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Implement Alley Discussion Forum

JD 963 Running Gear Questions

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06-12-2018 11:38:53

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I have this older 963 JD running gear that was originally set up to haul peach crates and has the leaf springs on the axles. What (if anything) would I need to do to convert this to a hay wagon? Can I build the new deck directly to the existing brackets on the springs?I know new tires are in order as well as complete maintenance. I will probably paint it up while I am in the process.
Second question: Are there any plans out there available for building the wood deck and back stop? Not many people around this part of SC square bale directly to the wagon, rather they bale on the ground and pick up later. I have a shute extension for my baler.

I sincerely appreciate any help!



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06-16-2018 14:22:08

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 Re: JD 963 Running Gear Questions in reply to EHinSC, 06-12-2018 11:38:53  
Leroy, Sounds like you have built and used a number of wagons, and I appreciate very much the benefit of your (and others) experience! As I summarize from the posts to date, it appears that I can either leave the springs in and build the bed on them or remove them and drop the stringers down to the frame, kind of a personal preference? Either way the bed would be built the same: 2(or3)X8 or 2(or3)X10 beams, with 2X4 or 2X6 stringers mounted flush (perpendicular) to the beams across the width (2/0 approx on center?) and then 2X6 running front to back? Finish with back boards and then 2X4 around perimeter flush to top? Am I getting close? I know that these are lots of questions and I am pretty good with construction techniques, just have never built one of these before! I have some full 5/4" rough white oak boards that have been air dried in my barn for several years but I don't have any 16/0 otherwise I would have liked to use them on the bed but guess they are not thick enough. If anyone would happen to have a few pictures of how their bed is constructed it would sure clear up a lot of this for me :D
Thanks so much!


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06-16-2018 19:58:10

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 Re: JD 963 Running Gear Questions in reply to EHinSC, 06-16-2018 14:22:08  
Never had anything except standard 1" flooring boards and most factory built that is all they used, no need to overbuild. and 16" spacing better than 24". In my 74 years I have seen a lot and used the wood running gears. Retired now.

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06-15-2018 17:15:57

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 Re: JD 963 Running Gear Questions in reply to EHinSC, 06-12-2018 11:38:53  
WI Dan, Thanks for the dimensions that helps me to source materials and get started on this project!


PS- Know some folks from Phillips area, and Waupon. Are you close to either?

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WI Dan

06-15-2018 09:17:55

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 Re: JD 963 Running Gear Questions in reply to EHinSC, 06-12-2018 11:38:53  
Ours hung out past the tires about 2' in the back, 1-1/2' in the front.

Easiest to build 8'wide x 16'long using common lumber sizes. Dad used 3x8 timber main beams, then laid 2x6x8 perpendicular across those. Bolted a 2x6x16 along each long edge (over the ends of the perpendiculars)

We were only going for 100-130 bales per load, so doesn't have to be too heavy duty. Our bales were 60-80 pounds

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06-16-2018 06:26:31

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 Re: JD 963 Running Gear Questions in reply to WI Dan, 06-15-2018 09:17:55  
I advised the 10" sills over the 8" because he was conserned with the springs flattening out and bed hitting tires. Other than that the 8" like you have is good but 2x4 cross pices is plenty.

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06-13-2018 06:00:39

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 Re: JD 963 Running Gear Questions in reply to EHinSC, 06-12-2018 11:38:53  
Used to be common on hay wagons with springs. A lot were built on an old car frame with the springs left in. Only problem id you need more clearance between bed and tire to allow spring to flatten under load so bed does not hit tire. Only other thingis when empth and you walk on bed the bed will bounce a bit with each step, have to walk like you were on a boat walking. As strong as those springs are dought you will even feel them under you. And if you have uneven ground they will keep bed from flexing-bending under load going thru waterways. Just use a good pine 2x10" for stringers, 2x4" cross pieces bolted on with1/8" x 1.5 in angle iron and just pine boards for floor with 2x4 along edge but fasten all 4 corners down to spring bolsters. That will haul all the load that gear is rated for and that is a 5 ton gear and that rating includes the gear and bed plus load. And for uprights on back just take some strap steel and bend it in a loop and fastine to back of sills and just drop a 2x4 in, always made the loop about a quarter inch less than the 4" directin on the upright and notch the bottom that much so they do not drop down. And they were always at right angle to bed, never a tilt back. Bought first baler in about 1955 and used all kind of wagon gears from wood wheel with auto axles under to completely home made up to 953 JD. Not uncommon to put a 150 bale on a gear made from a set of car front axles. And if that small bounce bothers you just stick a block of wood in there to keep springs from working.

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06-12-2018 19:36:03

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 Re: JD 963 Running Gear Questions in reply to EHinSC, 06-12-2018 11:38:53  
Yank the bolsters and ditch the springs. Reattach the bolster, and put a set of standards on them. Use a 3x8 oak set of beams, and put your girts across them, and your floor to the girts. We also put a rub guard around the outside, and some stake pockets.

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06-12-2018 18:10:05

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 Re: JD 963 Running Gear Questions in reply to EHinSC, 06-12-2018 11:38:53  
how many times has that one been turned over with the bed riding on a spring set-up like that

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Joe W.

06-12-2018 17:15:41

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 Re: JD 963 Running Gear Questions in reply to EHinSC, 06-12-2018 11:38:53  
My poor itching hands, is that poison ivy between the tongue and the front bolster? I've rebuilt many running gears including JD 952, 953, and 963 but none with springs under the bolsters. I have had my hands on a 963 with springs but didn't buy it as it was too rusty for me. Seems to me that you can just replace what you have with 2 new main beams between the standards on the bolsters and install floor joists perpendicular to the beams. Leave the springs just as they are, supporting the bolsters. No need to remove them.

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06-15-2018 06:23:48

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 Re: JD 963 Running Gear Questions in reply to Joe W., 06-12-2018 17:15:41  
Thank You for all of the replies! Joe W, I wondered if anyone would comment on the poison ivy when I took the picture! The gear has not been rolled, it is just "old" looking due to being stored outside for several years. It trails straight as an arrow at hwy speeds (empty) so I think I have a good starting point to rebuild this one. On the question of how to build the deck there seems to be a number of suggestions so I suppose it is whatever was common in the specific area. Is 3X8 large enough for beams or should I go 4X8 or thicker? What about length, is 16/0 about standard or longer? How about width? and how much deck should hang over front and back of gear?
Thanks Much, Ed

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06-16-2018 06:40:00

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 Re: JD 963 Running Gear Questions in reply to EHinSC, 06-15-2018 06:23:48  
3x8 plenty heavy. Factory built only used a 2x8 yellow pine, I just had to get rid of one that was probably 70+ years old because of rot from setting out the last few years. and 16' is good, you go longer too much walking to back end of bed to load. Some like up to 24' but then first part of load you need 2 people on wagon for loading and with a high capacity baler 1 people cannot even keep up on a 16' bed. And I don't like a 8' wide bed as it is wider than nessary. I like a 7' bed as you do not have bed sticking out beyond the bale but we baled 30" bales in later years after 36" became to heavy to want to handle. Now if you are on 42" bales the 8' bed would be good. We used 6.5' beds with the 36" bales with no problem at all. 2 36" bales with one lengthwise between. That made the bale overhang about 6-8" on each side but no problem with that, the edge rail kept them where they belonged.

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