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Building Small Tractor From Scratch


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#61 Ranger2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 24, 2014 - 10:42 PM

Hi everyone. Got a little good news on getting ready to start building my tractor.

To start with, I am finished with the guts to my boiler (the firebox, tube manifold and all, except the ash pan, is all complexly welded in, and I will get the metal for the ash pan in the morning so that should be finished by tomorrow night or by Friday afternoon at the latest. Probably tomorrow night but I didn't say that because if I had of it would take me a week, LOL.

I fixed a fuel transfer pump Mark, my cousin said wasn't any good any more tonight so now I can drain the used motor oil out of the tank that I am using for the water jacket as soon as the ash pan is installed and welded in completely in the firebox.

So if the Good Lord is willing, the boiler should be on line and heating the house, shop, and hot water by the 2nd or 3rd weekend in Oct., and the tractor is next in line.

What can I say, I need it to help me gather the firewood, LOL.   

The next thing important is that I was at one of the Auto Salvage Yards I go to sometimes yesterday and told the guy, I forget his name now, but I told him what I wanted to do about building a tractor and he said I could pick out about any rear end and 5 speed transmission they have in the yard, as long as it wasn't one from something like a late model Mustang, etc. for a buck, or a buck fifty.

You know, anything that isn't popular or sells for a lot at a junk yard, which from my point of view, I don't want to buy something that is breaking down and needing replacement anyway.

I wonder what he'd do if I took it out loaded it on the truck and then came in and threw a $1.50 on the counter and ran like wild fire?, LOL.  

Anyway, he also said there were still a lot of 60's and 70's Ford, Chevy, and Dodge pick-up down by the carp pond and I haven't been all the way down there since I was a teenager. I didn't realize the junkyard still went down that far.

But I can get anything down there and I know there were some old trucks down there with 4 speeds plus sub low transmissions and low geared rear ends down there, and I can get whatever I need for the front end from the straight front axle and springs to the steering box, column, etc., for nothing if I pay the buck fifty for the rear end & tranny to start with.

Or he'll let me get the rear end and transmission for just the buck, as he says it.

Anyway, it looks like I can get the complete drive train and front end for $150 and I think I have about every thing else I'll need short of the 90* gear box and some pulleys and belts.

So maybe in a couple or three weeks I'll be getting started on building it.

That is if no one else comes up with some more work for me to do.

Well, time to hit the bath and then the sack.

 

Godspeed

 

Ranger


Edited by Ranger2000, September 26, 2014 - 07:23 PM.

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#62 Ranger2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 21, 2014 - 09:20 AM

Quite a project. My first concern is that in a few years the pipes in the firebox may be corroded and start to leak. In the 70s after gas and oil rationing there were alot of people building their own stoves with a few spectacular failures. You will need a pressure relief valve on your system, like on a hot water heater. Please be real carefull.

With a pumped water system, you should have a generator incase the power goes out. BTW in CT, my electric bill is almost $200 per month and I heat with passive solar and wood backup. I use no electricity in my heating system.

If you get a chance read some of the articles in The Mother Earth News Magazine. The articles from the 70s and 80s were very good about what you seem to be heading towards.

If you change the design of a greenhouse to more like a passive solar house you can probably skip the ground heating. This would involve insulating the top, north, east, and west sides. Good Luck, Rick

One little bit of info: a cord of dry hardwood burned in a good wood stove will yield the same amount of heat as 200 gallons of heating oil.

Yea Boyscout, this has been one hell of a project and continues to be one. I didn't make it by the middle of November but maybe I can finish it by the end of it or the middle of next month. I sure hope so. The cold weather has already got the heater dancing on my paycheck now.
I have been held up waiting on money to come in too many times and now here I am with an even smaller amount of cash left to finish the boiler with because of my enemy to start with, the heating bill.
Now I am scared to see what the November heating bill is going to look like, especially when they ad in all the electricity I have used up welding, cutting, grinding, for the lights, etc. in "My Man Cave" as the Ole Lady calls it now, LOL.
At least I have been paying for the heat for the shop as I go by using the torpedo heater.

The reason that I quoted you was the last sentence in this reply. I have always wondered how wood, fuel oil, gas, and electricity all stacked up against each other for the BTU's provided per different units of fuel.
Where did you find this "little bit of info" on wood and heating oil? It seems like 200 gallons of fuel oil is a pretty high amount of oil per cord of wood but maybe not.
Well, I guess I could Google it, huh?

