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Little tractor update
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Beck
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PostPosted: Tue, Jul 07 2015, 8:36 am    Post subject: Little tractor update Reply with quote

Some of you were interested in updates on my little tractor project.
jaybee wrote:
Sure, I'd love to see pics of the build. Yeah, it's sort of special interest but it's certainly a hot rod, and you never know what might contribute to something that runs with license plates, or on the drag strip, or the salt flats, or anywhere else.

Sorry no photos now (i'm at work) but I promise some soon.

The little tractor is coming along very slowly. I am having a lot of "redos". I have ask about several parts here so an update on those first.

For a transmission I decided on a simple 350 turbo. I went to a few pulls and clutch issues were a major problem. Ideally I would have used a shorty manual with a centrifugal (no pedal) clutch. Tuning is touchy on those clutches and it would have taken me a year to get it right. The 350 costs me a little power but the weight is about the same as a shorty iron manual box and clutch. I bought a 8" 4800 stall converter for the 350 turbo. It will run 1st gear only.

As I said before the rear axle is an aluminum 8.8 Ford. I am already on my 2nd one. The first I built with 9" bearing ends. I discovered if I pull with a different group I am limited to 12" diameter rear wheels. The brakes I had for the 9" (Explorer rotors with Wilwood calipers) wouldn't fit into those wheels. Most of the guys make deep "hats" for the rotors which works but is heavy. I am not a little guy, and am playing with a heavy motor and transmission so I am trying to keep the tractor as light as possible. The 2nd rear axle I built with 8.8 bearings. I mounted the factory Explorer backing plates that I cut all of the caliper brackets off of. I machined the rotor section off of the brakes. That leaves me with the mechanical drum parking brake setup. Each cable goes to a brake pedal so I have "steering" brakes. I will need to build one more axle. I will need to swap rear ends when changing from 12" whees (26" dia tires) to 15" wheels (34" dia tires). Changing the ring and pinion ratio is the only way I can figure out changing gear ratios. Letting the transmission shift into 2nd is to big of a gear jump.

We are having a record setting wet spring/summer. As a result it is more humid than typical. All of my metal work is rusting sitting in the garage.

I have the frame pretty well worked out. Front and rear axle are mounted. The rear fenders, seat, and hitch are on. The motor and trans are mounted. The trans needs some internal attention and the motor is just a mock up that needs complete building. It has no steering yet.
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Beck
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PostPosted: Tue, Jul 07 2015, 8:56 am    Post subject: Problem areas Reply with quote

Some problem areas that I still have to work out are:

Steering - There is very limited room for a steering shaft next to the motor. My first option is a 8" rack and pinion like is used on Jr. Dragsters. http://www.viperizerracing.com/product-p/arc1411.htm
My second option is a cable setup which some of the other guys are using very successfully.

Cylinder head - I am going to buy an aftermarket aluminum head for the motor. It saves me 30 lb. I am unsure of which will work the best for my application. A Trick Flow A460 is the best flowing but the ports may be too big for my motor. The Kaas P51 would be the next step down. The final and the one I am leaning toward is the Ford Super Cobra Jet head. I can buy any of them complete but I am limited to a standard hydraulic cam by motor design. These come factory setup for roller cams.

Turbocharger - I am completely out of my league on this one. I don't know where to start. The Honda sized turbos are too small. The LS turbos are too big. There isn't much middle ground.

Fuel injection - This is going to run on alcohol, which takes the very little I knew about injection and throws it out.

Battery - I am size and weight challenged. I would prefer a regular auto battery for longevity. I bought a "jumper box" to rob the battery out of but am concerned about its abilities. I am not running a charging system. The battery has to be able to make 4 to 5 starts and power the fuel pump, injection and ignition for the runs. I don't think I can quick charge the "jumper box" battery. I would have room for dual "jumper box" batteries, but that doubles my chances of a battery failure. I don't know if they will handle the vibration of this little beast.
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PostPosted: Tue, Jul 07 2015, 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We really could use some pictures Laughing
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Beck
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PostPosted: Wed, Jul 08 2015, 8:30 am    Post subject: Photos I hope Reply with quote

Here are a couple of photos.

The rear frame photo shows the 6" x 6" aluminum plates that the rear axle is now welded to. There is no suspension on a tractor. The all thread is 3/4" B7 grade. In the center of the all thread is the part the hook attaches to. It is adjustable up and down by using the nuts on the all thread. We have to pull with a maximum of 13" hitch height. The higher the hitch the more down force on the rear tires. Changing tire pressure is enough to change hitch height. Eventually I want to be able to swap from 34" tires to 26" tires so I needed a lot of adjustment. I am afraid I am going to bend the all thread.

The front quarter shot shows about the way it is now. No steering yet. The motor work is yet to come.



front quarter.jpg
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This is just about the way it is now.
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early rear frame and hitch.jpg
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Beck
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PostPosted: Wed, Jul 08 2015, 8:48 am    Post subject: More photos Reply with quote

The drivers cockpit is all bussiness. No padded seat. That allows me to slide around a little bit easier. Slide back to put more weight on the rear or forward to put more weight on the front of the tractor. A little weight transfer allows you to keep the front tires just touching the ground for steering. If you can't keep the front tires on the ground leaning right makes the tractor go left or lean left to go right. If that fails there are steering brakes like a big tractor.

The wheel well photo shows what is left of the Explorer rear disc brake. Just the center part of the rotor is left with a mechanical cable to the brake pedal on that side. (edit) I just saw that the cable is not in this photo. There is a 3/8 tube that connects to the backing plate and goes through the hole in the inner fender, then forward to the brake pedal.

The white on the fenders is the protective plastic that is used on aluminum sheeting. It gets removed for paint.



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Inner fender and brake
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Drivers cockpit
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Last edited by Beck on Wed, Jul 08 2015, 8:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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Beck
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PostPosted: Wed, Jul 08 2015, 8:54 am    Post subject: Rear axle photos Reply with quote

Sorry, but the only photos I can find of the rear axle are pretty poor. They were taken in the early am with sunlight coming through my garage door.


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PostPosted: Wed, Jul 08 2015, 9:06 am    Post subject: Re: Problem areas Reply with quote

Beck wrote:
Some problem areas that I still have to work out are:

Steering - There is very limited room for a steering shaft next to the motor. My first option is a 8" rack and pinion like is used on Jr. Dragsters. http://www.viperizerracing.com/product-p/arc1411.htm
My second option is a cable setup which some of the other guys are using very successfully.

Cylinder head - I am going to buy an aftermarket aluminum head for the motor. It saves me 30 lb. I am unsure of which will work the best for my application. A Trick Flow A460 is the best flowing but the ports may be too big for my motor. The Kaas P51 would be the next step down. The final and the one I am leaning toward is the Ford Super Cobra Jet head. I can buy any of them complete but I am limited to a standard hydraulic cam by motor design. These come factory setup for roller cams.

Turbocharger - I am completely out of my league on this one. I don't know where to start. The Honda sized turbos are too small. The LS turbos are too big. There isn't much middle ground.

Fuel injection - This is going to run on alcohol, which takes the very little I knew about injection and throws it out.

Battery - I am size and weight challenged. I would prefer a regular auto battery for longevity. I bought a "jumper box" to rob the battery out of but am concerned about its abilities. I am not running a charging system. The battery has to be able to make 4 to 5 starts and power the fuel pump, injection and ignition for the runs. I don't think I can quick charge the "jumper box" battery. I would have room for dual "jumper box" batteries, but that doubles my chances of a battery failure. I don't know if they will handle the vibration of this little beast.



MT-51 interstate battery may be what you want, fit's Hondas...

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Beck
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PostPosted: Wed, Jul 08 2015, 9:16 am    Post subject: Drive shaft today Reply with quote

I'm going to work on the drive shaft today. As you can see in the photos it will be SHORT, 5 1/4" center to center of the universal joints.

Explorers have drive shafts that have a splined slip section in them. One of the drive shaft yolks has the female part of the spline built in. I am chucking the splined section in the lathe. From the U-joint end am boring a 1.5" hole into it. This will then be cut off at a factory shoulder, about 1.5 inches deep. A 350 turbo transmission output yolk is 1.5" in diameter where it enters the transmission. I am taking one of these, cutting it to length, and inserting it into the machined Explorer part and welding them together at the right length. This will give me a small diameter, heavy wall, short shaft with a Ford joint on one end and a Chevy joint on the other.
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PostPosted: Wed, Jul 08 2015, 9:35 am    Post subject: Re: Problem areas Reply with quote

tomslik wrote:
MT-51 interstate battery may be what you want, fit's Hondas...

Pricy little buggers. They are smaller than other car batteries, but bigger than the "jumper box" battery. I will check to see if it fits where I want it to go. Thanks for the input.
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PostPosted: Wed, Jul 08 2015, 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is your fi mechanical or electric?
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PostPosted: Wed, Jul 08 2015, 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kb426 wrote:
Is your fi mechanical or electric?

I have not got to that part yet. I am leaning to electronic, but have a local guy pretty good with home made mechanical stuff.
Suggestions?
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PostPosted: Wed, Jul 08 2015, 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm an absolute alky fan. It is the most forgiving and easiest to tune of all racing fuels. If you go electric, you will need something like a Holley Dominator system to handle that. You might be able to adapt a late model flex fuel system that will work with e85. In mechanical, I believe in only one way. You buy a new pump from Hilborn or Enderle of the right capacity, get the right throttle bodies whether you have to make a manifold or adapt something and have it flowed by someone who has computer technology to give you the right nozzle area versus jet area comparison and is able to give you baseline tuneup info so you won't waste all your time tuning it. I believe this to be the most important money you will spend. The stuff I removed from the 06 Grand Marquis 4.6 was all flex fuel for e85 so I know that is possible to use it. I wouldn't have the software or skills in the beginning to tune it. A self tuning program like the Holley might be the answer to this. If you don't want to have the weight and hassle of the battery system, the mechanical system will go to the front right away. Hope this helps some.
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PostPosted: Wed, Jul 08 2015, 5:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Problem areas Reply with quote

Beck wrote:
tomslik wrote:
MT-51 interstate battery may be what you want, fit's Hondas...

