The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Big Bud get new shoes

 

August 5, 2020

Heritage Iron

Big Bud has gotten a shiny new pair of shoes, or more accurately: four new pairs of tires. The World's Largest Tractor, which calls Big Sandy home, was outfitted with brand new tires for the first time since it rolled off the assembly line in 1977. The update comes as the Big Bud 747 is undergoing preparations for its trip home later this year. One of the tractor's 8 tires had gone flat while it was on display. Attempts to repair it revealed that the 40-year old set of custom made construction tires had dry rotted and were simply in need of replacement.

The Williams brothers, who own the Big Bud 747, were present for the installation of the original tires in Havre, Montana. Now, they set out to find a new set of wheels for the World's Largest Tractor. However, replacing the originals proved to be a challenge because no one manufactures tires large enough for the the 747. The originals were custom manufactured by United Tires in the late 70s. They were actually construction tires with an AG lug. Replacing the one-of-a-kind tires would ultimately require another custom manufactured set. This time, the wheels would be built by Titan Tires, who purchased the Goodyear AG Tire company in 2005. The eight LSW 1400 tires are the world's largest AG tires, and the only set fit for the World's Largest Tractor. The brothers also had to have custom wheels manufactured to mount the new tires onto. For this, they turned to Wold, another company owned by Titan Tires. The wheels, adapters, and spacers themselves required significant time to manufacture because of the unique needs of the enormous 1100 horse powered tractor. They not only had to be oversized, but also heavier duty than normal and reinforced to keep the Big Bud from simply twisting them to pieces.

The new tires have altered the dimensions of the World's Largest Tractor slightly. It still weighs in at about 85,000 pounds without fuel. The tires contribute 40,000 pounds of that number with the new tires weighing in at around five thousand pounds a pair. They are slightly lighter than the originals, which tipped the scales at six thousand pounds a pair. The new tires also shorten the 747 by about a foot. Each of the new wheels measures in at a lower profile 7-feet tall compared to the original 8. However, what they lose in height, they more than make up in width. The originals measured in at just under 40 inches wide apiece, whereas the each of the new wheels stretch out to a giant 55 inches wide. This adds about 6 feet to the width of the 747, bringing it to about 26 feet wide.

Randy and Robert Williams traveled to the Heartland museum in Clarion, Iowa for the installation on July 15th. Big Bud has been on display in Iowa for 10 years and is visited by the brothers every year when they travel to Iowa for the annual Toy Expo. The brothers participated in the activities surrounding the tire replacement, including various interviews and a video that was produced to document the event. They also delivered a Wagner Tractor that Robert sold to the Heartland Museum for future display.

For the collectors and fans of the World's Largest Tractor, new updated Big Bud 747 toys will be arriving the first of August, plenty of time to find their way under the Christmas tree this year. The new toys will be updated with new custom tires just like the real 747.

Randy Williams proudly pointed out that the Big Bud 747 was "....manufactured right here in Montana, in Havre... It's made in the USA. Titan Tires, those Goodyear Tires were made in the United States. The engine was made in the United States. The transmission was made in the US. It's a US made thing... With everything that's going on right now, a lot of people are interested in that history that is behind all of that."

Video footage of the installation was recorded and posted to YouTube. You can see it on the Welker Farms' page under the title: "World's Largest Tractor Gets the World's Largest Ag Tires."

 
 

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