Godspeed

Ranger

Edited by Ranger2000, November 21, 2014 - 12:24 PM.

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#63 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted November 21, 2014 - 09:49 AM

In early 1977 I was the energy conservation officer for Ft Belvoir, VA. I came across some handy tables with info like that and kept that info in my head. Mother Earth News probably has it. Look at wood gasifiers for powering a vehicle. A cubic foot of wood powers an engine similar to 1 gallon of gas.

 

Don't feel bad about being behind, I'm retired and am still working on things for last June. A small wood stove in the basement can help alot if you have the extra chimney flue. Good Luck, Rick


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#64 Ranger2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 22, 2015 - 10:28 PM

Hi All,

Here we go again and now is when I really need the help to make up my mind as to what direction to go.

As I said the last time here, I think, this boiler I am "STILL TRYING TO BUILD" has been a rough job and on top of that after I started getting to where I could do side jobs a bit better and a bit faster again, they come around much more often.

What can I say. Several years ago the doctors said I'd never work again and I told them they didn't know me. But then after a couple years I actually started believing them my own self, but now, while I am still slowly, but surly getting better as time goes on, but heck, I have already turned 60 now and disabled for now, so I have to look it in the face! I'll never work another regular job again, but I haven't given up. There is plenty that I can still do before this old man gives up!

But now, I am getting more and more side jobs and I have gotten into the position that more than a few people know that I can fix about anything in or around a house and when they call, well what can I say, I have to help them out when they are in a bind. And the funny thing is this is what I wanted when I had a contractors license but that didn't work out.

I'm not charging as much as I should for my time because I am so slow now and that eats up my work time on my own projects.

Anyway, I did get a big step on the boiler today and the tractor is just around the corner to being started. Hopefully I'll get started in  early March. 

The way the weather has been, this was the first day in in a couple weeks we could get out there to get the firebox in the tank and I originally wanted to get the box in the tank and just stand it up on end and weld it together outside but the weather has caught me again and against  my wishes, I got the firebox and tank together and shot them back into the small shop still laying on her side, and I have to finish her up inside like that, which is going to be a son of a biscuit eater.

 

My shop is a bit less than 12' wide and about 22' long and one side of the lean too roof is only 6' 8' high and I have a 4' x 6' plus boiler setting in the middle of the floor, with a drill press in one front corner, a single shelve down the same wall to grab my tools as I need them and tools hung over that all the way down to the shelves that are from floor to ceiling, then my welder is in the opposite front corner, then the grinder on one end of a rail road track anvil about 14" long, that I have had for 50 years, and a 5" vice on the other end all welded together on a double row of 2" x 2" x 3/8" thick angle iron, all setting on 4" box tubing that is welded to a 16" truck wheel for the stand between the welder and an 18" deep x 5' set of braced up shelves on the other end of the shop. 

Never let anyone tell you that you can't weld cast iron to steel or cast steel to to iron, because you can and it will withstand many beatings with large hammers and my Grinder/anvil,vice is proof of that.

Anyway, my little shop beats any shop that I ever had in this 60 year long lifetime but she leaves things really tight. And if God is willing, and I pray he is, I will be building me about a 28' x 40' Log shop, hopefully as soon as the spring of 2017. Hopefully I'll have the bark on the logs for that belted (cut the depth of the bark twice, about 6" apart and removed and ready to begin to air dry before the sap rises this year.

 

OK, so, let's talk about the next project in line, which is the tractor I want and need to  build myself, because I sure don't have the money to buy one.

I want you all to know that I have spent time and looked at what you have told me to, but there are two things that causes me not to hunt down a 60's - 70's model tractor to rebuild.

One is that, as I have said, am 60 years old now and I still have a large plate of projects that I want to see become a reality while I can, and I haven't a doubt that given the money and time, I can build what I want faster and cheaper than I could find an older Garden Tractor and rebuild it.

 

Plus I want it to be about 150% or more as large as any of the ones that I have seen so far from the 60's & 70's.

 

With all of that said, a couple of you caused me to look into hydraulics, but I don't know crap about hydraulics, other than looking up parts numbers and replacing the parts, hoses, etc.,.

Is there any one here that would spend the time to tell me what pump, cylinders and motors I would need if I go with building a hydraulic tractor?

 

I want to go with a two speed rear end and 5 speed transmission from a two ton truck but if I go with hydraulics it isn't that much more to make her a 4 x 4. 

