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SUV Converted To Snowplow, Boom Truck
Although the body on Dennis Severson’s 37-year-old Ramcharger SUV was rusted out, the 318 engine and automatic transmission were still good. So he stripped off the body and mounted a cab from a 35-year-old, self-propelled International combine on the chassis. Then he mounted a snowplow up front and a home-made boom with a 5-ton winch on back.
    Severson uses the rig to plow snow in his yard and around Amery Small Motors, the business he owns in Amery, Wis. He also uses it to skid logs from the woods to make firewood.
    Severson made brackets to attach the cab directly to the truck frame to keep the height down. The vehicle is just over 7 ft. tall, which lets him drive under a lot of branches in the woods that he used to hit while skidding logs with his tractor. The cab mount is reinforced with bracing that’s connected to the steering column, which is angled into the cab. The original 3-speed automatic transmission shift lever is still on the column and the clutch, brake and footpedal are on the floor. He made a gauge cluster for the speedometer, fuel, amps and temperature. His plow and winch controls are on the panel that used to hold the combine’s controls.
    Severson swapped out the original combine cab seat for a high-back bucket seat that he mounted on a swivel. He says that setup works great when he’s plowing snow because he sits low to the ground and can turn from one side to another and easily see all around. In warmer months he swaps that seat out for a smaller one from a riding lawn mower that’s easier to get in and out of when he’s skidding logs.
    “The biggest benefit of the combine cab is having 5 1/2 ft. of clear glass in front of me,” Severson says. “The sides and rear also have big windows, so I’ve got excellent visibility all around.” The cab has a good heater and fan, so he’s plenty warm during the winter. In the summer he takes off the door and opens a window for natural air conditioning. The combine cab didn’t have a windshield wiper so he cut one of the wiper motors out of the old Ramcharger cab and put it on his new rig with an extra long blade. “It works great,” he says.
    Severson built a boom on the back of the SUV frame so he can use the vehicle to skid logs for the 30 cords of firewood he cuts every year. “I was in the towing business for 20 years, so I had a fairly good idea how to build a boom that would support a 10,000-lb. winch,” he says. The boom is made from a stabilizer leg that was mounted on one side of an old Army tank retriever. The telescoping tube is supported by framework made of square tubing. A single hydraulic cylinder raises and lowers the boom and extends it to the ideal pulling angle. Severson installed a new Super Winch in front of the boom and operates it with a hand-held remote. The 1/2-in. cable extends 100 ft. so he can retrieve logs that he can’t back up to.
     Severson says he really likes the short turning radius and automatic transmission with 4-WD on his plower/skidder. “It works great for plowing snow and handling rough terrain in the woods, thanks to the oversized Thornbird tires. For plowing deep snow I chain up the rear tires for extra traction. It has been a real versatile and dependable outfit for year-around use, and I was able to build it mostly from scrap materials and about $300 to $400 out-of-pocket for the winch and remote control.”
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dennis Severson, 704 70th Ave., Amery, Wis. 54001 (ph 715 268-7085; asmvern@amerytel.net).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #1