Small Tractor for Woodland

By Andy the stuff doer

After two years of dragging trailers full of logs, the home made two wheeled tractor has been superseded.  It struggled with traction on wet grass and when it gets good grip the lashed together axle started bending.  After considering the cost and time involved with buying wheels and bearings and a different brake, I had a look at the alternatives.

I needed something low cost, small, high power and low speed.  The solution is a old ride on mower, with the mower bits removed it becomes what they call a “garden tractor”.  I found one on ebay, close enough to collect, at the right money (£260).

PMT (Poorly Maintained Tractor)

It hadn’t been well maintained but was still a runner.  A few evenings in the garage and it was all sorted.  New belt, oil, air filter, cleaned, greased, linkages tightened, battery charged and tow ball fitted.

Notes for my future reference (as I’m bound to lose my notes):

Engine Model: Briggs and Stratton 11hp  model 252707,  type 0686-01, code 84013011

Tyres: Rear 18 x 8.50, Front 15 x 6.00

Transmission Belt P No. 1688

Oil SAE30

That done it was ready for the first trip to the woods after I added an extra 2 inches of width to the trailer.

Small tractor "westfield" fit a 3 x 5 trailer just

The Westfield tractor just fits in a 3 x 5 foot trailer

A BIG GRIN as it had it had no problem pulling up the field with all the woods tools and the Son on-board.

It fits over the bridge but I’ll have to get used to chicane around the trees so the trailer wheels don’t catch.  I think edge bits on the bridge would add to the safety factor.

Mini Tractor and trailer crossing bridge in woodland

The "garden" woodland tractor towing the trailer manages to cross the entry bridge

With the trailer un-hitched it was time for drive around the woods. It copes well with ditches and hill climbs although traction is a problem on deep leaf litter so at some point it might get treated to chevron tyres.  Manoeuvrability is excellent due to the tight turning circle but on uneven terrain it ends up on three wheels and with only one front wheel on the ground it gets unpredictable.  The differential on the drive helps with the turning but won’t help with the traction, I’m thinking some kind of independent wheel braking might help when one wheel spins. Fifth Gear at top revs is scary fast on the narrow paths, as we’ve never had vehicle access there are no proper rides.  The low gears should be great for pulling logs, I shall find out on another visit.

It is great fun and will be worth it as a time, back and shoulder saver. The other advantage is, we noticed the tractor made very little impression on the ground,  an important factor as we don’t want to end up with rutted muddy tracks all over.

We brought two trailer loads of logs out without a problem and we made it home in time for Sunday dinner.

mini tractor mower for work in woodlands

Fun for all the family, the tractor ready for woodland work

2 Responses to “Small Tractor for Woodland”

  1. Good to see a use for old lawn tractors.

    Whilst not a sub for a real tractor, Kubota/Iseki, if your woods have never had vehicles in them you need a small and easily turned vehicle makes a LOT of sense.

    A set of chevron tyres will help traction, the alternative is a locked differential and the end result is a torn up woodland floor the standard lawn tractor chevrons are not particularly deep tread so will not give more grip than the back axle can cope with.

    Would also be an idea to use a bolt on 50mm ball hitch which fits the L shaped towing bracket and allows dropping the nose of the trailer and transferring some of the load onto the tractor’s back axle helping traction.

    A trip to the local ATV centre for some tyres with a more aggressive tread pattern, there are LOTS to choose from, to ensure traction on almost all surfaces which should keep you mobile and able to max out the modest haulage that the standard transaxle allows at low speeds.

  2. Your comment got lost in the mountain of spam. The garden tractor is still going well, I’ve upgraded to chevron tyres, they make a big difference. Iv’e got hitch and trailer, recently lowerd the hitch to axel height to prevent wheelies when towing heavy loads. All sound advice thanks

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