Tractor Pull With Turbo Charged Riding Lawnmower
Life on the farm can be kind of laid back – that’s until someone decided to take a turbocharged Honda B16A out of an old 1991 Honda Civic and strap it into his riding lawnmower. That’s when things get crazy for an old International tractor thinking it has the upper hand in a tug of war! In the early 90s, Honda came out with the first VTEC engine. Yes, that’s right – Honda.
Electronically controlled variable timing was a brand new thing back then. But it proved to distinguish Honda’s line of Civics and Accords. To be honest, Honda’s goal back then probably wasn’t to build one of the most affordable tuners on the market. They were likely eyeballing European markets that were becoming increasingly picky about emissions standards. The fallout from this is when the Civic first got the B16A, it was surprisingly fuel efficient, lightweight, and powerful.
While only packing 158 hp and 111 lb-ft of torque, it redlined out at a staggering 8200 rpm. That’s a lot of revolutions per minute for a 1.6 liter engine to handle! For a little comparison, when we take a Case IH tractor from the early 1990s, its International engine produces just a bit over 100 hp. So right away, that Honda Civic engine is built well above that standard.
While it may surprise some, the world of custom drag racing tractors with heavy duty turbocharged motors is actually a budding world. Whether its bored farmers looking to rip acro
While it may surprise some, the world of custom drag racing tractors with heavy duty turbocharged motors is actually a budding world. Whether its bored farmers looking to rip across fallow fields or enterprising mechanics looking to make a name for themselves – custom tractor building actually incorporates all the same knowledge required to go onto the drag strip. Drag racing on the speedway is cost prohibitively expensive. The average drag racer hitting the strip is likely to burn through over several hundred dollars worth of fuel, equipment, and engineering before the race is even concluded. According to the NHRA, the engine alone costs $250,000. We’re not even discussing safety equipment, classes, special organization licenses and certifications to just set rubber onto the starting line. So for many would-be racing aficionados, custom built tractor riding lawnmowers are the perfect blend between reality and budget. The best advice given on this topic has been from long time amateur Merle Grabhorn. He has been a hot contender on the amateur league racing circuit and has put plenty of time, blood, and money into the sport. His advice? Starting off, know what parts you need to build a rig and then focus on building the most solid, safe drag racer for that budget.
Just looking at the mechanics, these are some of the absolute requirements to not just compete but be able to come back for the next race.
• Auto Transmission Reverse Lockout Shifter
It’s more than likely that if you’re racing, you’re using a manual transmission. In order to deter the possibility that a racer may inadvertently shift into reverse, an auto transmission reverse lockout shifter is an absolute requirement.
• Driveshaft Loop
Every gear change means a different distribution of power from the engine to the transmission. A great driveshaft loop is actually one of the best ways to ensure that while a driver is screaming around the track in low gear, he can quickly switch up or down without losing too much mechanical power. A cheap driveshaft loop can and will snap like a twig when things get hot.
• Liquid Overflow
Also known as a “puke can”, it allows the radiator to spill excess when the engine is literally cooking itself to an early death. Because racers moving at high speeds are pushing their coolant systems well past allowable limits, the pressure can get so high it bursts the radiator. This is bad. So allowing liquid overflow gives your radiator a chance to stay in the fight no matter how hard for the engine.
• SFI Helmet
Safety first. If racing a drag lawnmower or a professional car, a helmet that’s rated to keep one’s noggin intact is a requirement by the track. It’s for insurance purposes. In all likelihood, a great helmet can be the absolute difference between a mild concussion and permanent brain injury. Don’t take chances – wear a rated SFI helmet.
• Master Electrical Cut Off Switch
In an emergency situation, electricity needs to be cut off immediately. All that hot voltage moving through the car can be a danger to crews trying to recover a driver. Most racing cars and drag cars have a master electrical cut off switch located in the trunk. This gives emergency personnel the chance to keep themselves safe while getting the driver out of the wreckage. Safety is always a number one priority.