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  1. #1
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    Default tracked vehicle differential questions

    OK, I'm having thoughts about building a tracked vehicle. It will be used primarily on the snow to pull a grooming drag. I'm wondering if a typical car/truck rear differential would be ok to use? I am thinking of a ford explorer rear axle that has disk brakes and maybe adding a second caliper to each side to have more stopping power. Then use two large master cylinders, one for each side.

    My question is, will the open diff. work the way I picture it?
    Apply brakes on which ever side you want to go in? Thereby slowing down that side and putting the power to the opposite side.

    I don't see the need for a tank like diff as I won't need to have one track go backwards, the turning radius doesn't have to be that tight.
    Any input is greatly appreciated as always,
    dave

    Just for some added reading, I will be using a stock vehicle (small rear wheel drive) Like a Samuri/tracker or something. I will remove the front steering and all components, mount the rear axle solid to the frame. Then building my own undercarriage and tracks.
    So the tracks will be driven from the rear.

  2. #2
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    Northern, IL
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    Branson 2400H

    Default Re: tracked vehicle differential questions

    Some possible issues I can think of are:

    1) Using a standard differential when trying to stop one wheel the other has to spin twice as fast. probably not ideal for turning.

    2) If you get one track on ice and the other on good footing the one on ice will want to spin while the other stops just like a car would. May not be an issue with your braking system.

    3) Running on side hills you will be constantly braking to go straight.

    I could be 100% wrong but I don't think track type dozers operate that way.
    Artificial Intelligence will never overcome natural stupidity.

    Branson 2400H MMM & FEL

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    BX1850 gone but not forgotten

  3. #3
    Elite Member
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    Kubota L5030 HSTC, MF 5455

    Default Re: tracked vehicle differential questions

    There are alot of people who just build track bogies (like the atv systems) to mount on sidekicks or samurais using the stock component and normal snowmobile tracks. They work great for grooming as the drive sprocket gears them down by about 50%.

    http://www.fritzrips.com/nordic/2011...trail-groomer/ for example.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member mwb's Avatar
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    Ottawa Ont Canada
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    3940HST Montana

    Default Re: tracked vehicle differential questions

    I agree that there are off-the-shelf track systems that would be much easier to use than building your own.

    If you really want to brew your own what about making a half-track? Gives you the benefit of a track vehicle but you still have steering. To supplement steering in really bad situations you could isolate the rear brakes. This would be a lot easier to build (compared to a full track).

    Have you tried a 4x4 with four wheel chains? You might be very surprised at the amount of traction. Wheel ruts might not be the best for your applications but maybe adding floater tires with chains will make a very simple solution.
    Montana 3940HST
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  5. #5
    Super Member Mace Canute's Avatar
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    Default Re: tracked vehicle differential questions

    Quote Originally Posted by slowzuki View Post
    There are alot of people who just build track bogies (like the atv systems) to mount on sidekicks or samurais using the stock component and normal snowmobile tracks. They work great for grooming as the drive sprocket gears them down by about 50%.

    Samurai Trail Groomer | Utah Nordic Skiing for example.
    I think this is the way to go also. Unless you are dead set on making your own tracked vehicle, I suspect it would end up being cheaper in the long run and much less trouble too. It also has the advantage of being transferable to different vehicles, within reason of course. Instead of using an older vehicle (I'm guessing you would want to because of cost) with all the problems that can be associated with it, you can use a brand new one that has all the creature comforts you could want and still be able to use it in summer as a regular vehicle.

  6. #6
    Elite Member
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    nicholson, pa
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    John Deer Lt160

    Default Re: tracked vehicle differential questions

    I thought I saw on cl that there was a half track kit for a ford 9n.
    It looked like there was just a free spinning wheel infront of the back wheels that was used to tension the tracks.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
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    SE Wa

    Default Re: tracked vehicle differential questions

    Quote Originally Posted by oldnslo View Post
    Some possible issues I can think of are:

    1) Using a standard differential when trying to stop one wheel the other has to spin twice as fast. probably not ideal for turning.

    2) If you get one track on ice and the other on good footing the one on ice will want to spin while the other stops just like a car would. May not be an issue with your braking system.

    3) Running on side hills you will be constantly braking to go straight.

    I could be 100% wrong but I don't think track type dozers operate that way.
    IIANM the Cletrac did operate that way. Dunno if it would speed theonetrack up orif it disconnected that side. It did steer by braking rather then declutching and then braking if needed. Only memories from out neighbor who had one on the farm back in the 40s. He wasn't happy with it.

    Harry K

  8. #8
    Gold Member
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    Default Re: tracked vehicle differential questions

    Well thank you all for the replies. I don't have the money to buy a track system. The vehicle I have in mind is a 96 Suzuki Sidekick, plenty of comforts for some late night grooming of the snowmobile trails. Pretty flat in my area. I don't think I would like a half track design, won't turn tight enough, not that I need to turn on a dime. There are some tight corners however.

    The "kick" has an auto trans. 4x4 so it has low range.
    Maybe I'll look into making a track system, one for each wheel? Anyone got any in-depth info on them?
    thanks,
    dave

  9. #9
    Elite Member
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    Iuka Mississippi USA
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    3550 Fard Backhoe and a 1948 Farmall Cub,

    Default Re: tracked vehicle differential questions

    Lots of dozers over the years used Differential steering. Case, MFand Cletracs smaller dozers used a differential to steer with. When you brake one side the other will increase the speed, that the braked side lost.

    Also Some WW2 gun carriers used a truck rearend for te differential. I think Bombardier used car and truck axles to.

  10. #10
    Platinum Member RPW's Avatar
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    Default Re: tracked vehicle differential questions

    If you look at how a differential works usually the drive shaft is directly connected to one side of the axle through the ring and pinion gear then through a series of gears to the other side of the axle. You could apply the brakes to one side and it would work but would be ineffective on the other side. If you setup a system similiar to a skidsteer with a hydraulic pump, valves and motors........

    Good luck.
    2008 JD 5103, FEL, 6' Frontier, 6' HD boxblade, 7' Landscape rake, More impliments to come, Bobcat (clark) 742 SS.

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