DIY Electric Car Forums banner

Starting tractor re-power with Leaf components

1258 Views 18 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  remy_martian
I've started collecting the components to convert a tractor. So far I have a salvaged 2015 leaf, and have my eye on some old tractors at auction that I think might be simple conversions. Hoping to get an Oliver 88, or 1550. We own two other leaf's (2015 and 2021). It will be fun to dig into one and learn.

I just discovered this forum and am really excited to find a place to come to share the experience. As I told my wife - I found my peeps! :)
1 - 4 of 19 Posts
Tractor size has been a big debate, on one hand I realize the leaf motor could do more, but I really don't want to tackle something big - garage size as you say is one limiter :) I also wanted something not running so it's cheep and I don't feel like I'm destroyed something useful if it doesn't work out. Thus looking for something old and mid-size. Large enough to be useful for making hay, and large enough to hold the batteries.

What I like about the Oliver design is the engine is not part of the structure/frame. And the transmission shafts (PTO and drive) are exposed. PTO shaft runs inside the drive shaft/pipe. I've got an idea for a clutch design, and hope to sketch it up and post it.

Reading some of the info here, I realize the RPM of the leaf motor will need to be geared down as you say - like by an order 2 to 4. I was thinking of just using the leaf transmission - but that would be too slow - I recall someone saying it's like a1:8 ratio. And of course it has the differential with 2 shafts... and the idea came to mind - if you hold one shaft stationary, the other shaft will spin at 2x the rate. Thus cutting the final ratio to around 1:4... However I'm concerned that differential isn't designed for that amount of use/abuse. Any thoughts?

My goal is to try to use as much as the OEM parts off the leaf as possible. motor, batteries, charger, controller, etc. So staying with the original battery size/voltage I assume would be needed to keep everything happy. Of course I would have to pull the battery pack apart and reconfigure it to the shape needed.

Thanks for the encouraging replies, my wife did agree - that 200hp JD would be a bit much :)
See less See more
Making some (mental) progress on this project - I plan to bid on a 1964 Oliver 1800 tractor (70hp). A step up from what I was originally thinking - up for auction Feb 23rd - it's not currently running so hopefully it goes for a reasonable price.

I'll probably not use the hydro-power box (2 speed gearbox connected to the bell housing) and use the Leaf gearbox with the spider gears welded such that I can use one side of the drive shaft running a 5-V-belt pulley to increase the RPM output using whatever ratio makes sense - thinking a 13" driving a 6" pulley might work.

The benefit of the pulley approach is I can easily change the ratio if I don't like it. Hoping to use the tractor's flywheel, clutch pressure plate attached to final pulley shaft.

I have an old New Holland self-propelled baler with a ford inline-6 that uses 5-Vbelts off the engine to run the thing, so I figured it may work here as well.
Have you considered a single toothed belt instead of a set of V-belts? The only things that you can guarantee about a set of V-belts are that they'll all be at different tensions and that one will fail before the others. ;)
My thinking on using the V-belts is that if something goes wrong I want it to slip instead of bust the tractor drive. That was more the case when I was thinking of using a smaller tractor, maybe not so much with the one I'm thinking of now. Haven't had an issue with them on my 50 year old baler - probably has the original belts on it.
1 - 4 of 19 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.