A HOME MADE TRACTOR

Martin F. Kruse
November/December 1976
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Route 2, Box 86, George, Iowa 51237

I'm sending four pictures of a tractor I made 32 years ago in the summer of 1944. It was made almost entirely of junk and salvage parts. Parts of many different cars and trucks were used; only the motor and radiator came from the same car, a 1928 Chevrolet. The transmission came from a 1929 Chevrolet truck, is a 4-speed. Almost every part was made before 1930. It was built to fill a need as tractors and horses were scarce and high priced. It was designed to pull horse equipment we had at the time - and it did very well.

It was used nearly 10 years and as parts and repairs became harder to get it was left to set in the grove about 20 years before I restored it - 30 years after it was built. It is painted Ford gray and blue is being used around the farm for light work. It was driven in two antique parades this summer.

I am writing a description of each of the four pictures. I feel this is the best way to show how the tractor was built.

#1 - A view of tractor shows Model T Ford gas tank mounted above engine using iron from buggy tires. Frame was cut from back end of GMC truck, made in late twenties - that was shortened and made into a tractor as it sold for more money than the truck was worth. This was done by a salvage dealer in George, Iowa. I saw the piece he cut off and used it for my tractor. Front wheels were made by removing wood spokes from 1929 Dodge wheels and bolting brake drum directly to hub. 15' rims were welded to drum using short spokes of scrap iron. Front tires are 5:00 x 15 and rear 9:00 x 20, velocity type governor mounted between carburetor and manifold is from a Model T Ford truck

#2 - A view shows exhaust manifold mounted upside down to point upward at front of tractor. As no muffler could be found to fit, we made one using stack from old cob burning tank heater. Three circles were cut from top of heater, one was welded in center of stack as a baffle after drilling 5 -?' holes in it. The others were used for top and bottom. Scrap pipe of proper size was welded to each end of proper angle. Old car air cleaner is mounted on top of old oil bath air cleaner of unknown origin, and is mounted on tractor frame using angle iron which came from old McCormick binder platform. Horn is from 1929 Chevrolet truck.

#3 - A view of tractor shows double reduction rear axle 7? to 1 which is made of heavy cast iron, has heavy wheels and large brakes. The pinion shaft being above center of axle is directly in line with transmission drive shaft. Owner of junk yard in Orange City, Iowa said it came from about a 1927 Hawkeye truck which was made in Sioux City, Iowa. I was just 20 years old when I went to Orange City in the fall of 1943 with a two wheel trailer behind a 1930 Chevrolet car to get the axle. I barely got home as the hitch broke and I had to chain the trailer to the car bumper. The axle was almost too heavy. The seat is cast iron, taken from my dad's old 8' disc, which he bought used in 1920 when he started to farm. The drawbar is made from grass mower bar. Platform under seat, battery box, ignition and light switch are from 1924 Dodge car. Shock absorber on frame under seat is from Model A Ford. Steering wheel is 1929 Chevrolet.

#4 - Front view shows Ford Model T truck drive shaft housing fastened to 1929 Chevrolet steering gear with parts from Ford T car drive shaft housing. Bottom shows Ford T truck hub welded to 1929 Dodge spindles. Truck axle extends up into drive shaft housing and is welded to steering gear shaft. Ball thrust bearing, origin unknown, is used between T truck hub and drive shaft housing to hold the weight and make turning easier. Roller bearing from T truck axle sets above thrust bearing inside of housing. Thrust bearing is covered with T truck bell housing cover bolted to drive shaft housing.


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