Thursday, June 11, 2015

The frankentraktor butt buggy project

So when I got done rejuvenating the little 446 last fall I had a pile of surplus parts.


The refurbished 446 that generated all the spare parts for the frankentraktor project.

Not least among the pile of spare parts was a more or less complete Roper chassis.  Its a pretty solid little chassis – in fact I felt momentarily guilty cannibalizing the engine out of it for the 446.  When I was all done that exercise I ended up with 2 surplus Onan BF series boxer engines.  They’re a great little engine but wicked expensive to rebuild which is why I never seriously considered rebuilding the one out of the 446.  The 2nd spare came from the idiot that I bought the Roper from.  He had very recently swapped a new Linamar into the Roper but he kept the original Onan and included it in the deal.  Poor Doug came home one day to find Onan parts hidden all over his front yard.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he discovers a few more in the course of lawn mowing this summer.  The guy had them in his mailbox, behind his garbage bin, on his doorstep – I can’t remember where all he said he had hidden them.  I guess random thievery of dead Onan parts is a huge issue in Prince Albert (where the Onan originated) but I didn’t realize the crime wave had spread to Saskatoon as well.  Doug didn’t know anything about it either and he’s lived there for a long time.

So I had a Roper chassis and 2 Onans, both of which ran – sort of.  The one from PA. likely has a hole in one of the pistons.  I haven’t taken it apart but it appears to run on one cylinder.  Mine was pretty tired but I took the heads off, scraped off the carbon, reset the valves, painted the head gaskets with aluminum paint and slapped it all back together.  It runs pretty good now and I don’t plan to work it at all so it will likely last me a long time in its new service.  So far I haven’t persuaded it to put out 12 volts on the charge circuit but in the worst event I can pull the stator out of the P.A. engine and that will likely solve the problem.



That’s the current state of the Roper chassis, now rebranded as Bob’s Butt Buggy.  I have to be careful to enunciate that clearly because Bob’s Butt Buddy has a whole different meaning.  Its not pretty but it is functional.  I’m forever running back and forth to the little house, which is only 4 blocks away but still it gets tiresome to walk and its not worth starting a real vehicle.  This morning I ferried a battery charger and extension cord down there because I’m getting ready for another episode of wood chipping.  The butt buggy ran like a trooper but I need to speed it up a bit.  Its got 6 gears – a 3 speed transmission with a high/low on it – but even in 3 high it only goes at a brisk walking pace with the engine at mid throttle.  Since I’ll never make it do any serious work I think I can double or triple the size of the drive pulley on the engine and get up to maybe 15 MPH at idle in high gear.  That should give a pretty useful range of speeds. 

Right now it doesn’t really have a usable hitch – that will be another early improvement and it needs some mirrors.  I don’t know what the village bylaw says about safety accoutrements like mirrors and signals but it seems prudent even if its not mandatory.  And it may need a wheelie bar – the clutch is pretty sensitive and the new seats & tool platform has made it fairly light on the front end.  On  the plus side it steers easy.

No comments: