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 Ms. Pistol

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RCTankboy
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PostSubject: Ms. Pistol    Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:38 pm

Finally, after promising to do so, Im posting my in progress build.

When I started this back in February, it was after a couple of months of reading this forum and researching mud mowers on the web. I had this tractor buried under a ton if stuff in the garage, which needed desperately to be cleaned out.

So using that as motivation, I declared to my wife that phase 1 was to be getting enough stuff out of the garage to get the tractor out. This made the wife very happy. Then I told her why I left the tractor outside, and she got a concerned look on her face. It seems I have acquired an unfair, and I dare say even exaggerated, reputation for going over board on my "projects".

I would like to point out now, that the most recent examples presented as evidence against me on this have resulted in perfectly safe and wonderfully functioning solutions to problems. Yes the sump pump I bought and installed to replace the original one that came with the house was a bit larger. However, you can now clearly gauge how much water is being removed by using the yard stick I put next to the outlet pipe. (A foot is about average, but I have seen 18 inches.)

Yes, the garbage disposal unit I and installed to replace the original one that came with the house was a bit larger. I had nursed that original little bastard on for as long as I could to save a little money until it finally just died. However, you can now clearly gauge how well it functions by the fact that *anything* that goes in there while its running with the water on is molecule sized on its way out. Also, the entire kitchen hums. Really, the entire kitchen. Even the fridge.

So, now that I have established my innocence, I think you'll understand why I was dumfounded at her expression of doubt and concern. "Yeah, we will see. Just don't set the house on fire." was all the said and she turned and left. AGAIN, another unfounded accusation based on an exaggerated account of events. However I digress.

I could tell I was going to have a PR problem on my hands, and that meant Id have difficulty funding my project when it meant dipping into the budget when my pocket change wouldn't suffice. So, I began working on both the tractor and the perception problem at the same time.

This first picture is where I started in February. Premods!

http://imageshack.us/a/img556/7648/917976.jpg

I had a rough idea by the time I had gotten to this point in the build on how to deal with both ground clearance and my public relations problem. I was sitting at the kitchen table after having helped my wonderful wife get some of the cooking done. I very casually remarked "You know, I think I got an idea on what to call this tractor."
"Oh, what?" she asked, slightly amused (I had convinced her by now I was serious about finishing it)
"Well, I was thinking about how you and I are buddies, and hang out a lot. But you don't like going out in the woods and camping or stuff like that." I posed, "but I kinda like having you around all the time. You're fun."
This of course make my wife smile, "Well we do have fun together, but what's that go to do with the tractor? Are you building me one too?" she asked.
My eyes lit up, and she winced realizing she had tacitly given me permission and an idea at the same time. "No, but I will if you want. No I was thinking Id name it after you, one of your nicknames. Ill call it Ms Pistol. Then, when someone sees me driving it around and doing things I probably shouldn't be able to on a lawn mower, I can tell them straight up 'Hell yeah this thing did that! Just like my wife, can do anything she wants!'" and I sat back very calm and cool looking.

She smiled so big I knew I had hit the ball out of the park, and the rest of the night she asked me all sorts of questions about how it would work, how it would look and on and on.

Take note fellas. make your wife your friend, and your life gets %80 easier.

This is the now named Ms Pistol after getting the ATV tires mounted on the rear stock hubs. I was already itching to drive it.





At this point I had found a place to bend me up some 3/4 steel rod so I could do my other idea, namely I wanted the same size tires all the way round, and I had a spare set of rears to use. Rinse and Repeat of the rear tires now mounted on the front. The catch is, you have to make the axle a bit longer to accommodate the wider rear hubs. I had spares of nearly everything for this particular tractor in that mound in the garage which was by now much smaller because of all this work and time.


http://imageshack.us/a/img553/7034/15bbf6.png


Here is where my butt will go in a boat seat I bought but never used. Also, shortly after this pic was taken, I decided to keep the original batter location, but I wanted more capacity for a wench and stuff (based on several threads and videos) So I rearranged things a tad and now TWO tractor batteries res in the same location and are wired up good to go. Man, this thing starts like a dream!


http://imageshack.us/a/img850/8646/8c3276.png

So, I didn't have to make my first serious, unplanned mod after putting those big ol 22x11x8's on the front of the tractor. When I made the new front axles (recycle some of the metal bits form the originals and welding them on the new axles) I moved the wheels out about an inch. This gave the tractor a slightly wider stance in the front and took care of a steering issue I anticipated and compensated for. I also LOWERED the front in the same way to compensate for the front end sitting to high for the look I wanted. Technically its still an inch higher than the rear, but its so close, I didn't mind.

The problem I ran into that I had NOT anticipated was tire rub. These freaking tires are so wide, they STILL rub, But by now, all my steering mods are welded up! On my test drives, the tractor turns so sharp the nobbies catch the frame and lock the tire up! Then, the tractor stops turning and goes STRAIGHT! What to do, WHAT TO DO?! (the wife was not amused when this happened on a test drive in the yard to show her what I had accomplished thus far)

No worries, I did this:

http://imageshack.us/a/img591/1862/ded7f8.png

I hardly lost any turning radius and I can still turn so sharp that I still have to lean HARD into the turn or risk going over. ill need to be careful once I do the pull swap!

I have so much more to post, but this is enough to keep my promise of posting my build. Im actually close to finished, and am in the sanding and painting phase.

More pictures and progress report to come!


Last edited by RCTankboy on Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:42 pm; edited 5 times in total
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kawasaki220
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:52 pm

looks good so far keep it up
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redlinemotorsportts
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:24 pm

Great work! i love the planning involved. Happy wife=happy life! Haha, i like the big tires up front, looks good having the same tires all around, and you'll have a crazy good approach angle, like i have 18's and could mount a 12-15" tall rock wall, witch is pretty darn good for 2wd! I see you upgraded steering ends-nice! That caster wheel is something i'd never think of. maybe steering stops on the axle? but a caster is totally outside the box, sweet. great mower to mod-good frame and drive system!
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:40 pm

I know what its like having your wife make funny faces over my mower addiction. I tell here all the time that i picked up a couple more mowers today.  An she looks at me like its the end of the would  but i love it she just lets my hobby go on with out a big deal. Sept the name of my mower it really aint got one but the calls it. That stupid lawn mower.
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Angchor
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:06 pm

Are you done yet?

Are you done yet?
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Stretch44875
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:08 pm

Looks good so far.

Wife lets me do whatever, as long as the bills are paid, and I fix the house and her stuff.
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Doc Sprocket
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:51 pm

Looking great already! I can tell I'm going to enjoy this.

As for your wife, mine, and indeed Stretch's, I have this to say: MULE is actually hers. *wink*

_______________________________________________
***Get YOUR official "Doc Locked, And Ready To Rock!" Stickers by clicking here!***
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Put down the wrench, and come out with your hands up!-Doc "Tranny Crusher" Sprocket, ATLTF Forum Admin, Thinkerer and Tinkerer, and all-around good dood. Wink

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Wrench, Wheel, Wreck, Repeat...
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:13 am

UPDATE: More Pictures and comments.

Steering "upgrades"
Yes, I did "upgrade" the steering crossbar\linkage\rod thing. I didn't WANT to, but I HAD to. When I was welding up the front axles, I needed a third hand that I didn't have to hold the L shaped metal steering piece in the EXACT position needed. So naturally, when I pulled my welding mask down it shifted about an eighth of an inch. This threw my entire steering geometry off using the original steering cross arm rod thing. So I had to spend 2 hours at Home Despot mixing and matching various pipes and stuff together.

I had the steering rod ends already, so it was a matter of finding the right ID pipes and whatnot and a way to secure it. In the end, I was pretty happy with the unintentional upgrade in spite of the 6 hours its cost me to find parts, fab it all up, and the $30 spent.

Tires
Yeah I liked the look of four of the same tires. I plan to add a fifth for the "spare". Some of the trails I plan to roll down are a stupid distance from anywhere to get help. Well, more than Id want to walk even on a nice day.

Are you done yet?
Almost. Almost. Almost. Almost. Almost. Almost. Almost.


This is the front "firewall" (made of wood, yes note the irony.) Its 3/4 in PT plywood, and this is a critical piece as most of the body will in some way tie into it.

Front firewall


This is a side shot of the firewall, the "floorboard", and the previously mentioned boat seat turned "Mobile Comfy Chair". Oh yeah, who ever poked fun about "wide seats on mowers" looking bad? Angchor is right! When you get older, you stop trying to prove how macho and tough you are and go for comfort. That seat is comfy too. It also flips up so I can access that batteries to put jumpers on to help out those ATV riders when they need a jump. I plane to rub their noses in it that my mower saved them.
(I have since re-cut this piece for better fit and finish.)

Side shot Firewall, floor, seat
http://imageshack.us/a/img577/6158/bd6b18.jpg


So, my body design presented its third design challenge when it came to the clutch\brake. With the wider tires, and the "firewall"; I had to cut the clutch pedal. I recycled a spare belt guide and carefully ground out one of the spare knobs until it fit. Once Im done taking things apart over and over, Ill secure the business end on the clutch-lever with hose-clamps to keep it form slipping down or back up and off. Its a tight fit to begin with, so the clamps will be more than enough, and I can still turn tight.
Clever Clutch1
http://imageshack.us/a/img536/637/35a6da.jpg

Clever Clutch 2
http://imageshack.us/a/img802/3530/7089ae.jpg


Last edited by RCTankboy on Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:26 am

Loving the build! i love how in depth you go with these updates also, really gets you locked into it when reading it. Cant wait to see more progress!
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:27 pm

Thanks. After reading how detailed some of the other thread are though, I'm a bit ashamed I didn't put more effort in. I could have easily taken more pictures and written a couple of sentences or a short paragraph for each. Now Im playing catch up.

Oh, i forgot to comment on those fenders in the first picture. Those are the original rear fenders. I almost put them on the trash heap before I realized their SHAPE was perfect for the themed build I was attempting. A few google searches later, and I was decided; those would be my front fenders.

The savings in fabrication time alone is worth it, but their width, size, and durability make it a sweet victory.

The next round of photos will give away the theme entirely. Or maybe ill just take one picture of a crucial body panel and post that, and give the whole thing away?

You guys decide.
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:43 pm

@RCTankboy wrote:
The next round of photos will give away the theme entirely. Or maybe ill just take one picture of a crucial body panel and post that, and give the whole thing away?
I was wondering why all the plywood, up until that statement. I'll hold off on that until I see what you are building out of all that plywood.  Very Happy 

If you can find the local D.O.T. "Barn"... Sometimes they have old street signs that are pretty thick and pretty stiff, aluminum, that they are tossing out.

Old cars and trucks are pretty good sources of sheet metal. Doors, hoods, sideboards, truck beds, etc. As are old washers and dryers.


How does that clutch work?

That upright plywood there, would severely cramp me up. I'd need a lot more foot room. As in, being able to put my foot all the way out, on top of that fender, if need be. If you are needing that for bracing for some kind of body design, consider maybe cutting most of that out, and replacing it with some angle iron? (An old bed frame is a good source for that.)

Are you going to put on wheelie bars, or put a bunch of weight on the front? Maybe it's just how the picture is taken, or something, but that geometry plus a person sitting on that chair, just screams backflip, to me.

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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:38 pm

@RCTankboy wrote:
The next round of photos will give away the theme entirely. Or maybe ill just take one picture of a crucial body panel and post that, and give the whole thing away?

Im guessing a mini jeep, given the fenders provide a flat top for it.
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:22 pm

id say a tractor but thats just me
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:03 am

So this past week Ive worked some extra hours and pulled off some seemingly impossible work with my team, and as a a reward, I got to leave early yesterday and will again today.

Last night I started using Bondo on the body pieces for the tractor. It has some knots and some ripply sections I want to smooth out. Its my first time using Bondo, and I can tell I have a more significant learning curve than I thought. Still, its going to add more work but result in a nicer finished product. Kind of like my wife, shes a lot of work sometimes, but it always pays off for me in the end.

Pic's soon.
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:40 pm

I cant wait to see it! Plus I like the build and how you've been posting the updates, like Willis said it locks you in.
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:51 am

Well, I spent the weekend learning how to use bondo, between doing other things. I can say without reservation that I am glad I dont do this for a living.

The three main pieces needing it are nearly done however. More shortly.
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:20 am

Finished sanding finally. Ill be painting all weekend it looks like.

Also took a shot at fabbing up a new exhaust system. Routing it the way it needs to go will be tight. More than a little heat wrap is going to be necessary too. Inevitably, I will need to go to narrower tires or risk contact with front tires and exhaust; maybe 10's or 9's if I can find them in 22's and for an 8in hub. Not worrying about that until this set wears down a little or it become a huge problem.

Learned more than a little this past week about welding with my MIG too. I enjoyed myself despite my lack of skill presenting me with extra "learning opportunities" (i.e I made lots of mistakes).

I can honestly say, I prefer the mechanical side of this whole thing, and not the aesthetics. I can spend 2 hours welding something up and using a dremel to grind away the crud; and not mind the time at all.

However, 15 minutes sanding and I'm bored out of my mind and trying to find a way out of the garage.

Next project will be focused on the functional aspects, and form be damned. This build is a necessary evil though, as it will catch peoples interest and get them to ask questions. Then I can set the hook and reel them into modding mowers. Need to get a crew together up in my neck of the woods to romp with, and this might help.

Hope To get some pictures up by Monday for you all.
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:56 pm

Nifty, can't wait for pics.
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:40 pm

Started putting Ms Pistol back together tonight. Its always funny how when you make something, you see a hundred different things to do better. Its a force of will to not stop and try to fix each one, because if I do, Ill never have something to drive.

Apologies for the crappy linking. Imageshack is pissing me the hell off with it. Will move all the photos out of there when I have time.

Three quarter view. This one gives away the theme.


Side view showing an experimental gas tank location (just a mockup, not sure yet)


Start of my custom exhaust. This is going to be tricky to route and not melt anything important.


Dual batteries in parallel.
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:23 am

Bah! I'm not liking how its going together or how it looks. I've changed my mind 4 or 5 times now on whether to scrap the body or finish it.

I think I will finish it for now, and get to riding, THEN rework it entirely in the Spring using the Old Street Sign method Angchor suggested.

I have a spare Transmission for this, and I think will spend this weekend locking it and doing a pulley swap.

If I leave the front pulley stock, and the rear is a 5 or 6 inch; would anyone know off the top of their head what the new belt size is?
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:25 pm

As far as exhausts go, you can get closer than you think to things with the pipe without having too much trouble heat wise. You can always wrap it with header wrap or make a heat shield if nessesary too. Looking pretty good.
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PostSubject: Re: Ms. Pistol    Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:00 am

Spent this past Sat rearranging things a bit to have room in the garage full time for tractor work, then the rest of the day working on custom exhaust. Virginia has rules on noise levels your OHV makes, and requires a "spark arrestor" on your ride. It's basically just a metal screen over your tailpipe for fire prevention.

So, worked a total of 12 hours, at least 10 of which was on the tractor. I ended up re-cutting and regrinding some angles to route the pipe better, and then to add another section to it. I also started modifying a 2 port exhaust into a single port, and welding up some gashes in it.

I'm slowly learning how to weld with my mig, but I spend 2-3 times the amount of time grinding down ugly welds to actual welding. Still, Im getting better, and the new grinding disc is cutting down the grinding time considerably. I hope to have the exhaust completely done by Sunday.

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