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Author Topic: Murray Widebody build  (Read 29329 times)
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jhodgson53
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« on: June 21, 2010, 09:10:47 AM »

Well, I finally sorted out the two mowers that my neighbor gave me back in the winter. I had originally intended to use the Murray as my grasscutter and the MTD/Huskee as my project mower, but it turned out that the deck on the Murray was hopelessly worn out while the MTD only needed a belt and a thorough adjustment of the deck suspension mechanism. So, I'm cutting grass with the MTD.

The Murray is a 20 HP, Briggs I/C Diamond twin with a 6 speed trans. It runs, drives and shifts just fine. So far I have removed the deck and most of the deck suspension mechanism. (One bolt is giving me a fit!)  I have removed the stack pulley and am going to get a slightly larger drive pulley for the engine. The motion drive belt is very worn and cracked - I'm surprised it didn't come apart while I was tooling about in the pasture.  As it sits, the belt goes around both sides of the steering shaft. Is this correct?  There are no idlers or other guides that would put the belt on one side or the other of the steering shaft, but I don't see any way, short of raising the shaft, to get the belt off and on. I haven't got the mower up high enough to eyeball the steering pinion, but I can't feel a bolt head or nut there. Any clues? Snap ring, maybe?

I'm looking at different steering / front axle options. I have on hand a golf cart front axle with spindles, and I also have a center-steer rack and pinion unit from a Kart. Also looking at ACME Mowersports axle.
Thanks for your input!

-J.B.
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jhodgson53
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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2010, 12:45:58 PM »

Well, I finally tilted the mower on it's side far enough to eyeball the steering shaft and I see a snap ring holding the pinion gear on the shaft. If the weather cooperates I'll be taking that off tomorrow and removing the drive belt and replacing the front pulley with a 5-incher. (Where did I put my darned snap-ring pliers?) I finally got all the deck adjustment hardware off and I made a cover plate for that lever's slots, using an expired license plate. (I hate to see good aluminum go to waste!)

I haven't dropped the transaxle yet but I fear the rear pully is going to be a bear. It's very rusty from being under the battery box; after vigorous brushing with a stainless "toothbrush" and some WD40 I managed to remove the remains of a snap ring with a small screwdriver! I'll be giving the pulley/input shaft several hours of treatment with PB Blaster and maybe some alternating heat/cold (heat gun and CO2 extinguisher) to try and break the rust free before getting down to brute force. I don't plan on going any smaller than 6 inches on the trans pulley. I want plenty of surface area contact between belt and pulley, as Chris and others have recommended.

I'm initially going to mount a pair of polyurethane bump stops to limit and dampen front axle travel, instead of welding or bolting the axle solidly. I'm working out the mounting brackets and hope to have something mocked up before the weekend is out. If I could find a short leaf spring that's not too stout. I might bolt the center of it over the axle transversely, and put a bump stop on either end of the leaf with the bump stop bearing against the top surface of the axle just inboard of each spindle. The idea would be to allow some controlled movement of the axle while improving stability over the stock setup.

I'll try and take a few pics this weekend even though there's not much to see as yet.

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NikoBellic
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2010, 09:38:09 PM »

Sounds like a nice project. I still haven't had time to mess with my PW but I'll get there.
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Chris
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2010, 06:42:54 AM »

I'd love to see a mower with a golf cart front axle, that would be awesome.
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jhodgson53
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2010, 09:28:04 PM »

Well, I've spent some time measuring and figuring on the golf cart front axle, and that's the way I'm headed instead of trying to make the stock axle work. I'm going to mount it rigidly, at least initially, with a piece of heavy 4" angle iron bolted to the front of the frame where the stock axle mounting bracket is currently located.  I will have to modify the cart spindle's steering arm with a bolt-on extension, to make the geometry more conducive to the mower's steering. The cart spindle's steering arm is on the back side of the right spindle, and at about a 45 degree angle to the spindle itself. I've already made a sketch of the piece and hope to get it fabbed up, at least a mockup, in the next week or so. I will also have to fab a tie rod, since the stock one wasn't included with the axle. I will be using 4 on 4 trailer hubs on the cart spindles; they're already ordered. A set of 8" rims and some 18 inch tires should make it sit about right if I keep 20" tires on the rear.  bigsmile

 :question:Anybody ever do business with Jed's Wholesale Tires here in Tennessee?  They're a major distributor for all kinds of cart, ATV / UTV and ag tires/wheels, and they sell a lot on ebay. It's only about fifteen miles from me so I can pick up and save the shipping if I buy tires from them. Just wondered if anybody was familiar with them, their service, etc. Their ebay feedback is 100% positive so They can't be too bad, I guess.

Has anybody ever actually used a Hydro as a transmission only, with a chain drive to a rear axle?
I'm thinking this might be a good setup with a really strong rear axle versus the transaxle setup. I look at those little 3/4" axle shafts and see weakness.

later,
JB

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Chris
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2010, 09:33:53 PM »

Take lots of pictures!!!!

Ryf is using a hydro as a transmission in his mower-buggy, it works great for him. I plan on using a hydro (if I can find one) for my recovery mower as a transmission. Going to mount it sideways though so it acts as a transfer case too smile
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jhodgson53
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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2010, 11:19:29 AM »

Man, that transfer case idea sounds interesting! Maybe a "phase II" project one of these days.

I'll be getting the camera out soon to document my progress. I ordered my pulleys from surplus center this morning; 4.75" front pulley and 6.25" rear. I think this will give me all the speed I'm interested in plus a reserve of low end torque.  I ordered two 8 inch, 4 on 4 golf cart wheels from Buggies Unlimited this morning also. Tring to get the steering geometry worked out. Sure wish I could figure a simple way to use the cart rack and pinion I already have on hand, short of having a jackshaft arangement from the axle, and steering arms going over the top of the engine, like I saw in someone's build either here or on heymow. 

Still trying to decide on a brake setup. Plenty to do!

Later,
JB
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Chris
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« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2010, 11:41:22 AM »

You could probably use the steering system with the jackshaft idea and some sprockets/chain. Could work out pretty well, vut I'm sure it would be complicated to setup.
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jhodgson53
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« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2010, 05:52:04 PM »

I registered for an uploader account but when I went to post pics it says I haven't been approved yet, so pending that I will post a few pics of the Widebody. My hubs arrived yesterday, so I'm anxious to get this thing all figured out and operational.
Spent the day finishing a new walkway for the house, so I'm resting my aching back and watching some NASCAR!
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Chris
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« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2010, 09:14:22 PM »

I'll go approve you now, I have no idea why that thing isn't sending me emails anymore.
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jhodgson53
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« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2010, 04:45:10 PM »

I'm doing something wrong. I uploaded the pics, the list shows up in the uploader file, but when I right-click on the icon and click "Copy," then go pack to my post, the "Paste" command is subdued like there's nothing on the clipboard.
Anyway, Here's the Murray in it's inglorious parking spot while the shed is in use for a carpentry project;
Grasscutter in background:  http://www.offroadmowers.com/uploader/files/56/Murray1.jpg

Here's a shot of the cover plate where the deck height adjustment lever used to be; deck in the background:   http://www.offroadmowers.com/uploader/files/56/Murray2.jpg

Used two bumpstops to replace the seat springs, for a more comfortable seat angle and less wiggle:
http://www.offroadmowers.com/uploader/files/56/Murray3.jpg

The golf cart front axle; dig those 1 inch spindles!:   http://www.offroadmowers.com/uploader/files/56/Murray4.jpg

My front hubs, trailer hubs with tapered roller bearings:
http://www.offroadmowers.com/uploader/files/56/DaHubs.jpg

My sketch of the steering arm add-on; still don't have the mock-up cut out:
http://www.offroadmowers.com/uploader/files/56/Steering%20arm1.jpg

At least you can see that this project isn't a figment of my imagination!

More later!
-JB
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Chris
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2010, 07:06:56 AM »

I see a bunch of really good ideas there!
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jhodgson53
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2010, 10:20:49 PM »

Thanks for the encouraging words!
This afternoon I dropped the transaxle and began trying to persuade the stock pulley off, since my new pulleys will be here this week. As I mentioned previously, the top surface of the pulley and input shaft are very rusty, but I've been soaking the joint with penetrating oil for over a week. I turned the unit over and removed the snap ring from beneath the pulley, and started the penetrating oil treatment on that side, which is practically rust-free. Tomorrow after work I'll start with the heat gun and maybe alternate with a CO2 extinguisher to try and break things free.  Looks like this pulley won't take much abuse from a puller. Trying to remember all the old tricks for removing rusted parts!

Interesting that the shifter shaft is so far to the left side of this transaxle, and the factory makes the elaborate linkage to put the shifter on the right side of the mower. Go figure.

I'm looking at reworking the brackets that attach the transaxle to the frame. There are two sets of attaching holes on each axle housing, and the stock brackets use the inboard set on each side. I'm considering extending the bracket to use the outboard holes as well, which should give some additional support to the axle housings. Might also make a good mounting point for brake calipers. I'll try and take a pic of this area tomorrow.

Working on brake system (on paper).

Later!
-JB
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Chris
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« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2010, 06:20:13 AM »

I really think I'm going to have to steal your idea for the cover plate, I like that a lot. I just left mine open and planned on welding all the holes shut one day (knowing I'd probably never get around to doing so), but your plate looks much cooler - adds that "bling factor" smile
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Ncredleg
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« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2010, 09:28:23 AM »

Some great ideas there. Thanks. Russ
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