Tractor on display at Clifton Old Times Days, Xenia, OH, September 1989.
1191 Swailes Road Troy, Ohio 45373
I am writing for my son, Chris Kitchen, but without his knowledge. He and I recently completed building a four engine homemade garden tractor to pull in local garden tractor pulls and exhibit in steam and gas engine shows in our area.
Each engine is controlled by a separate throttle and ignition switch and drives through its own hand lever operated belt clutch to the jack shaft located between the frame rails. Each engine can be operated independently or in any combination with another. A common foot clutch pedal also activates the selected hand levers to allow the tractor to drive and operate the same as any single engine standard shift tractor. The jack shaft couples directly to the Crosley transmission which in turn hooks up with the shortened implement driveshaft. The driveshaft couples to the John Deere right angle gear box which is double belted to the Wards axle assembly. Braking control is with a homemade internal expanding shoe inside the Wards cast iron drive pulley rim which was bored to suit the size of the homemade brake shoe.
The engine next to the driver is started from the seated position with the recoil starter. Each engine is then started, in turn, by turning on its ignition switch and engaging its hand clutch. The tractor will operate on one, two, three, or four engines or any combination thereof. The foot clutch is then depressed, gear selected, clutch released and you are under way.
Slow speed operation, such as for demonstration, is controlled by the driver through visual and audible engine speed synchronization of the four throttles. High speed or pulling operation is much simpler as all throttles are opened fully and the engine governors do a great job of synchronizing engine speeds and the engines pull together very well. The tractor digs holes and throws much dirt on a dead pull and all engine throttle cams can be observed adjusting themselves to the load.
First gear speed is about 6 mph with a top speed of 15 mph in third gear. We wanted plenty of wheel spin for pulling (like the big guys). The homemade brake system will lock up the axle on coast down but will not overcome the engines under medium power.
The entire design was our own and all work was performed in our garage at home. I must admit though that the time my son spends watching the big multi engined tractor-pulling videos influenced our project in some small way. Our original idea was just to build a small tractor for transportation at the shows when showing our 1939 John Deere B, but as you can see by the photos that idea was short lived.
As of this writing we just completed demonstrating/exhibiting the tractor at the Clifton Old Timers show held at the Xenia, Ohio fairgrounds. The tractor was again very well received and photographed. Everyone wants to see the tractor run and is amazed at the simple operation of the clutch (s) and the ease with which the tractor is controlled.
We put the tractor to the real test at the Jamestown, Ohio show by entering the garden tractor pull there as well as exhibiting it. This was our first opportunity to pull the tractor due to its late season completion. Chris pulled about half the distance and the rear tires went up in smoke due to our lack of experience in proper weight distribution. This we will correct over this winter and be ready for next year's competition.
Owner - Chris Kitchen.
Designers - Chris and Nick Kitchen.
Engines - Four 5 HP Briggs horizontal shaft recoil start.
Power Link - Four ft. long jackshaft, 1' dia. on four ball bearing pillow blocks.
Transmission - 1948 Crosley three speed.
Trans. Link - Shortened implement PTO shaft through a John Deere right, angle gear box and double belted to the rear axle pulley.
Rear Axle - 1950's vintage Wards garden tractor axle assembly.
Front Axle - From a riding lawnmower.
Steering - 1981 Mercury Lynx rack and pinion to bell crank on front axle.
Brakes - Homemade internal expanding mechanical shoe.
Frame - Welded wedge construction of square & rectangular tubing.
Rear Wheels - 14' Ford spokers with mud tires.
Front Wheels - 10' semi-pneumatic.
Wheel Base - 78 inches.