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Built-From-Scratch Garden Tractor Loader
Donald Hileman needed a loader tractor for occasional light work around his farm yard. He couldn’t justify buying new equipment so he built his own out of a 1972 Montgomery Ward riding mower that had already given him more than 40 years of service. His total cost was just $750.
    The tractor’s 16 hp Briggs and Stratton engine still worked fine, but Hileman replaced hoses and made minor repairs as he overhauled the tractor. After he removed the mower deck he used its drive belt to run the new hydraulic pump for the loader.
    “I built the loader from scratch. I bought 2 by 3 tubing and a half sheet of 1/8-in. flat steel for the bucket,” Hileman says.
    He chose material to keep the 3-ft. wide bucket as light as possible and added a gusset inside the bucket and a 2-in. wide skid of 3/16-in. flat steel on the bottom for support. He used an old snowplow blade to make a cutting edge.
    “There was no room for a hydraulic tank, so the uprights for the loader hold hydraulic fluid for the 2-in. lift cylinders and the 1 1/2-in. bucket cylinders,” Hileman says.
    To counterbalance the extra weight up front, he filled the back tires with used antifreeze and put on wheel weights. So far that has been enough weight, but he also mounted a 6-in. heavy-walled pipe on back that could be filled with concrete.
    With a new coat of green paint, Hileman is pleased with the look and capability of his mini tractor/loader. He’s done work in his own yard, loaded gravel, and helped a relative move dirt to level an area for a deck.
    “I leave the loader on all the time, but I can pull four pins and with quick connectors it comes off easy,” he says.
    Hileman removed the loader recently to install power steering, using parts from an old Deere combine. He realized how helpful it would be after he loaded gravel.
    “I should have done the power steering first,” he admits. “But I’m happy the way it turned out.”
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Donald Hileman, 13869 Veterans Memorial Hwy., Reedsville, W. Va. 26547 (ph 304 864-0841).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #2