2021 - Volume #BFS, Issue #21, Page #52
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“Built From Scratch” Forklift Tractor
“I use it to haul logs, stack firewood, and for many other jobs,” says Mark Rahn, who built a forklift tractor from scratch. “It was a fun challenge. In the end I probably could have bought a used skid loader for less money than I spent to build it. But it turned out great.
  “The forks pin onto the mast in such a way that I can remove them and hook up to a stand-alone ball hitch assembly without ever getting off the machine.”
  Rahn says he has been mechanically inclined from childhood. “For example, one day when my dad was away from home I tore apart a push lawn mower and put it back together all by myself. I was just 7 years old.”
  He started with the rear end and frame off a late 1970’s Chevrolet 1-ton dually pickup, turning the frame backward so the rear axle and wheels are up front. He mounted a pair of small implement wheels on back, spacing them closely together and turning them inward like the tricycle-type front wheels on older tractors.
  The machine is powered by a hand-cranked, 1945 LUC engine off a Deere combine. Located behind the driver’s seat, it powers hydraulic pumps that drive a pair of hydraulic motors. One motor is connected to a 3-speed manual transmission off a 1960 Ford pickup and provides gear reduction for the front drive wheels. The other motor, off a David Bradley walk-behind tractor and still attached to the tractor’s gearbox, is located behind the forklift mast. Rahn removed the tractor’s wheels from the gearbox and installed a pair of sprockets in their place, which are used to chain-drive the forks up or down.
  A hand made electric throttle controls the engine rpm’s, and a foot-operated pedal controls the machine’s speed. “The forklift has a lift capacity of about 1,200 lbs. One lever tilts the mast forward and backward, and another raises and lowers it,” says Rahn. “A pair of master cylinders off an old pickup provide independent left and right brakes.”
   The steering wheel is off a 1940 Model A tractor. “The steering system is complicated and took me a long time to figure out,” says Rahn. “A chain connected to the steering wheel drives a pair of sprockets, which chain-drive a driveshaft that goes back to a right angle gearbox that’s connected to more chains and sprockets.”
  The machine is equipped with LED lights on front and back, and over the steps. The seat is off another David Bradley tractor.
  Rahn says he plans to build another stand-alone attachment for the tractor - a lift adapter that will make it easy to work on his riding mower.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Mark Rahn, 7342 Gum Spring Lane, Ellis Grove, Ill. 62241 (ph 618 615-6659; markrahn66@gmail.com).

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2021 - Volume #BFS, Issue #21