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Skid Steer Gets Use All Year Long
Neil Eckelberg uses his Bobcat skid steer to blow snow in the winter and mow road ditches in the summer. He also mounts a grader blade on front.
  “My snowblower conversion was one of my first skid steer attachments,” says Eckelberg. “I did it for around $800, and it still works great.”
  Eckelberg first checked with a local retailer about a mount to adapt a rear mount snowblower for a tractor to a skid steer. The retailer wanted $2,500 for a kit to do the job.
  “I looked at the way it was constructed and ordered a similar size orbital motor,” says Eckelberg. “I unbolted the original 3-pt. hitch unit and pto shaft and bolted it to a quick-tach plate. I figured I could change it back to a 3-pt. if I ever need to.”
  Eckelberg installed an orbital motor in place of the pto shaft. The one auxiliary hydraulic valve originally on the skid steer controls the motor.
  Since the commercial adapter kit used a double wrap winch to turn the snow chute, Eckelberg did the same. “I used a standard 12-volt winch and drilled a second hole in the center shaft for cable, reverse wrapped it from the original cable and attached one to each side of the snow chute,” explains Eckelberg. “When the winch turns, one cable unwraps while the second wraps, turning the chute.”
  He then attached a small electro-mechanical actuator to the hood on the chute to adjust discharge distance.
  “The only thing I’ve had to replace is the cutting edge,” says Eckelberg. “Everything else continues to work fine.”
  A rear mount, Ferguson sicklebar mower has also served Eckelberg well as a skid steer re-do. He selected the Ferguson for its pitmanless, camshaft, belt drive design.
  “I just pulled the pulley off and mounted the orbit motor to the shaft,” says Eckelberg. “It lets me operate the mower even when the bar is vertical. In fact, I use it to trim trees alongside my road. I just raise the loader and adjust the bar.”
  Eckelberg needed another auxiliary valve to adjust the bar. In preparation for future needs, he added three spool valves giving him two to either side of the loader arms.
  Unlike the snowblower, Eckelberg made numerous changes to the mower. He made a frame out of 2 by 2-in. sq. steel tubing and mounted it to a quick-tach plate. Given the natural tendency of a skid steer front-end attachment to dip or rise over uneven ground, Eckelberg added a wheel forward of the mower.
  “I used a swivel wheel off an old combine swath pickup and mounted it to the frame with angle iron,” he says. “It helps smooth out the ride.”
  Eckeleberg says that if he did it over, he would use 2 by 2-in. supports instead of the current angle iron, to better handle the weight. He would also extend it out farther for a smoother float.
  Eckelberg hung the mower from the frame using a pivot point and springs to provide some freedom of movement. A hydraulic cylinder mounted between the mower base and the frame lets him adjust bar pitch relative to the skid steer.
  “The cylinder has an 18-in. stroke that lets it float level or follow the slope of the ditch bank well past 45°," says Eckelberg.
  Eckelberg put more of his auxiliaries to work when he fabricated a 6-ft. wide, 2-ft. high snow blade. Once a local machine shop put the right curve in the blade, Eckelberg cut ribs out of 1/2-in. steel to match the curve and welded them in place for reinforcement. He also welded 1/4-in. thick, 1-in. angle iron across the top and on the bottom against the cutting edge. He used 2 by 2-in. steel tubing to mount the blade to a quick-tach plate using pivot points so he can adjust the angle of the blade.
  "I used single action cylinders taken from old combines my dad collected," says Eckelberg. "I have one on either side, so one pushes out and the other pushes back."
  Eckelberg plans to add two more cylinders so he can tilt the blade as well as angle it. He may also add hydraulic wings.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Neil W. Eckelberg, 117 Stanley St., Killdeer, N. Dak. 58640 (ph 701 764-5257).

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2013 - Volume #37, Issue #2