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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hope most Comet owners know that to service or even store their mower, they can stand it on its rear supports.

Here's the drill:
Turn off fuel supply valve between fuel tank and carburetor.
Remove Battery
Lift the machine's front until it tips up onto its end and rests on the rear supports.

Most modern boats have "gimbal mount" drink holders. Even though the boat may move around a lot, gravity is always down, so the drink stays upright despite the boat's gyrations.

When we tip Comet's up on end, we would only need "one degree of freedom" in a battery pendulum mount to allow the battery to always stay upright despite having the mower move in either direction between being "down on all four tires" or standing up on its rear supports.

So I'm asking whether or not anyone has created one of these obviously-appropriate pendulum battery support solutions? I envision the battery cables doing at least a 360 degree wrap turn so as the battery pivoted back and forth between the two positions, the battery cable coil diameter would simply contract or expand.

That would mean that all we have to do is valve off the fuel from the tank and lift. Does this idea resonate with anyone else?
John
 

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Empty gas tank first.
 

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Like the idea. Doesn't the oil need to drained to, or is the crank case orientated so oil won't enter combustion chamber and exit through valves.

Just thought of something else, how about a sealed battery?
 

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I could see this as being a very wise idea, except my Comet is too OLD to have a battery :D

Are there any manufacturers that make a small sealed battery for small engines? This would make the pendulum mount unnecessary.

In regards to fuel leaking out, my Comet is from the early-mid 60s and while the tank is metal, attached to the flywheel cover and has what appears to be the original fuel cap, it hasn't leaked from standing it up on end (granted I haven't done this with a FULL tank). Rather, it has a leak from the carburetor that I can't figure out that comes and goes when it sits for a few hours on all 4 tires -- unless I shut off the fuel. Thankfully it doesn't leak while in operation.

I've also never had a problem with oil leaking out -- either through an oil fill or through the rings into the cylinder chamber (like some lawn mowers do).
 

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"I hope most Comet owners know that to service or even store their mower, they can stand it on its rear supports."

This is probably the best design idea from Snapper.
 

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I don't know about everyone elses comet, but there isn't any room to have a swiveling battery on mine.

I'm thinking a different direction..do they make an optima type battery that size that can operate in any position?
 

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I don't know about everyone elses comet, but there isn't any room to have a swiveling battery on mine.

I'm thinking a different direction..do they make an optima type battery that size that can operate in any position?
That was my thought earlier, but I couldn't remember the brand name.

Assuming there was space for a battery and hookup, on my Comet, you wouldn't be able to install more than a small form-factor motorcycle battery. Would that even have enough cold cranking amps to start a small engine?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Hi, I'm pleased that at least one of my ideas seems to have resonated favorably with other forum participants.

Boyd said, "Empty gas tank first."
Boyd, my new-to-me 1982 Comet's fuel tank fill opening is located toward the FRONT of it's top surface. That's as viewed when it is "down on all four" tires. When any Comet like mine is flipped up on its rear supports, that fill opening is above the fluid level unless the tank is more than about 80% full. I presume that most owners can resist the urge to fill their fuel tank brim full before tipping it up on end. If that presumption is correct, there is no inherent advantage other than a few pounds of lifting weight from having the tank mostly full when lifting the mower up or setting it back down.

Artpb said, "Doesn't the oil need to drained to, or is the crank case orientated so oil won't enter combustion chamber and exit through valves." I hope that Walt will weigh in on this point since he has such a wealth of experience with these machines. We are very lucky to have him and a few others who have tremendous experience-based knowledge they so graciously share. You guys know who you are. While I've not seen others thank you regularly for your contributions, I'm 100% certain that almost every one who values the truth values your help. Thanks guys. But from my limited experiences of tipping small 4-stroke engines 90 degrees for a few days, then standing them back up before starting them, I noticed brief smoking on restart. But that brief smoke discharge wasn't enough for me to expect oil migration to be a "deal breaker issue."

Even if it were an issue, at least on my Comet's B&S engine, a capped short oil drain pipe is attached to the engine base oil sump to enable low-mess oil changes. I could easily plumb-connect a one quart oil reservoir directly behind the engine so when the mower is tipped up on end, the reservoir would fill, definitely insuring that the oil's top surface would quickly drop below the cylinder bore elevation after rotating the mower 90 degrees. If you can't easily visualize this, I can generate and post a quick CAD view illustrating the concept, but that's probably not needed.

