the motor so the cab is positioned only 2 ft. off the ground.
Schnittjer fashioned a 2 by 6-in. box beam frame above the rear axle to support the Knight mixer box, removed from a trailer rig his uncle had owned. He installed scales under the mixer, which can hold 6,000 lbs. of grain or 3,000 lbs. of silage. The mixer is driven by an orbit motor powered by the combine's hydraulic system. The combine's steering axle mounts at the front of the self-propelled machine. Steering is hydraulically controlled.
Schnittjer uses the rig to fill feed bunks in his feedlot, and to fill two overhead bulk bins. Auxiliary hydraulic outlets on the self-propelled rig drive hydraulic motors that power augers to fill the bins.
Schnittjer says his home-built feeder-mixer easily outperforms the 4-WD Ford truck he previously used. "We ran that rig until there was nothing left of it. I couldn't afford the $18,000 the dealer wanted for a new truck, so I built this one for about $4,000. We've used it for three years, four hours a day, and haven't spent a dime on it."
The rig is equipped with individual brakes for each wheel, just like on a tractor, so you can hold the inside tire and bring the rig around quickly. The short wheelbase - the same as on a Deere 4020 tractor - also helps the rig turn short.
"It'll turn on a dime around feedbunks," says Schnittjer. "With the 4-WD truck, we had to back out of a lot of places. Now we just turn around and drive out."
The hydrostatic rig runs at speeds up to 20 mph. Schnittjer outfitted the machine with the combine's 3-speed manual trans-mission, but says he doesn't use it. "We went to a lot of trouble to hook it up to our home-built linkage, but we don't need it. We just leave the transmission in high gear. The hydrostatic transmission eliminates the need for other gears."
Schnittjer plans to build a second hydro-static feeder-mixer truck. "I won't use a combine as old as this one because parts aren't readily accessible, especially since IH joined Case. Also, I'll fit it with a larger engine for more power."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dave Schnittjer, Rt. 1, Box 31, Hopkinton, Iowa 52237 (ph 319 922-2524).

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1988 - Volume #12, Issue #6