1985 BIG BUD 650/50


Diesel World - - Contents - ALVORD­TON-MILLCREEK FIRE DEPART­MENT Face­book.com/ Alvord­ton­fir­eres­cue/ BIG EQUIP­MENT Bige­quip­ment.com

On Au­gust 28, 2018, gi­ants walked the earth at Alvord­ton, Ohio. On that day, the sec­ond big­gest Big Bud trac­tor model, the 12V-92 Detroit­pow­ered 650/50, and the next big­gest, a Big Bud 525/50 (see Diesel World Jan­uary 2018 or go to Diesel­world­mag.com), plowed side by side at the Alvord­ton Plow Days. That was mo­men­tous enough, but the 650/50 plowed with the big­gest mold­board plow ever made, the 21-bot­tom DMI plow, built in 1978 to be a show stop­per.

The Alvord­ton-mill Creek Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment has been putting on the Plow Days since 2009 as a fundrais­ing func­tion. It’s been grow­ing big­ger ev­ery year, and 2018 put it into the world-class cat­e­gory. In con­junc­tion with Kun­kle Farms and Meyer Farms, the Alvord­ton event is open to trac­tors about 40 years old. Ob­vi­ously, that rule was waived in light of the sig­nif­i­cance of the Big Buds. De­pend­ing on Kun­kle’s crop ro­ta­tion, there can be as many as 150 acres of wheat stub­ble to plow. The real dan­ger this

year was pre­vent­ing the two mon­ster plows from work­ing up all the ground be­fore the lit­tle guys could dip their plow­shares.

Back in the Jan­uary 2018 is­sue we talked about how the Big Bud trac­tors came to be. Built in Havre, Mon­tana, they dom­i­nated the high-pow­ered trac­tor mar­ket in the late ’70s and early ’80s, if not in vol­ume then by size and power. The 1978 Big Bud 16V-747 was the big­gest of those, pow­ered by a mas­sive 16V-92T Detroit rated at 760 horse­power. That was in­sane horse­power in that era, and while Big Bud was will­ing to build more of them, only one like it was pro­duced. It re­mains the big­gest ag trac­tor ever built.

The Se­ries 3 trac­tors de­buted shortly after the 16V-747 and the top dogs among them were the 650/50 and the 665. Both were pow­ered by Detroit 12V-92T V12 diesels. The 650/50 was rated for 650 max­i­mum fly­wheel horse­power, while the 665 made 665. The sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence be­tween them was in the chas­sis, with the 665 hav­ing a heav­ier nose and weigh­ing about 1,000 pounds more. Only two of the 650/50s were con­fig­ured for agri­cul­tural use, the oth­ers be­ing set up for con­struc­tion work. Only six 650/50s, two 665s, and one 650/84 were built. Why so few?

The Se­ries 3 trac­tors were in­tro­duced with a beefy new Twin Disc trans­mis­sion. Re­gret­tably, those trans­mis­sions had teething is­sues and be­gan drop­ping like flies. None of the Twin Disc up­dates fixed them. Twin Disc faced a mas­sive prob­lem, but Big Bud was in worse shape, hav­ing built a bunch of pre-sold trac­tors that sat there wait­ing for a work­ing trans­mis­sion—with no fix in sight. This ended up send­ing Big Bud into Chap­ter 11 and stop­ping pro­duc­tion. As a re­sult, just that hand­ful of V12 trac­tors was built.

The day be­fore the Au­gust 28 Plow Day, Larry Ad­dle­man and Daren Mey­ers got to­gether for some test-and-tune field work with the two Big Buds. Ad­dle­man’s more pow­er­ful 650/50 was elected to pull the 21-24 DMI plow, while Mey­ers’ 1980 525/50 took on the

Got 12 cylin­ders, uses ’em all! The dual stacks tell you this is a vee-type en­gine, but you don’t see many V12 trac­tors out there. The Big Bud 650/50 shown here be­longs to Larry Ad­dle­man and it’s cur­rently the only one of the two ag units still in the States, the other hav­ing been ex­ported to Aus­tralia years ago. Ad­dle­man bought the trac­tor from Ron Har­mon at Big Equip­ment 16 years ago. Har­mon is the guy who put Big Bud on the map, and when it failed in the midst of the Twin-disc fi­asco, he cre­ated Big Equip­ment to sup­port the 518 Big Buds that were built. This one had been used in Colorado, then sold it back to Har­mon. Har­mon re­fur­bished it and sold to Ad­dle­man, who uses it on his large South­ern Michi­gan farm. Ad­dle­man is a well-known Big Budd col­lec­tor, with five in his sta­ble. Be­sides the 650/50 he has a 525/50, 400/30, 400/20, and a 450, which is the last Big Bud trac­tor ever built.

The 12V-92 was fac­tory rated be­tween 625 and 700 horse­power at 2,100 rpm, and with in­jec­tor changes this one is now at the top 700 rat­ing. There’s more avail­able, but how much more can you use? This four-valves-per-cylin­der mon­ster weighs in at nearly 4,300 pounds, out­weigh­ing most au­to­mo­biles and some light trucks. With 1,104 cu­bic inches, the turbo-in­ter­cooled 92 Se­ries was in­tro­duced in 1974 with im­prove­ments over the ven­er­a­ble 71 Se­ries. That in­cluded a bore in­crease from 4.25 to 4.84 inches, but re­tain­ing the orig­i­nal 5-inch stroke. Your ini­tial thought might be that the en­gine is con­fig­ured like two in­line sixes joined at the crank­case, and that’s the way the ear­lier 12V-71s were built. On the 12V-92, it’s two 6V-92 blocks bolted to­gether, and they use four 6V-92 heads. This saves a lot of man­u­fac­tur­ing com­plex­ity, as well as re­pair costs down the road. These en­gines also used two 6V blow­ers to sup­ply the at­mo­spheric air­flow, and the turbos, fed from two 6V man­i­folds on each side, push even more air in. By the time these en­gines came out, two-strokes were on the de­cline and they aren’t as com­mon as they might have been in an­other era.

Ad­dle­man’s ’85 650/50 spent the first half of its life on a huge wheat farm in Colorado. Orig­i­nally rated at 650 horse­power at the fly­wheel, when he had it over­hauled in the early 2000s Ad­dle­man in­stalled a few up­grades that boosted it to 700 ponies. The trac­tor mounts four 900/60-32 ra­dial tires and puts a lot of rub­ber to the ground. Most, but not all, Se­ries 3 Big Buds mounted what was called the “Cruiser” cab, built by Cus­tom Prod­ucts of Litch­field, which were an im­prove­ment on the pre­vi­ous cab. Ac­cord­ing to most sources, the yel­low strip­ing only ap­peared on the two 650/50 ag trac­tors. This trac­tor is cur­rently show­ing just un­der 6,400 hours.

The 21-bot­tom DMI is ad­justable, so the plow spac­ing can be be­tween 12 and 23.5 inches—ac­tu­ally a bit more than the in­di­ca­tor will show. You could use this ca­pa­bil­ity to suit field sizes, but it’s mostly to con­trol draft. If the ground was tough and the trac­tor was hav­ing trou­ble, you could nar­row the spac­ing to ease the load. This plow was built to pro­mote DMI at the 1978 Farm Progress show at Tay­lorville, Illi­nois, where it was pulled by a Stieger Tiger. Orig­i­nally rated at 450 horse­power, the Tiger had no hope of pulling it un­til the Cum­mins KTA 1150 was pumped up to 600 horse­power and its four 30.5-32 tires were filled with liq­uid bal­last. Even then, the mighty Tiger strug­gled and the pow­er­train screamed in agony. Bill Di­et­rich thought the Big Bud 650/50 was a good match for the 21-bot­tom plow.

 The in­side of the Cruiser Cab is a nice place to work. Heat, AC, sus­pended seat, good sound­proof­ing, great vis­i­bil­ity, tilt steer­ing, good con­trol lay­out, and even a rea­son­ably com­fort­able jump seat for com­pany.

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