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Snowcat History, Articles, Manuals, Brochures & Recollections Forum Publications, specifications, production information for snow cats

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Old 04-07-2018, 10:31 PM
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Default Tucker 443 vs 543

Hey guys - new to the forum - super interested in Tucker’s - I’ve been reading through the forum for about a week and I’m struggling to nail down some information.

I’m trying to figure out which cat I want to search for, a 443 or a 543. So far I’ve caught that the 543 will have the bigger motor, bigger tracks/pontoons, power hydraulic steering and brakes.

I can’t find any information about cab size. Are they identical? I have noticed the 543 has 2 windows in the back and maybe bucket seats in the front vs. a bench.

I also can’t figure out what the first year of production for the 543 was.

Appreciate any information you guys can push my way.
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Old 04-07-2018, 11:12 PM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

400 brochure http://www.timwafer.com/Tucker/400.html

500 brochure http://www.timwafer.com/Tucker/500.html
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Old 04-07-2018, 11:40 PM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

your best source for info is Clyde at the Tucker Sno-cat, he knows all....
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Old 04-08-2018, 12:11 AM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pontoon Princess View Post
your best source for info is Clyde at the Tucker Sno-cat, he knows all....
Clyde is where I got most of my info to start with - Iím trying not to blow his email up.

Those brochures give a overall width, but Iím sure thatís outside of track. I canít find info on just the cabs. And the brochure for the 400 series shows a sedan with 2 rear windows - so now Iím a little more confused. Iím just gonna keep reading.
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Old 04-09-2018, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

Found this picture on the forum, I believe the bigger cat is a 543 and the smaller is a 443. Hope this helps[
ATTACH]98631[/ATTACH]
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Old 04-09-2018, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

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Originally Posted by GlacierSean View Post
Found this picture on the forum, I believe the bigger cat is a 543 and the smaller is a 443. Hope this helps[
ATTACH]98631[/ATTACH]
Thatís super helpful GS - thanks!
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Old 04-09-2018, 06:55 PM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

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Originally Posted by GlacierSean View Post
Found this picture on the forum, I believe the bigger cat is a 543 and the smaller is a 443. Hope this helps[
ATTACH]98631[/ATTACH]
The black machine is a 1700 series rubber track and the two orange machines are both 443's. The early 443's only have one window on a side. I believe the 500 series started in the mid 60's.

RRose- Where are you located and what is your intended use of a machine?
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  #8  
Old 04-09-2018, 07:17 PM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

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Originally Posted by Kristi Kt-4 View Post
The black machine is a 1700 series rubber track and the two orange machines are both 443's. The early 443's only have one window on a side. I believe the 500 series started in the mid 60's.

RRose- Where are you located and what is your intended use of a machine?
My bad, I thought that was user Tucker's 543 but it's missing and exhaust pipe and a window.
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Old 04-09-2018, 07:31 PM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

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Originally Posted by GlacierSean View Post
My bad, I thought that was user Tucker's 543 but it's missing and exhaust pipe and a window.
No worries... No one except yourself seems to be chiming in to help him out. The 60's 500 series machines have a center link to strengthen the grousers. The grousers are triangle in shape. The later 70's machines have a different style of grouser without the center link and are a solid steel bar. Both styles are 28 inches wide. Both 400 and 500 series have hydraulic steering.

The 544 (4 door) has a mix of both style grousers and the 543 has all with the center link.
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  #10  
Old 04-09-2018, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

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Originally Posted by Kristi Kt-4 View Post
RRose- Where are you located and what is your intended use of a machine?
Im actually located in Southern California - I’m looking for a restoration project that I’ll use in North Idaho when I retire. Intended use is just a fun vehicle to take some of the rallies.

I love the lines on the 50’s cats.

What I’m trying to figure out is what year did Tucker start making the 543’s?

And the interior cab width of a 443 and 543? I’m wondering if the cab of a 543 is any wider than a 443. I’m also curious if the cab of the 543 is any longer?

Lastly - did they ever make a 543 with the big center gauge that you see in the 443.

