1992 - Volume #16, Issue #3, Page #09[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
4WD articulated dump truck"It'll go anyplace a bulldozer will go and is the slickest machine I've ever used around trees," says Edward Bowen, Union Springs, N.Y., about the 4-WD articulated dump truck he built from a 1962 Ford F-350 dump truck, a 1978 Chevrolet Chevette engine equipped with an automatic transmission, a front-wheel drive Chevrolet Citation 4-speed transmission, and other miscellaneous parts.
"If I can get the front bumper between trees, I can get the whole truck through - no matter what the angle - because it's articulated and the rear wheels follow in the same tracks as the front ones," says Bowen, who built the truck last winter for less than $100.
He removed the Ford truck's cab, engine, transmission, and front axle and cut the frame in half. He removed an 18-in. section from the middle of the frame and replaced it with a pivot assembly from a 2 1/2-ton Army truck. He replaced the front axle with the rear axle from an old Dodge pickup that had the same gear ratio as the truck's existing rear axle. He mounted the Citation transmission directly behind the Chevette's automatic transmission under the front half of the truck and made a drive shaft that connects the two transmissions together and also goes to the differential housings on both axles. The drive shaft is equipped with a center bearing and universal joints on each side where the frame articulates.
"Everyone told me the Chevette's 4-cylinder, 97 cu. in. engine wouldn't have enough power, but power isn't a problem," says Bowen. "The engine has 63 hp at 4,800 rpm's. I can haul two 4 by 8-ft. cords in the 2-yard dump box and go right up steep banks with a full load. I also use it to haul dirt. I usually keep it in third gear and the automatic transmission automatically shifts when it needs to. I can shift into fourth gear and go 35 to 40 mph on the road. I use a two-way hydraulic lever to steer. The articulation point pivots 50 degrees so I can turn in a circle and leave only one set of tracks. The truck still has the original 8 by 17,5 tires, with dual snow tires on back and regular tires on front. I put chains on the front tires in mud and snow. I welded pegs on the front bumper so the truck can be pulled out if I get stuck. However, I've never had to use them.
"I had been using an old 4-WD pickup in the woods, but I always caught the rear wheels on trees while turning. When the engine blew up I decided to build my own truck."
The pivot assembly consists of a 21/2-in. dia., 1-ft. high kingpin that pivots on a double tapered roller bearing. A pair of double-acting hydraulic cylinders, one mounted on each side of the frame, pro-vide pivot power. The cylinders are powered by a power steering pump off an old Chevy truck. The two hoist cylinders are now powered by an electric starter motor that belt-drives the truck's hydraulic pump. Bowen pushes a button to start the electric motor, then flips a lever mounted behind the seat to activate the hydraulic pump and raise the hoist.
He used sheet metal to build the truck's front hood and mounted "toolbox fenders" on each side. He cut an old pickup-mounted toolbox in half, closed the ends up, and mounted one half on each side of the hood. "I use them to store chain saws, gas, oil, chains, etc.," says Bowen. He mounted a pair of tractor lights inside a short length of well casing to make the headlights. The casing protects lights from being damaged by trees and branches.
The two-passenger seat was borrowed from an old school bus, and the gas tank, mounted under the driver's platform, was salvaged from an old baler.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ed-ward Bowen, Rt. 1, Box 126, Union Springs, N.Y. 13160 (ph 315 889-5850).
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