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2WD Tractor Converted To MFWD
Steven Okonski, Hythe, Alberta converted his 1982 International 5488 2-WD tractor to mechanical front wheel drive by replacing the entire front axle assembly with one salvaged from a 1984 International MFWD tractor that had been damaged in a fire.
"I saved a lot of money and now have an excellent high horsepower mechanical front wheel drive tractor," says Okonski, who made the conversion in a neighbor's shop last fall. "I wanted to buy a mechanical front wheel drive tractor, but I couldn't justify the price so I bought the 5488 tractor used two years ago for $38,000. It had only 1,800 hours and was in nice shape. However, IH didn't offer an add-on MFWD kit so I ordered an add-on system from an after-market company. Unfortunately, before I got the kit the company went bankrupt.
"The add-on system I ordered would have cost about $14,000. By salvaging a unit from a damaged tractor, I spent only about $6,500 to make my conversion and it looks like it was factory-built. The 5488 has 190 horsepower, but with 2-WD only about 160 horsepower was useable. Front wheel drive is especially useful on soft soils because it provides extra traction and reduces fuel usage and tire wear."
Okonski split the tractor into three parts and mounted the new backing plate behind the engine which had a hole for the front drive shaft to come through. He installed the clutch pack mechanism from the fire-damaged tractor and installed the front output shaft into the transmission. He also installed fittings so he could get hydraulic power to the clutch pack. The electric wiring and solenoids had been damaged by fire so he bought new ones to replace them. He also bought new tires and rims.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ste¡ven Okonski, Box 658, Hythe, Alberta Canada T0H 2C0 (ph 403 356-2837).

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1992 - Volume #16, Issue #3