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"Drive-From-On-Top" Hay Feed Truck
"It saves me a lot of climbing up and down to unload bales," says Fay Pemble, Columbia Falls, Mont., who converted a 1971 Ford 1 1/2-ton truck so he can drive it while standing on the flatbed behind the cab, using a steering wheel mounted on the cab roof and remote clutch and throttle controls.
Pemble uses the "remote-control" truck to feed small square bales to cattle. He drops two or three bales at a time onto the ground, then drives ahead using the remote controls, repeating the process until he's done feeding.
He used scrap iron and 1 by 2-in. sq. steel tubing to make a frame just behind the cab that supports the steering wheel on top of the cab. He cut a 1 1/2-in. dia. hole in the cab roof and inserted the steering wheel and housing from an old International 2 1/2-ton truck. He used two lengths of square steel tubing to make a telescoping shaft that runs from a steel plate at the center of the steering wheel inside the cab to the roof-mounted wheel. The steel plate mounted on the steering wheel is held in place by a spring-loaded J-bolt and by steel pins spaced between the spokes of the steering wheel. (When not in use the shaft and steel plate are removed from the steering wheel and placed out of the way between the cab's two seats.)
A flexible cable extends from the foot clutch up to a horizontal steel shaft connected to the remote clutch lever on top of the bulkhead. The clutch has a locking ratchet so that it can be locked in the disengaged position when not in use.
A 10-ft. long choke cable runs from the truck's carburetor up to a lever mounted on top of the bulkhead to control the throttle. "It works great. I leave about 1 ft. of open space on the flatbed where I stand and I can stay up there until I'm done feeding," says Pemble. "I got the idea because I was tired of always having to climb in and out of the cab to drive ahead.
"I use a Farmhand accumulator to load bales 8 at a time with my front-end loader. I mounted a sideboard on the passenger side of the flatbed so I can push bales up against it when loading.
"I could make a remote-control hand brake, but I've never needed it. I wired a safety kill switch up to the ignition switch so if the truck ever fails to stop I can shut off the engine. I mounted a rubber gasket around the steering wheel housing as a seal to keep moisture out of the cab. It has never leaked." To connect the flexible cable to the clutch, Pemble threaded a yoke onto the clutch's adjustment bolt and then mounted a 6-in. length of light chain between the yoke and cable. The chain folds up whenever Pemble steps on the foot clutch, allowing him to disengage the remote clutch from inside the cab. When the remote clutch is in use, the chain is tight and the foot clutch is in the disengaged position.
He removed the truck's bench seats and installed individual seats (salvaged from an old schoolbus) in order to make room for the remote steering shaft when it's not in use.
Contact FARM SHOW Followup, Fay L. Pemble, 2454 Middle Rd., Columbia Falls, Mont. 59912 (ph 406 892-5377).

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1994 - Volume #18, Issue #4