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  1. #1
    Gold Member SCDolphin's Avatar
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    Columbia, SC
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    Kubota L5240: Craftsman GT6500

    Default What purpose narrow wheels vs wide spaced wheels?

    I am new to the older antique tractors. Can someone explain why the early tractors had the two front wheels placed next to each other vs the later model tractors with the front wheels same with as the back tires. What are the pros and cons.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Super Star Member
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    Upper Midwest USA
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    JD_4x2_Gator, JD_4300, JD_X485, JD_425, JD_455, JD_110

    Default Re: What purpose narrow wheels vs wide spaced wheels?

    Early models had the 'tricycle' narrow front ends for what was called 'row crops'. Also, easier to turn sharper at the ends of rows for planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops.

    Wider front ends were referred to as 'standard', and usually were on larger tractors.

    Not sure how 'earlier' and 'later' fits in to your question or an answer, as the old Waterloo Boy, for example was wide front, and now most tractors sold it appears to be wide front also. In between, narrow fronts and wide fronts were available.

  3. #3
    Bronze Member
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    Jul 2003
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    52
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    SW Iowa
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    International Diesel B414/Case 85XT Skid Loader/2k F250 SuperDuty 7.3 PowerStroke/John Deere 'B'/Allis Chalmers WD45

    Default Re: What purpose narrow wheels vs wide spaced wheels?

    Our first tractors were all rowcrops. We bought and AC/WD with a "mounted" cornpicker, the nose cone was inline with the tractor and the cutters were on either side, thus no room for the tires on a wide frontend. The same held true for the mounted culavator. Of course they were only two row implements. One point worth noting, the wide frontends were a lot more stable on a hill side. Steve

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    799
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Tractor
    JD 2440/4440/4020/4955

    Default Re: What purpose narrow wheels vs wide spaced wheels?

    Some slightly misleading info so far.... A "row-crop" tractor can have a wide front end also... Row-crop tractors have adjustable width front (in some cases) and rear wheels to accomodate various row width's in various crops.

    The "narrow front"/"tricycle front" was to accomodate mounted corn pickers, but was quite handy when cultivating.

    Wide front ends, as long as they are adjustable width, will work in all respects EXCEPT the mounted pickers.

    "Standard", or "wheatland" tractors had fixed width front (and usually rear) wheel spacing. They were intended stricktly pulling heavy tillage and PTO driven equipment, and NOT for planting crops in divided rows.

    Most Standards are built a bit lower to the ground also. Standard tread tractors faded away in the late '50's/early 60's....

    Most standards were found in wheat producing states.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Spiffy's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
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    SD
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    PT2445; several ag machines and classics

    Default Re: What purpose narrow wheels vs wide spaced wheels?

    Indy pretty much summed things up, but I think the reason for the confusion [why many think of row-crop as tricyle only] is because many mfgs of the 30's and later offered a version of their popular engines [or some familiar name or feature or occasionally nearly entire tractor] in tricycle and marketed them as the row crop.

    I have to plug the Farmall ["regular" that is; even some of the Fs came with wide option, with all the things Farmall tried, maybe even some regulars had wide...] for really firing up the the "tricycle" [a few guys will only apply this term to single wheel] craze. I think it was my great uncle who recalled the salesman proclaiming "It will turn on a dime and leave a nickles worth of change!" But if you like old iron, I'm "color blind".

    Modern CUTs are so manuverable and still handle a FEL decent [you ought to see my wife try to handle my H with narrow front and FEL [img]/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]] it levels the game, else it's hard to beat a narrow front for two row cultivating in a garden or other tight work.

    If nothing else, if you get really good at brake assited steering [the old Farmalls had the brakes cabled to the steering too {"Triple Control" for the cultivator}] you can turn a "doughnut" and scare the heck out of bystanders [no I'm not recommending safety violations here! ok ok close friends and un-wanted relatives only]. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  6. #6
    Veteran Member Spiffy's Avatar
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    PT2445; several ag machines and classics

    Default Re: What purpose narrow wheels vs wide spaced wheels?

    On the safety note: there are few better ways to break a thumb [I learned from other's mistakes, and else would have "had the scars to prove it" several times] than a tricyle on rocky soil, especially with pinion and sector [like cheap modern LTs!] steering. Always grip the wheel with the thumb outside; same goes for cranking [in case you advanced the mag too far].

    BTW, if you are crazy enough to try scaring people with your "steering prowess" instead of making people the target, their new car is much better. You get to see the look on their face; and if you do mess up, I'd think it'd cost much less to fix. There's a group of Farmall owners [Hs and Cs I think] that supposedly put on quite a tractor square dancing show. If they're ever around my way, I have to see it. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
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    Arlington, TX
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    '51 ford 8N

    Default Re: What purpose narrow wheels vs wide spaced wheels?


    Ditto on the hard-knocks of narrow front tractors...

    First tractor I ever drove was a Moline Universal U-early/mid 50's models with the tricycle, narrow front. If you're using it in a plowed field, you have to plan ahead to make your turns. We were always pulling a one-way with ours, so you were always wrestling it around corners in fresh plowed dirt. You learn to keep your thumb on top of the steering wheel lest you should have a permanently bruised one.

    On the good side, they were great for visibility and working around the engine. Also, changing a front tire was so easy-find a 2' by 4' and drive the good wheel up on it to lift the bad one off the ground.

    The old Moline is still running a working to this day....

  8. #8
    Super Star Member
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    First organized permanent settlement in the northwest territory
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    2003 Kubota BX1500/2004 Kubota Bx23/2005 Kubota BX1500

    Default Re: What purpose narrow wheels vs wide spaced wheels?

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">(
    Ditto on the hard-knocks of narrow front tractors...

    First tractor I ever drove was a Moline Universal U-early/mid 50's models with the tricycle, narrow front. If you're using it in a plowed field, you have to plan ahead to make your turns. We were always pulling a one-way with ours, so you were always wrestling it around corners in fresh plowed dirt. You learn to keep your thumb on top of the steering wheel lest you should have a permanently bruised one.

    On the good side, they were great for visibility and working around the engine. Also, changing a front tire was so easy-find a 2' by 4' and drive the good wheel up on it to lift the bad one off the ground.

    The old Moline is still running a working to this day.... )</font>

    Wasn't the trike front end easier and cheeper to build also?

  9. #9
    Bronze Member
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    Jun 2005
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    southern Kentucky, USA
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    mahindra 3510

    Default Re: What purpose narrow wheels vs wide spaced wheels?

    i'd like to endorse Lonesome's reply... my farm, in KY is very rolling, with some, quite steep grades...

    its always recommended to me by the old timers that i stay off the hills with the tricycle tractors... so all of mine have the wide front wheels and are very low to the ground...

    i'm not sure they could be turned over... i've been on some pretty steep places... the only problem i have is them losing traction...

    my newest tractor is a 4X4, so that's taken care of...

    my $.02, anyway...

    see y'all....

  10. #10
    New Member
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    Central MO

    Default Re: What purpose narrow wheels vs wide spaced wheels?

    I know a couple of stories of people around here rolling old WD-45's, some lived to tell the stories; some didnt.

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