1992 - Volume #16, Issue #3, Page #04[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Loader Tractors Built From CombinesNebraska farmer Burdette Priefert runs one of the world's smallest tractor factories on his farm near Belvidere. So far he's built two loader tractors and he says they're as good as anything on the market but at no where near the price.
Priefert built both of his tractors out of old Case combines and other miscellaneous parts. The first one worked out so well, he built a second, incorporating luxury features into the machine that you could only find on the most expensive of commercial tractors.
The first loader was built out of a 600 Case combine using the 4-cyl. Case engine.
"I cut the combine down to the chassis, which was not strong enough, so I installed two 5-in. channel irons for the frame. I lowered the engine, keeping it in the rear so the same belts could be used. It has mechanical steering plus power assist. It works great for all kinds of general loader work, hauling round bales, and as a platform for painting high buildings. The variable speed - we used the original combine transmission - is nice for maneuvering big bales around the farm yard. It has a self-leveling bucket and the loader is over the drive wheels for good traction, although it's not strong enough for dirt work," says Priefert.
He took what he learned building that first tractor loader and applied it to the construction of his second machine, a 4-WD, articulating rig made out of two Case combines - a 600 and 660.
"It took me two years to build, in my spare time, and I have around $5,000 in it," says Priefert, noting that he'd have to spend many times that to get a commercial tractor with similar features. "It has full hydraulic steering. I narrowed the axles to 7 ft. (outside measurement) and cut down two Ford LTD car rear ends to fit between the final drives of the combine axles. I built a 4-in. channel iron frame that hinges in the middle using two ball bearing combine cylinder bearings as a center pivot point. Two header cylinders from one of the combines are used to control, the articulated steering. The rear axle oscillates for smooth riding over rough and uneven ground.
"I overhauled an LTD V-8 engine and hooked up the Ford's automatic transmission to a 4-speed Dodge Command car transmission. I used double 60 roller chain between the transfer case and drive shaft. The 4-speed is great for selecting speed range and 3-speed automatic works great for automatic forward and reverse shifting.
"I bought a Stanhoist loader for $1,700. Hydraulic power is furnished by a 2-stage gear pump driven off the crank shaft pulley by belt. A 3-spool control valve is used to raise and lower the loader. The third spool can be used for a grapple fork or posthole digger.
"It has great traction and a 20 mph road gear."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Burdette Priefert, Rt. 1, Box 47, Belvidere, Neb. 68315 (ph 402 768-2256).
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