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MTD Garden Tractor Fitted With Tracks, Skis
Adam Galowitz’s MTD garden tractor will go just about anywhere, thanks to its homemade half-tracks. A pair of 3-ft. long metal snowmobile skis mount on front of the tractor, and there’s a 3-ft. square cargo box on back. The tires are strapped down into steel “cups” on the skiis, making them easily removable.
The cargo box can be quickly removed by pulling 2 pins.
“I built the machine for both work and play. The tracks stay on all year long. It’s fun to drive and also useful in the field,” says Galowitz. “I got the idea because I needed a small tractor to haul tools and logging chains out to an overgrown 20-acre field, where a large Deere loader tractor and bush hog is used to clear away heavy brush. The tractor gets stuck a lot, and I got tired of lugging chains and hoists out there by hand.
“I did a lot of research before I built it. I went on the internet to look at other half track garden tractors, and tried to steal ideas from as many of them as I could. A design I saw at www.isavetractors.com was very helpful.”
He started with a used 1994 MTD 12 1/2 hp. tractor that he bought on Craigslist for $50. 
To make the tracks, Galowitz cut 1-in. angle iron into 8-in. long bars, then cut slits 2 in. from each end and bent the bars around the tractor’s rear tires to keep the tracks from slipping off.  He then got some 3/8-in. chain and welded one bar to every fourth link, making sure the chain wasn’t twisted and was in line with the chain on the other side.
 He installed four 8-in. bogie wheels behind the tractor tires on a 3/4-in. dia. axle that’s attached to the rear of the tractor. A pair of shocks, mounted between the tracks, keep down pressure on the bogie wheels to hold the tracks tight. The shocks were made from a pair of telescoping pipes, which hinge on metal brackets attached to the tractor’s rear bumper. U-shaped pins hold the telescoping pipes in place.
“The shocks work as track slack adjusters and also provide a pivot point for the axle, which allows the tracks to move up and down freely,” says Galowitz. “I use a threaded top link off a 3-pt. hitch to keep downward pressure on the axle.”
He says the skis come in handy during the winter, and can be quickly removed by taking off a pair of ratchet straps that go over the tractor’s front wheels.
He used angle iron to build the cargo box, which has 6-in. high angle iron sides and a polyurethane floor. “The sides are open, but if I did it again I’d enclose the sides to keep anything from falling out,” says Galowitz.
The front end of the tractor is equipped with an electric winch and an LED light bar. Galowitz welded the rear hitch off a truck onto the front bumper to make a receptacle for the winch.
According to Galowitz, part of the fun of the project was figuring out how to make the parts with the equipment he had available in his shop. “I spent only about $250, using an old angle iron bed frame to build the box, and cutting up the rack on top of a plumber’s van to make the shocks. I bought the skis, which are from a 1974 Chaparral snowmobile, on eBay for $65. It’s great when you can recycle old materials into something useful.”
You can watch a video of his half-track tractor in action on www.farmshow.com.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Adam Galowitz, 29 Harrison St., Newton, Mass. 02461 (ph 617 416-8232; agalowitz@gmail.com).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #1