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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know many here have built their own articulating tractors and I want to tap into your experience.
I'm in the planning and gathering stage of a 4wd articulating build.
What do you'll suggest for a strong articulating joint?

:thanku:
Rick
 

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I don't know how big of a tractor you plan on building but I have a video that shows my articulated joint. I used the front spindles and hubs from a rear wheel drive car, the spindle shafts are welded to 1/2 inch plates on one side and the hubs are bolted into holes in plates for the other side of the hinge. This gave me a hinge with 4 tapered roller bearings. This joint only works in one direction so I mounted the rear axle to the frame using automotive ball joints. I've built articulated joints before using bolts through layers of steel plate but they always wear and become loose. With this design the joint bearings are replaceable if necessary and so are the ball joints.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kec3s8Q7Hio

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GygsMFju6I
 

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I don't know how big of a tractor you plan on building but I have a video that shows my articulated joint. I used the front spindles and hubs from a rear wheel drive car, the spindle shafts are welded to 1/2 inch plates on one side and the hubs are bolted into holes in plates for the other side of the hinge. This gave me a hinge with 4 tapered roller bearings. This joint only works in one direction so I mounted the rear axle to the frame using automotive ball joints. I've built articulated joints before using bolts through layers of steel plate but they always wear and become loose. With this design the joint bearings are replaceable if necessary and so are the ball joints.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kec3s8Q7Hio

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GygsMFju6I
My machine will be similar to yours except a lot smaller, (bobcat size)
I already planned to use a automotive wheel hub bearing assembly for the rotational pivot, but was planning on tradition plate/pin style for pivot. I may rethink that and use a wheel hub or 2 for that area also.
Maybe more like this:
 

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Recycler
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I used a piece of 3" cast iron, and turned it down to fit a piece of schedule 80.


I then installed the one end through 2 pieces of 1/4" plate in one side of the frame.




I then welded the other end to a piece of 2" square tube that goes through the other half of the frame.



It was all done with pretty standard stock items from a local welding/fabrication shop. I added some grease fittings and grease it regularly. It has served me well.
 

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I built an articulated device for the farm once. Made it from a u-joint from a heavy truck. Only half of the cross was actually used for the articulation, the other half I welded the one side of the device too. The yolk taken from the rear of a transmission was welded to the other side of the device.

Proved to be very rugged and easily greased.

Mike
 

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Here is a picture of my solution. I needed to have a belt driving the front & rear transaxle's. So it was critical to have the engine drive a jackshaft at the exact centerline of the joint, in both x & y axis , so the belt tension would only change slightly when the the joint twisted due to uneven terrain. The only problem I have encountered was the cat 0 top link end joints wore out quickly and got really sloppy. I fixed that by getting weld in chrome moly end links from Rough Tough Off Road Specialties. These are beautiful pieces of hardware that will never wear out !

Here are some pics of the joint and one of it during the winter plowing. It now has a FEL and the joint is still working . Hope this helps .
 

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Lindeman crawler fan
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I've seen a couple of articulated tractors set up with the ball and socket type of links like evo803 has on his tractor.

This style of center joint seams very easy to design and build and works very well.
The biggest advantage that I can see from this style of joint is that it leaves the center of the frame completely open to run belts, chains, or a driveshaft down thru the center of the tractor frame.

If your using two hydraulic axles like shenninger has on his tractor than a universal style joint works fine because having an open center isn't as important.
The drive is supplied by hydraulic hoses and they can be run anywhere thru the frame.
 

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My Allis 440 tractors use upper and lower ball joint design and the power divider box and all drive shafts go down the open center.---I know this is a 30,000 pound tractor but the idea is scaled down to whatever size that you want! thanks; sonny
 

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The choice of design will depend on the application, the budget, and most of all on your tooling + skill set.

First, do you need to transmit torque through the center of the pivot?

Then, do you want to allow some rotation between the front and rear [to keep 4 wheels on the ground] or will the joint be rigid except for side to side?

If you can bore straight holes you can press bushings into, that will make a cheap and robust pivot.

If you have upper and lower hinges, you can set them up with a single long rod to assure lineup, then use 2 short ones to allow a free center.

Spherical joints are very inexpensive and wouldn't need to be lined up, but you'd still need bores to press them into.
 

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Uncleharvy65; This is an old thread. Originally you asked for clarification on the video, do you have a project in mind. If its a loader, I suggest a simple clevis and pin for the articulation and a swing axle on the rear for following ground contour. Articulation and oscillation is better on dump trucks like volvo's.

Be careful of drive shaft through center of articulation, as the torque can cause roll-overs.

He probably broke a rib or two!!
 

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If your considering a 4wd loader the one disadvantage is a shorter boom length and therefore the lift height. Other than that, everything else is much better. The front axle is solid so its more stable with a load. You can move around more easily in tight places. The front and back wheels follow the same path. You can change your attack angle and side shift the bucket a little just by turning the steering. I remember getting the first articulating Tractor on the farm and the first thing we noticed was how easy it was to hook up the 3ph to implements. Just hook one side on and turn steering to line up the other side.
 
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