2012 Update: Although the pace of people doing these conversions seems to be increasing, I'm afraid my postings have dwindled to nothing. I HAVE to post now, though, because I have just seen, and must award the "2012 Conversion of the year" to THIS project: http://www.versaland.com/2012/06/24/electric-tractor/
I understand that it is not yet the end of 2012, but it just can't get better than this.
2010 update: As of now (March 2010) a LOT of people have made these tractors (I think I can say "hundreds" now, though... really we're not counting. It was also great to see the AP News article on our tractor conversion in December 2009. I do not make any money from any part of the kit (and, no, I really don't want donations! It was fun to make it!) but... I have to admit that I have a hard time answering all the emails and especially phone calls with questions, so... please do keep questions to a minimum. ALL the information you need is on this website!
That being said... I have to admit I LOVE getting emails and pictures from people who've finished the tractors and are using them! Here's the latest and greatest (and it's quite informative):
From Marc: Just wanted to update you, last winter I said I was planning on using my Allis [G] electric to power mowers and sickles. Well, the mower and sickle both worked fantastic. I could mow about two full acres before I needed to recharge, also the same or more with the sickle. I also could plow one acre with the allis g one bottom plow. I love this tractor, thanks for all the great works you are doing.... Thanks , Marc
In the newspaper article it mentions that we are making a new "From Scratch" production model electric tractor. It's TRUE! But... it's a part time "fun-job" for me right now. We're on the fourth prototype and will post up more information in June of 2010. As of now the expected price is in the $5000-$6000 range finished. But that shouldn't discourage you from making your own if you can find a nice "G" around!!!! They are AWESOME conversions and fun to make!
Welcome to the step by step instructions for converting you old gasoline Allis Chalmer's "G" cultivating tractor into a smooth running, non-polluting, energy efficient, whirring and humming electric miracle worker that will seed and weed your fields for pennies a week -AND with even more power than the original gasoline version!
I am not a professional manual-writer or mechanic, so if (and when) you find things lacking or outright mistakes in this document, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and Iíll try to answer your questions personally. Iíll also update this manual on-line based on your questions (and suggestions) and in that way we should ultimately end up with a really solid document! If you are reading this in hard copy form, try to check out the webpage version of these instructions to see the latest updated information, clarifications and improvements. The website is www.flyingbeet.com/electricg.
It's recommended that you follow the instructions in this order (and to quickly skim through them) before you start the project. The skill level required to complete this conversion is VERY low, and the payback in gas saved, the "coolness" factor to you customers, and time saved in tune-ups makes it completely worth it!
Dec 2009 Update: LOTS more Electric G's have been made. We stopped counting at 100+. Even after all these years we still love ours and the batteries are still working fine (see my note in battery section, though! I'm kind of blown away by how popular they got in 2008! Herman Niekamp is the machinist that we write about in these pages and last year he created his page with more pictures and by far the most up-to-date information on what's happening with the G's. He sells kits that make it even easier to do this conversion yourself (you STILL NEED instructions and pictures on these pages, but his work eliminates 100% of the "hard parts" that I write about in the conversion. Check out his web page for more information!
Many of you have reported having trouble finding old Allis Chalmer G Tractors. This inspired me to build a "From Scratch" electric tractor. We have three prototypes now, and they will be available for sale for around $5500 (complete, not as a kit) starting in 2010. That's not to say that the electric G's aren't AWESOME! If you find an old G, you should definitely build your own! It's fun! Otherwise you can contact me for more information by going to the "CONTACT US!" page on the www.flyingbeet.com website.
1) Parts you need to order
2) Taking apart your existing tractor and preparing it for the conversion
3) Parts that need to be machined (Optional step!-For extreme do-it-yourselfers only!)
4) Actual installation instructions
5) Our solar panel experiment and learning experiences
6) Hard-learned experiences caring for batteries
7) Notes, disclaimers, thoughts and potential concerns
8) Acknowsledgements and Thank You's
NEW!!! Check out the award winning video we made on youtube featuring one of our Electric G's about how we farm. (It's supposed to be funny... so... please do laugh at us!)
Leave us a note if you liked it!
The Allis Chalmers "G" Cultivating and Seeding tractor was built in the late 1940's and 50's. It is really an unusual looking tractor, because the engine is in the back, allowing excellent an unobstructed field of vision of the implements, which are mounted on the BELLY of the tractor. Toolbars and implements are easily and quickly changed (especially if you drop the implements onto a dolly which can be rolled in and out).
The tractor doesn't have a 3 point hitch system, and it's PTO is non-standard... This is not a tractor most people are using to plow or disk fields. It's really magic is when it is used for seeding and cultivating.
It's nearest competitor is probably the Farmall "Cub", but... for me, the "G" is far better, simply because you are placed so close to the seeding and weeding implements you are using, allowing you to catch seeding snafu's and get closer in your mechanical cultivation.
Although they haven't made Allis-Chalmers "G" tractors in decades, you can find them for very cheap, often abandoned in back fields, with long-since siezed motors. (We advertised in the local paper to get one and "asked around" for another).
We paid under $1000 for both our "G" tractors. One actually had a running engine which I wasted a lot of time constantly fiddling with before I gave up and converted it to electric. Now, with these instructions, YOU TOO can rebuild an old stinky "G" into an efficient electric tractor that runs on pennies a day for decades longer.
Even if you are sure that you don't know anything about mechanical objects, you CAN do this conversion. Once you have the parts purchased and machined, it will take you a very short day at most to put this together. There are less nuts, bolts and parts to putting this together than there were with the porch-swing kit we just got from Home Depot. Now THAT was a job! Best of all, you'll never have to fiddle with tuning a gasoline engine again!
I've tried to write this as simply and clearly as possible using only plain english. That's partly because *I* don't know the tehcnical terms for mechanical parts either. When I built our first electric tractor, I had NO EXPERIENCE working with electric motors, and only limited exerience working on gasoline engines. That first tractor is well into it's third year now, and still working beautifully on a full-time basis, with NO tune-ups or adjustments necessary (unlike it's earlier gasoline incarnation!)
The tractor you'll be building from these instructions is even more bullet-proof and less-complicated to put together than our first machine. There are fewer machined parts, too, so if something DOES eventually break (we are farmers, after all) it should be even easier to order a bolt on, off-the-shelf replacement.
If you get stuck or confused, please don't hesitate to EMAIL ME (please don't call as it's gotten to be too many people). I'll try to incorporate the better questions and my answers into this website to make it better and easier for future folks to follow.