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bang out studs

Removing the studs.

Before messing around with the hub, the lug nut studs need to be removed. These just tap out as they are press fit into the holes in the hub. Now when I say “tap out”, I actually mean bash them with a large hammer until the come out. They can actually be used again as the ends are smaller than the threads, but these are too far gone from rust and will be replaced.

grinding off hub

Removing the pesky centering hub.

The lug nuts ensure that the rims are pulled onto center when they are tight, so I don’t really need this annoying entering bore that is preventing me from using any 5 bolt rims from the various auto manufacturers. It protrudes form the face of the hub, so it actually adds no strength to the hub axle assembly, and is really ruining my day. Time for it to go.

cutting hub center

Centering hub cut away.

A few minutes with my favorite tool and a thin zip disc, and the annoying centering hub was toast. Now my Dodge rims will fit onto the Ford differential. Take that, Non-Standards Committee, I win!

flap disc cleaning

Cleaning up the hub face.

The flap disc makes nice work of the hub face, and now there is almost no sign of that centering hub that was attempting to stop me from using the rims I had on this hub.

dodge rims on ford hubs

Dodge wheels on a Ford differential.

So here is the result of not letting anything get in my way… a set of Dodge Ram rims mounted to an old Ford F150 rear differential. These nice wide tires will support the load nicely, which means no ruts in my yard when moving a heavy load of dirt or gravel. I can also safely drive over the septic field with no risk of damage. This is probably going to be the heaviest part of the entire vehicle, which is fine because it is also the most robust part and has to carry all loads and performs the job of transmission system.

old motorcycle

Look what the dump fairy brought me!

Another treasure I found on a trip to the dump was this old 1970 Kawasaki dirt bike hulk, which had a set of front forks and wheel. This find was the perfect solution to the front end of The Yard Mule, as it only needs a basic steering system. A trike was decided early on, since this made the vehicle much simpler, especially when comparing the complexity of a two front wheel steering system to this one. All I have to do here is chop the head tube and recycle the rest as it is.

If you look at any of the DIY Bike Plans on the main page, you will notice that I am a huge fan of recycling parts, and in almost every instance, I cut the head tube from a frame for re use in the new project. I shall do the same here, as the components are the same, just slightly larger.


Messing around at the end of the day.

The sun was going down and the skeeters were starting to annoy me, so it was time to pack it in for the night. I threw the old motorbike frame into position, just to get an idea of how long the vehicle might be. This looked pretty good, and would support a dump box of about 4 feet by 4 feet right over the rear axle. Things were starting to come to life now.

motors and sprockets

Several DC motors and sprockets.

I had a good collection of DC motors, sprockets, bearings, and chain in my collection form all the years of building monster size robots. The motor on the top left is actually from the “Sparky” DIY Electric MiniBike shown on our plans page, and it is a 1 HP motor that runs well on 24 volts. The motor just beneath it is a super-efficient “pancake” style motor capable of over HP at the same voltage, and is only about twice the weight. The box on the right is a 300 Amp motor controller designed for golf cars, and would work well with either motor.

I will dig more into the technical specs and sourcing parts in the final DIY Plan when it is online. At this point, I am still in the testing phase.

pmg-132 motor

DC motor and motor controller.

I decided to use the large 20,000 watt motor and the golf car controller for The Yard Mule. With a serious gear reduction and #40 chain, the drive system and transmission should be bullet proof, operating maintenance free for the rest of my lifetime. I like to over build everything. Most manufactured products are designed to handle “typical use”, but when I build something it is designed to handle “holly sh$t batman, I can’t believe it took that!” kind of abuse. Why make something that works 99% of the time and then fails on the first unexpected event?

pmg-132 power

PMG-132 Motor specifications.

For a motor that isn’t much larger than a car alternator, it sure packs some serious specifications. When I compare this to the 500 watt bicycle hub-motor than accelerated me up a hill at city traffic speeds (see E-Style Electric BMX and Silent Speedster DIY Plans), I just can’t imagine having 40 times that power available! Now consider the final gear reduction of about 30:1 and you can say that this vehicle will have about 1200 times the amount of power needed to propel an adult up to 25 miles per hour!

Yeah, I think The Yard Mule will have some serious power!

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