Actually I can go with 4 x 4 with the rear end but that would be much more complicated with chains and sprockets or gears.

 

I don't know. Maybe I was just hoping one of you would send me a simple set of blue prints but any input would be greatly appreciated.

 

Godspeed

 

Ranger/Dennis   


Edited by Ranger2000, February 23, 2015 - 11:47 AM.

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#65 TUDOR OFFLINE  

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Posted February 23, 2015 - 01:57 AM

Here's one homebuilt tractor in another forum along the lines that you are thinking. It's a fairly long read, but there are several good pointers for your ideas.

 

This one is from the same forum and is even longer, but it includes a FEL and back hoe and lots of off topic discussion.


Edited by TUDOR, February 23, 2015 - 01:59 AM.

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#66 Ranger2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted February 27, 2015 - 12:18 PM

Tudor, thanks so much for the links. I haven't really looking at the second one much yet but the first one on "biker's" project is a really great one.

I don't think it will be much longer before I get started on it but I wouldn't bet my life on it. I got the firebox in the tank outside and it started snowing and turned colder than it has been around here in 20 years the day we did that and it was over two weeks before I ever got it in all back into my shop to get started welding on it. All toll, this has set me back probably another month or so. 

Now I have a 4' wide x 6' long boiler setting in my little bitty 11' x 22' +/- shop and with the welder, then the grinder / 12" anvil / 5" vise, and then an 18" deep set of selves from there to the corner, and on top of that, with my drill press and then a 12" running down the opposite wall, well, that boiler isn't leaving me a lot of working area around it.

At least it is out of the weather now. According to the weather, it looks like that if I can finish up the welding and get the pump and blower mounted by Monday, I can set her on the frame Tuesday and hopefully have a fire built by the weekend and ready to start the tractor the first of the next week. 

 

   

So Tutor, or any of the rest of you good men that knows a lot about hydraulics, if I decided to go with hydraulics, and I build it to survive with say a 35 HP diesel engine, {(even though I might start with as small as the 18 HP B&S Twin I already have for now)} what is a ballpark price I would be looking at for the parts for the pump and a 4 wheel drive system?

I have seen that some people use regular power steering pumps, parts, etc., to build the steering system for projects like this and I am also wondering about that. I have changed my mind about using hydraulics but I am thinking that the cost will be to high for my billfold to allow me to go that way.

I wanted to type some more but the computer is showing it's bunns again so I'll post this and come back after I come back up sfrom the  shop.    


Edited by Ranger2000, February 28, 2015 - 05:07 PM.

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#67 TUDOR OFFLINE  

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Posted February 28, 2015 - 04:25 AM

Without some specifics on weight, speed, and tasking, figure 2-3G for a hydraulic budget and expect overruns. Once parameters are finalized, the budget can be fine tuned, but be advised that the most expensive single component is going to be the lines and fittings to connect everything together, and that price won't change very much.

 

It doesn't take a lot of power to drive a GT sized machine. A 4000 lb car uses 12 hp to power a dyno at 60 mph. Pushing it through the air at 60 mph takes a bunch more horses. It's amazing what a 12 hp GT can do.


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#68 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted March 01, 2015 - 07:19 AM

If a large frame Bolens isn't big enough for you, look at a 30 to 40 hp Ford tractor from the 50s to 70s. Reinventing a tractor has alot more time and risk involved than just repairing a well designed older machine. Good Luck, Rick

 

I built many machines and even invented a few over the last 35 years but, I don't waste my time on trying to reinvent something that already exists.


Edited by boyscout862, March 01, 2015 - 07:21 AM.


#69 Ranger2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 02, 2015 - 08:43 AM

Thanks for the heads up on the cost Tudor. That cost just shut the door as far as hydraulics goes, or at least in the driving department anyway. I can put a rear end and even twin transmissions under her for probably less than 20% of that cost.

Then later on maybe I will have earned enough with the tractor as it will be to pay for hydraulics for a front end loader and back hoe, and whatever else that may pop up along the way.

 

Boy scout, I do not look at me as trying to reinvent anything at all. I am not sure where all of you live but where I live, the cheapest that I have ever seen any type of old tractor sell for was $2,500, and that wasn't with any plow, disc, or anything else.

A couple of people have said that they can buy a tractor for as little as $500 and if I could find one for that price, I would certainly consider buying it, however, from what the people I know that owns a tractor tells me, cost for parts to repair things are high as the dickens also, and I have to think about that also.

