1988 - Volume #12, Issue #4, Page #11[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
750 BU Center Dump WagonsWells, Minn., neighbors Ken Eckhardt and Arland Gregar built four 750 bu. center dump grain wagons, using axles, fifth wheel mounts, and dual wheels salvaged from 8 junked semi trucks. They say they saved about $20,000.
"Each wagon cost less than $3,000 to build, compared to about $8,000 for a comparably-sized new gravity wagon," says Eckhardt. "What's more, the leaf spring suspension and dual wheels from the semi trucks make our wagons ride as smooth as velvet. There's no bouncing or jumping."
Eckhardt and Gregar built the king-size wagons because insurance and license fees for their grain-hauling trucks were becoming prohibitive. "The dual semi tires easily can support the 54,000 lb. weight of a fully loaded wagon," says Eckhardt. "The duals let us pull one 750 bu. wagon more easily than we formerly could pull two 300 bu. commercial gravity boxes hooked together and equipped with standard flotation tires. What's more, we bought the tires at salvage prices, and we'll probably get as many years of service from them as from new $300 tires."
Eckhardt and Gregar used 2 semi truck axles to build each wagon, leaving the 5th wheel mount in place on the front axle of each wagon. "A semi truck could be hooked up to these wagons in about 30 seconds by simply pulling the front axle right out from under the wagon," says Eckhardt.
To build the heavy-duty wagon frame, they ran two 4 by 8 box steel beams lengthwise between the axles, and ran 9 cross members across the top of them. The entire wagon box assembly is tied into that framework. A 6-fi drawbar hitch connects to the front axle.
To build the wagon box itself, which measures 18 by 8 1/2 ft., Eckhardt and Gregar used heavy 9 ga. steel sheeting. For added strength, they welded 2 by 3/8 in. flat iron bars through the side walls. They also welded a 1/4 in. thick "push plate" across the back of the box, for use in case the wagon ever gets stuck, and made steps inside and outside the box.
The two farmers plan to install 1 ft. panels of perforated "see through" expanded metal near the top of the wagon box. "It'll let us see how full the wagons are without having to climb up and down them all the time," says Eckhardt.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ken Eckhardt, RR 2, Box 83, Wells, Minn. 56097 (ph 507 553-5977).
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