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 Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle

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prancstaman
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PostSubject: No more busted knuckles!!!   Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:35 pm

Hay People,
I finally got the shifter made. No more busted knuckles for me, LOL. And was easier then I thought it would be to make something workable, I actually been dreading making a shifter because I thought it would be hard. K.I.S.S method applied and approved.

An added benefit of having a steel dash is you can weld to it. So on the side of the dash I welded a spacer to it for a pivot point. Then drilled the hole for the bolt inside the spacer.


Next was the arm for the shifter rod on the transaxle. I drilled out a piece of pipe to slide over the shifter rod then marked and drilled a hole for a bolt to go through and lock the pipe onto the shifter rod. Then welded a flat piece on top for the linkage to attach to after I figured out range of motion.


Made a shifter. Some deck linkage I found in the pile of mower parts. Bent it up to contour the dash and hold the linkage rod. Welded a spacer to the pivot point so it doesn't rock on the bolt and welded on a handle.


Found a long heavy rod for the linkage with one end having an adjuster on it so I can adjust where the shifter stops, mainly when the shifter is all the way forward (which is reverse gear). The other end I welded a bolt to for ease of removal and used a nylock nut on it.


I had to clearance the seat bracket some more for the shifter lever for the transaxle.


Finally pieced it together. The linkage rod is out of the way which was unexpected and good. The shifter is in reverse now. I'll paint it black later, it was raining when I was making this.


I shaped the shifter to contour the dash so it looks nice.


And this is the shifter in 5th gear on the transaxle.


I haven't even tested it yet so I have no clue if it will hold up without bending. Pushing forward and pulling backwards, the shifter should hold up. But the shifter is easy to bend side ways because it is only 1/16 inch thick steel. Should be simple to reinforce it later or make a shifter out of something thicker and stronger later.

I'm still having a problem shifting the transaxle from gear to gear. I'm thinking that not having a way to release the pressure on the trans belt is making it shift hard because even though I have the clutch pushed in that only releases the engine belt pressure while the trans belt is still under tension. That makes the shifting forks not want to move in the transaxle. It's mainly hard to shift in reverse, neutral, and first gear on the transaxle. 2nd through 5th are always easy because I'm moving and there is no big pressure on the shift forks. Looks like I'll have to add a second clutch and have it going to the trans belt tensioner so I can shift into 1st, neutral, and reverse. Maybe have it on the shifter handle for the transaxle. Should be easy by hand since there are small springs on the trans belt tensioner.
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AllisKidD21
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:45 pm

I LOVE that shifter setup! Looks super cool, really clean and almost factory looking. Should be much more comfortable to use. Also like you said it'd be pretty simple to reinforce that shifter handle if it started to bend too.

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prancstaman
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:42 am

Thank you. Yes, more comfortable!! I was planning on 1/4 inch rod stock welded to the inside of the shifter, the whole length of it, if need be. I forgot to mention in the post that I still need to make a pointer somehow, to show what gear the transaxle is in. Maybe a Z gate for the shifter to follow, since it is a little bendable sideways and would spring back without staying bent would seem fitting. But that might be a while. I only had a chance to work on this because it was raining and I did the work in the rain.
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MatthewD
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:38 am

Nice work on the shifter! The linkage looks like it should stay out of the way of your leg which is good.
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prancstaman
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:13 pm

@MatthewD wrote:
Nice work on the shifter! The linkage looks like it should stay out of the way of your leg which is good.

Thanks Matt. I kept the linkage on the inside of the shifter just for that. Everything seem to fit together without that much work. Took about 3 or so hours during the day while doing other stuff too. I haven't even sat on the mower yet to try it out, been too busy lately. I did this Sunday and tried to finish to where I could cut some grass but other things happened like running erins and such, Oh well, atleast I got it done. Smile
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Crazy_Carl
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:53 pm

Have you tried removing the belt going to the trans to see if it still shifts hard?  I don't understand the pressure of the shift forks.  If the tension were off that belt maybe the input shaft can wiggle just a little bit to allow the shift keys to move more easily back and forth?

I really like this column shift concept.  It should be easily to strengthen and refine it.
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prancstaman
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:06 am

@Crazy_Carl wrote:
Have you tried removing the belt going to the trans to see if it still shifts hard?  I don't understand the pressure of the shift forks.  If the tension were off that belt maybe the input shaft can wiggle just a little bit to allow the shift keys to move more easily back and forth?

I really like this column shift concept.  It should be easily to strengthen and refine it.

Well, how I came to the conclusion about the shift forks is- when the mower is sitting on level ground, it can move back and forth a little while in gear and engine off (driveline slop), this is when it shifts ok in reverse to neutral to 1st gear. It also shifts ok into these gears while engine running and on level ground with clutch pushed in and the driveline relaxed. Now when I had it on level ground with the engine off and in reverse and would push it backwards to create pressure on the driveline then I would not be able to shift into another gear like neutral, then stop pushing on the mower then I would be able to shift. The trans was ok when I took it apart so the conclusion for the not shifting right would be because of driveline tension.

Driveline tension would be defined for the transaxle as- when the transaxle input wants to turn but is held back by the output axles not moving. When this happens the slop in the transaxle is gone because of the pressure wanting to turn the input. All those clearances in between the gears are gone because they want to turn but can't, in other words. So when this happens it makes the internal parts hard to slide sideways like the shift forks which slide sideways to pick the gear. Now the shift forks slide sideways because there is space for the forks to slide sideways to pick the gear (clearance), but if the gear wants to turn and can't because the input wants to turn and can't, this  takes away the sliding clearance around the shift fork which is actually jammed up from the pressure (driveline tension).

So my theory of this gearbox is- when it was in a regular riding mower it worked fine shifting because when you pushed the clutch in it released the pressure on the input shaft so it can spin freely which released the driveline tension in the transaxle which opened up the clearances for the shift forks to move to the selected gear. My setup does this kinda which is why it is possible to shift while it is sitting on flat ground and no driveline tension. But when I am riding and am on a hill or drove into a tree I can't shift even with the clutch pushed in because the trans belt still has tension on it from the trans belt tensioner, but if I rock the back to lift one rear tire so it can spin free to remove this tension then I can shift. The key was always to lift one rear tire to spin free to remove this built up tension to be able to shift. So if I am able to free up the trans belt tensioner with a clutch lever to releave the driveline pressure in the transaxle this way then it should shift then.
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Crazy_Carl
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:16 am

Makes sense to me.

This reminds me of my buddy's MTD mower he had with varidrive and F-N-R.  The thing was a pain in the butt to shift into reverse on hills.
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Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle
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