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 Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)

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Jamus
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PostSubject: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:43 pm

Hey everyone, I'm new. I pulled this old mower out of the garage and thought I'd mes around with it. The thought of pulling the deck, locking the diff, and slapping on larger tires seemed like a good plan. Then it occurred to me that there must be others who have already done this. I searched youtube, then followed some vids to this forum and here I am. I see you all are doing exactly what I want to do, haha.

Anyway, this mower is old, 80's maybe. It's a Montgomery Wards model which I've learned was made by MTD. It has a 14hp horizontally opposed twin briggs. It has a 7-speed transaxle and the gas tank in under the seat. Since the tank is where it is, it has a fuel pump and the engine is currently not getting fuel. So either the pump needs rebuilt or it's not getting vacuum. Regardless, I'll get it running so I'm not worried.

Plans are to weld the diff, weld the front axle solid and maybe add ATV spindles/hubs, bigger tires(ATV?), weld up some braces in the frame, skidplate the bottom, bumpers, and add a 2k lb winch I have to the front. I also am thinking of moving the front axle forward and widening it a few inches if I build a completely new one using ATV parts. I'd also like to do something to get the slop out of the steering system.

Well that about covers it. I'll get some pics soon and read/learn from all the builds on here in the meantime.


Last edited by Jamus on Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:08 pm

Welcome to the site man!

Sounds like you've got that perfect tractor for modding. Older stuff seems to be made of better steel and holds up better. I think half the fun is in modding and the other half is riding.

Hope to see it soon! cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:13 pm

Thatll be a plus with the horizontal shaft motor- i had the idea of making a 4x4 with a horizontal shaft twin, a wheelhorse trans in front and a 90's GT6000 chassis - too many other projects to even think about building that one anytime soon tho....
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:32 pm

It's a vertical shaft engine, but the 2 cylinders are horizontally opposed, like a porsche or subaru engine. As a side note I was eyeing a 13hp horizontal shaft motor at harbor freight, maybe a gocart someday.

So I messed with the mower a bit this evening and got it to fire, with the aid of the trusty starting fluid. The pump has vacuum so I'll be getting a rebuild kit for it tomorrow, assuming they have it. While I had it pulled out in the open I took some pics. It has a slight toe problem and the steering has seen it's share of bubble gum welds. What's sad is, I think I was the one who did the welding, maybe 10 or more years ago, haha. Anyway, on to the pics.






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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Tue Jun 29, 2010 10:14 pm

Looks like an mtd chassis. Should be alright for modding and beating.
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:42 am

Fearlessfront : Yeah its an MTD- looks similar to my dads 88 MTD .

Jamus: Ah yes- opposed twin - i have 4 of those type, verticle shafts - also have two horizontal shaft ones- a briggs n onan . Things are extremely powerful - had an 18HP on my murray- if it hadnt been so unstable im sure i couldve hit near 50mph with it.

If it has the vari drive, you might want to ditch that - ive never tried one in the mud or climbing, but youd be better off using a manual trans and single belt.

I know my mild mod MTD hauls, but thats on flat surfaces - still has its vari drive , just pulley changes.
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:13 am

It has 7 separate speeds and one belt so is that a manual or this veri-drive you speak of? I've never driven this thing. My dad used it to mow the rocky/rough parts behind the barn. So it hasn't even run since he passed away 7 years ago. The mower I actually use to cut grass with is an automatic and I can see how that wouldn't be great offroad. I should have taken a picture of the transaxle, but I did see one identical to it used in a build on here, when I went through them all, haha.
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:51 pm

Heres a pic of the vari pulley on my mild mod : http://www.atltf.com/project-builds-f4/mild-mod-mtd-t37-60.htm

- its the one closest to the dash - mine uses two belts .

Some MTDs i think came with just one belt - a pic would definitly help. If it does have one belt, changing pulleys would give a lil more power.

Usually MTDs like the mild mod use the vari pulley for the actual trans ( its like a snowmobile clutch setup) - the transaxle is just a forward/ neutral/ reverse only.

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Wed Jun 30, 2010 5:26 pm

I think you are right Dangeroustoys, my transaxle looks just like the one in your build.


So how exactly does it work? The different gears just move an idler pulley in and out effectively changing the transaxle pulley diameter? That's what I'm gathering from your picture. Will this setup be ok for trail riding or should I start looking for another transaxle?
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:31 pm

Did some reading and some looking. You were exactly right, veridrive, 2 belts, variable diameter pulley system.
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:42 pm

Vari-drive isn't too bad... I donno if you've watched my vids on youtube, but the guy that rides with me, on the green tractor, has vari-drive; and it's acutally the least of the problems with that tractor!
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:41 pm

Yup, watch all your vids I think, haha. He does seem to do very well with it. I'll give it a shot first, soon as I get it running. Found the pump rebuild kit and got home to find I forgot to pick up fuel line. The old lines are so bad that you can't get clamps to hold a seal. So I just left the rebuild of the pump for another day. After watching all the vids and builds on here, I'm getting anxious for some tractor riding though. It looks like too much fun.
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:47 pm

Itd be a starting setup- you can easily change to another manual trans in the future- ive never used an MTD on trail rides or mud- my MTD up north was a mower - altho i have noticed the original 18 year old drive belts are slipping while going up the hilly yard at the folks house- sometime when i go up ill change em. At the moment i have like 7 MTDs actually various years and models.

The mild mod is my first MTD modding - came about when i noticed how fast my stock mowing 97 mastercut was - so when i bot this 91 for $25 - it became a mod, to mess around with and tinker on. Sometime im planning on a vari pulley and manual trans drive setup on my old 96 MTD.

Overall the transaxle isnt really a stout unit , itll take some abuse tho- adding those zerks in mine i think helped keep it together so far .

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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:25 pm

SHE RUNS!!! Got the pump rebuilt and new fuel lines on, even fired on old gas. I took it for a victory lap through the yard, level ground. The shift on the fly thing is kinda cool. It' slow though, even in the highest gear. So how could I gain a little wheel speed with this design? I am guessing the transaxle pulley can't be swapped, so maybe a larger engine pulley? Also, if I swapped in a manual transaxle and kept the veridrive, I would have more gear choices. They'd be even slower though wouldnt they?
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:04 pm

You can put a larger engine pulley on ( depends how fast you want to go tho - any serious speed youll want to change alot of stuff on the tractor- for safety) - im using a 6" engine pulley and stock rear pulley ( for the moment- i had to 'adjust ' my mod pulley) - i have like a 4" trans pulley that i need to put on- when i get a chance. Its actually quicker with just the engine pulley as it is- but i want mine a 'lil bit' quicker. Definitly add some zerk grease fittings to the MTD trans tho.

Problem with a smaller rear pulley is the way the belt runs- im thinking ill need to tweek my shift lever to make it work properly tho.

Id say ( being untested im not actually sure) the use of the vari drive and manual trans should effectively make it tons faster in higher gears /changed pulleys.
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:46 pm

If I have time tomorrow I want to get started on the transaxle, weld it up and add those zerks. After that I should straighten the tierod to fix the toe out issue in the steering, and bolt all the bodywork back on. Then I can run it and actually see what it's capable of, not even going to bother before locked the rear.
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:30 am

I want to warn you - locking the rear axle will make it steer terribly - itll still want to go straight . To get it to go around sharp corners youll have to 'push' the rear end to get it to turn.....
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Sat Jul 03, 2010 2:04 pm

Oh yeah, steering goes out the window, haha. It's not as bad as 4wd locked in the mud though. I have ran trucks with lockers and had to go back and forth what seemed like 100 times just make make a tight turn on the trail. If you could fab up some on-axleshaft brakes with individual levers you could leave the transaxle open and have cutting brakes. Then you would really turn on a dime, haha.
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:50 pm

Well I knew a guy who had some old riding mower parts so I went to pay him a visit today. Thought I'd score a manual transaxle and turn the wards/MTD into a 35-speed beast. Wouldn't you know it, I cam home with a free Murray widebody LT, just missing a battery and fuel tank. The rear wheels don't fit either, that's the cause for the wide stance. The axle is keyed and the rims are meant for an axle with 2 flats on them. But the tires are 20's so I can use my 18's off the other tractor for the front. The Murray has an 11hp briggs with a craftsman sticker. Supposedly ran a couple years ago. This Murray is in all around better condition than the wards/MTD. So it begs the question, which one becomes the trail tractor?






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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:22 pm

Looks like you got plagued with MTD's own style rear wheels that dont fit any other tranny. YOu could fit those tryes onto your other rims though!

The only thing those MTD wheels are good for it cutting the two flat spots out, so its circular all through. THen they'll slide right onto the front axles, I have 18" tall MTD wheels on the front, but they're narrow, so I didnt have to mod the spindles at all.

As for the dilema of which tractor to use.... I really want to see the 35 speed MTD built, surely you can easily get another tranny for the Murray later down the line? Would be awesome to see it done. And if it all goes pear shaped, you can always slap the manual back in t he Murray and mod that.
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:39 pm

That is true, if it doesn't work I can put it back. I might be too lazy to do it though. Also without knowing the gear ratios inside the transaxles, I don't know if swapping would even be a benefit. Guess I need to pull both transaxles and start counting gear teeth, haha.

You mention the rims being MTD style, I hope the one on the wards/mtd aren't like this also, or I need to start looking for other rims.
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:58 pm

generally you will find the pictures in on-line manuals, typically there is usually devoted to the transaxle and im not sure if the pictures are accurate although you will get a good idea...
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:52 pm

I had a hard time finding diagrams for the wards/mtd, since it's a rebadged mtd. I found plenty of info on the murray though. Doesn't matter, I went and checked, the wards has the same shaft with flats. So I need some rims to use the murray axle, whichever tractor it goes in.
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:02 pm

good glad i helped a bit! thats what we are here for
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PostSubject: Re: Montgomery Wards(MTD) trail tractor(Now Murray Widebody LT)   Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:53 am

That sucks. Should be easy enough to pick up a couple 8inch rear rims though cheers
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