Pricy little buggers. They are smaller than other car batteries, but bigger than the "jumper box" battery. I will check to see if it fits where I want it to go. Thanks for the input.


If the battery in your "jump box" is similar to mine you may not get the performance out of it you expect. in my box the battery is similar to what is used in emergency lighting. Very small size but also limited cranking amps by itself. Look inside of your jump box to see if it used transformers or capacitors to boost the current.

moose

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PostPosted: Wed, Jul 08 2015, 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks really good Tom. You are getting a lot more done than I am this summer. I hardly get home long enough to mow the yard.

Byron Meltdown is next on the list.

John

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PostPosted: Thu, Jul 09 2015, 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tractor looks kool. I too will chime in on alcohol as a good fuel for the same reasons as KB . If it were mine I would go mechanical injection ,magneto . Less need for a battery that may get pounded to death in a puller . are you allowed to start with a jumper battery?What are the chances you could run a coupler system like the funny cars and get a few different length driveshafts to allow you to move engine /trans forward and back for ballast changes? A friend of mine has been pulling for the last 35 years ,blown alky Donovan. He runs a pulling series in Canada , look up pinnacle motorsports .
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PostPosted: Thu, Jul 09 2015, 8:48 am    Post subject: Re: Problem areas Reply with quote

moose wrote:

If the battery in your "jump box" is similar to mine you may not get the performance out of it you expect. in my box the battery is similar to what is used in emergency lighting. Very small size but also limited cranking amps by itself. Look inside of your jump box to see if it used transformers or capacitors to boost the current.


Mine has the same battery. They are about 3 times bigger than our emergency lighting units. I didn't see any caps or transformers in my box. I noticed a small board but assumed it was to convert 110 ac to 12 vdc. I went cheap on mine. It is a HF unit. $40 with the 20% off coupon. I think it is going to get returned. I didn't rip it apart. I just took the back off for a peak.

The 51 series battery won't fit under my seat like the "booster" battery would. I will have to put it up front under the fuel tank with plenty of insulation. A spark there wouldn't be good.


Last edited by Beck on Thu, Jul 09 2015, 9:17 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu, Jul 09 2015, 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WZ JUNK wrote:
You are getting a lot more done than I am this summer. I hardly get home long enough to mow the yard.

John

Every time it quits raining here I have to mow. It needs it now.

It has only rained twice here this season. Once for 45 days and now for 37 days.
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PostPosted: Thu, Jul 09 2015, 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kb426 & chimp koose,
I need to go with the alcohol for 2 reasons. First is the increase in power and another big one for me is cooling. I am going to run a dry block.
I like that methanol doesn't have a problem running very rich. That is an insurance blanket.
There is an ethanol plant close to me where I may be able to get E100. They have to put just enough gas into it so it cannot be drank. I am unfamiliar with the properties of ethanol compared to methanol. We get tank trucks of methanol at work, but I don't think they would appreciate being my fuel supplier.

The motor in the photo belongs to a friend of WZ JUNK and Hooley. The owner built all of the neat stuff including the sheet metal intake with injection. That is where I want to be.



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PostPosted: Thu, Jul 09 2015, 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chimp koose wrote:
If it were mine I would go mechanical injection ,magneto.

There could be a magneto made for this motor out of a 4 cyl Chevy II setup. Those used to be run in Midgets. The drive would have to be modified to install the Ford oil pump drive. There are probably some of these old mags somewhere, but to find one is another issue.
chimp koose wrote:
Are you allowed to start with a jumper battery?

It will need to be started too many times at an event for a jumper system. Some light modifieds run jump start setups but they have everything mounted in another vehicle, and always use a pull off vehicle at the end of the track.
chimp koose wrote:
What are the chances you could run a coupler system like the funny cars and get a few different length driveshafts to allow you to move engine /trans forward and back for ballast changes?
I thought about that for a little while. I built this frame with a taper so the motor can't slide up the rails on it. I am limited to 8' length from the center of the rear axle to the front of the tractor. That would give me about 6" of adjustment. I was considering a splined drive shaft instead of a couple of fixed ones. After building my shaft I see I wouldn't have had enough length to put in the splines.
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PostPosted: Thu, Jul 09 2015, 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ethanol is around 120 octane. Methanol is 160 octane. I don't know of any other differences but I haven't ran ethanol in a race car.
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