THE YARD MULE ELECTRIC DUMP TRIKE

A ROBUST DIY ELECTRIC DUMP TRUCK MADE FROM RECYCLED CAR PARTS AND BASIC STEEL TUBING.


electic hand throttle

Electric vehicle wiring is clean and simple.

Unlike the original junk motorcycle I used for parts, the Yard Mule wiring system is very simple and clean looking, consisting of only two cables running along the side of the frame. One cable connects the hand throttle to the motor controller, and the other powers the headlight. All other wiring is contained inside the battery box, which includes a horn, low speed switch and a charging port.

chain guard

This chain guard was a required addition.

After mowing through some bush on my first test run, I realized that tall grass and small trees were being shredded by the chain and sprocket! Although the electric motor had no problems eating small trees, it did make a mess and some crunching sounds I did not like hearing! This chain guard is made from some pieces of leftover mesh sheet I had, and completely solved the problem.

motor and chain guard

Installation of the chain guard and engine protector.

The chain guard completely encloses the drive system and motor so that small trees and long grass will just brush underneath rather than being shredded by the chain. Those 2 foot tall pine trees make a real crunch sound when they are ripped from the ground and torn to bits by the 1000 rpm sprocket! Now I can mow through the bush and the trees just pop back up after the rollover. That’s my future firewood!

dump box tilted

The dump box in the chain limited dump position.

In this photo, the dump box is shown in the maximum position allowed by the limiting chain, which is more than enough to dump any load. In this mode, the tailgate would either be allowed to swing to the ground or completely removed. Because the dump box lifting lever is operated on the same side as the throttle, I can also drive slowly while dumping to spread the load out. Great for gravel pads.

yard mule rear view

Rear view of the completed Yard Mule.

The dump box is high up enough that it is easy to connect implements to the trailer hitch. In my towing tests, I took my heavy log splitter on a tour through the brush and up many steep hills, and the Yard Mule didn’t even slow down with the extra weight. Flipping over is also impossible do to the fact that the dump box would limit this as it made contact with the hitch tube on the vehicle being towed. It would also take a lot of effort to do a wheelie thanks to the distribution of weight over the front of the vehicle and the position of the hitch.

yard mule side view

Side view of the completed Yard Mule.

The yard mule is a fairly large vehicle, but it can turn a nice small circle, sit it is highly maneuverable around the yard and between trees. There is plenty of ground clearance and with the 32 cubic foot dump box and trailer hitch, you can move a lot of heavy stuff in one trip.

tailgate half open

The tailgate locked out with the limiting chains.

Here I am testing the tailgate with a 170 pound load. The front end does not lift from the ground, even if I bounce up and down while sitting at the edge of the open tailgate. In this position, it would be no problem to carry 8 foot long logs or lumber, as the total bed length is 6 feet. A BBQ and small chair also fit nicely in the box for those after work tailgate parties out on the farm!

yard mule electric trike

The Yard Mule posing in its natural habitat.

Although I plastered the paint on with a roller in a real hurry, the finished Mule looks great, especially against the blue sky and similar colored wildflowers out in the yard. Yellow and black is always a great color combo, and the small amount of chrome tops it off perfectly. I am very pleased with this beast considering it was built mainly from rusty junk!

yard mule test riding

The Yard Mule is easily tamed by anyone.

Because it has a top speed of a brisk walking pace, the Yard Mule is tame enough for anyone to drive it. You do have to remember that the rear end is as wide as a pickup truck, but because the Mule is so maneuverable, it is very well behaved. In this photo, the Mule is passing the Mother in Law test ride with flying colors!

Heading out for a day of wood processing.

So that’s the end of my Yard Mule Build Log. The end result is a highly functional, clean and quiet running dump trike that can tow just about anything. I can now drag my log splitter and tools out into the bush and come back with fully processed firewood, ready for stacking. Life is so much easier now thanks to this versatile electric vehicle.

That's all… have to head out on my Mule to get some real work done!

– Radical Brad






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