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Discussion Starter #1
Good Morning...I have a 6-7 year old Sears 25hp/42"/D4000(?) w/wheel weights and chains. I use it to mow a 2-3 acre field once a year and nearly a mile of trails 2-3 times per summer...along with some other somewhat rough mowing. I have two primary problems w/the mower from the rough use...1) I tend to bend the "ears" on the front frame that attach to the linkage from the front of the deck...a couple of times from running into stuff and a couple of times from the linkage coming loose and driving the linkage rod into the dirt and bending the "ears". First time I did it I replaced the part that has the "ears" on it...second time I was able to bend the ears back close to normal...and I am going out today to try and bend back to make useable. BTW...the "new" clips that you can use to replace the old fashion cotter keys are not good for this purpose...they can be driven out by hitting stuff...whereas the regular cotter keys which you bend to lock are unlikely to do so...that is what happened to me this time...both side linkage rods came loose...one side bent the "ears".

Alo, this summer I have learned about "spindles"...another weak point when you use your riding mower as a "brusher". I have had to replace 4.

Questions...

1) Are the newer Sears mowers designed the same on the front linkage area? Even though I know I am beyond designed use...seems like this design is a problem waiting to happen?

2) Are there replacement spindles that are tougher than the standard?

3) I notice that some zero turn mowers have almost no exposed "weak" parts near the front of the mower...in front of the deck? Would a quality zero turn be a better bet for my rough use??

BTW...the 25hp w/weights and chains is a real workhorse. I mow my field once a summer in the fall and the grass/weeds are 12-24" high...I mow half rows and throw the grass to the open area...I do move a bit slow but it does the job...great motor. The weak point is clearly the front deck frame linkage point and the spindles.

And yes...I know I really should have some type of brush hog :)

Tom R in Two Harbors, MN
 

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1) There probably are some new mowers with different designs. I can't picture a similar 'ear' om my GT, but I might be missing the description. Your mower was made by AYP. Now, Some sears mowers are made by MTD (low end and most 'pro' models). many others are still made by AYP . There is now a Pro GT9500 made by Simplicity, too. Between the makes you may find some better design features.

If a 'good zero turn' means a true commercial ZTR retailing for 8000+, yes they are built tougher so they can keep working, despite the hired hands abusing them. Anything less will have other weak points.

Really the best option may be an old farm tractor p(like a ford 6 or 9) with a true brush hog.
Next best option would be one (or more!) Swisher pull behind offset rough cut mower (essentially a self powered brush hog) that you pull with your current deck off.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Just back in from bending the "ears" and getting the deck linage tied together again...it ain't pretty but should do the job.

BTW..."ears" is probably a bad description...I am referring to the two brackets that hang down from the chassis between the front tires...you then tie in the tie rod that anchors the front of the mower deck forward to the frame. The brackets that hang down are the ones that I keep bending...usually from the cotter keys getting loose and one end of the tie rod floats until it wedges into the ground and applies tourque to the "ears" and easily bends them. I have re-bent close to original but when mowing a field...smooth cut is not important :)

Now I can test and finish the last 25%.

I think those that mentioned the Swisher Rough Cut are on track...wonder if the "off-set" hitch set-up works? Seems a bit light weight to actually manage the mower when offset from the center line?

Also, the 52" looks sturdier with the four wheels instead of two?

Thanks All...I will check in when(if) I get through the rest of my field...Tom R
 

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The offset theory is quite sound. Most full size farm hay cutters are offset and they just attach to the tractor with a hitch pin and the pto. There is at least one MTF member that runs 2 offsets (finish, not rough) both on the left side of his mower. Another mtf member made brackets for one on each side, but that was also intended to use his tractor's deck as the middle.
2 wheels should be fine. I believe the engine and deck are balanced over that axle point. What I do not like about the 2 wheel version, is the wheels stick out from the cutting deck, so you have to cut 4" from any obstacle (tree or fence), but not much a concern in a field.
 

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Let's face it, this mower was not designed to do the job you are asking of it. Sounds like what you really need is a good old fashioned brush hog. You do not seem to have the ground clearance you need for the terrain you are mowing. You might want to get larger wheels and tires to raise the whole thing several inches off the ground. I have never seen one of these garden variety tractors with more than three inches of clearance under the deck, and about 5 inches where the deck attached in the front. If you are continuously running into things and bending stuff, it is too low to clear obstacles.

A mower designed for what you need, can do the job with a 10hp motor. But even the best of the zero turns, won't help if it does not have the ground clearance you need. If you only do this once a year, it would be a lot simpler if you just hired someone to do the job. b e a lot cheaper too as you won't have to buy a new mower when you finally over extend the one you already have.

Just my two cents, for what it's worth.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If you only do this once a year, it would be a lot simpler if you just hired someone to do the job. b e a lot cheaper too as you won't have to buy a new mower when you finally over extend the one you already have.

Just my two cents, for what it's worth.
Probably good advice...it does do an amazing job...at the cost of the periodic damage. I did get it working and finished this year's task.

It is a field that I want to mow once a year to keep it from becoming overgrown with trees...almost all of my 80 acres are heavy forest so I am protecting my one field.

BTW...I have found that years of mowing does begin to reduce the high and low spots...it gets a bit easier each year...at the eventual cost of the mower. I am at the point with this mower 5-7 years old...that it is probably not too good for "lawn" mowing since I have bent mush of the alignment pieces. It does a very nice job on the filed and my trails and I will likely continue that use until it becomes un-repairable.

Much of the more difficult parts are near the edges of the property...I am thinking of getting a DR Brush mower for new trail building and maybe if I do the edges each year I can use a mower.

Wish there was a "bush hog" deck that you could install on a riding mower...much better for getting close to trees, etc.

Thanks...Tom R

P.S. It is a xxx3000...not a 4000...TMR
 

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Attach a steel I-beam to the front frame of the mower set at the height you want to mow. Kinda like snow blade only I would use about a 3" i-beam attached at two frame points to give it rigidity. Now anything you are mowing which is higher than the i-beam would either be broken down or stop the mower in it's tracks, but would save the deck attachment from becoming more mangled than it already is. (be sure to wear your seat belt);>}

Obviously, the best solutions have already been posted, get a real bush hog, check CL for some pretty good deals for a real tractor and brush hog combo. It'll save money in the long run, allow you to carve out more of you 80 acres without increasing your time on the mower (if you're so inclined to have more pasture) and have numerous other uses that the mower can't provide.

If you're just looking for that 'mowed' look, once you've bush hogged a few times, then bring out the mower for the finish cut.

Somebody already said 'my two cents'; mines probably only worth a ha'penny.
 

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It is a 30 inch brush hog for a Gravely walk behind. It has a blade that is 1/2in. thick and will mow down and mulch anything under 2 inch thick. You could even use it with a circular saw blade. It is on an adapter kit used to run 2 wheel tractor attachments on the front of a rider. It belongs to another member here. The only problem w/ it on the front of a rider is that the tractor is wider than the deck. Before I spent any money on a DR. I'd look at some used Gravley stuff. Good luck, Ed
 

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