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Are Tri Trac's unstable?


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#1 fort apache OFFLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2012 - 11:53 AM

I think these are so unique and, well... just cool. I've researched them, and the scuttlebutt is that they were considered very dangerous on hills and could basically roll over with little provocation.

One story I read said one of the designers refused to be pictured with it for this reason (sounds a little mythical to me).

Just asking what people with experience of Tri Tracs have to say about them. Are they practical? Usefull?

#2 Lauber1 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2012 - 12:28 PM

They are no more dangerous than the guy operating them. It is true that the orginal engineer claimed them to be unstable and wouldnt drive one out of the factory door. i beleive mostly what killed them was the poor system for mounting attachments quickly and the high price they sold for. Only about 3000 some tractors were built over the 3yr time frame. the final yr they made a reduction in the price to be able to sell them. This tractor was supposed to compete with the Allis G as a one row veggy unit, but it really worked only well on two rows, because of the odd back wheel track.

As far as collecting, there a fairly hot item with DB guys, but are also difficult to move to shows and load as you need 3 ramps. Ive driven them in parades and unless you have a sickel mower unit on they seem to work out well. They do also make a great plowing tractor, but getting one setup to do it well is difficult.
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#3 Amigatec OFFLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2012 - 01:00 PM

I had chance to get a free one a few years and turned it down. I have been kicking myself ever since.

#4 Gtractor ONLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2012 - 01:01 PM

VERY unstable to say the least!
I guess I must be one of the "dangerous guys" :mecry: even though I grew up on an extremely hilly farm driving narrow front tractors with no problems. I wouldda rolled my Tri-Trac except I was pulling a trailer with a inch and 7/8 ball coupler and the only thing that saved me is when the coupler got to the end of its movement the trailer didn't tip. Happened so fast I didn't even react - by the time I figured out what was going on it was as far as it was gonna go. Sure made a believer out of me as the "hill" I was on shouldn't have caused any problem to start with. I have mowed that same spot with a narrow front tractor [Farmall Super C] every other week during the growing season for over 21 years now. Also have used regular garden tractors to mow that same place such as Bolens G14, Cadet 109, Wheel Horse C121, Sears ST16 and others with no problems. I know for hills the front axle is supposed to be out as far as possible and in all fairness mine is set nearly all the way in because that makes it easier to haul to shows. It will just fit in a full size pickup bed so its set about four feet wide.
I also read about the man that designed it not wanting any credit or pictures with the tractor and that Sears started making front wheel weights standard to make the tractor more stable once the tip over lawsuits started pouring in.
As for practical or usefullness, I guess they would have a place cultivating on flat ground for sure. I have a Tri-Cut mower deck and a sickle mower for mine but never tried to use them. It is a parade/show tractor only because of its unusualness. :worshippy1: Definately has the cool factor. If I was looking for something to use I'd look for something more common with a mutiple speed gear or hydro tranny. :wave:
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#5 fort apache OFFLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2012 - 02:23 PM

Thanks for the insight. I was asking completely out of curiosity, as I'll probably never get one, but its something that sparked my fancy. I downloaded the manual, and it has lots of pictures of the tractor being used for many applications.

I respect how they wanted to market a small tractor for a weekend farmer or gardener that wouldn't bust a budget. I guess that failed, because I think they cost almost as much as a cub but weren't nearly as effective.

#6 DH1 ONLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2012 - 05:37 PM

What does a Tri Trac look like?
Got any pictures?

#7 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2012 - 05:45 PM

Posted Image

The rear wheel rides down in the furrow when you're using it. Somehow, it can be adjusted left and right too.
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#8 Gtractor ONLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2012 - 06:04 PM

What does a Tri Trac look like?
Got any pictures?


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#9 DH1 ONLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2012 - 06:20 PM

I would think on something like that you would want lots of weight on the front wheels.

#10 Gtractor ONLINE  

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Posted January 23, 2012 - 10:58 PM

For sure! Prolly doesn't help that most of my 260lbs would be above the seat. :wallbanging:

#11 fort apache OFFLINE  

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Posted January 24, 2012 - 09:21 AM

Tri Trac mower.jpg

These are from the manual. Tractor looks good here.

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  • Tri Trac cultivator.jpg
  • Tri Trac middlebuster.jpg


#12 DB1 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 26, 2012 - 04:36 PM

That is a wonderful looking Tri-Trac. It is my understanding that only about 3500 were made. Is that correct?

#13 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted January 26, 2012 - 08:59 PM

My grandfather said he tipped it over on the level , can't remember what he was doing when it happened . I've only used it with the sickle bar but am careful going on my slopes that are in my yard , Al
P1080021.jpg

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#14 Gtractor ONLINE  

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Posted January 26, 2012 - 09:13 PM

Thats pretty bad tipping on the level! Musta reached over to pick something up? :bigrofl:

#15 fort apache OFFLINE  

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Posted January 26, 2012 - 09:32 PM

:beer:Only one thing I reach for that makes me tip over on a level surace.

I was thinking that a narrow front end tractor has about the same rollover rate as a wide front end. The tri trac is the same as a Tricycle tractor, except the steering is in front.

But... the engine and transmission are in the rear, with the weight of a rider almost directly on top of that weight. Almost all of the weight in the rear of the machine. There's very, very little weight up front. I believe if the Tri Trac had 16" or even larger wheels up front with heavier weights, it would be much more stable.

The idea seems for the Tri Trac to make sense . Where they wanted to go anyway. It would be cheaper because it had a simple transmission going to one wheel (skip the expensive high crop rear end, large dual rear wheels -- basically cut the expense of the drive train in half) and hense could use a 6hp engine to power the whole unit.

Thats pretty bad tipping on the level! Musta reached over to pick something up? :bigrofl:






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