My problem is that I am working with a very small cash flow and until my boiler starts to pay for our heating bill and the water powered air conditioner starts paying for the cooling bill, I am pretty much running on an empty bill fold. Decembers electric bill was, I forget exactly how much right now but it was well over $400 and they are getting larger every month.

I also forget what January's bill was and, and,and, and, heck fire and fall backwards here, because something is very very wrong here.

We haven't even gotten the Jan. bill yet. Well, I best call them as soon as I send this reply, but according to last years bills and the winter we are having this year, I expect the Jan. bill to be well over $500 and the Feb. Bill to be close to it. Last years Jan. Bill was, $588.40 and that is a bill that I doubt I'll ever forget. "Eleven Bucks & Six Dimes" short of Six hundred dollar Bills. Actually, I expect this bill to be a bit over $600 this year as cold as January was.  

But if Good Lord is willing, and I think he is this time, I should be able to fire the boiler up about the 10th of March so that bill will only have about 10 days of heating on it.

And not stopping there, I still have my water to water heat exchanger for the domestic hot water that should save an additional 70-80 Bucks a month.

That will free up, or save some money that will fund the tractor, Thank God..

 

Godspeed

 

Dennis


Edited by Ranger2000, March 03, 2015 - 06:21 AM.


#70 Ranger2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 08, 2015 - 03:34 PM

Well, just to let you all know where I stand at now, I think the tractor building has been put off a good bit.

I got the firebox in the tank for the boiler, and got them both inside the shop I have, and then I realized that the shop that I have is actually smaller than I thought that it was.

The boiler is only 4' wide and a bit over 6' long but she sure has made the shop smaller than it was with other projects and after thinking about the size I want the tractor to be, there's no way I can build it in there so I'll have to back up a bit before I build the tractor. I have the boiler just a few days from finishing but they are calling for rain for a week and the rest is outside, but as soon as I can get her out of the shop, I am getting back on a project from the past.

I started building a saw mill before I fell the last time but the fall stopped that. I got the cutting head as I call it, I'd say about 80% finished before I fell but I haven't did anything but keep it covered up and the moving parts oiled good since then, but that will go into the shop as soon as the boiler moves out.

I will try to get the pictures of the boiler on here as I said I would.

Now. my daughter just brought the mail in and I got a new 2015 SURPLUS CENTER catalog and I stopped writing to thumb threw it and I got some good news on the tractor.

They have a right angle 1:1 gear box for $149.95 to $169.95 that is good for 40 HP and 32 HP continuously. Even with me putting the tractor off a while I will purchase one of these while they are available as soon as I can afford to do so. 

 

Now, if anyone might be interested in the saw mill I am building, LOL.

 

Godspeed

 

Ranger


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#71 Ranger2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 15, 2015 - 07:38 PM

Even when you think you know someone pretty good you can be as wrong as day and night.

The guy I said that had the 27 HP Kohler horizontal engine didn't have a 27 HP horizontal Kohler engine at all.

It is a Craftsman lawn mower alright but it has a 18.5 B&S vertical shaft engine on it.

But it has a hydrostatic transaxle so it has a hydraulic pump under there somewhere. He owed me a bit over a hundred and I had made a deal with him to call it even for the tractor, sight unseen, and he brought it over yesterday while I was working on a small job I got and dropped it off.

Seems like I might be able to make it run after fixing the starter so I guess I'll keep it instead of getting feathers flying but I am not happy with it.

I was counting on it being what he said it was and with a 27 HP Kohler engine and hydraulic pump to boot, that maybe I could just build a frame right fast, shorten a car rear end and install a hydraulic motor to spin the pinion gear and be off to the races, but with only 18.5 HP, I am not sure it would hardly turn the rear end gears well enough.

What do you hydraulic guys think about that?

Would it work better if I still went with a 4 speed transmission in between the motor and rear end?

Surplus Center has some 38" OD tires for a buck 60 each, plus I'll have to have one removed and reversed for the right direction, but I am not sure that there will even be enough power to make the thing move. Much less do any work at all.

 

By the way, I think that I am back on track to tackle this next instead of the saw mill. I found a man that has a Hudson sawmill that says he'll cut enough wood for a 16' x 24' shop for a couple hundred bucks and also slab some Cedar shakes for the roof too, so I think I'll do that before I get back on my saw mill.

