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      Tractor: Tractor: Specialization - THE SPORT OF TRACTOR PULLING
    Posted on Tuesday, October 19 @ 11:58:51 UTC by Cars
      Tractor THE SPORT OF TRACTOR PULLING In the early years of the 20th century, when agriculture in the United States was booming, huge numbers of boulders had to be removed with the help of horses from massive acreages before they could be cultivated. Folklore has it that one farmer told another that he could remove a larger boulder than the other, and so almost inevitably a competition started.

    At the time of the outbreak of World War II, the mechanization of agriculture was well under way and by then tractors were being used for clearing boulders. Such boulder-pulling was seen as a challenge and informal competitions were introduced. The tractor that was needed on the farm all week was used for "tractor pulling" on Sundays. Over the years the tractors became bigger and the competition became ever more serious. Eventually the boulders also became a little too large to handle so the "dead-weight sled" was introduced. This was a sled with weights on it, connected to the tractor by means of a chain. It was all or nothing: either the tractor took of with the sled or it lost grip and spun its driven wheels, digging itself into the track. To gain more grip, the tractors were soon loaded with anything that was heavy. Later on came the idea of making the sled heavier during the pull. A number of volunteers stood next to the track and stepped on the sled as it went past: this was, unsurprisingly, called a "step-on sled". The greater the distance covered, the higher the position. If a tractor made it to the end of the track this was called a "full pull" and the driver qualified for the finals of the day's events. Over years of pulling, the tractors continued to grow. It became harder to recruit volunteers to step on the sled because it was going faster and faster and, naturally, safety became an issue. To solve the problem, the "weight-transfer machine" was developed. This is a sled which has wheels at the rear end. At the start of the pull the weights are placed above the wlieels. As the tractor starts to pull, the weights travel forward to the sled-plate by means of a chain. The friction increases and at some point the tractor loses traction. This principle is still in use today. The best pull is made when the tractor has a quick start. At the start of the track the sled is easy to pull, so a lot of speed can be developed. As the friction increases, the speed of the sled and tractor means that the whole unit keeps powering on and goes a few metres further. The distance covered is now measured with infrared equipment, and the results of a pull, so calibrated, show that sometimes tractors come as little as 1cm/ 1/2in short of a full pull, or stop at exactly the same point. At tractor-pulling events, it is not only power that counts. Almost as important is the balance of the tractor. The sport of tractor pulling could be described as the world's most powerful motor sport, albeit not the fastest. The tractors compete in a complex array of classes. Within the modified class come specially designed tractors, that compete in different weight classes. All types of component parts are allowed as long as the overall weight and size are within the rules. The numbers and types of engines are similarly limited by the rules. There are now also strict safety rules to protect the tractor, driver and spectators from danger. Usually, the specially constructed chassis in this class is fitted with the rear axle of a truck or excavator shovel. The internal components are replaced with stronger gears. The tyre size is limited to a diameter of 77.5-81cm/30.5-32in by the rules. The original tractor-tyre profile is always decreased by reducing the pressure in order to generate sufficient wheel-spin to prevent the tractor digging itself in while giving enough traction tt move the sled forwards. In the largest-capacity classes aircraft engines are often used today, as are gas-turbines. In the United States V8 racing-engines are very popular and in Europe tractors are fitted with up to nine engines, depending on the type and weight class. The Super Standard or Super Stock classes feature heavily tuned standard agricultural tractors, weighing 4.5 tons. The basis of the tractor is a normal agricultural model but not much of tlie machine is left - everything that is normally needed for field operation is removed, The block, the clutch housing, the gearbox liousing and the rear-axle have to be original although the insides of these components can be modified. To increase the engine's power, a maximum of four turbos can be fitted, as long as it all fits under the original tractor hood. The great amount of air that flows into the intake means that a lot of diesel can be injected into the cylinders. When the air is compressed by the turbos a great deal of heat is produced and to prevent the turbos from melting, a spray of water is injected into the intakes; this water leaves the exhaust as water vapour. To make sure this massive power reaches the wide rear tyres, numerous parts of the transmission are replaced by stronger versions, while all the unnecessary gears are removed. Alky-burners which use methanol can be fitted: methanol burns for longer than diesel, so more power is generated and the engine suffers less stress. Numerous modifications are needed but up to 2500bhp is achievable. The Garden Puller is the ideal start-up class. Drivers may compete from tlie age of eiglit and since this class requires little more than a former lawnmower or garden tractor it is available to those with limited funds. Mini-pullers are small modifieds, whose weight must include both the weight of the driver and its fuel. This class uses its own special, small sled and the tractors are custom-designed and built. They use mainly V8 engines and helicopter turbines. The power produced can be up to 3000bhp, though the average is about 1700bhp. Due to the enormous power-to-weight ratio, these machines are very hard to handle. The rear axles are mostly custom-engineered and the gearbox is little more than a single speed with a reverse gear.
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