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 Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?

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Maine Mud Mower
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PostSubject: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:15 am

Ok so here's the deal like it or not MTD vary drives are becoming more and more common. So here's the questions do we as a community want to try and expand into them and experiment. I'm the guy willing to front the bill if there is enough interest.

If its something you want to see chime in!
If you got and idea but don't feel like risking the cash. lets hear the idea!
This is skies the limit!
Known problem with them that needs to be solved to make them worth mudding! Chime in!

Thanks everyone for reading and please keep responses polite and to the point.

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Lawren Wimberly
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:11 am

Ok. The MTD vari drive is a rather ingenious, yet simple sort of torque converter/speed variator. It WORKS, and quite well, until it gets muddy and wet, at which point the belts and pulleys start slipping. I, for one , would like to see one working on a lightweight mud mower, kinda like Fearless's Murray wide body, with an enclosed drive system to keep out the mud and water... think a 90% coverage skid plate, with the only opening in the BACK, for drainage.

I'd build a sheetmetal belly pan that covers the front

Try to replace the varidrive belt with a Kevlar belt. There are 3/4 and 1 inch FNR tranny's out there, Lock one up for the rear (the standard 5/8 axle ones are kinda puny for big mud tires)

Good luck, and keep us posted!
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:28 am

One things for sure, they are common as dirt. Was at my local mower junkyard, and he has plenty of them, including the dual range transaxles.

I personally hate the clutch on them. Need to separate the ratio change from the clutch action.
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:00 pm

I agree with Stretch, I like the vari drive mud mower I built way back in the day, but I eventually scrapped it due to the fact it always started in first as you let the clutch out. Seperating the systems would require another belt and idler but might actually make a mtd worth it. I vote dual range 1 inch axles also
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:48 pm

I'd like to see what ideas end up working on this. I can usually find those MTD machines around $100 in running condition.
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:33 pm

I think that separating the brake and clutch will help a lot as well
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:51 pm

Lawren Wimberly wrote:
I think that separating the brake and clutch will help a lot as well
i think ig you could make the vari-drive where you have a pedal it would make it better, because then you could put more tension on the belts than just a lever
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:58 pm

Yea i dont see how you could keep the belts from slipping and turn big tires. Just the natural design on it it seems, it doesnt hug the belt like V belt pulleys as well. When one gets small in DIA and the other one is big in DIA on top its like having a 2-3" pulley for the small DIA belt to hug, it just doesnt work. Think about it. the puny transaxles snap in half like twigs, junk. Yea go hi/lo axle at least.
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:28 pm

quoting lawren wimberly: Try to replace the varidrive belt with a Kevlar belt. There are 3/4 and 1 inch FNR tranny's out there, Lock one up for the rear (the standard 5/8 axle ones are kinda puny for big mud tires)

Is there 5/8" axles? I know that the front spindles are, but I have not seen one yet. I have three, and all of them have 3/4" axles.
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:11 pm

yup... the MTD that is becoming the Red Fox has a 5/8 axle FNR
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:50 pm

It's been my observation that people tend to fear and shun, that which they do not understand. I would suggest starting with a THOROUGH explanation of how they work, why they work, what they do, and what goes wrong with them. Including, how to successfully pull off a pulley swap, without screwing up it's operation.

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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:06 pm

I agree with that 100% Doc. As a matter of fact, mainemudmower and myself were discussing this earlier in chat... MTD's are plentiful, cheap, and often the very mower a new member HAS to start with. A build based on the MTD standard drive system, able to perform as well as say, a Murray widebody build, would be helpful to a lot of beginners.

Unfortunately, the rule of thumb seems to be

"If ya cant figure it out, RIP it out"
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:04 pm

Lawren Wimberly wrote:
I agree with that 100% Doc. As a matter of fact, mainemudmower and myself were discussing this earlier in chat... MTD's are plentiful, cheap, and often the very mower a new member HAS to start with. A build based on the MTD standard drive system, able to perform as well as say, a Murray widebody build, would be helpful to a lot of beginners.

Unfortunately, the rule of thumb seems to be

"If ya cant figure it out, RIP it out"

True statement lawren. I removed mine in shear fact that i can use a reliable system (transaxle/clutch) and its doing just that. Seems like less going on. To me, MTD's are in the crowd of "i dont have $ for a easy, popular to mod tractor (ex: widebody's 90's craftsman's) so im going to do what i can with this cheap tractor." The hole idea im trying to say is, if you start doing big mods to these, special mods that require special tools that the average joe doesnt have, then you're stepping out of the boundaries of "cheap" and "keeping it simple". Going over board on a MTD for the average kid dont make to much seance if they can get a widebody, craftsman, or something along the lines thats easier, and cheaper to mod.

