Another Homemade Mini-Tractor

By Staff
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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.

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