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Wow, I really enjoy reading this! Your work is awesome and the pictures bring it to life.

This is coming along very well. Great work!
 

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Discussion Starter #82
Thank you LB4502. You should take a look at Tcruit's build, and Ridgestalker's. Some serious work going there.
Made a mulch cover plate today. Not sure how long it took, maybe an hour. Had some ABS plastic laying around, and had some good metal screws to anchor it. Heating the plastic, warped it a bit and then plastic welded some pieces to cover the big gaps, and it's in place. Maybe it will help grind up the grass better.
 

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Discussion Starter #83 (Edited)
So, used the bucket for the first time tonight. And then the tractor quit. Stopped dead in its tracks, right after I dumped the bucket and flattened it out. Had to push it across the lawn, up the drive and into the garage. No power indication at all, regardless of where levers are, or if I am in the seat or not.
Sears is telling me it is the starter solenoid. That seems a little odd.
Tractor popped the fuse inline with the solenoid. Tried just a fuse and no joy. So, ordered the solenoid. Lawn Tractor Starter Solenoid 725-06153A
Supposed to get here Friday. :tango_face_crying:
 

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Discussion Starter #84
Now I am mulling over Carlisle Field Trax tires. Can't decide if I want to stay with 20 inch tires on 8 inch wheels, or go big with 22 inch tires on 8 inch wheels. It looks like they will clear the mower deck, but will be a little snug on the right side. Reduction ratio between the K57s for 20 vs 22 inch tires isn't much difference. 28.07 vs 31.04 I'd get some 21 inch tires, but the only ones I've found are bar tires, which I don't think I want to use mowing the lawn...
 

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Discussion Starter #85
So, the solenoid arrived today, but I dropped a pipe clamp on my toe before I could get out there and work on things. I did discover the solenoid is mounted on the back plate, below the battery and behind the transaxle.
Just took another look at Tcruit's hydraulic work. Some good work there. Just don't think I am ready to take on adding hydraulics to this. At least not yet.
And, I think I have figured out the rear weight. I was going to just make a shelf between the rails and put a sandbag on it. But, I decided I will make a form in the shape that will fit between the frame rails, extend down about an inch, and extend up...enough that I can mix up one 80 lb bag of concrete to pour into it. I will also put some 1/2" nuts in the sides, so I can secure it with a few bolts thru the rails. And...maybe two handles in the top, to make it easier to pick up off the ground.
 

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Discussion Starter #86
Got the solenoid changed out. But next time this fails, I think I might remove the solenoid and bind the terminals together.
One bolt, and a bent over tab hold it on the back panel. Found its location on one of the parts diagrams at SearsPartsDirect.
Mowed the back yard. Lots faster than push-mowing!
 

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Discussion Starter #88
Also got my concrete rear weight complete. Still waiting on the concrete to cure, as it’s chilly out. I did put two 5/8” bolts in on each side to help hold it in place between the rails. Blue painters tape is to keep concrete off the threads so I can remove the bolts after pouring.
Also included my rough plan.
 

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Discussion Starter #89
Alright! The paperweight is done! Once I broke it out of the mold, it was obvious that the concrete mix was still too dry when I poured it in. Makes sense, because I practically had to spoon it in the form. So, I mixed up some mortar and smeared it over some of the air gaps. Still not a pretty piece, but it will work.
If you look at the drawing above, some of the dimensions will make more sense now. I wanted to have it stick back about as far as I could, so it would 1) be a little more of a lever arm against weight of the front scoop and 2) still clear the transaxle release handle. <The solenoid failing made me plan for a repeat. I don't want to have to take the paperweight off just so I can freewheel the transaxle.> Also, it had to be high enough above the hitch point so I could attach the aerator or another implement without interference. <Our yard is clay, and water sits nearly everywhere. I've spun the tires all over, so I wanted to be able to add some weight when I load the aerator with 150#.> Last, I made it big enough to slap a bag of sand on top for additional weight.
One key point. I bought 5/8" diameter bolts, partly because I thought 1/2" was too small, and the store didn't have 9/16". The trick is, the largest drill bit I have is 1/2"; so I got out my rotary file bit for the power drill and reamed the holes to 5/8". Not a perfect solution, but it worked. Next time though, I may just run a 3/4" PVC pipe across the form instead of the bolt holes, and then stuff a 5/8" or 3/4" rod through the pipes. And, maybe get a bigger rotary file.
I hustled a bit to get it done tonight, as I even sprayed a little clear coat on the paperweight...primarily to help keep dust from flaking off. I wanted it to dry before it really got cold again. We are expecting snow Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, so I hope I can try it out with the front scoop. ?

One thing I forgot to mention in my previous post. I also cut two pieces of 3/16x1.5" steel strap and laid those on the boards above the bolts, so when I placed the paperweight on the frame rail extensions, they were the rubbing point, and not the concrete.
Second thing I forgot. Both the aerator and dethather/yard rake thing have 1/2" holes in the tow bars, but the wagon had a 3/8" hole. I drilled the wagon's out to 1/2", so that I have a common size. The paperweight also clears the wagon hitch, even though it inclines slightly.
 

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Discussion Starter #90 (Edited)
Alright! I got to take it out in the snow. But, I had to jump the tractor off the truck, as the battery didn't have enough juice to crank the engine a second time. It did for the first one, but I eased up off the seat before I set the brake, and it shut off...
So, jump started, and scoop in action. Worked pretty good, but snow is light, so the armstrong method wasn't much of an issue. But, I would not want to do it for the same amount of loads if it were dirt or mulch.
Two issues arose. #1. Paperweight with sandbag was great. But, I needed better traction with the tires, both front and rear. I could spin the rear tires nearly at will, and if I had the scoop down pushing snow the front tires would push, and not turn. #2. The stop piece for getting the bucket to latch would move after about 3 uses. For this exercise it wasn't too bad, but with something heavier it'd be difficult. I think I will either weld a piece of 3/16" steel onto the current piece, or cut a new one from that material, and drill a hole to put the bolt through. Might use a larger diameter bolt while I'm at it, as the current one is maybe a 1/4". Doesn't seem to have a lot of holding power.
#3. Not really an issue, but I think I will make a second lock point for the scoop, so it will scrape the driveway or ground, as I had to hold it down to scrape the snow off the drive. But that shouldn't be too difficult. At least until I figure out how to install an electric actuator or two, to move the bucket instead. Not completely sure I want to try to step through the whole hydraulic system install and such. Perhaps an electric driven hydraulic pump, to push some actuators. I suppose a K574 would maybe work, but I've not even tried to find one of those.
 

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looking good so far. you could also go with chains for the snow then take them off in spring for mowing. i have one them scoops too and i love the thing.no it's not a loader but will get the job done and still beats a shovel.
 

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Discussion Starter #92
Thanks nkaust! And, I agree, the scoop beats a shovel. Well, I pulled the trigger on some Carlisle All-Trails, in 20x10-8 size. Stayed stock size, as I plan to use the scoop to move some dirt, so I didn't want to overwork the transaxle. If I was only going to mow, I think I'd have ordered the 22" tires instead.
Guess I better get back out there and fix that scoop stop that keeps slipping. Then later weld or cut another detent for the scoop, at the bottom of the range.
 

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Discussion Starter #93
Fixit done. Just grabbed a scrap from cutting slots in the frame rails last year, ground off the rough edges to keep from damaging stuff. Took the old oblong piece off, Sharpie'd the slot onto the scrap, drilled a couple 5/16 inch holes in that slot, then opened up the mount point on the scoop to 5/16ths as well. I think the 1/4 inch factory fitting doesn't have enough holding power. Drilled a 1/4 inch fender washer to fit the bolt to act as a spring retainer, then installed. Quick ops check says it's good. Picture shows the parts side by side.
 

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Discussion Starter #94
Got the All-Trails in the mail Thursday! Woo-hoo! Based on some reviews I've seen I didn't think they were really 10 inches across, like the size says. And they aren't--BUT, they are slightly taller than 20 inches, maybe 20.5. It also turns out that the OEM 20x8 tires aren't exactly 20x8 either. More like 18 inches tall, and maybe 6.5 inches tread width. Hmm. I put a yardstick against them to give some reference. The All-Trails are Made in USA, which it was I was hoping. Pix attached.
Looking forward to putting these to good use. They also hold more air pressure: 22psi max, vs 12 or 14 for the others. And, these are 4-ply.
 

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Discussion Starter #95
Wow! The All Trails are fantastic! Mowed for the first time this season, after pulling the deck out and sharpening the blades. Yes, the yard is still a bit wet, but the grass wasn't too bad. There is a ditch in our front yard that last year when I tried to mow, I started to rut up the yard near the drive because the turf glide tires were doing exactly that; gliding and not getting traction. Not this time. All Trails pulled right through. Also took my mulch cover off because I end up getting completely dusted with grass clippings and dust every time I used it. Not much fun.
Also pulled the trigger on a bagger for the tractor. Amazon had a used one with some cosmetic scuffs; not worried about that. I'm sure I'll scuff it up anyway. Got it $25 off. What i find interesting, is the fact that the part number on the side of the box is the same part number I found on SearsPartsDirect when I researching baggers. 19A300310OEM. But, Craftsman is not listed on the side of the box?! As I was reading reviews on Amazon, one person had responded who owns a 2018 Cub Cadet XT1, and it fit, so that told me it'd fit my Craftsman Pro. So, I bought it. And, after looking at the parts, I do not think it was even installed on a tractor. Certainly no grass run through it, or they scrubbed it super good! But, there are no directions either, so I'll get a set from Sears.
Why a bagger? Our yard is clay. Water doesn't soak in well, and the backyard slopes nicely towards the back porch. There are five (yes 5) french drains in our backyard, and grass clippings plug up two of them with any decent amount of rain. So, I finally decided to get a bagger, and bag at least that part of the yard, so I can keep the drains clear. Guess I'll have to create some sort of compost pile, so I can dump the grass in it and at least sprinkle it back on the yard.
 

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Discussion Starter #96
Alright! Got the paperweight fixed. A few weeks ago, I used some Locktite adhesive between the halves. Once that set, I squirted expanding foam into the gaps. I cut a little bit off once it dried, but left most of the bubbles. Which seems to help it stay in place...without the bolts.
The local municipality lets you get "compost" for no charge if you do the shoveling and loading. It's more a mulch/compost mix, but it will still work to keep the grass down around the trees, and will help with the new flower beds we made today.
And, shoveling from the truck to the tractor bucket was pretty fast. I unloaded a yard of the mulch/compost in short order, as I only had to run to the trees, dump the bucket and return. Much faster than wheelbarrowing it.
I put the cardboard in the truck bed before loading, so that I could keep the tailgate gap from filling up, and so once I got about 2/3 of the load scooped out, I could pull the cardboard towards me and get the rest closer...
 

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Discussion Starter #97
Had a serious thunderstorm overnight. 80+mph winds, and horizontal rain! Six fence panels got blown down in our backyard. One hit the pergola after taking out a rose bush. Thank God the pergola was there, or the fence panel would have hit the house. In the picture I'm pointing to where it was positioned before it got hit. One trash can actually cleared our four foot tall hurricane fence and ended up in the front yard. But we got off easy. One house down the street had a travel travel flip into a storage shed!
Tractor and yard cart very helpful in hauling the fence panels to the street. The wind actually sheared the wood fence posts off! Guess that's where my next paycheck is going...
I was sad to see our Redbud tree got damaged. :(
A side note, one of the folks in the neighborhood saw me driving the tractor with the front scoop on, and asked about it. So, I got to give him the rundown on the frame rails, the K57 mod, the All-Trail tires, and the synthetic oil. :)(y)
Mod note: So, as the fence panels were a bit heavy and tweaked the yard cart a little. Bent it back, but it looks like I need to beef it up.
 

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Glad you came through that with only minor damage. BTW, did you ever get the bagger set up?

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #99
Hi Mike! Yes, I did. It works pretty good actually. But I discovered I fill the bagger so fast I end up having so much grass clippings that I do not have a place to dump them. And, I read that it's better for my lawn if I mulch, so that's generally what I do. But the bagger does fit pretty good. The main rubs are two: 1) you lose more space on the right side where the chute is, so any close cutting must be done with the left side of the deck, and 2) you have to be more careful backing, because it sticks out another two feet from the rear of the mower. I did have to drill a hole in each frame rail extension so two mount bolts would go through them. The mount points are already on the mower deck, so you just have to push the pin in the front one, and spin the plastic wing nut onto the bolt on the top, and trailing edge of the mower opening. Two pins are already in the rear of the mower, up high, and the bagger plates slip right over them.
Dave
 

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Nice job!

Mike
 
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