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  1. #1
    Elite Member BobRip's Avatar
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    2000 Power Trac 422

    Default 4 Wheel Farm Trailer Conversion to Tandem(?) Axle

    I purchased a 4 wheel trailer from Northern Handyman a few years back and found that it really did not work for me. I found it was very difficult to back up. I tried taking off the tongue and welding a trailer hitch to it. (see picture). I put this too close and the trailer would hit the PT on turns. I also welded it so the steering would not turn.

    I decided to shorten the undercarriage, thus bringing the front wheels about 20 inches back. I did this by cutting about 20 inches out of the frame, and then welding the two sections back together.

    I took the sections that I cut out and welded them to the front of the front axle assembly, and then welded the tongue to that.
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    Bob Rip
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  2. #2
    Super Star Member J_J's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 Wheel Farm Trailer Conversion to Tandem(?) Axle

    Bob, Why did you weld the steering so it would not turn? When you turn now, don't your tires drag ?
    J.J.

    When I works, I works hard. When I sits and thinks, I goes to sleep.

    Git er done.

  3. #3
    Elite Member BobRip's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 Wheel Farm Trailer Conversion to Tandem(?) Axle

    Quote Originally Posted by J_J
    Bob, Why did you weld the steering so it would not turn? When you turn now, don't your tires drag ?
    Originally it was hard to back with the wheels steering. I locked the steering at the same time that I put the trailer hitch on it.

    Yes the wheels drag, but they do that on my large tandem trailer as well. I figure this is worth it to make backing easier. I may be wrong of course. If the tires wear out too quickly I may be sorry.
    Bob Rip
    Tell me and I will hear.
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  4. #4
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
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    South Bend, Indiana (near)
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    Power Trac PT425 2001 Model Year

    Default Re: 4 Wheel Farm Trailer Conversion to Tandem(?) Axle

    You can see the angle of the wagon's tow bar compared to the angle of the steering axle from the seat of an AG style tractor, so you can back it up much easier. The PT does not allow you to see the angle of the tow bar compared to the angle of the steering wheels on the trailer. Backing up such a cart is an excersize in frustration.

    The problem with a cart that has a steerable axle is it is difficult to back up because it pivots at two points: the hitch AND the steering axle. We had the same problem with airplanes being towed into hangars. It pivots at the hitch and the nose wheel. The simple solution is to connect it to the rear of your tractor for long distance hauling, then switch to the front of your tractor for tight maneuvering. When you can see the front axle of the trailer turning, your brain has no problem helping you steer it when you are pushing it. Try doing that on the back of the PT style tractor without being able to see the angle of the tow bar axle of the trailer and you'll be lucky to get 5' before jack knifing.

    Or, you can do what I do. Hook the trailer to the front and get use to traveling backwards at high speed. This is where the armrests come in handy. Just lean on the armrest, look towards the rear and let your other arm steer without watching it. It becomes quite natural. I can travel in reverse at 8MPH just as comfortably as 8MPH forward. This also helps eliminate turning around so often when doing loader work. I kind of feel like a train engineer when doing this.
    MossRoad

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  5. #5
    Elite Member BobRip's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 Wheel Farm Trailer Conversion to Tandem(?) Axle

    Quote Originally Posted by MossRoad
    Or, you can do what I do. Hook the trailer to the front and get use to traveling backwards at high speed. This is where the armrests come in handy. Just lean on the armrest, look towards the rear and let your other arm steer without watching it. It becomes quite natural. I can travel in reverse at 8MPH just as comfortably as 8MPH forward. This also helps eliminate turning around so often when doing loader work. I kind of feel like a train engineer when doing this.
    I want to put another attachment on the front when I am moving the trailer around. Maybe a bucket to load the trailer or haul more fire wood.

    I am not sure if what I made is strong enough. I am tempted to strengthen the tow bar and the front of the trailer. I should probably load the trailer full of logs and tow it around the property and see what bends or breaks and add metal to that.
    Bob Rip
    Tell me and I will hear.
    Show me and I will see.
    Let me do and I will learn.
    Let me fail and I will understand.

  6. #6
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
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    South Bend, Indiana (near)
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    Power Trac PT425 2001 Model Year

    Default Re: 4 Wheel Farm Trailer Conversion to Tandem(?) Axle

    Perhaps just a much longer tow bar would do it for towing from the rear. Besides being better able to see the angle of the steering tires on the trailer from the PT operator's position, a longer tow bar would slow down the steering action, giving you more time to react.

    If you fixed the steering axle to be solid and not turnable anymore, a longer towbar would help reduce the wheel skid when turning. Similar to the rear twin axles on a semi trailer. They skid in tight turns, but not that much.
    MossRoad

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  7. #7
    Super Star Member J_J's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 Wheel Farm Trailer Conversion to Tandem(?) Axle

    Bob, I like your trailer. Are those tires road tires, or farm and garden type tires, and are your axles 1 in, or 3/4 in?

    With a hydraulic cylinder, and electric or hand pump, that would make a good dump trailer.
    J.J.

    When I works, I works hard. When I sits and thinks, I goes to sleep.

    Git er done.

  8. #8
    Elite Member BobRip's Avatar
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    Default Re: 4 Wheel Farm Trailer Conversion to Tandem(?) Axle

    Quote Originally Posted by J_J
    Bob, I like your trailer. Are those tires road tires, or farm and garden type tires, and are your axles 1 in, or 3/4 in?

    With a hydraulic cylinder, and electric or hand pump, that would make a good dump trailer.
    J_J, the axles are 3/4 inch. It was rated at 2000 pounds before I modified it. The tires have small grooves in them, I don't know what they are called. I would say they have minimal tread, not quite slick. This was called an estate wagon. I think that means they expect you to use it on smooth ground. I don't have much of that, although after a truck load of sand, I have filled in most of the ruts on the trails. When they logged the propery in 1978, they put some major ruts in it.

    The trailer came with a hydraulic cylinder, which I have since removed. I could probably put it back in. I have used this trailer very little in the two years that I have owned it. I hope that it will be more useful with the modifications.

    I will probably add an additional support to the tongue this week end. I am making a short boom pole with a 2 inch receiver, about 3 feet long.. I could use this for an extra long tongue if needed. I could also use the 7 foot boom pole which is also under construction, but this seems way too much.
    Bob Rip
    Tell me and I will hear.
    Show me and I will see.
    Let me do and I will learn.
    Let me fail and I will understand.

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