I've seen "add on" oil tanks used with tiny-capacity 12-volt pumps to induce slow but steady flows through "add on" oil filters and oil coolers. I've already thought about whipping up such a system because I'm very unhappy with the engine manufacturer's suggested 25 hour oil change interval. I figured that with an oil filter, that 25 hour interval could prudently be replaced by 100 or 200 hour oil changes.

Artpb continued, "Just thought of something else, how about a sealed battery?" Both Ge-off and Attorney_barnabas_collins agreed.

I considered that too and even checked out pricing. At least to me, the very high price required to buy Optima brand and "Optima-type" batteries is a deal breaker. To me, they are just too expensive to consider for this mower. That's why I started thinking about an automatic leveling system that would allow us to continue running conventional flooded batteries without removing them every time we'd like to flip our mowers up on end. While standing on end, Comets require much less garage floor space than a 21" Lawn-Boy walk-behind mower. Even when both are down, the Lawn-Boy is 3 inches longer! If I am going to spend extra money on mower battery systems, its definitely going to be to add desulfator pulse-type change maintenance units. That cost is absolutely justified because it will double or treble battery service lives. Whereas buying a super-expensive gel-cell battery so it can be tipped without leaking doesn't seem justified to me.

Ge-off jested, "My Comet is too OLD to have a battery." Most small engines without electric starters can accept ring-gear flywheels and starter motors. I saw in Snapper's engine series description that they defined both electric starting and manual starting choices. Were some Comets sold without electric starters?

Attorney_barnabas_collins said, "There isn't any room to have a swiveling battery on mine." Let's look at available room and clearance requirements. If there isn't enough room, there isn't. But I'll bet we can figure out some way to make a workable swing-mount battery support fit within our mowers' available space. I've done so many things that "couldn't be done" that those words only make "mind candy" like solving this little problem more attractive. What frustrates others is often like a good dog bone to me. But then I think I was a dog in a former life. :trink39:
John
 

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Well, the "available room" issue is the deal breaker on mine in a way..I don't need to save the 3 ft of floor space and do all the draining, so I have never set mine upright.
 

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I really haven't had a lot of experience with the Snapper brand specifically, just learning as I go with mine. I know my engine supposedly "could" be converted to accept an electric start, seeing that there are holes pre-drilled in the crank housing to accept one. I'm not interested in updating as it runs like a champ as is, despite the Briggs engine code reading it is a 1966 (been told the tractor is older), and I want to keep it as authentic to the original as possible for historical value.

I don't know if an electric start was optional back in the day or up to the present. All I know is mine could be considered a "base model" with no flair, unless you count the zero-turn brake handles :)
 

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The yard cruisers had this idea built in to them. On my snappers you can service them for an hour or so with the battery in them and I do this all the time to change/sharpen the blade.

As far as oil, the engine is bolted down such that you don't need to drain it. No need to drain the gas. I have stored my mowers for 6 months at a time tipped backwards with no problems. The engines were mounted as such to already take that into account. You should shut off the fuel supply then run the engine until it dies or else you will get gas in the oil. It took me a part of my first season with my snappers to figure that out. The gas cap on mine has a shut of on the air breather to keep it from leaking and I think the older caps on the side mounted tanks would internally shut of fuel supply because I've never had one of them leak on me either.

I have been thinking about this for a while too. yes there is no space in the stock location and I will not pay for an optima style battery for a mower. I'm too cheap. I've been thinking of mounting the battery off to the side and use longer battery cables. Then it could swing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just providing an update about my thoughts on this underlying issue. Initially I simply wanted to be able to tip my Comet upright for storage or maintenance without being required to unbolt and later re-bolt battery terminal connections every time. So I thought adding a pendulum battery mount would be a suitable solution. That would allow us to leave typical base-priced flooded batteries in our mowers during those operations.

But then I saw a snowmobile fitted with what appear to be about 1/2-sized welder plug connectors on it's red-positive black-negative battery cables. It was also fitted with a small automotive-sized battery compartment that can instantly accept or release its battery when lifted by it's end-to-end strap handle. Many batteries include those strap handles. Since the snowmobile is only used during certain seasons, the same battery is used by various small-engine-powered machines when the owner wants to use any of them. Just drop this one battery into any of those machines and plug the red-to-red and black-to-black mini-welder type connectors and it's ready to go with a fresh hot-charged battery. When not in use, that battery can sit connected to a pulse maintenance desulfator so it can last two to three times as long as typical batteries do. Of, if you'd like to carry a little extra starting power in a pickup or car, it could be plugged into a daily driver's add-on battery case with theft protection. If a battery-start machine is rarely used, its shared battery would always ready to drop in and connect in less than 60 seconds! So far, I've never been able to drive two mowers or other vehicles at the same time, so one battery should be enough for my personal fleet. Ok, rarely I have two machines out at the same time, like a garden tractor and some other machine. I might want to maintain two rather than just one shared battery, each fitted with inline sockets that can't ground out unless something conductive bridges between their internal connectors. I wish I could take credit for this great idea, but a playful farmer friend is my source. I should have asked if he originated this idea or if he copied it from someone else.

