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Bale Hauler Built From School Bus
"It loads and unloads six bales at once," says Herman Ulrich, Lampman, Sask., about the self-propelled school bus bale hauler he built out of an old 1966 International 32-passenger school bus.
"I've seen factory-built self-loading bale trailers similar to my home-built rig but they cost thousands of dollars. I spent less than $1,200 on materials and it works great," says Ulrich, who bought the bus for $500.
The first step in converting the bus was to cut away the body right behind the driver's seat. The front "cab" was then sealed off with 16-ga. sheet metal and a 2-ft. high, 4-ft. wide window salvaged from an old tractorcab. Then he built a 22-ft. long deck from 2 3/8-in. dia. steel tubing and installed a pair of old truck hoist cylinders under the floor. He mounted a winch and hydraulic motor on the front and a steel pusher bar, also made from 2-in. dia. sq. tubing that pushes bales backward as they're loaded. The front 4 ft. of the deck is plywood and the rest of the deck consists of 2 by 6 boards bolted to the steel tubing and spaced 2 ft. apart to allow loose hay to fall through the floor. Steel side rails on each side keep bales from falling off the deck.
The bale hauler is equipped with a U-shaped bale loading arm, made from 2-in. dia. steel tubing. Ulrich approaches each bale so that its end fits into the open end of the loader arm. When the bale is cradled within the arm, he activates a hydraulic cylinder which swings the bale up and flips it onto the opposite side of the plywood bed. He lifts a second bale onto the bed alongside the first one, then activates the winch and pusher bar to move both bales back just far enough to load the next pair of bales. Once the bed is fully loaded, he activates the hoist cylinders to tilt the bed and unload the bales.
"I can load straw bales on the go without stopping but I have to stop for hay bales because they're more dense and the impact could damage the loading arm," says Ulrich. "The plywood floor in front allows the first bale to easily slide over to the far side. I could haul 8 bales by lengthening the floor 2 ft. at the back. However, I don't have to drive very far so six bales is enough capacity. The bus's short wheelbase is nice for turning, and the rear window, as well as the door windows, provide good visibility. I also tilted the steering wheel ahead and raised the seat to improve the view."
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Herman Ulrich, Box 1, Lampman, Sask. Canada S0C 1N0 (ph 306 487-2469).

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1992 - Volume #16, Issue #2