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Powered Hand Clutch Lets Injured Farmer Drive
"This hand clutch could be used on almost any tractor. It works independently of the foot pedal so you can use either the hand clutch or foot pedal depending on who's driving the tractor," says David Graham, Ewing, Va. He and a friend, Bill McNeely, modified a Case/IH 395 tractor after a friend who had lost the use of his left leg approached them about finding a way to operate the clutch by hand.
Because both the clutch pedal and gear shift lever are positioned on the left side of the tractor, Graham says they had to find a way to mount the hand clutch on the right side of the tractor so the driver could clutch with his right hand while shifting with his left. That made it difficult to set up a mechanical linkage. Instead they decided to devise a manual "hydraulic" hand clutch using master and slave cylinders taken from a hydraulic clutch on a small pickup.
"The best thing about the idea is that it doesn't restrict normal use of the foot pedal by anyone else," says Graham.
The hand lever mounts on the right side of the tractor. The men made a mounting bracket out of angle iron and short pieces of flat bar to allow the lever to pivot about 6 in. up from the bottom. The bottom end of the lever attaches to the push rod of the master cylinder, which extends up under the hood of the tractor. The master cylinder is plumbed directly to a small slave cylinder mounted on the left side of the tractor, positioned alongside the clutch pedal. The push rod on the slave cylinder attaches to a piece of flat bar that pivots up and down and is connected to the clutch linkage with the same pin used to connect the foot pedal.
A fluid reservoir mounts on the right side of the tractor just ahead of the master cylinder. "The hand clutch has been in use for a year with no problems. The owner's pleased with the ease of use," says Graham, noting that the only cost of the setup was $25 for the master and slave cylinders, which were bought at a salvage yard. Everything else was just scrap metal. "As far as I know, there's nothing like this hand clutch on the market," Graham points out.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, David Graham, Rt. 1, Box 60, Ewing, Virginia 24248 (ph 703 980-7443 or 703 445-4681).

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1993 - Volume #17, Issue #6