I'm now looking to find prices for these red and black plug and socket sets and for suitable mountable battery compartments. Even though my Comet's space would require a side-projecting battery-mount case, it would not project as far out to the side as the mowing deck, so that side projection should not cause any problems.

I also have too many battery-start machines to be easily explained without reflecting questions about my rationality. I'm comforted by the fact that I know I'm not alone in having been bitten by the machine-collecting bug. Battery service life for my machines as repeatedly affected my choice as to whether or not I'll use a specific machine at any moment. Whereas, if they were all fitted with drop-in battery cases and color-coded quick-attach socket sets, that would/will no longer be true. I'll bet some others can relate to this. I've got machines which haven't been started in 4 years. If I'd run them out of fuel and they had this shared-battery connection system, restarting would almost certainly take less than 5 minutes.

Now, back to storing or servicing Snapper RER mowers. When the battery shared by many machines is removed, pendulum battery support need disappears.

Does anyone know of attractively-priced suitable cable plug and socket sets? I'd prefer that they introduce minimal electrical resistance, are color-coded red and black, and if possible, have some mechanical difference so, even in low-light conditions, wrong-polarity connections can't be made.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights.
Any help in finding attractively-priced parts candidates for this personal-fleet conversion will be GREATLY appreciated.
John
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
More Progress: I wanted to enable my Snapper 3081W, which is one of Snapper's many rear engine rider models with 30" blades, to quick-swap share automotive-sized batteries with other machines, using a quick connect system. The main impediment was how to reallocate Snapper space to accommodate auto-sized batteries. I made the following changes:

1) Unbolted the "U"-shaped seat mount's two mounting springs and moved it forward so it is now only held by a single bolt passing through its rear hole into the front frame-attachment bolt hole. This moved the seat supporting spring forward by the distance between those original mounting holes. I thought this might provide a sufficiently solid perch for a 160 pound operator and it is. But Snapper RER operators who weigh 280 pounds MIGHT over stress this modification. We can always drill a second bolt hole so the changed U-mount part is secured by two rather than by only one bolt. I do NOT observe any part deformation other than the normal spring action included by design. You might consider flipping that U-mount so it mounts to the frame by the short end going rearward to the bend, then projecting forward to the front where the seat would be attached. Lots of choices are possible.
2) Unbolted the seat from the "U"-support's rear hole and moved it to the front mounting hole.

These two forward relocations reallocated space from before the seat to behind the seat. My steering handle bars are now closer to the seat. The effect is very like what you would expect from sliding a car seat all the way forward. For me, it does not feel cramped but I no longer feel like I am stretched out while driving. The reduced distance from seat back to foot rests bends my knees more, but is not uncomfortable. While sitting at my computer I do not lean back and extend my arms way forward either. I prefer sitting up and being closer to my controls than the original Snapper position. I actually prefer having the steering handles and their pivot axis closer to my body. This may not work comfortably for 6' 6" tall operators. The first of these two steps increases effective spring length while the second decreases effective spring length. I'd rather have way MORE spring action to limit vertical accelerations we endure when mowing over bumpy ground.

Next, it needed a secure platform to accept automotive-sized batteries. My modifications continued.

3) Cut a vertical slot into the original battery containment's rear vertical support, leaving structural support for the frame tube which supports the mower's front end. Then I used a very large Crescent-type to grip the sheet metal and begin bending it forward at a height just high enough to support a battery-mounting deck that would pass over the mowing-deck chain-lift arms. I completed that bending by hammer work.

I will provide photos soon which will make this explanation easier to understand. I viewed this as a simple space allocation problem with several fixed constraints which determined how to proceed. The new over-sized battery now fits in a plastic battery base surround. That plastic battery base surround sits on a platform with two short containment walls, one along the outside edge and one along the rear edge. The new platform's forward edge and inside edge locations are identical to those of the original battery containment enclosure. The rear edge had to be extended rearward and the outside edge had to be extended outward. To do that, the new bottom surface had to be raised. I moved the new platform up just enough to pass over the mowing deck's height adjuster linkage.

4) Welded an "L"-shaped sheet metal deck to the forward battery compartment wall and to the now-bent-over original rear battery compartment wall. The lower part of that "L"-shaped sheet metal is bolted to the lower frame's outer side wall. This formed a very strong battery mounting deck which is wide enough for automotive-sized batteries. But did not extend outward from the inside compartment wall enough to fully support automotive-sized batteries' full length. To test this platform's strength, I stood on it and felt no flexing.

5) Formed a stiff 3-sided box section from recycled sheet metal, a side platform from a large barbecue grill on wheels. I cut the length and width to match the plastic battery containment base, then screwed it to the support platform with two side walls projecting up to prevent battery side-slides. Pop rivets would have done as well. This new battery platform is large enough to accommodate full-sized automotive batteries.

Since I want battery swapping to be as easy and fast as possible without risking having the battery bounce out, a common synthetic rubber strap with end hooks will keep the battery in place while mowing, yet allow instantly releasing the battery.

I did not have suitable mini-welder battery-cable extension plugs and sockets in stock. So for my first trial, I simply attached red and black jumper cable-type clamps to the mower's + & - battery-connection cables. Dropped in a battery, clamped on the terminals and, as expected, it started. Granted, the battery connection probably has higher electrical resistance than standard battery post fasteners, but the 600 amp battery has so much more power than usual 200 - 300 amp batteries that it spins that 12 hp engine well.
The seat rear clears the battery's front top edge by about 1 inch. I expect that while bouncing around, seat movement will allow them to bump against each other, but not destructively. I have NOT mowed with this new setup yet. As I said, I will provide photos soon.

I have been made uncomfortable by excessive heat radiated by the engine into an old steel tractor seat that I tried for a while. I've now replaced the original seat despite the fact that it's vinyl cover behind the seat is incomplete so the seat foam is exposed. I think that adding a radiant heat shield between the operator and the rear engine would noticeably improve rider comfort.

I hope these comments are informative and entertaining. I started this discussion thread when I was looking for a solution to standing RER Snappers on their rears without causing flooded electrolyte spillage. This quick-swap auto-sized battery solution addresses that goal plus it provides the compelling benefit of quick-swapping batteries so one battery can serve as many intermittently-used machines as you own.
John
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
No photos yet, but this image identifies the originally-vertical sheet metal section which I cut and bent forward to form part of the new battery platform support. That section appears yellow.

I'll take photos and post them soon.
John
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Photos as promised. I've removed some background details which don't affect the mower. Eventually, after I get done changing mechanical details as may please me, I'll probably improve cosmetics. This was purchased as a tired rat which makes me feel especially willing to change original configuration details. It's fast developing an overhead canopy supported by its rear upright tubes. But that will be shown in another discussion thread.
First view shows the side of the bottom-most battery platform "L"-shaped sheet metal. Observe that it is bolted to the frame.

Second view shows the platform's extension sheet metal.

Third view shows plastic battery confinement base.

Forth view shows how a battery fits on the new battery platform.

I hope this clarifies mental images you generated while reading my description.
John
 

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Thanks for posting pics and sharing your ideas John, good luck with remainder of your project, do keep us advised of your progress.

Bert
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I was considering alternative seats for this machine, which refocused attention on the battery relocation project. Here's a view from the side with the current battery relocation.

Then I started to see how far back it could be moved while still leaving some working clearance between it and the engine. This particular Briggs & Stratton 11 horsepower rated model has an air cleaner which projects further forward on the mower than the rest of the engine projects on the side where the battery is located. CLEARLY, this would require a thermal shield between the battery and engine, but that's cheap, light weight and easy to add. Notice how much forward room this adds which can be allocated to seat mounting.

Sighting across the battery's front edge, you can see where that aligns with the stock speed control. That may help you interpret how this would work out on Snappers you encounter. By the way, that stock 5-position-limited speed control is on my hit list. The Snapper transmission is, by basic design, infinitely variable between its inner and outer diameters. I see no reason to be limited to only 5 ratios. How long do you think innovative owners of hydrostatic transmission-propelled tractors would resist the urge to reconfigure them so they yield infinitely-variable speed control within their limited range? Not long. So why are we accepting that same limitation on these infinitely-variable ratio transmissions within their operative range?

Change the new battery support a little more and add a heat shield and this may be my Snapper's new battery location. I know rattle-can artists would love to start spraying this old machine. But with me, working out functional details comes first and only when that's pretty satisfactory do I go after aesthetics.
John
 
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