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Self-Propelled 2-WD Grain Shuttle
"It does the work of two 400 bu. grain carts yet keeps compaction to a minimum," says Mike Thompson, Rochester, Minn., about the self-propelled 350 bu., 2-WD "grain shuttle" he built out of a flotation fertilizer spreader.
Thompson bought the spreader, powered by a Caterpillar 3208 190 hp engine with a heavy-duty Allison automatic transmission, at an auction for $9,000. He removed the two spinner spreaders on back and replaced them with a 12-in. dia. auger that's powered by a hydraulic motor. He raised the sides of the hopper with sheet metal to boost capacity, adding 3 ft. on one side and 112 ft. on the other side so the combine's unloading auger can reach over it. A belt conveyor at the bottom of the hopper moves grain back into the unloading auger.
"We've used it for four years with no problems," says Thompson. "The wide flotation tires - 66 by 43 on back and 48 by 25 up front - let it go through more mud than the combine and leave almost no tracks. We had been using two 400-bu. grain carts to unload on-the-go from our International 1680 combine but that tied up two men and two tractors. We also had trouble with the carts getting stuck and they left deep ruts.
"The self-propelled shuttle works much faster than tractors and carts. It travels across fields at 35 to 40 mph unless it's real bumpy. You can go a half mile to a truck parked on the road, unload, and be back before the combine fills up again. It'll unload the 350 bu. in only 2 min. with its 12-in. dia. auger. The unloading auger is controlled by the truck's throttle. To operate the auger the operator simply throws the pto in gear and adjusts the throttle. A hydraulic-controlled gate at the back of the box controls the flow of grain to the auger. We usually keep the gate wide open. The rubber conveyor is powered by its own hydraulic motor.
"I cut a small window in front of the box so the operator can easily see into it. We use 2-way radios so I can tell the operator whether to speed up or slow down as I unload. Once I turn the combine unloading auger on I never look out.
"I had the auger custom-built for about $800 and spent about $200 to raise the sides. Once we had it running, we sold our two grain carts. After we're done harvesting, we rent the grain shuttle out to other farmers.
"I can convert the truck back to a fertilizer spreader by removing the auger and motor and putting the spinners back on," says Thompson.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Mike Thompson, 1072911th Ave. N.E., Roches-ter, Minn. 55906 (ph 507 281-3417).

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1993 - Volume #17, Issue #5