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Add-On Front Axle Converts 2-WD To MFWD
"You get the benefits of all-wheel drive without spending $60,000 for a new tractor," says Larry Becker, Elwood, Ill., who installed an Elwood mechanical front-wheel drive front axle built by Elwood Manufacturing, Elwood, Ill. on his Massey Ferguson 2745 three years ago.

"It's smooth and there's no jerking. When you engage it on-the-go, you hardly feel it," says Becker, noting that Elwood Manufacturing has been making add-on front-wheel drive on a limited basis for nearly 40 years. The company exhibited at the recent Farm Progress Show in Illinois.

Elwood Mechanical front-wheel drives are built primarily for 100 to 200 hp. tractors. They can be installed in a few hours, becoming an integral part of the tractor. Unlike some front-wheel drives factory-installed on recent tractors, the Elwood unit can withstand the torque and horsepower of tractors up to 200 hp. without the use of torque limiters to protect the front axle, according to Becker.

Front drive tires must be sized and geared to match the drive of the rear tires. The company says it achieves a less than 1% error rate between the front and rear tires, eliminating excess wear on tires and drive train components.

The Elwood front axle is activated by an electric-over-hydraulic clutch pack attached to the transfer case and activated by a switch for the cab. The add-on front axle automatically disengages at 12 mph for safety and re-engages at 12 mph when you're decelerating.

Larry Becker says he plans to replace his big 4-WD tractor with a second Elwood-equipped 2-WD. "Repairs on my big 4-WD in the past couple years have added up to some$14,000. The tractor is so big I can't work on it myself. Even though I haven't had to, I know I can repair the Elwood unit if I have to."

The add-on axle features totally sealed steering joints that keep mud and dirt out. Also, unlike some mechanical front-wheel drives, you can mount duals on the Elwood because the wheels don't slant in on turns.

The Elwood front axle is now fitted by International dealers to tractors ranging from a 706 up to a 5488. It can fit nearly any other make of tractor and sells for about $10,000, installed.

For more information contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Elwood Manufacturing, Co., 105 South St. Louis St., Elwood, Ill. 60421 (ph 815 423-5591).

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1984 - Volume #8, Issue #6