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Allis-Chalmers D17 LP a relatively rare tractor

TAGS: Technology
Dick Kruse with his late-model D17 tractor
ALLIS-CHALMERS LP: You don’t see a late-model D17 that uses LP gas every day. This one, which left the factory with a snap coupler instead of three-point hitch, belongs to Dick Kruse, Crawfordsville, Ind.
Throwback Tech: Clean-burning fuel helped the engine last longer and run economically.

If you’ve never seen a D17 LP gas tractor, it’s not surprising. Allis-Chalmers only made a limited number of D17s that ran on LP fuel. Dick Kruse, Crawfordsville, Ind., who owns the tractor pictured above, says the pluses of LP fuel included fuel economy.

If you had a gasoline-powered D17 and used it for a heavy task, such as moldboard plowing, you needed to head to the gas tank for a refill about every four hours. Kruse says the LP version has much better fuel economy.

“It also is a clean-burning fuel, so the engines tended to last longer and hold up better,” he adds.

The tank on LP-powered tractors of many brands, including John Deere, Massey-Harris and International, typically sat longways down the top of the tractor in front of the driver. The LP tank on the Allis-Chalmers D17 was mounted sideways. The hood was adapted so the tank would fit just ahead of the steering wheel. The tank was mounted so it still allowed good vision for the operator.

There is another unusual feature about Kruse’s 1965 Series IV D17. It was the last series of D17 tractors that Allis-Chalmers produced. The three-point hitch on this tractor doesn’t look like the one that came standard on D17 Series IV tractors from the factory.

“It’s an aftermarket three-point hitch,” Kruse explains. “You could still order a D17 with the Allis-Chalmers snap-coupler system for attaching implements in 1965. This tractor originally had a snap coupler instead of a three-point hitch.”

Popular tractor
The D17 was the “money” tractor of the Allis-Chalmers line in the late 1950s and into the 1960s, fitting medium-size farms well. According to tractordata.com, more than 89,000 D17 tractors were built. Both the gas and LP models featured a 3.7-liter engine, with the D17 diesel featuring a larger engine. Far more gas models were built than any other kind.

The tractor tested at more than 48 hp at the drawbar in official tests. It was rated as a five-plow tractor, but most people found better success with four-bottom or three-bottom plows, depending upon the size of the bottoms.

The last D17s were made in 1967 after a 10-year run.

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