If you want to do a video series on this MMM go for it! You will sure get views and more attention from the "cheaper" crowd me thinks. Just think that the mods have to be relatively small, easy, cheap, yet change the tractors abilities a good about so people try it.

(i dont mean to sound like a jerk or anything in this)
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:19 pm

the one I ran only had 18 inch tires that were cut, but I dont remember belt slippage as an issue, I was running a 6 or 7 inch drive pulley I think
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:40 am

Doc Sprocket wrote:
It's been my observation that people tend to fear and shun, that which they do not understand. I would suggest starting with a THOROUGH explanation of how they work, why they work, what they do, and what goes wrong with them. Including, how to successfully pull off a pulley swap, without screwing up it's operation.

hit the nail on the head doc. thats a really good point.
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Fri Mar 21, 2014 1:12 pm

it'd be cool if you could tweak the clutch system, to make it more reliable and water resistant. then instead of an FNR as the transaxle, put a peerless or something in with say. 5 speeds.. ultimate trail mower
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Fri Mar 21, 2014 4:39 pm

All I see is text, I would like to see if anyone have sketches, pictures or videos of this system?

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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:50 pm

willis923 wrote:
then instead of an FNR as the transaxle, put a peerless or something in with say. 5 speeds.. ultimate trail mower

This is where I sit. My JD112 (MULEII) has a variator (a vari-drive, but JD quality...LOL) coupled to a Peerless 2300. The variator has 5 effective steps (or "speeds", if you will. Combined with the 4-speed, you have 20 forward settings, and 5 reverse.

The variator is controlled with a handle- set it to the desired ratio and away you go.

I've looked over the system, and it's operation. Now, for a mud machine, this truly is overkill. For something designed to run agricultural attachments or implements, this is "Da Bomb", and here's why: Between the transmission ratios and the variator ratios, you're pretty much guaranteed to find that sweet spot for whatever you're doing. You can keep the engine at the power peak RPM without sacrificing ground speed and vice-versa.

Now, I WAS going to yank the variator out of it, until I saw the light of day. It's gonna stay!

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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Fri Mar 21, 2014 6:33 pm

doc, that would make one helluva puller, especially with that vanny now
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Sat Mar 22, 2014 8:02 pm

Ok so this topic has gone well a few questions

1. So is there actual interest in if regular belt verses kevlar makes a difference on these with the front pulley modified in size for more speed?

2. It seems the trannies strength is often in question? Perhaps a how to on a basic brace and rear skip. Problem here is needing a welder. But some mods that unavoidable.

3. Seems to be little to no info on locking these rears and how it was done. Again we get into welder so the zinc idea may need to be tried as the idea of the build is CHEAP.

4. Chasey Flex seems to be a know problem in keeping with low budget with out a welder idea. Was debating a 4ft 1 inch square stock bolted to frame every foot to see what is any it would help?

5. Front axle is a know weakness does any one know of a craftsman axle might swap in as an upgrade?
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Sat Mar 22, 2014 8:09 pm

I dont think a Craftsman will fit in, the MTD axle is wider.

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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:22 pm

I like mtd's because they are so much lighter than ayp. The 5/8 axles can take alot more abuse than you'd expect. we've only ever broken 4 axles in the 5 mtds weve had (battle wagon is 1) so 4 fnr axled tractors. 3 in ranch king, 1 in the statesman which was our fault running 1 18 in tire and 1 20in tire. The ranch kind was turning 25 inch tires, towing heavy ass loads, rolled about 25 times, (17 in a row into a holler), and was just ran hard. I don't see why mtd's have such a bad rap. Axles are tougher than expected, Vari drive rarely slips in proper gearing and belts.

