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Go Anywhere Machine
"You wouldn't believe where I've been with this machine," says Denis Desjardins, Alcove, Quebec, who combined a 1972 Volkswagen car engine with an old Case tractor transmission and rear end, and home-built tracks made from two sets of rubber conveyor belts.
Desjardins uses the "track machine" to plow snow and to winch trees from swampy woodland. "The home-built tracks work just as well as conventional bulldozer tracks and cost far less to build. They're wide enough to provide good flotation and are plenty strong. I've driven through swamps where water was up to the top of the tracks, as well as over trees and woodpiles, with no problem. The heavy rear end provides plenty of traction and the 36 hp engine has power to spare. It doesn't have to work hard because it's driving 15-in. car tires instead of large rear tractor tires, which reduces the trans-mission gear ratio. I can go real slow at 1/ 2 mph in first gear, and planetary gears,
which double the speed of the opposite axle when you hit one of the brakes, let me turn on a dime."
Each side of the "track machine" is equipped with a pair of 15-in. dia. car wheels with a 12-in. dia. free-rolling "bogie" wheel between them to keep the track tight. The 15-in. dia. wheels were removed from the Volkswagen car and
the 12-in. dia. wheels were removed from an Austin Mini car. Desjardins installed 4-in. wide conveyor belts on each side of the tires and bolted each set of belts together with fifty 12-in. long steel cross-over bars. The bars are U-shaped to fit over the tires and are spaced about 1 ft. apart. Each track is 12 in. wide. Desjardins mounted a 6-ft. wide blade and a 2,500 lb. winch, powered by a 12-V battery, on the front of the tractor.
The 36_ hp, air-cooled Volkswagen engine faces backward. "The rear end and transmission on a tractor turns in the opposite direction of transmissions on cars and trucks, so when the Volkswagen engine faces backward it matches the rotation of the tractor's transmission," notes Desjardins, who adds that the hood over the engine flips up for easy access.
Desjardins tightens the tracks by tightening two Volkswagen jack screws which move the front spindles, mounted inside 4-in. sq. tubing, back and forth. He welded a 1/8-in. steel plate to the entire bottom of the frame to protect the suspension system from rocks.
Desjardins built the 1/8-in. thick dozer blade from a 200-gal. oil tank, reinforcing it with steel plates in back.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Denis Desjardins, RR 1, Alcove, Quebec, Canada J0X 1A0 (ph 819 459-2548).

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1989 - Volume #13, Issue #4