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“Odds And Ends” Economy-Style Tractor
“I had a lot of fun building this Economy-style loader tractor from scratch. My goal was to spend as little as possible, so I used odds and ends I got at work and parts from my uncle’s farm,” says Chuck Woodward, Norway, Iowa.

The tractor is painted tan and sports a brown and green hood ornament from an old Dodge Ram pickup. It has a big, rounded hood and a metal seat.

“I spent only about $1,000 to build it,” says Woodward. “It has parts from Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge vehicles from the 1930s to the 1970s, and a Kohler engine and Model A rear end. I call my tractor a ‘mutt of many years.’”

He started with a half-finished tractor that someone had started building but had given up on the project. It came with a Model A car differential but no engine or transmission. Woodward used 3-in. channel iron to build new frame rails and then installed a Kohler 23-hp. engine. It belt-drives a 4-speed transmission off a 1973 Chevrolet 3/4-ton pickup.

“The differential was in terrible shape, so I took it apart and cleaned it,” says Woodward. “The Model A came with a tube-shaped driveshaft, and to connect it to the transmission, I had to replace the spline on the driveshaft with a universal joint.”

The hood is off a 1948 Dodge pickup, which Woodward cut into four pieces to make it fit. The steering wheel is off a 1965 pickup and is attached to a homemade steering column that goes over the engine to the front axle.

He made the grille from a pair of 1/4-in. thick hammermill screens. “The screens were slightly curved, and I bent them to make them rounder,” says Woodward.

He made the headlights by mounting 10 small LED bulbs in sockets, which he modified to fit inside instrument housings fitted with glass lenses.

He used 3-in. channel iron and 2-in. tubing to build a triangle-shaped front axle that pivots at the center. “The design allows the front wheels to move up or down but not backward, which keeps the axle from breaking if the tractor bumps up hard against something,” says Woodward.

The front wheels are new trailer wheels, while the 16.5 rear wheels are off the Chevy pickup. New trailer fenders mount over the rear wheels.

He used 1 by 2 steel tubing and other scrap metal to build the loader, which has a home-built 4-ft. wide bucket that’s raised and lowered by 7-in. hydraulic cylinders. “To compensate for the small cylinders, I designed a bucket tilting system that works like a backhoe,” says Woodward. “The cylinders are attached to 2-piece hinged steel brackets, which provide two pivot points that allow the bucket to rotate a full 180 degrees.”

Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Chuck Woodward, 3232 Benton Iowa Rd., Norway, Iowa 52318 (ph 319-573-9090; Woodwardchuck65@gmail.com).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #3