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Discussion Starter #41
Okay, I tried to take the rear wheel off the left side tonight, expecting to see a circlip under the plastic cover. Nope, it had 1/2" or 13mm bolt head with washers. I took that off (I think they Lock-Tited it) and could not get the wheel to budge. Pix attached. So, I kept working on the frame rail, sliding it beside the wheel and forward...and then back out. I think I might be nearly there.
<edit> Any ideas on removing the wheel? Think it's just the paint stuck on the axle, or some sort of wonder goo?
 

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Discussion Starter #42
After my last post, I went out of town on business for a couple weeks. And work didn't relent after that. But I got to the point where I got tired of trying to hand drill all the holes, so I waited until I bought a drill press and a workbench. First ones I've ever owned.
So, I resumed on things this weekend; discovered I needed to modify a bracket that bolts to the transaxle and to both frame rails. It has a lip bent out 90*, so the options were to either weld small extensions in both sides of the bracket while keeping the transaxle mounts stationary, or bending the sides outward to just squeeze over the 1/4" rail additions. So, bending the sides seems a bit easier, and my welding skills aren't the greatest, so that's the current plan.
And, it seems I needed a 1"x1"x12" stick and a hammer to whack the inside of my wheels near the axle so I could get them to come off. I guess there was paint built up and they just shoved the wheels on...

So, I hope to get the first rail finalized soon, and then match drill the other side. I'd really like to get that done before we get another snowfall. Had to shovel the first one...
 

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Discussion Starter #43
Making progress. Got some more holes drilled to match those on the left frame rail, and used a rotary file for the first time. That is a nice tool! Anyhow, a couple more holes to drill yet, and it should be ready to match to the other rail. But, it looks like I will need to modify the bracket under the engine by 1) bending the tabs on the sides out to stretch around the frame rails, or 2) bend the rails around that bracket--which won't let the mower deck support attach, or 3) make a whole new plate, which I'm really not wanting to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
I'm mentally going through options for the area where the floorpans mount, the lower engine bay or pulley plate mounts, the pedals rods go through the frame, and where the mower deck pivots mount.
-Originally I planned to drill holes to reach all those machine screws, cut a slot for the pedal rods, and be done. But after doing that I discovered the flanges for these two plates push the steel rail out too far to get the cotter pin through the steel pin to keep the mower deck pivot on. So, I plan to just cut out that lower portion, weld it to the top part, and cut threads in the top part of the new rail to reattach the floorpans. Since this is the area where frames have cracked with a front scoop installed, it seems critical to keep this strengthened.

So at the moment, it seems I'll have to go backwards to go forwards, but such is fabrication...

And, my phone won't talk to the computer, so I can't post a picture.
 

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Discussion Starter #45
So, I have taken the plunge and ordered and installed the parts to upgrade my K46DM to a K57. Not hard, but it does require a little time and effort. And patience. A couple things I noticed as I proceeded. The bearing areas for the axle bearings had a little discoloration, and the one where the motor bearing is looks like the bearing is either fretting a portion of the surface, or the bearing is spinning and wearing that spot. I'm not sure which. Either way, I decided to dab some RTV in each surface and see what it looks like next time I open the case.
One other thing; I also noticed a lot of fine aluminum flakes in the oil. It looks like it's coming from the drive gear between the motor shaft and the differential, based on what I see on the side of the case. Could be just manufacturing leftovers. The magnets just had a dark metal fuzz; no serious iron pieces.

I'm thinking it will be fine, but if I spin the bearings I'll either replace the tranny with something more stout or replace the tractor. :)
 

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Rims can rust tight to the keyed axles and be a bear to remove without damage to them or the transaxle..If you try using a hammer and block of wood to whack the inner side of the rim,often the axle shaft will come right out of the transaxle with it--it is only retained by a flimsy snap ring inside the transaxle case..

I've had some stuck so good heating up the hub with a torch after deflating the tire didn't help,using a steering wheel type puller bolted to the wheel weight holes in the rim--tightening the screw just started bending the rim centers..

One tractor transaxle I had I was determined to get the rims off of,I needed the transaxle for another tractor,and had the rims off the original one,so I didn't really care if I wrecked the rims getting them off,but would have preferred not to,so I'd have spares--I heated the hubs up bright red several times and tried the puller again,with no luck..

Then I had an idea--I tack welded a 5/8" nut to the rim hub,and put a 5/8" bolt that had long threads in it and used my air impact gun to tighten the bolt against the 3/4" axle,and the rims came loose,the bolt pushed against the axle shaft and shoved them right off ..worked slick..getting the welds off to remove the nut required some patience and careful use of the cutting torch but they were not scarred up badly enough that they couldn't be used again..
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Progressing on the frame rails. The left rail is fitted. I used it today to start match drilling the right rail. Bolted them together at both ends to make sure they didn't wander. Hope to finish matching it up this week, then test fitting it on the right side...
Took a little while today, because two drill bits fracture some of the nose on one side, and I ended up having to run them thru the Drill Doctor drill sharpener...
 

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Discussion Starter #49
Paused on the frame rails tonight, so I could aerate my yard. Tractor ran like a champ! In fact, it would rev 30-50 rpm higher than before I did the tranny work. And this while pulling the aerator. (I didn't rev it while sitting still.) Not sure why the increase, unless the synthetic oil helped that much. Going to fertilize the yard tomorrow, 'cuz we are expecting rain Friday night. And because my lawn needs it. Rear mounted LEDs are GREAT!! Yep, I use bags of play sand to weigh the aerator down.
Lost the left wheel on the aerator approx a lap before I took the picture. Not sure where the mount nut is; I'd already been going for over 1.5hrs when it came off. Found a replacement (conveniently on the side of the road in front of my house), but I'm a bit concerned about the lost nut. I don't want to put it through a window or hit someone when I mow.
I may have to drill through the nut and bolt, then run a cotter pin through it. (Hawker business jet style...)

(That is the wheel, sitting on top of the sandbags.)
 

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Discussion Starter #50
Got the frame rails painted Monday, and installed tonight! Did a yellow/black/red/black pattern like a Scarlet King Snake, just because. And that also let me paint the tail ends red so I can see them easier. Already bumped my shins on them twice, so they make meet up with a hacksaw in the future.
Made an oops cutting the right rail, so I welded it Sunday and later discovered the rail warped a bit. Had I realized that while the rail was still hot, I would have bent it back straight. Nothing that a couple of C-clamps and a pipe clamp couldn't persuade into position though.
I tapped the holes for the exhaust shield bracket, the mower belt guide, and the tranny cross bracket. I had to cut a 1/2" tab off of the exhaust shield, as it was interfering with the new rail. Otherwise, it fit fine. The tranny bracket was a bit of a pill, as it had to be bent a half inch wider now.
I used holes already present in the frame, and matched them on the 1/4" steel. Mounted with three 3/8" bolts at the front, and three 1/2" bolts spanning from the mower support to the rear box.
I feel like I pulled nearly every tool I own out of my toolbox, as I reinstalled nuts, bolts, cotter pins, etc. All in all, the job is done. Took it for a quick spin through the yard, to make sure all was well. Seems fine, but I could tell when I drove through my front ditch, the frame was stiffer. Anxious to bolt the front bucket on, as well as to mow the grass.
The rear is for putting a weight box or something on, for times when the rear end spins.

I also made a template of the rails, in the event someone else wants me to make them a set...

And, after all of this, my hat is off to those in this forum who have truly mad fabricating skills.
 

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Discussion Starter #52
Started looking at mounting the front bucket tonight. The Agri-Fab parts look like they will work, except for the frame bar that mounts behind the front tires. The left side will fit inside the left rail, but the right side isn't going to fit outside the right rail due to the C-channel Sears (or more correctly MTD, I think) uses. So, I may match drill the holes and grind down the bar to clear the frame, or match drill holes in the bucket bracket and just bolt it up like that. I'm favoring just match drilling the bucket brackets.

All that said, it still looks so freaking complex the way they designed the bucket actuation. Not convinced I will keep it the OEM way. The front bucket on my dad's Simplicity Sovereign was much simpler. I plan to weld 2" extensions onto the pivot arms, just so I can get some more movement of the bucket.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
It's been storming enough that I can't get time to do any work on the bucket. I have to shove the tractor into the corner so I can pull the car in to shield it from possible hail damage.
Frame rails work great; I can tell that the frame does not flex like it did last year. I did have to readjust the belt guide for the mower deck, as when I first bent it, I didn't realize it was rubbing against the belt when it was engaged. So, I took it back out and did some massaging, and got it to clear the belt.
K57 works great. So glad I did the mod. Haven't tried to pull out any tree stumps, but it does handle the ditch in my front yard a little better than before.
Sigh. Pulled out the grease zerk on the right front wheel the other day, so I taped it with electrical tape until I can get the time to reinstall it.
Also, it seems my neighbor repaired one of his fence panels with a nice long lag screw, that stuck out the fence post about 3/8". Enough for me to catch it with the front tire and poke a hole in the sidewall. I stuffed a tire plug in it, but really need to take the tire off and put some sealer on the inside to stop the air leak entirely.
The temp gauge fell out of the hole I cut in the panel; guess I may need to stick it in place with some RTV.
@T.Cruit, yeah, the rails took me a while, but now that it's so much stiffer it was worth it. Thank you for the compliment!
Wow, I like what you are doing with your build. I agree, turf tires do not cut the mustard. My yard is clay and it gets slick everywhere pretty easy. I've already thought about a hyd pump, just not convinced to go that route yet. I do want to put in a 2" receiver; just seems it would be real convenient. I like the post hole digger! I might have to get one of those, and modify it so I can dig up trees and tree stumps. Nice work on your tractor!
 

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Discussion Starter #55
Now that I have a K57, and it can spin another 400rpm, I may see about finding another (smaller) pulley to spring it little faster. Also mulling over double stacking air filters, to reduce intake restriction. Will require longer bolts or another method to hold the filters down, but that's not stopped me before.
I am also considering finding another way to read engine rpm, as I am still not happy with the readings I get. It's pretty hard for me to believe my tractor engine idles about 1250. It may, but that seems a little high.
 

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Discussion Starter #56
Still having to "hangar" the tractor on a routine basis. Lots of heavy T-storms keep rolling through the area.
Did take the mower deck off again, as the whole garage stunk. Thought it was the grass build up, but I think i also ran over some dog doo-doo and that got embedded in the tire tread. Boy was that rank! So, scraped the deck clean, pressure washed it, pressure washed the tractor, and tires. I also repositioned the temp sensor for the temperature gauge, as I keep pulling it out of the copper sleeve since I had originally taped the wire to the mower deck cable sheath...which I keep removing every time I mow! Painting the inside of the deck didn't help; still stuck like crazy inside. Also, the temp gauge display fell out of the dash, so this time instead of wrapping a bit of electrical tape around it, I put a thin layer of RTV around the sides and shoved it back into place.
Also did some test fitting for the front bucket. It seems the frame rail transitions from a C channel to straight right where the bucket support is to slide up. Started some grinding on both the frame, and the support, but did not want to rush it since it was almost dark out. May end up rolling the frame rail portion up, so it clears the front bucket support. I will also have to drill some holes, because there are not any that seem to line up with the support.

AND, I need to replace a front tire. It seems a neighbor used an extra long lag bolt to secure the fence from his side. It was protruding about 1/4"-3/8" on my side. I try to mow close to the fence, and swerve around the posts. But it seems I've caught that bolt at least twice, bad enough to make the tire leak. Tried to repair it, but cannot get it to seal. Sidewalls are hard, but I wanted to try it anyway.
 

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As much as I despise the idea of working on the lawn in the dark, sometimes I just run out of free time. This pic gives me some great ideas on installing work lights, maybe also on the sides of the tractor, to help see the deck as well. Thanks for posting!

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #58
I hear you Mike. I ended up mowing after sunset last summer quite a few times, and I remembered my Dad's Simplicity Sovereign had a rear facing light. So, I got these. The set I ordered had 4; just need to figure out where to mount the last 2. (edit) Mine are Amak LED Rock Lights.
 

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Can you post some pics of them, and ordering info?

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #60 (Edited)

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