In the early days, either a dead weight of fixed mass was dragged, or the step-on method was used, which people stood at fixed positions and stepped aboard as the sled passed. Today’s sleds use a complex system of gears to move weights up to 65,000 pounds. Upon starting, all the weights are over the sled’s rear axles to give an effective weight of the sled plus zero. As the tractor travels the course, the weights are pushed ahead of the sled’s axles, pushing the front of the sled into the ground, synthetically creating a gain in weight until the tractor is no longer able to overcome the force of friction.
The sled can be adjusted in many ways to create a desired pull. Weight can be added or removed from the box. Adding weight on the pan can give more starting weight to the pan of the sled. The box gearing can be changed to move faster or slower, and the starting position of the box can be moved among a two feet area, affecting the distance of travel. The final adjustment is the placement of the trip, which applies the push down system to expend the full weight of the sled on to the pulling vehicle.
Box- Contains the weight used to stop the vehicle and moves up the length of the sled rails progressively during the pull, driven off the front set of sled wheels.