 

Give me some ideas if you will. I am not sure about hydraulics and the power needed.

 

Godspeed

 

Ranger



#72 Ranger2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 19, 2015 - 06:50 AM

Hey there again. I am still wondering about the hydraulics on this Craftsman mower I have gotten.

And again, I was wrong when I said that the engine was a 18.5 HP. It is a 19.5 HP engine, which isn't that great an amount of difference, but at least it is one more pony or almost 6% more HP anyway. 

I can't get under the mower good enough to see what is what until I get it up off the ground to see if it actually has a pump or if the transaxle has the pump built into it.

Could anyone tell me about that?

If the later is the case, the hydraulics on it is almost surely out the door to start with because I am going to use an automobile rear end which ever way I go. 

Actually, I still might simply put a hydraulic pump on the engine and a hydraulic motor in front of an automobile transmission then going directly to the rear end from there. 

I am thinking that if I start off that way I will already have the hydraulics for anything else that I want to build to add on later such as a loader or whatever.

What do you guys think about it??

 

Godspeed

 

Ranger 



#73 TUDOR OFFLINE  

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Posted March 22, 2015 - 02:36 AM

Hydrostats have been integral transaxles for about the past 20 or so years. There is no separating the pump or motor to operate as a single component.

 

Your second idea is workable, but only to a point. A pump to supply fluid for a motor to power a transmission will have considerably more flow than an implement cylinder can reasonably use. It will require additional components and plumbing  to divert a portion of the pump's flow for use with power steering or implement lift cylinders.

 

Additionally, a loader requires more flow for its larger cylinders than an implement lift system requires for its small cylinders, adding more components and additional plumbing and reducing available flow to the motor necessitating a larger pump to compensate.

 

An integrated hydraulic system to supply your desires needs careful thought and calculations to get the correct flows for each and every sub section of the system and the plumbing uses a fair amount of available volume. Bulky hoses require larger radiuses than steel tube lines that are somewhat costly. 

 

It's doable, but it requires a bit more than a passing knowledge of hydraulics to get it right. I'm not a big fan of single pump integrated systems like this. It saves a bunch of trouble shooting time to use one pump for the drive and a second for the auxiliary systems if and when things go south.


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#74 Ranger2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 22, 2015 - 08:37 PM

Thanks for the input Bob. That pretty much leaves me going the rear end, gears, sprockets, chains, and pulley & belt route until I decide to add a loader and a back hoe, huh??

Now with that said, does anyone know anything about a 26 and a half HP Caterpillar or a Perkins Diesel engine that the Surplus Center was supposed to sold two or three years ago?

I know they were selling some diesels I thought last year but I can't find anything on them now, but a guy on the trading post (a radio swap shop program) Friday said that he bought one two or three years ago and paid over two grand but never even mounted onto anything and he wants 500 bucks for it.

I talked to him a couple times now but I don't have the cash right now to buy it so I haven't went to look at it yet, but he called me back today to let me know he still has it if I was interested.

He told me a lot about what the engine has, like it's all cast iron, which is good, a 12 volt starter and alternator system, fuel filters and glow plugs but I still forgot to ask him today if it was water or air cooled. Seems like if it was water cooled he'd have said whether he had a radiator or not though, yet it doesn't seem like a diesel that large would be air cooled either. 

Maybe I can find it online. Maybe I can tomorrow cause it is bed time for me right now.

 

Godspeed

 

Ranger



#75 Ranger2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 25, 2015 - 07:38 AM

I found the engine the man has in an old 2013 Surplus Center catalog I scrounged up. It is a 26.4 HP three cylinder Caterpillar Diesel engine and it sold for $2,195.95. As I said, the man said that he'd take $500 for it and it hasn't even been taken off the crating yet. He said he wrapped it up with plastic and it in setting in his basement shop.

I started on the bathroom yesterday and the job grew right off the bat. Instead of just installing the tub surround I have now ripped the sheet rock off the walls and ceiling and already hung a new ceiling. So that job went from a $250 job to $600 so I very well might go ahead and buy the diesel for the tractor.

That would leave the 18>5 engine for the sawmill, then I could just get the riding mower running for the grass and just start off designing the tractor around the diesel from the beginning. Yea, looking at it from that point of view I think I better get over there and look at the engine this morning and give him about a hundred to get him to hold it until I finish the bathroom.

Oh well, I'm gone again.

 

Godsprrd

 

Dennis


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