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He Builds His Own Tractors
He says he makes a lot of mistakes and things don't always work out the way he wants them to, but Missouri farmer Alva Hosterman still gets good use out of the two tractors he's built over the last couple years.

One is a 4-WD with articulated steering and a double set of controls (including two steering wheels). The other is a small chore tractor. Both were fashioned out of a jumble of junked parts from tractors, combines, pickups and cars.

The main frame of the 4-WD was made out of heavy channel iron. A hinge point at center articulates back and forth for steering while the front axle oscillates up and down on a frame made out of 2 by 4-in. rectangular tubing. Pivot pins are 2 15/16 in. dia. with brass bushings.

Both drive axles were taken from a twin screw White truck with 6.67 ratio rear ends, fitted with 10-hole Budd wheels. It also has a Timken 3-shaft transfer case. Power comes from a 240 cu. in. Ford engine coupled with a 4-speed Ford truck transmission. The radiator was taken from an IHC truck and it's fitted with a Pierce governor.

There are two steering wheels in the cab - one front and one back - each with their own clutch, brake and "deaccelerator" pedals. A hand throttle, gear shift lever and hi-lo lever mount alongside the seat, which swivels 360?. An air conditioner compressor off a Ford car operates the air brakes, which were salvaged off a truck along with the truck tires and rims. Hosterman says he put two sets of controls on the tractor so that if he ever mounts a loader on back he'll be able to face it for better visibility.

"The biggest problem with the tractor is the slow steering due to the use of two power steering pumps rather than one large pump with more gpm output. Also, to improve response, I should have used an orbital control valve instead of a 4-way valve. It also would have helped to put two cylinders at the hinge point instead of just the single 3 by 24-in. cylinder," says Hosterman.

"Another improvement I could have made was to put the transfer case on the back half of the tractor and install an auxiliary transmission where the transfer case is now. That would have given me a low enough gear ratio to handle tractor tires instead of using truck tires. The problem was that I didn't want the extra driveshaft and U-joints in the hinge area. You could also use a shuttle transmission which would give it the same speeds forward as backwards."

Hosterman just recently completed his small chore tractor. The back end of the tractor - from the front of the transmission and back - was taken from a C Farman. The frame rails came from a WC Allis Chalmers. He unified the tractor frame with 1/2-in. steel plate which he bolted to the transmission and welded to the front and sides of the frame rails. The front axle consists of a complete John Deere 45 combine axle bolted to the 1/2-in. plate attached to the side rails. The steering gear was also taken from the Deere 45 combine. He had to modify the arms on the spindles so the tires wouldn't slip when turning a corner.

A 223 cu. in. Ford engine, coupled to a 4-speed transmission, powers the tractor. The radiator came from a Dodge pickup.

Two extra pulleys mounted on the crank-shaft run a small hydraulic pump and governor.

"I haven't used this little chore tractor too much yet so I don't blow its faults and weak points yet," says Hosterman.

Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Alva Hosterman, Rt. 1, Box 1750, Dunnegan, Mo. 65640.

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1992 - Volume #16, Issue #5