2012 - Volume #36, Issue #4, Page #40[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
He Built His Tractor From The Inside Out
“I geared it down 3:1, but I think I should have gone even farther,” says Kast. “It has a top speed of about 50 mph, and when I hit the throttle, it will spin the tires until I back off.”
Kast built his tractor around a 4.3L engine from a 1987 GMC pickup. It easily bolted to a 4-speed (with pto) transmission from a 1957 Chevy pickup. The front and rear ends came from a 1956 Ford pickup.
“I put the motor and transmission on jack stands and then used steel tubing to build the frame around it,” he recalls. “I mocked up everything on the floor and then changed things as I needed.”
Changes included narrowing the front and rear ends. He also installed a cab from an old compact Deere tractor.
“Once I had the cab in place, it was easy to fabricate a floor and fenders around it,” says Kast.
Needing to gear down the transmission, he ran a short driveshaft stub to a pillow block and put a #60 sprocket on its end. A drive belt to a pulley that he put on the driveshaft flange on the rear end gave him a 3:1 gear ratio.
A tendency to spin out is the biggest problem he has when using the tractor for snowblowing, the tractor’s primary purpose.
Kast got a hydraulically-driven snowblower off a Bobcat and built loader arms out of steel tubing. “The snowblower was pretty worn out,” he recalls. “I replaced bearings and fixed bent fan vanes and a bent auger.”
Kast built a 15-gal. hydraulic reservoir out of an old air tank from a semi tractor. He cut one end off, cleaned it out, sealed it back up and then hung it on the back end of the tractor. He bought two new lift cylinders for the loader and used steel tubing to make new loader arms. Finally, he bought a 22 gal./min. pump on eBay to power everything.
“I connected the pump to a crankshaft stub at the front of the engine with a sprocket chain and a jackshaft,” says Kast. “The pump works great and really lifts the arms fast.”
With everything in place, Kast decided to cover it with a hood and cowling similar to his dad’s M. A friend gave him an old M hood that was pretty well beat up. Kast straightened it out and cleaned it up.
“I cut about 4 to 6 in. off the bottom and attached it so it tilts to the front for access,” says Kast. “I put chains on the tractor in the winter and a 30-gal. barrel of sand on the back end. I still have a traction problem and may have to gear it down more yet.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Richard H. Kast, 2109 95th St., Fairmont, Minn. 56031 (ph 507 235-6050; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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