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Old 01-26-2006, 10:58 AM
OkeeDon OkeeDon is offline
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Cool Southern Snow Trac . . . or would it be a SAND Trac?

Quote:
Originally Posted by B_Skurka
...they are great on sand, bogs, grass and marshland too! These are really the ultimately ATVs. By the way, I know where there is an open top Snow Trac, asking price is only $3500...
Bob, I didn't want to hijack the other thread, so your quote ended up here.

Question: How much do you think the tracks tear up the sand, bogs, grass, etc.? I realize they probably have a light footprint in terms of lbs/sq ft, as most tracked vehicles do, but I wonder how much they "scrub" when turning. Is it something you'd be willing to run across your lawn? Or does it leave a scar behind even in tougher environments?

What about track wear in a sandy environment?

What can one expect in terms of restoration costs? I'm familiar with "normal" things like fabrication, metal restoration, paint, upholstery, etc., and I've had a ton of air cooled VW's over the decades. What are the extraordinary costs? How much does it cost to rebuild/maintain the tracks? Are the bogey wheels, etc. available, and are they expensive? How much is a variator belt? Are there other specialized item costs like the variator belts?

How much do they weigh? I know you said it somewhere else, but I'm too lazy to look -- how fast do they go?

Has anyone ever put a yellow & white striped, fringed surrey top on an open-top Snow Trac? Will I get pilloried for even thinking the thought?

Don
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Old 01-26-2006, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Southern Snow Trac

Don, the weight is close to 3000# but is distributed over a very large footprint. To put that into perspective, your New Holland TC18, with loader, is over 2000# and the foot print is measured in a few square inches. Bear in mind, the top, windshield and side window areas of the cab simply bolt on and can easily be removed for use in a warm climate which would shave a couple hundred pounds off the weight.

I know of an open top Snow Trac that is in Indiana (unless it has been very recently sold) that spent its working life in Texas working on the sand in the oil fields.

I ran mine on the lawn this summer and fall, while it was in various states of repair and there were no problems with tearing up the grass. These are NOT tight turning machines, they probably turn a 30' circle. They are fantastic on the sand and dirt and they are reported to do exceptionally well in marshy land like muskeg, bogs, etc. Deep water would not be advised because they do not have a waterproof floor pan, and the engine sits low in the unit, futher you'd have to elevate the exhaust above the water level too.

The variator belt is going to run about $175, give or take. I'm in the process of buying a spare, but I'm lucky in that mine is in great shape so I doubt I will need a spare for a very long time. The tracks are very simple affairs, it is simply reinforced belting. If a drive sprocket wears, it can be reversed so it has quite a long life expectancy but if it breaks you'd either have to have a machine shop cut you one our you'd have to hunt to find one in salvage. Bogey wheels are available, I have about 20 spares, plus half that many inner tubes. But I've also heard of folks who have been able to buy similar sized units.

As for the fringed surrey top, you are probably the first to think of that, but I have some grand illusions of taking mine with me and turning it into a beach cruiser if I actually ever end up retiring to the beach. Like I said, removing the top is just a matter of unfastening some bolts. I'm seriously considering modifying mine to make it even easier to remove the top for summer use up here, I've just not thought the process through yet. But as there are no electrial wires on the rear 3/4ths of the cabin, it would be simple enough to leave the windshield area in place and just remove everything from that point back each summer. But in your climate, I would probably make the removal a complete removal including the windshield.

They go about 20mph. There were some that had a high speed sprocket, those go about 25mph.

The beauty of these is that they are relatively inexpensive. The open top unit in Indiana is/was for sale for $3500.
  1. In my first photo below, you should be able to see the bolts that hold the cabin in place. For my use, I am thinking of leaving the section with the 4 front windows (2 windshield + first window on each side) on for summer use and simply unbolting the rest as one unit and removing it each summer.
  2. Photo 2 below shows how simple the tracks really are. The front drive sprocket would be my biggest concern to replace. And yes, that is grass all over my tracks, I drove it across my freshly mowed lawn sometime before taking that photo!
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Old 01-26-2006, 01:18 PM
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Default Re: Southern Snow Trac . . . or would it be a SAND Trac?

Sounds like a doable project. It was your comment about the open top unit in Indiana that piqued my interest; my vulture's negotiating mind immediately reduced that to about $2,000 and I started wondering when we might be traveling near Indiana. Transportation is within bounds; I have a 16' double axle open trailer that we used to haul the race car, which weighs about 1,500#, and the Sprinter will tow 5,000#.

I notice the tracks have metal wear strips. Has anyone replaced them with rubber or similar strips that will not scratch a paved surface? I have no pavement on my property, but using the thing in a parade comes to mind.

I have absolutely no earthly use for such a thing; I already have the tractor and a golf cart for transportation around our property, and my s-i-l has a 500cc 4-wheeler if I need something faster. I'm just more than a little fascinated with the idea of having the only show trac in Florida, if it could be done cheaply enough.

I'm also thinking about the towing ability. Bear with me a little as I wander around in fantasy land. We've had some discussions about toy trains. Frankly, what I like are the trains that are big enough to ride on them, but I'll never be able to afford something like that. So, my thoughts are towards trackless trains (trackless in the sense of no metal tracks), also called rubber-tire trains. I've been researching the fabrication of passenger cars based on small trailers with seats similar to trams. I also looked at the barrel trains, and would do something like that for the kids, but I'm looking at the larger passenger cars (about 4 passengers each) as something I could use both here on my property and possibly for kid's parties, etc.

Most of them are towed with large garden tractors or compact tractors like my TC18 or 4 wheelers like Doug's, but I'm fascinated with the idea of having a "train" on tracks, even if the tracks are part of the "engine". I think you can see where I'm going with this?
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Old 01-26-2006, 01:22 PM
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Default Re: Southern Snow Trac . . . or would it be a SAND Trac?

This is similar to the kind of passenger cars I'm considering:



This is a commercial model with a fiberglass body, but you can see that it's mounted on an inexpensive trailer, and the design could easily be duplicated in plywood or similar for a small number of cars. The design could also be tweaked to take on a similar appearance to the Snow Trac.

The combination would certainly be different, attention-getting, and attractive to the kids.

These are the barrel cars, which can be used with smaller kids and a smaller "engine":



As you can see, this fellow was clever enough to base them in 2 wheel dollies!
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Old 01-26-2006, 01:40 PM
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Default Re: Southern Snow Trac . . . or would it be a SAND Trac?

Don, we have the tractor pulled trains up here too. Great fun at the church picnics and family picnics. I don't have one, but I wish I would have made one years ago when my daughter was smaller/younger.

As for the towing capacity, I really don't know. But one of their sales brochures shows them towing hay wagons in the summer and pulling 16 skiiers up a hill in the winter. I would presume it could easily pull a nice size train.

As for replacing the metal cleats. You need those, but there is no reason that you couldn't put an insert into the cleat, I am thinking of either a nylon/plastic wear strip or a wood one for mine. The metal cleat actually holds the track together, but it could very easily be covered with something softer. I've driven mine on asphalt with no problems and no scratching, but I suspect it does more damage to the track in terms of premature wear of the metal cleat than it would ever do to the pavement. I do suspect it might scratch a concrete surface some, but I had it at my warehouse during the early stages of work and we drove it on the concrete warehouse floor with no problems or damage that I could see.
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Old 01-26-2006, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: Southern Snow Trac . . . or would it be a SAND Trac?

Most of the folks who have a trackless train use it as a means of producing income. They hire themselves out for birthday parties, corporate picnics and such. Just as kids often have more fun playing with the cardboard box their expensive present comes in, they often have as much fun riding in a barrel behind a lawn mower as they do on the Small World ride.

These trains are perfect for a retired person like myself, especially when I have a s-i-l who is a fireman. Firemen work rotating 24 hour schedules with the result that they have lots of time for part time endeavors. Both my s-i-l and myself are interested in extra income. I have enough to retire, and he has enough to live, but neither of us has as much as we want to play.

We're looking for ventures where we control the schedule without commitment. The train idea is simple; if we want to do something else that day, we simply say we're booked. Marketing is accomplished by getting it out in front of the public; parades, or donating the train to a church picnic, for example.

The income isn't substantial, so the investment has to be kept reasonable. I was planning to tow the cars with my tractor, and that might still be the best choice. However, the marketing factor of the Sand Trac is powerful, providing the cost can be kept in line.

It's likely that we will not do anything with this idea until my barn is constructed so I have a place to do some fabrication, and that's probably at least a year away. So, with your ear finely tuned to the market, keep an eye out for me, and let me know if something moderately attractive and terribly reasonable comes available. I have more than the average mechnical skills, having constructed several race cars.
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Old 01-26-2006, 03:13 PM
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Default Re: Southern Snow Trac . . . or would it be a SAND Trac?

Don, I suppose one of the great advantages to owning a Snow Trac in Florida is that you could advertise free rides to/from the supermarket during blizzards and other such things. It would be a fun way of creating a special market niche.

You could probably get you all sorts of business during the Christmas season too if you play up the concept.
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while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage
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- Ayn Rand
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Old 01-26-2006, 04:33 PM
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Default Re: Southern Snow Trac . . . or would it be a SAND Trac?

Well, one thing is true, a Snow Trac is more practical in public than the other thing I have always wanted -- a hover craft. The problem with a hovercraft on land is that it's like a sand blaster to anyone within 20', making it impractical to be around other people.
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