Andy's homemade truck (part 2)

I previously wrote about Andy's truck in 2010. But in the winter of 2011-2012, Andy had some time to finish it up, so it was time for another video!

In the last video, the truck was actually less completed than it looked. It didn't have the final suspension yet, no hydraulic pump for dumping, no windshields, and, most importantly, no brakes!

It's a bit of a step up to get in, but this is not one of those trucks that's a glorified passenger vehicle.

The doors hinge at the back. Such doors are also known as "suicide doors", probably because the wind could pull them all the way open when driving at high speed. But this truck doesn't go that fast, so it's less of an issue.

The doors have this neat feature, they can flip back a full 180 degrees so the truck can be operated with the doors open without getting them caught on stuff.

A clever arrangement with a hatch-lift gas cylinder from a hatchback keeps the door all the way open or all the way closed.

The truck bed tilts for dumping. Handy when hauling firewood. Andy says he's loaded it up with as much as one ton at a time.

The dump hydraulics are powered by a 12-volt hydraulic pump from Princess Auto.

The truck is powered by a turbo diesel engine and gearbox from an old VW Golf. In the Golf, the engine was mounted transverse, but in this truck, it's mounted front to back. The differential and drive shafts on the engine are used as a front-rear transfer case. Instead of wheels, the drive shafts turn two old Toyota differentials at the front and back. The differentials themselves make for additional gear reduction. The extra gear reduction makes for lots of torque, but low speeds.

The old water tank at left is the gas tank.

The transmission has a shifter linkage, and that linkage has to go around a few corners to get to the gear shift.

The dashboard is a rather plain affair, but it has a radio, also salvaged from an old car.

The pedals, with their linkages.

The steering goes thorough a chain to the power steering unit below. With all the components considerably rearranged from how they would be in a normal car or truck, this presented some challenges.

The gear shift is quite far to the left so that the linkage clears the radiator that is in the bottom center of the vehicle.

There are lots of challenges in building a vehicle like this. It's not just a matter of connecting shafts together. The gear ratios have to be just right. If you don't think it through carefully, you just might end up with a vehicle that has one forward and five reverse gears, or maybe one that turns left when you turn the wheel right. And the vehicle must be strong enough to withstand a beating, but not too heavy. These things can't easily be calculated, much of the design is based on experience and intuition.

We took the truck for a spin on a ploughed field. It's been a very dry summer, so that ploughed field was hard as rock and bumpy! No mud to play in, but at least the truck stayed clean.

A snow clearing blade mounts to the front. In the winter, Andy uses it to clear his and his neighbour's driveway. We played around with scraping some soil, but the snow blade was no match for packed dry soil.

The original intent for the truck was to use it to haul supplies for tree planters. But it didn't get used for that because of liability and insurance. A homemade truck is just about impossible to insure for commercial purposes, so the tree planting company got cold feet about it.

Next generation scrap metal engineer!

See also:

More home improvement projects on my Woodworking website