Track N Go prototype allows track conversion without tire removal

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Land Rover with tracks instead of tires

There's a prototype for track conversions that doesn't require the wheels to be popped off. Photo Credit: Total 13/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY

Track vehicles, like track-equipped ATVs and tanks, have an advantage over traditional cars on soft surfaces, as tracks exert less pressure and have more tread for grip. Traditional track conversions are expensive and require modifications, but a prototype system, the Track N Go, could change all that.

Keeping track

Ever get stuck in mud or snow? That doesn’t happen with tracked vehicles. Vehicles like Snowcats, tanks and others with tracks, usually called continuous or caterpillar tracks, are able to go where many cars can’t. Tracks have a larger tread surface; the typical tire on a car only puts a few square inches of tread on the ground. Also, tracks exert less pressure on the ground. Because more area is in contact with the ground, the weight of the vehicle is further dispersed.

According to the great internet oracle Wikipedia, the typical car puts 28 to 33 pounds per square inch of pressure on the ground through the tires. An M1 Abrams tank, the main battle tank of the U.S. Army, exerts 15 psi, despite weighing 70 tons.

Conversion is possible

There are methods for converting a road vehicle to tracks, but they are usually labor-intensive and prohibitively expensive. However, an after-market parts company specializing in snowmobiles, AD Boivin, has a novel idea, according to AutoBlog. The company has released a video showing a prototype system called Track N Go, which allows a person to attach a tread system to the tires. Track N Go uses four individual tracks, each of which attaches to a wheel.

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The Track N Go system in the video is attached to a GMC Sierra pickup, which is driven on top of the tracks, and then the system is attached to the tire. The video doesn’t show exactly how. Then, once the treads are attached to the wheels, the outdoors becomes the driver’s playground. It isn’t known whether the system will go into production or what it might cost.

AD Boivin also, according to its website, makes a conversion kit called the Explorer, which converts a motorcycle or ATV into a snowmobile, using a track and ski assembly.

Usually expensive and complicated

Converting a truck, SUV or other automobile into a track vehicle is usually time-consuming and very expensive. A few companies do sell tracks that attach to the wheel rotor, such as Mattracks and other companies. However, it isn’t cheap. Mattracks, and their sub-company Litefoot, don’t list prices but according to a post on Wiki Answers, a set for a typical SUV or half-ton pickup costs more than $27,000.

Another company, American Track Truck, located in Michigan, sells a similar set up, in that the vehicle needs to be placed on jacks or stands, and the four individual tracks are bolted to the rotor. According to UpperMichigansSource.com, website for KLUC TV, an NBC affiliate in Marquette, Mich., they cost about $10,000 a set.

Have a look

Sources

AutoBlog

AD Boivin

Wikipedia

Mattracks: http://www.mattracks.com/

WikiAnswers: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_do_mattracks_cost

American Track Truck: http://www.americantracktruck.com/

UpperMichigansSource: http://www.uppermichiganssource.com/news/story.aspx?id=247317#.T5mkx2U3vcs


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