2016 - Volume #40, Issue #1, Page #25[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Built-From-Scratch Tracked Power Unit
Zook took the engine from an old Geo Metro car whose body had rusted out. He also salvaged the Metro’s gas pump, fuel tank, wheels, computer and wiring harness, radiator and fan.
“At the insistence of my son, I also took the horn,” says Zook. “I installed everything on a frame fabricated from an old trailer house hitch.”
He picked up used hydraulic wheel motors and hydraulic controllers from salvage. The valve bank was one his father had salvaged, and drive controllers were off a Case IH tractor. The seat was from an old lawn mower. The lift cylinder was from a surplus center.
“My biggest expense was buying a new hydraulic pump, reservoir tank and lines,” says Zook. “The pump runs off the engine, and everything else is hydraulic-powered. I built the linkage for the control levers and used rubber rollers from a power wood planer for handles on the levers.”
Zook also installed a control diverter for a speed control. Maximum speed for Harold is about walking speed, 4 to 5 mph.
Tracks are made from ribbed rubber belting. To hold them in place, Zook bent flat iron strips in a U shape and bolted them to the underside. They hold the belting in place on the wheels and ensure traction for the wheels.
“The body is sheet metal bent by a local shop and attached to a steel tube frame,” says Zook. “I can pop it all off in about 5 min.”
Lift arms are made from heavy wall, 3/8-in. thick, 1 1/2-in. square tubing. Zook designed a quick-tach system so he can drop the snowblower or splitter and use the tractor to pull trailers.
The pump puts out 20 gpm with a pressure relief at 2,500 lbs. Zook has found it is more than enough for the snowblower and the splitter.
“When running the splitter, I couldn’t find a piece of wood, knotty or whatever, that it couldn’t split,” says Zook.
Using the engine to power a hydraulic pump added to the versatility and ease of building Harold, suggests Zook. The pump system and other purchases added up to a total of about $3,500.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Sheldon Zook, 2837 Hwy. 11 S., Loman, Minn. 56654 (ph 218 283-4919).
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