Some stuff to make vari drives successful i have learned.
A lot of vari drives run 5/8 front belts, 1/2 rear belts. This can be critical to proper shifting.
Overly oversized engine pulleys are asking for trouble, I'd recommend under 4.5 inches. I ran 7in ungoverned the vari drive and it would sometimes screw up above 3500 rpm.
Belt alignment is also very critical and belt sag needs to be minimized.
Run black belts in the rear, kevlar (blue) in the front. Don't know why, but it worked well for me.
If you leave all gearing stock. It will last. Like anything else. It's designed within a certain rpm range.
Don't use them as a skid plate. (aka, dont let trees rip it off) (this could also happen to a clutch pulley)
If you want speed, drop the back pulley to a 3in + pulley.
1:1 in my Pony 7:7.25 actually got me 22mph ungoverned.
If a  tractor is being sold for vari drive issues, go to the junkyard and rip another vari off. they are all almost the same and aren't worth fiddling with.
Skid plates do help tremendously.

Mtd issues
Frame flex
(depending on the model), hollow thin front axles

MTD pluses
Comfortable
Shift on the fly
Easy to work on.
Bolt on tires.
Bad ass front spindles
Good steering setup,
good engines
I'll think of more im sure Very Happy

As far as I know. I'm the only one to ever rip a front axles in half. But it was modified for flex. So I think it was my fault.

Ask me anything about an FNR MTD, I'll probably be able to answer your question.


Last edited by TroyBilt Pony on Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:30 pm

TroyBilt Pony wrote:
I like mtd's because they are so much lighter than ayp. The 5/8 axles can take alot more abuse than you'd expect. we've only ever broken 4 axles in the 5 mtds weve had (battle wagon is 1) so 4 fnr axled tractors. 3 in ranch king, 1 in the statesman which was our fault running 1 18 in tire and 1 20in tire. The ranch kind was turning 25 inch tires, towing heavy ass loads, rolled about 25 times, (17 in a row into a holler), and was just ran hard. I don't see why mtd's have such a bad rap. Axles are tougher than expected, Vari drive rarely slips in proper gearing and belts.

Some stuff to make vari drives successful i have learned.
A lot of vari drives run 5/8 front belts, 1/2 rear belts. This can be critical to proper shifting.
Overly oversized engine pulleys are asking for trouble, I'd recommend under 4.5 inches. I ran 7in ungoverned the vari drive almost always screwed up above 2500 rpm.
Belt alignment is also very critical and belt sag needs to be minimized.
Run black belts in the rear, kevlar (blue) in the front. Don't know why, but it worked well for me.
If you leave all gearing stock. It will last. Like anything else. It's designed within a certain rpm range.
Don't use them as a skid plate. (aka, dont let trees rip it off) (this could also happen to a clutch pulley)
If you want speed, drop the back pulley to a 3in + pulley.
1:1 in my Pony 7:7.25 actually got me 22mph ungoverned.
If a  tractor is being sold for vari drive issues, go to the junkyard and rip another vari off. they are all almost the same and aren't worth fiddling with.
Skid plates do help tremendously.

Mtd issues
Frame flex
(depending on the model), hollow thin front axles

MTD pluses
Comfortable
Shift on the fly
Easy to work on.
Bolt on tires.
Bad ass front spindles
Good steering setup,
good engines
I'll think of more im sure Very Happy

As far as I know. I'm the only one to ever rip a front axles in half. But it was modified for flex. So I think it was my fault.

Nononononononono.

1. All vari-drives I have ever seen use 5/8 on both. It makes sense, I mean why would they use two belt sizes? I tried using a 1/2" belt on the rear and it burned them up like crazy. Even blue kevlar.

2. Black belts are FHP and will burn up fast. Really fast. I have/ had 3 of them to prove it.

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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:36 pm

Doug Fackler wrote:
TroyBilt Pony wrote:
I like mtd's because they are so much lighter than ayp. The 5/8 axles can take alot more abuse than you'd expect. we've only ever broken 4 axles in the 5 mtds weve had (battle wagon is 1) so 4 fnr axled tractors. 3 in ranch king, 1 in the statesman which was our fault running 1 18 in tire and 1 20in tire. The ranch kind was turning 25 inch tires, towing heavy ass loads, rolled about 25 times, (17 in a row into a holler), and was just ran hard. I don't see why mtd's have such a bad rap. Axles are tougher than expected, Vari drive rarely slips in proper gearing and belts.

