He Hauls Firewood With A Home-Built “CROK”

When Don Wiederhold wanted to build his own version of Deere’s Gator, he began with what he already had on hand, an International Model 109 Cub Cadet garden tractor and an old Gravely tilt box trailer.

 

   “I assumed Gator was for alligator, so I decided to call mine CROK for crocodile,” he says.

 

   To begin, he stripped the Cub Cadet down to only the motor and frame. Then, he measured to determine where to put the adapted parts. He knew he needed to stretch the frame so the box would be centered over the rear wheels. The brake pedal would have to remain where it was in relation to the frame but moved to the right side as this would make it more natural to drive the stick shift.

 

   From there, he removed the rear end and sawed the frame in half directly behind the brake bushing. A 3/16-in. plate steel channel was welded in place to extend the frame.

 

   Wiederhold repositioned the battery where the original wiring harness would reach but if he did the job again, he’d simply place it between the frame just over the hydro-stat.

 

   His first attempt at extending the driveshaft ended dramatically when the aluminum pipe he chose was violently twisted, damaging itself and shift and brake rods.

 

   “Who would believe a little 10-hp. engine could do that much damage,” Wiederhold laughs. “I was lucky I didn’t have to go to the emergency room to have the shaft extracted from somewhere it shouldn’t have been.”

 

   After assessing the damage, he decided on a steel pipe extension, two overhead carrier bearings, and love-joy couplings at both ends of the new shaft. The upgraded setup worked well.

 

   He hinged the box off existing frame bushings and created a locking latch so a weighted load wouldn’t accidentally release at an inopportune time.

 

   “I found this out the hard way after dumping a load of firewood when driving up a hill,” he says.

 

   Wiederhold says for those attempting to build a similar machine, the cost is mostly dependent on the price of the garden tractor. Steel costs are high, but angle iron and sheet steel could be used to make the costly channel iron for the frame.

 

   “Even with the setbacks I had, I’m really pleased with how the CROK project turned out. I use it to haul firewood to my shop.”

 

   Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Don Wiederhold.