More on the Polaris Ranger TM
November 7, 2008
I’m just in from a half day’s work with the Ranger, and I’m pleasantly surprised by how well thought out the machine is. The first task involved pulling a drag around a small garden plot to prepare the seedbed for a nursery crop of shagbark, chestnuts, butternuts and walnuts. The golf cart used to strain to pull the drag, so the task occurred at full speed. The Polaris has a lot more power and traction, of course, so it makes an easy job of it, yet it still turns sharply enough to get into the corners of the patch. Its wide track leaves compressed soil everywhere, so I think next time I do this I’ll build a yoke to allow it to tow two of the four drag sections, rather than just one.*
After that I “ran the rows” of this year’s five-acre walnut planting, inspecting each seedling and reseeding where necessary. The golf cart used to spend hours on this task, but to my surprise I found the Polaris better suited to it. The seating position allows a good look at each plant. When I make brief stops to plant walnuts where needed, the machine sits and idles, then moves on without fuss. The bus-like steering wheel leaves lots of space for movement on and off the machine, and the tall seat allows me to slide on and off it, rather than climbing up and sitting down in the EZ-Go. Over two hours of repetitions, an inch or two in height makes a big difference. Earlier in these articles I have criticized the bed height of the TM because it makes loading heavy objects difficult. On the other hand, the height is ideal for picking tools and in this case, walnuts, out of the bed without stooping.
I’ve even come to enjoy the pocketta-pocketta-pocketta rhythm of the big 2V engine. The body of the machine seems quite tight, because I haven’t noticed any rattles. My glasses sit comfortably on the dash at all speeds in a depression which must have been designed for them.
One other thing of note: a section of drag harrow is perhaps the worst possible implement to transport in or on anything which can be scratched. The plastic box had no problem with it.
*Update, May, 2009: When I finally got around to cutting the steel to make a yoke for two sections of drag harrow, I discovered that the Polaris doesn’t like to turn while pulling a heavy load. This meant I couldn’t get around the narrow garden plot, so I unhitched the Ranger and backed in my Massey Harris 30. It’s a lot bigger, but it has wheel brakes which enable it to turn sharply while under load. A 1947 tractor isn’t as versatile as the Ranger, but it’s still the better implement for tilling soil.