Another Homemade Mini-Tractor

Twin Cylinder engine

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1416 Ralapen Street, Roxboro, North Carolina 27573-4232.

For the past few years I've been involved in our great hobby. I have admired, been amused and impressed by the ingenuity and craftsmanship of different machines people ride around on at engine and tractor shows.

During that time I have only seen a few 'riders' powered by a Maytag engine and only one powered by the twin cylinder engine. The 6-12 Maytag tractor owned by Dale Lutwig of Emmett, Kansas (GEM Jan. 88) with six engines.

While reading the late Clayton Walker's article about his Maytag mini-tractor (GEM Feb. 89) I was inspired to build a mini-tractor powered by a single Maytag twin cylinder engine. And, like Clayton, I was told by several, that the twin was not powerful enough to pull a vehicle. (It powered the Maytag Racer serial #935 and higher.) Some say it is 5/8 HP, others say ? HP and even 1 HP, but whatever it is rated it's not as powerful as the ? HP single.

This mini-tractor is for my five year old daughter, Courtney, and is designed for safety and simple operation. The engine is a 1940 Maytag twin using the stock fuel induction system and runs at a constant speed eliminating the need for a throttle. The rear end is from a mid-1950's Craftsman tiller and is a worm drive type that doesn't coast when power isn't applied thus eliminating a brake. The right rear wheel and axle are drilled and the pin removed so the tractor can be rolled around when it's not being driven. No transmission is used and mobility is accomplished by two pedals, one for forward and the other for reverse. Either has to be depressed and held to keep the tractor in motion. The engine is coupled to a jackshaft on roller bearings by a V belt, and the jackshaft to the rear end by a 4'  friction cone clutch with a 40:1 final gear ratio. The tractor runs 3-4 mph and Courtney can drive it safely among pedestrians.

Reverse is through a V belt, pulleys and bell cranks. Depressing the left pedal tightens the belt between the clutch cover and the pulley on the rear end input shaft.

Aside from the drivetrain most of the mini-tractor is scrap metal or readily available at hardware and variety stores. The rear end axle housings are 2 x 2? exhaust adapter pipe with fenders made from a dishpan held onto the housings with shelf brackets. The hood is a piece of 8' stove pipe, the steering wheel from a riding mower. Also the front end is made from a ?' pipe tee, ?' bolts and 5/8' around stock with 5' ball-bearing lawnmower wheels.

Rear wheels are 13 x 5.00 x 6 from a Roto-tiller with tractor type tires. Radiator is for looks only and cut from a piece of automobile air conditioner condenser and the Maytag emblem cut from .065 brass sheet with a scroll saw.

Ignition uses the Maytag points and condenser, Harley-Davidson coil and an ATV 12 volt battery. The ignition switch is a toggle switch that also lights an illuminated doorbell push button which operates a horn mounted under the hood next to the coil. The illuminated push button indicates if the ignition switch is on.

The larger than normal steering wheel and the backrest seat aren't your usual tractor type but my little girl needs the leverage for the 1:1 steering and something to push against to get her 40 pounds onto the pedals. Courtney drives her tractor with confidence and can maneuver it very well. She is really looking forward to next year's show season with her new tractor.


Length 46', Width 25', Height 28', Weight 105 lbs.; Wheel Base 32', HP 5/8@ 1000 r.p.m.; Gear ratio 40:1; Top Speed 3-4 MPH.