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4-WD Articulated Yard Tractor Built From Scratch
“What inspired me to build this 4-WD lawn tractor was a story I read about a man in Michigan who had rebuilt a 318 Deere to look like a Deere 9630,” says retired Illinois farmer Leslie Latimer. “I figured if he could make a green one, I could sure build a red one.”
    Latimer started with 2 old Yazoo self-propelled lawn mowers. The front of his rig is an old Yazoo with a 23 hp Kohler engine. He thinks it was built in the in the early 1980s. Originally it was a 3-wheeled mower with 2 drive wheels, a single swivel wheel on back with a 48-in. front deck. Latimer removed the deck and the dolly wheel and replaced the 8-in. tires with a larger 12-in. size commonly used on ATV’s.
    He built a frame extending back from the drive unit to attach the rear pusher unit and its dual wheels. The 60-in. wheelbase frame articulates so he can steer around obstacles easier than with a solid frame machine.
    Latimer built a 48-in. undermount deck. The base mower has 3 blades and he adapted two 16-in. mowers to mount on each side for a total mower width of 80 in. The side mower “wings” fold up with hydraulic cylinders so his transport and storage width is 48 in.
    Latimer says building the hydraulic system to operate the drive train and mowers was a real challenge. “The 2 mowers I started with had different style pumps, so I had to modify, build and rebuild things to get them to work together. I used the piston pump for the variable speed and the gear pump for the mower. I had to balance the system by drilling out some of the orifices and using common size 1/2-in. O.D. hoses to connect them.
    The hydraulics include 2 cylinders for power steering, 2 for the 3-pt. hitch, one for the front lift cylinder, and to swing the snow blade. Latimer bought all of the hydraulic materials from the Bailey hydraulic catalog (www.baileyhydraulics.com).
    Latimer uses his tractor for plowing, pulling a 2-bottom, 10-in. plow that he made. “I tried pulling it on wheat ground, but that was a little tough. It works just fine on soybean ground,” Latimer says. He also built a 5-ft. snow blade for it, has a 60-in. front mower, and uses it to power a 48-in. 2-stage snowblower. That unit, which he bought used for just $200, runs off a power take-off on front of the tractor.
    Latimer says the weight distribution of the 1,800-lb. rig is 60 percent on the front and 40 percent on the rear, typical for large articulated 4-WD tractors. To ballast the rear unit he added 2 Deere tractor weights and a 90-lb. Yazoo weight. He put a 3-pt. hitch on back and that comes in handy, too.
    The hood, which has 2 integral headlights, is from an old Tractor Supply tractor. He added 4 in. to the width and made a center section to cover the air cleaner. The power steering is from a Deere garden tractor and the cushioned seat and armrest he bought at Tractor Supply.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Leslie Latimer, 2935 E. 29th Rd., Seneca, Ill. 61360 (ph 815 357-8100).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #2