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Flywheel engine on a lawnmower chassis

dcwaller66

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I'm looking at some different options for something to do with my IHC 3-5hp LB, and I think I've settled on one. I've seen a few hit and miss engines installed on various lawnmower chassis and driven around the Thresher's Reunion in Denton, NC and on YouTube. I'd like to know if anyone here has ever built one and how well it works? What were some of the challenges that you ran into while building it?

I had a chance a few years ago to look over a 1.5-2.5 LA/LB on a mower chassis, but I didn't look under it to see how the belt drive was setup. Overall it looked like a fairly clean setup. I'm going Saturday to look at a pre-1970 Cub Cadet that a friend has, hopefully it will be a good starting point.

John Deere E on a JD 110 Chassis
 

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Roger Summer

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Last Subscription Date
09/25/2017
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Here is a pic of mine w/ a 3 HP FBM throttler on a Sears Suburban w/ a 6 spd. tranny.
 
Hi,

Yes, they are cool to ride at shows. My kids love ours. I did not build mine but bought it from another collector who made it for his grandkids years ago. It's a Witte throttler on a wheelhorse.
Just make sure the mower has a side pulley drive on the transmission and not a pulley on the bottom. Set up for a horizontal engine. That makes belting up to a flywheel engine possible. You can see a picture of mine just search forums with purple people eater. Pics are not great but give an idea.

We talked earlier this week on the forum about machine shops. I am not very far from you. If you are nearby sometime stop by and I will show you how it is built or set up. The frame was extended and v belt pulleys put on the inside of the flywheels.
 

73eldo

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Some of the vertical engine mowers still had the vertical pulley to the transaxle. The design on those was to have a twisted belt to a horizontal jack shaft that always turned. This then made a fairly short straight shot between that and the transaxle which is usually where the 'clutch' tensioner was. Twisting a belt is really not a big deal but you usually can't do the clutch on the twisted belt.

The problem I saw with most of the lawn tractors I have looked at is the front suspension and steering was barely able to take the weight of the stock engine which I estimate to be maybe 1/4 of what even a 1.5 hit miss would weigh. By the time you rebuild the front suspension I suspect you would be better off to do a whole custom chassis only using the original transaxle.

I am toying with the idea of an articulated sort of design. The front chassis would have the engine and drive controls on it. The rear section would be the driver/ passenger area. Was thinking of perhaps a bunch of control levers for the steering and drive. Thinking that would sort of have a retro look to it.
 

Forrest A

Registered
Make sure the tractor has a stout cast front axle. sheet metal front axles will fold under the weight, as mentioned before. I prefer early 70s and earlier Wheel Horse and Cub Cadets as they also have a heavy frame. The older Wheel Horse belt clutch setup is perfect for the conversion and requires very little modification.
 

dcwaller66

Registered
73eldo, I've seen something like what you're talking about. Someone had taken a David Bradley tractor and built a sulkey to go behind it. The sulkey wasn't much more than two wheels, some 1" square tubing and a pan seat. I think building something on the same idea as a front tine tiller would be a good way to go about it. I have a Merry Tiller from the 50s or 60s that has a simple clutch setup that would be easy to make work with a hit and miss engine. If you want, I can send you some pictures of it to get you started.
 

con-rad

Registered
I'm actually in the process of building one right now. I'm using a wheel horse 800 frame. Wheel Horses are perfect for this application because of transmission/clutch pulley location and engine/tranny pulley rotation direction. i attached a couple photos of my mocked-up drive set up. it's 3/4" pitch roller chain to a layshaft where it goes to 1/2" V belt to the tranny.

conrad
 

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Ironman

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Last Subscription Date
10/10/2011
I started working on this a few days before we started harvesting crops back in September, and then it got tucked away in the back of my shop during harvest season. I hope to dig it out of the back of the shop soon and finish it. The ZD Fairbanks is just sitting on the frame in the picture. I have not yet mounted the engine to the chassis or installed the jackshaft assembly for the drive.

The biggest problem with using a Wheel Horse chassis is that the frame rails are only 7 inches wide if I remember correctly. There is also the issue of the length of the engine that you use for the power source. Sometimes it will require lengthening the frame, which can then cause problems with how well your unit steers.

I like the fact that the ZD is small enough to fit under the hood and that the front grille can still be used, although I will need to trim the side of the grille a little bit in order to keep it from rubbing the flywheel.
 

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Culy

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Last Subscription Date
08/27/2010
I built one for a friend of mine a couple years back. Used an early 70's wheelhorse that had a hydro trans. and a 1 1/2 LB for power. Only took about 2-3 hours to do and looked good. We hooked it back to back to my 318 JD and it pulled the deere backwards (the 318 is fully loaded with weights). Really suprised me.
 

Tom Sampson

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Last Subscription Date
01/07/2015
Here's a video of one that a friend of ours made back in the 70's.



Here's another that my dad built for me to drive when I was a kid. He built it in about 1976 and I've put a million miles on it and have passed it down to my kids.

 

dcwaller66

Registered
Today I looked at the mower that a friend offered me. It's a Cub Cadet 86. It has a good 8hp Kohler engine, and new blades on the 42" deck. I'll save all of those for later in case I want to reassemble it. I have the engine, mowing deck, deck lift, and fuel tank off. All of the tires are bad from sitting, but that's nothing major to fix.

The Cadet's frame rails measure the same outside to outside as the IHC 3-5hp LB skids, so the mounting bolts will sit just inside the frame rails. I'm going to have to make an angle iron "tray" for the LB to sit on. The Cadet's gas tank can be reused, I'll have to raise it up 6-8" to clear the top of the LB.

I can use the Cadet's clutch, but I'm going to have to get creative with pillowblock bearings and pulleys for it all to work and look good. :brows:
 

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Tom Nowak

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Here's one I made in 1989 got it back out and cleaned it up some and took it to a few shows to ride around on. I had it out in Portland this year maybe some of you might have saw me riding it around.:shrug:
Made my own frame and used some parts off of different mowers. Has a 3 speed trans with reverse I reach behind the seat to shift gears. It has a over center clutch to tighten the drive belt. I used the belt tightener off of a mower that was used to tighen the blade on the mower deck. I was trying to make a 2 foot wheel base but I could not get it that short.:(:wave:
 

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