I appreciate your help guys - I’m dead set on buying one, I’m just trying to make a educated decision on what I want
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:51 PM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

What Iím trying to figure out is what year did Tucker start making the 543ís?

From what I have been able come up with = 1965

And the interior cab width of a 443 and 543? Iím wondering if the cab of a 543 is any wider than a 443. Iím also curious if the cab of the 543 is any longer?

I measured a 1950 443 and a 1966 543a - The 443 is a little over 10 ft long from the back of the cab to the dash and is 39 inches wide. The 543 is 48 inches wide x about 10 ft long also. The biggest differences between the two are the 443's cab width and the 543a has the gas tank between the drivers bench seat/passenger seats.

Lastly - did they ever make a 543 with the big center gauge that you see in the 443.
I believe the gauge that you are referring to has Tucker Sno Cat on the gauge and is from earlier models than the 500 series.

For kicks I measured a 1969 442a, 1965 442a, 1977 542a and a 1965 342a6. The two 442's and 542a were also 48 in wide and the 342 was 41 inches wide. I believe this would be the same width for a 343, 443, and 543 of the same year. The A refers to heavy duty 1 inch rollers instead of the standard 3/4 inch.

Hope this info will help you sort out what you need to look for!
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  #12  
Old 04-11-2018, 01:49 AM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

Ok...I’ll bite. If it was out there (and it’s probably not) what are you looking for? Gauge arrangement? Width? Length? Tucker was all over the map with some of its manufacturing. Also cats as old as your interested in are really hard to find totally unmodified. Just curious what your “must have” list is I guess.
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Old 04-11-2018, 11:09 AM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

I've not owned a steel track Tucker, so take my comments in light of that.

All four of the Tuckers I've owned are 1979 and 1980 models. The 1979 cab was 48" wide and the 1980 Tuckers have been 52" wide. Granted I'm 6'4 and about 225 lbs, but that four inches makes a big difference. With the 48" wide cab, two fairly big guys are rubbing shoulders. My unsolicited advice is to get the wider cab.

The vintage Tuckers have a coolness factor all to themselves, but with that comes certain drawbacks. Some parts are either unobtainable or really expensive. Pontoon Princess and SnoDrifter have considerable experience with these machines and can speak much more knowledgeably than I on parts availability and pricing. They can tell you what to look for in a used machine and advise on repair procedures as well.

Welcome to the forum and good luck in your quest!
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  #14  
Old 04-11-2018, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

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Originally Posted by Blackfoot Tucker View Post
I've not owned a steel track Tucker, so take my comments in light of that.

All four of the Tuckers I've owned are 1979 and 1980 models. The 1979 cab was 48" wide and the 1980 Tuckers have been 52" wide. Granted I'm 6'4 and about 225 lbs, but that four inches makes a big difference. With the 48" wide cab, two fairly big guys are rubbing shoulders. My unsolicited advice is to get the wider cab.

The vintage Tuckers have a coolness factor all to themselves, but with that comes certain drawbacks. Some parts are either unobtainable or really expensive. Pontoon Princess and SnoDrifter have considerable experience with these machines and can speak much more knowledgeably than I on parts availability and pricing. They can tell you what to look for in a used machine and advise on repair procedures as well.

Welcome to the forum and good luck in your quest!
well, this is where I insert foot...

as I posted early in this thread, your best source for info and now will include with that, machines and parts, is Clyde at the Tucker factory, he has access to all the original engineered drawings and specs, along with the resources to have parts made and with the ability to make them available to the public through the Vintage department of Tucker Sno-cat. And this is a very good thing that Tucker Sno-cat is involved with full restoration and suppling parts for our vintage Tuckers.

whatever parts I have, I truly need for my current restorations, like many, I also, will be facing the real issue of lack of parts to support my running machines, thus, even with having the ability to make new parts, the costs are still very high along with the high cost of maintaining a pontoon Tucker.

( it is a great way to make a million dollars out of 5 million dollars )

for the vintage collector of snow cats with occasional use, I believe a snow trac is the best machine for the money. Seems everyone relates to them and the VW guys go wild when they see one at a local summertime car show.

