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Rubber-Tracked 4-WD All-Terrain Vehicle
Mike Hrechka used a pair of old tractor tires to make tracks for a home-built, 4-WD go-anywhere ATV. The 18 1/2-in. wide tracks mount over pairs of pickup wheels, with a smaller car wheel in the middle.
"It's much more comfortable to ride in than a 4-wheeler and will go places no 4-WD pickup could ever go," says Hrechka.
He started with a 1,600 cc Volkswagen car engine and 4-speed transmission and transaxle, along with a pair of drive axles off two Chevrolet 1/2-ton pickups. He mounted the engine sideways and turned the front axle upside down so that both axles drive in the same direction. He made a driveshaft that connects the VW transaxle to both pickup axles and locked the differential in the transaxle to provide 4-WD. The driveshaft telescopes, allowing the rear axle to be moved forward or backward on the frame to keep the tracks snug on the wheels. He used 3-in. dia. oilfield pipe to build the frame and rollbar and sheet metal to make the hood.
Hrechka cut the beads out of the two 18.4 by 38 rear tractor tires using a chain saw. The front and back wheels on each side are 15 in. and the center wheels 13 in. The center wheels bolt to the frame about 1 in. lower than the 15-in. wheels to provide a pivot point for turning.
"It sails over snow like a snowmobile and has so much traction that the tracks never spin," says Hrechka. "It runs at speeds from a crawl up to 45 mph and is as quiet as a car. I used it last year to hunt moose in northern Manitoba. I put it through quite a test, going through swamps from morning to night every day. I was able to push 2 1/2-in. dia. trees right over and even used it to pull out a Polaris 4-WD ATV that got stuck. The 97 hp engine has so much power it can pull a 3/4-ton 4-WD pickup with all four of its wheels locked. I can drive in second or third gear in soft ground and still keep my momentum going without ever getting bogged down.
"It took about 800 hours to build. I paid $350 for each rear end and spent a total of about $2,000. It has high and low beam headlights, gauges, two bucket seats, and toolboxes on both sides.
"By unbolting the mid wheels and re-moving the tracks I can run it on the four pickup wheels. It actually rides smoother on wheels than on tracks."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Mike Hrechka, Box 177, Pipestone, Manitoba, Canada ROM I TO (ph 204 854-2367 or 748-1754).

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1995 - Volume #19, Issue #3