Some stuff to make vari drives successful i have learned.
A lot of vari drives run 5/8 front belts, 1/2 rear belts. This can be critical to proper shifting.
Overly oversized engine pulleys are asking for trouble, I'd recommend under 4.5 inches. I ran 7in ungoverned the vari drive almost always screwed up above 2500 rpm.
Belt alignment is also very critical and belt sag needs to be minimized.
Run black belts in the rear, kevlar (blue) in the front. Don't know why, but it worked well for me.
If you leave all gearing stock. It will last. Like anything else. It's designed within a certain rpm range.
Don't use them as a skid plate. (aka, dont let trees rip it off) (this could also happen to a clutch pulley)
If you want speed, drop the back pulley to a 3in + pulley.
1:1 in my Pony 7:7.25 actually got me 22mph ungoverned.
If a  tractor is being sold for vari drive issues, go to the junkyard and rip another vari off. they are all almost the same and aren't worth fiddling with.
Skid plates do help tremendously.

Mtd issues
Frame flex
(depending on the model), hollow thin front axles

MTD pluses
Comfortable
Shift on the fly
Easy to work on.
Bolt on tires.
Bad ass front spindles
Good steering setup,
good engines
I'll think of more im sure Very Happy

As far as I know. I'm the only one to ever rip a front axles in half. But it was modified for flex. So I think it was my fault.

Nononononononono.

1. All vari-drives I have ever seen use 5/8 on both. It makes sense, I mean why would they use two belt sizes? I tried using a 1/2" belt on the rear and it burned them up like crazy. Even blue kevlar.

2. Black belts are FHP and will burn up fast. Really fast. I have/ had 3 of them to prove it.

yesyeyesyesyesyesyes

1. Look again my friend. Your belt alignment has to be off, or your are overspeeding them. All 4 of the mtds we've messed with have had a 1/2 rear belt. I ran the part number for my pony along time ago. 69in 5/8 front, 36.25 1/2 rear. I ran 74in 5/8 front and 36in 1/2 rear.

2. I've ran fan belts before for weeks on end without 1 problem. Kevlar ones just turn into white cotton looking material and blow apart when something goes wrong. Black belts smoke away.  Both will work fine, but black belts seem to offer less slippage.

Meant to add, frame flex causes shredded belts due to misaligning the pullies when flexed, so brace it.
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:54 pm

redlinemotorsportts wrote:
Lawren Wimberly wrote:
I agree with that 100% Doc. As a matter of fact, mainemudmower and myself were discussing this earlier in chat... MTD's are plentiful, cheap, and often the very mower a new member HAS to start with. A build based on the MTD standard drive system, able to perform as well as say, a Murray widebody build, would be helpful to a lot of beginners.

Unfortunately, the rule of thumb seems to be

"If ya cant figure it out, RIP it out"

True statement lawren. I removed mine in shear fact that i can use a reliable system (transaxle/clutch) and its doing just that. Seems like less going on. To me, MTD's are in the crowd of "i dont have $ for a easy, popular to mod tractor (ex: widebody's 90's craftsman's) so im going to do what i can with this cheap tractor." The hole idea im trying to say is, if you start doing big mods to these, special mods that require special tools that the average joe doesnt have, then you're stepping out of the boundaries of "cheap" and "keeping it simple". Going over board on a MTD for the average kid dont make to much seance if they can get a widebody, craftsman, or something along the lines thats easier, and cheaper to mod.

If you want to do a video series on this MMM go for it! You will sure get views and more attention from the "cheaper" crowd me thinks. Just think that the mods have to be relatively small, easy, cheap, yet change the tractors abilities a good about so people try it.

(i dont mean to sound like a jerk or anything in this)

I thought this was a poor mans hobbie? Of course people are going to go for the cheapest thing. If we all had money to start with I'm sure we'd all have atvs because they are just overall better, but there way to expensive for the normal person to just go out and buy to take in the mud, and there not as fun because let's face it, it's a mower in the mud.. It's not designed to it that's why it's fun. take them were there not suppose to go its awesome. But a fourwheeler designed to do that will obviously do it better, but maybe not as fun cuz there's no challenge. I like when people just build something that moves it doesn't have to be perfect. It's a mower it's not going to be perfect. Unless your thunder lol. Most people coming into this hobbie are coming into it because they don't have a lot of extra cash laying around. So I'd say try everything everyone mentioned because if people can modify vari drive cheaply and make it worth a damn then that's great. People won't have to modify there mower significantly to make a manual fit in there. People shouldn't need tons of money to build a mower.

P.S.

Don't mean to sound like jerk but you kinda did to the people who don't have acces to such amounts of money and or scrap yards to get cheap "nice" mowers.
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PostSubject: Re: Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?   

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Redneckcomputergeek ?MTD?
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