I, also, welcome you to the forums and good luck with your search for that prefect snow cat. also, highly encourage you to call Clyde, he runs the Vintage department at Tucker sno-cat.

FYI, 500 tucker uses the same body, and fifth wheels as the 400 series, a 500 tucker has the larger pontoons, axles and a longer wheel base, otherwise a 400 and 500 are one in the same, and if you want a center mounted speedo, which was used in the earlier tuckers, just make a new dash and put the speedo in the middle

so, thats my .02 worth, in IMHO.

Last edited by Pontoon Princess; 04-11-2018 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 04-12-2018, 12:00 AM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

Appreciate all your help guys. Iím anxiously searching.
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Old 04-12-2018, 12:55 PM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

Quote:
Originally Posted by RRose View Post
Appreciate all your help guys. I’m anxiously searching.
good luck with that anxious search,

have you ever driven and or even ridden in a Tucker?

Couple things you should keep in mind, first, Tucker is truly meant to be driven at 5 MPH and really no faster, and speed does seem to always be the most important thing that comes up with snow cat owners, so, Tucker is the slowest of all snow cats, next, and all kidding aside, Tuckers have the highest maintenance requirements of all snow cats, and that translate into the very high costs to restore the pontoons, grousers, rollers and links. And need to mindful that with all the square tubing used to build the frames of tuckers, they tend to rust from the inside out.

Make sure you inspect it carefully, funny thing is, the most awful worn out, rusted out, trashed out Tucker still preforms as it was intended when new,

The faster you go in a Tucker, the costs of keeping it going, goes up almost in a vertical line, oh well, it is only money.

even with all the down sides to a Tucker, there is nothing that compares to it's history, looks and it is, the machine that all other snow cat owners rely on to get back home with their snow cat. Long live the pontoon Tucker.

if this is all known to you, my apologies

if you have not experienced a Tucker personally, up close, why not fly up to Portland, on April 22, Sunday, and come on up to Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood for a couple of days, would be happy to pick you up at the airport and get you up the the mountain. I will be at the Portland airport at 9:30 picking up another snow catter on Sunday.

Happy to let you drive my Tucker and do know there will be serval other makes and models up there for you to check out, a little knowledge can be dangerous
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Last edited by Pontoon Princess; 04-12-2018 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:22 PM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

You forgot to mention the complimentary orange kewl aide on tap. Free refills
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Old 04-12-2018, 10:19 PM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

PP - I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your offer. I’m extremely interested in taking you up on that. I’ll see if I can adjust my schedule to make that work. That’s a heck of an opportunity.

I can totally understand how my newbie posts look to you guys. I haven’t had the opportunity to drive or ride in a Tucker. I’ve been interested in tracked snow vehicles since I was a kid when I tried to buy a Kristi KT-3. Tucker’s just recently caught my attention and I absolutely love the look of them. I’m really enjoying learning about them and talking back and forth with guys that are really into them. I love having a new vehicle to learn about and a new restoration project.

My background is primarily offroad Racing and motorcycles - so I am well versed in “the faster you go, the more you pay”. I’m a member of a Trophy Truck team and have my own large 4 seat Prerunner.

I promise I’m not going to be a “flash in the pan” member of this forum and I appreciate all the tid bits of information I’ve gotten from everyone. It all adds up.
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Old 04-12-2018, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

well, with your resume, you would be very well served to head on up to Portland and onto Timberline, quite sure you are a quick study and with that, you will leave knowing just what to buy without question.

let me know, and again I am most happy to pick you up and make sure you sample all the varieties of snow cats that will be up at Timberline. bring warm clothes

and make your reservation at Timberline Lodge, and enjoy the adventure

Last edited by Pontoon Princess; 04-12-2018 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 04-12-2018, 11:27 PM
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Default Re: Tucker 443 vs 543

I know this is supposed to be about sno cats but I have to say sweet 4x4. Those king shocks are super nice. I am gonna guess it has an LS? How many horses?
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