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He Turned A Mazda Pickup Into A Giant Snowmobile
“It’s a blast to drive,” says Josh Eddy of Alexandria, Minn., who converted a 1986 Mazda 2-WD pickup into a big “snowmobile” that has 4-ft. long, 1-ft. wide curved metal skis on front and 4-ft. long cleated rubber tracks on back.
    He shortened the pickup’s frame by about 2 ft. to improve maneuverability. He replaced the bed with a wooden flatbed that’s tilted up or down by a 12-volt wireless winch. He replaced the pickup’s rear tires with 4 ATV tires and mounted tracks on them.
    “I use it to cruise all over the area. It’s a lot of fun to drive, and I stay comfortable in the heated cab,” says Eddy. “Sometimes I use it to pull my daughter on a sled.
    “It’s really light on back. In fact, two people can pick up the back of the pickup and move it over. My total cost was only about $1,300.”
    He bought the used pickup equipped with a 5-speed transmission for $50. He started by cutting 2 ft. out of the pickup’s frame and then welding it back together.
    Then he went on Craigslist and bought a pair of rubber cleated tracks and a tag axle designed for ATV’s. He lengthened the axle by 2 1/2 ft. to match the pickup and made spacers to adapt the ATV’s 4-bolt wheel pattern to the pickup’s 6-bolt wheels.
    He cut as much weight off the front end of the pickup as he could, cutting away the bumper grill support, sway bars, front brakes and part of the fenders. To reshape the pickup’s front fenders, he first made a cardboard mold for support and then put fiberglass over it. “The cardboard causes the fiberglass to hold its shape until it dries. Eventually it will rot off,” says Eddy.
    To make the skis he bought a couple of trailer fenders and cut the 1/8-in. thick material down to look like skis, adding 1/4-in. steel rod bracing to keep the skis from bending. He added metal bracing between the skis and the pickup and then welded on mounting brackets that bolt onto the pickup’s front wheel hubs.
    The snowmobile was now ready to test, but there was one problem, says Eddy. “The skis wouldn’t slide on the cement floor in my garage, which caused the tracks to just spin. The skis needed wheels so they would roll across hard surfaces, so I mounted a pair of bogie wheels off a snowmobile underneath each ski. The bogie wheels mount on 2 bolts that I welded on the inside edge of each ski.”
    He’s pleased with how it turned out. “I can go down our driveway in fourth gear at about 45 mph, although in the field I usually go much slower in second or third gear,” says Eddy. “It steers great, although it does ride a little rough and sometimes I feel like I’m driving a tank. If I want, I can replace the skis with the pickup’s front tires by just removing 4 bolts.”
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Josh Eddy, 5702 County Rd. 17 S.E., Alexandria, Minn. 56308
(ph 320 808-4144; hellupnorth2manytimes@yahoo.com).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #2