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1997 Reader's Choice - Under $5,000

A better drawbar hitch

Brian Olson's decade-long quest to bring a better, more compatible tractor/implement drawbar hitching system to farmers is finally paying off. His idea also struck a chord with readers, who responded in droves to make it the most requested product from all of our pages in 1997.

Since Farm Industry News first reported on this farmer turned inventor and his hitch system over a year ago, the tables have turned.

"Farmers have been the driving force behind getting dealers and manufacturers to adopt this hitch," Olson says. Now, manufacturers, over 110 currently, are rapidly adopting his Drop Pin tractor hitch and accompanying Three-In-One implement hitch. In fact, Case Corporation was so impressed with this system, it has incorporated it into three manufacturing facilities with plans to eventually adopt it on all equipment. And Case dealers are currently selling hitches, which Case calls Auto Pins, to farmers as an aftermarket item.

Shortliners and other majors also believe in Olson's hitch. Deere has added the low-profile hammerstrap to its 8000 series tractor line, and other major equipment companies will soon follow suit.

And Olson's ultimate dream to get the entire global industry to adopt a hitching standard, to once and for all eliminate the frustration from mismatched hitching he knew as a farmer, is gaining steam. The Equipment Manufacturers Institute (EMI) is helping him get this system adopted by the International Standards Organization (ISO) and American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE).

Although models and product availability are currently limited, Olson's company, Power Pin, will introduce five new models in the next six months. He currently offers four categories of implement-type Three-In-One hitches for $50 to 165, and one model of the Auto Pin ($225) designed for the Magnum tractor.

To learn more about these hitches, contact your Case dealer, call Westward Products in Jamestown, ND, at 701/251-2182 or Power Pin Inc., Dept. FIN, 3143 Neal Bay E., Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4N 6V9, 306/525-0323 or circle 244.

Get hitched quick

Kansas farmer George Hund got tired of getting on and off the tractor and hand cranking the mechanical jack on the feed wagon to hook and unhook, so he began toiling in the shop four years ago to find a solution. What resulted was the Quad-Hitch hydraulic drawbar, designed to pick the tongue off the ground and hook up the implement without leaving the tractor seat.

This top product from last March fits most Cat. II and III 3-pt. hitches. The quick hitch allows proper distance for PTO use; requires no implement modifications; offers bale fork attachments; and can pull heavy implements such as grain carts or four-wheel trailers without sway. And Hund's latest redesigned model, Quad-Hitch II, features an automatic latch so you can pull a nylon cord from the cab to release the implement.

Hund is looking for a buyer so he can get back to farming full time, and says he currently has several major manufacturers interested in the product. For more information contact Progressive Pioneer Farms, Dept. FIN, Box 750122, Topeka, KS 66675-0122, toll-free 888/456-4561 or circle 245.

Fix PTO drivelines

Tiger Tool, which specializes in U-joint pullers for big trucks, downsized this technology and introduced two new PTO pullers that attracted wide interest from farmers. The pullers are claimed to remove bearing cups without damaging the driveshaft, yokes, joints or bearing cups. You simply slip one over the yoke and turn the bolt to pop out the cup; no more hammering or traditional vice and socket removal methods. Model AG 5 ($120) fits smaller shafts and AG 4 ($125) works on larger PTO shafts. You can get both, plus two U-joint pullers for trucks and pickups in Kit 400, priced at $535. But for Farm Industry News readers, Tiger Tool is offering either PTO puller for $99 or the kit for $495 during the month of January. Contact Tiger Tool International Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 1420, Sumas, WA 98295, 800/661-4661 or circle 246.

Super storage

Frustration with a dysfunctional farm shop may have been a big reason so many readers responded to our story last January on Stanley's Vidmar storage cabinets, claimed as the "Mercedes" line of tool and parts storage. These guaranteed-for-life cabinets begin with a 2 1/2- to 5-ft.-tall shell. Depending on your storage needs, you can select drawer sizes ranging from 21/8 in. up to 25 in. deep. All drawers come with strong steel partitions inside so you can store dozens of segregated small parts or tools in any configuration. And the strength of the cabinet alone, which weighs approximately 600 lbs. empty, allows you to house up to 400 lbs. of parts or tools per drawer and then fully extend it to find items stored in the back row. According to the company, one 5-ft. cabinet with 10 drawers may be enough storage for most farms and would cost about $110 to 120 per drawer. Contact Stanley Storage Systems, Dept. FIN, 11 Grammes Rd., Allentown, PA 18105-1151, 800/523-9462 or circle 247.

A sharper bit

The Drill Doctor, a new concept in drill bit sharpeners, garnered high interest from readers in April. Made by Darex, a leader in industrial-grade tool sharpeners, this scaled-down unit for small bits is selling rapidly and customers are highly satisfied, according to American Made Sales, distributor for the product. The company claims it's as easy as sharpening a pencil; there's no guesswork on getting the right sharpening angle, plus it'll put a split point back on bits, all within 90 sec. Two models are available: model 500 ($129) sharpens 3/32- to 1/2-in. bits, and model 700 ($169) handles 3/32- to 3/4-in. bits. Contact American Made Sales Inc., Dept. FIN, Box 106, Side Lake, MN 55781, 800/626-6015 or circle 248.

Fits-all sockets

Tools, especially those that serve multiple functions, continue their popularity among readers. Such is the case with the Gator Grip and Li'l Gripper universal sockets. While the exterior looks like a normal socket, inside are 54 steel pins on individual springs that grip any hex, wing or square nut from 1/4 to 3/4 in. (Gator Grip) or 1/4 to 9/16 in. (Li'l Gripper). The company claims the sockets handle 250 ft.-lbs. torque, power that would snap a normal 3/8-in. ratchet. Price: $15 to 20. Check for it at your local True Value hardware store or Wal-Mart or buy it direct from Endeavor Tool Co., Dept. FIN, Box 300, Guilford, CT 06437, 203/453-1947 or circle 249.

Stop battery drain

Almost everyone has experienced the frustration of a dead battery due to lights left on or other such voltage drain problems, hence the popularity of the new PriorityStart! device among readers. Not only was it tops among our readers, but Motor Trend named it one of its most innovative products for 1997. This patented computerized electromechanical switch constantly monitors battery voltage. Once a drain begins, this device automatically disconnects the load when voltage falls to a predetermined level, leaving you with enough power to start the vehicle. Price: $80. Contact BLI International, Dept. FIN, 17939 Chatsworth St., Suite 521, Granada Hills, CA 91344, 800/780-8276 or circle 250.

Pickup with a trunk

Many readers liked the concept of storing tools and parts inside the panels of a pickup box, rather than in the typical toolbox that takes up valuable room in your truck bed. The Hide 'N Side, which originally was going to use composite panels to replace existing box side panels to create the storage area, has now switched to an entire box replacement. By mid-1998, the company plans to have a localized truck dealer network set up to sell and install its unique storage beds, made from the same sheet metal that truck makers use. Hide 'N Side plans to offer both 6 1/2- and 8-ft. boxes to fit certain Ford, Chevy and Dodge midsize pickups (8,500 to 10,000 lbs. GVW), at an installed cost of under $3,000. Locking side panels will flip up, allowing 20 cu. ft. of storage for the 6 1/2-ft. box and 27 cu. ft. on the 8-ft. box. Contact Hide 'N Side Innovative Truck Storage, Dept. FIN, 2533 N. Carson St., Carson City, NV 89706, 510/583-1359 or circle 251.

A lower sidewall

Titan is banking its future on the success of this new concept tire, a low sidewall (LSW) design called the Grizz. Titan redesigned not only the tire, but also the wheel it goes on, which piqued the interest of our readers last summer. Titan believes the LSW will revolutionize off-highway tires, by taking out the "bounce" for increased stability and control, better bead retention, reduced inflation pressures and improved sidewall stability. They claim this is accomplished by increasing the size of the wheel, decreasing the sidewall height and changing the bead seat angle so the tire stays on the rim under heavy torque requirements.

Product development and testing continue, and Titan plans to roll out smaller ATV and skid-steer LSW tire/wheel packages first before pursuing larger tractor tires. Contact Titan International Inc., Dept. FIN, 2701 Spruce St., Quincy, IL 62301, 217/228-6011 or circle 252.

Powerfull cordless

Readers annoyed by the occasional buzzing of older cordless phone models took a liking to the new 900MHz digital cordless phone from Lucent Technologies that claims to offer ultraclear sound up to 4,000 ft. from its base. Since we introduced model 9510 back in our May/June issue, Lucent has introduced a slimmer and trimmer improved model 9515. Features include automatic frequency-hopping among 173 channels to find the clearest signal; Eaveslock security to make the signal virtually impenetrable; Power Reserve battery backup that allows use of the phone during power outages; a HyperCharge system that'll fully charge the battery in 90 min.; and a MultiHandset system that accommodates up to three handsets with one base, allowing handset-to-handset intercom operation, broadcast paging and call transfers. Price: $279. Phones are available at Sears, Service Merchandise, Best Buy and other national retail chains. Contact Lucent Technologies, Dept. FIN, 5 Wood Hollow Rd., Rm. 1H16, Parsippany, NJ 07054, 800/222-3111 or circle 253.

New GPS receiver

Ag Leader, the company that offered one of the first yield monitors on the market, received strong reader interest when they introduced the GPS 2000 receiver ($3,590). It provides position data for the yield monitor and can be used as a stand-alone system, picking up either the Coast Guard or Army Corps of Engineers differential correction beacon signal. Since then, the company has added the GPS 2100 ($4,590) that also offers satellite differential correction (from Omnistar or Racal providers). Ag Leader claims the 2100 offers users flexibility not previously available in the GPS market, because it'll pick up either the free Coast Guard beacon (if available in your area) or a satellite service. Contact Ag Leader Technology Inc., Dept. FIN, 1203A Airport Rd., Ames, IA 50010, 515/232-5363 or circle 254.

Alarm your farm

Numerous readers were interested in the new Drive-Alert driveway sensor that alerts them when vehicles are approaching the farmstead. A sensor buried alongside the drive detects moving metal (within 8 ft. of the sensor). A cable carries a signal to a control panel in your home, which will trigger pleasant-sounding chimes and/or switch on interior or exterior lights as the vehicle approaches, depending on which modules you buy. The Drive-Alert can be attached to as many as three sensors, which can be up to 5,000 ft. from the control panel. Price starts at $289 for the basic panel, remote chime, sensor and 100-ft. cable. Contact Mier Products Inc., Dept. FIN, 1500 N. Ann St., Kokomo, IN 46901, 800/473-0213 or circle 255.

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