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 Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle

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prancstaman
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Tue Jun 27, 2017 11:32 pm

Yah it would.
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:30 am

Hay People,
Had the whole day today to work on this project. Got the hood, grill, and dash put on. The engine is now covered. This is a big deal for me since when I got it, I had to pull the plastic hood and grill off to change the engine and hated how it looked and worked. So I left it off. Which sucked since I had no place to put it except outside year round. I just thru the plastic hood over the engine when not used.

Here is a pic before I started the work.


Pulling the dash off I thought this might interest some of you people. Pic of steering box for the 4 wheel steering. Has a worm gear going to the arm that is vertical for the back steering, it moves like half the movement of the front. Then the shaft goes to the bottom like a regular steering setup for the front.


Here are the guts of the thing. Just for a looksee. Note the vari drive pulley looks to be the same size. Steering linkage, and vari drive linkage. Vari drive linkage is different since the shifter is on the opposite side compared to the red mower's


Here's the plastic dash and the steel dash side by side. I want the steel dash but can't use the mounting plate on it because of the steering box support bracket attaches to the underneath of the plastic one and the steel one doesn't have this. So I grind off the rivets of the mounting plate on the steel one and mock up the steel sides from the plastic one. Yah, nothing is easy. This is why it took all day just to do all this. Slicing, dicing, grinding, and welding on this ate up alot of time.




OK, I slice up the sides so the dash will fit on them. I want it to look like original so blending the lines is how it's going to be. To bend the sides to blend into the shape of the dash I cut half way through the metal which weakens it so when you bend the metal the only part that bends is the halfway through cut. After tacking up the parts together I weld up these halfway through cuts and grind them down so you can't tell and so they don't crack later on. And weld the parts up solid. The dash and sides are now one piece.




The welded up halfway through cuts on the sides of the dash. Then ground down so you can't tell when done.




The completed dash and painted black. Can't even tell it was welded. But you sure can tell it was sanded down though, LOL. I suck at body work, too much in a rush I guess.


OK, choice of 2 steering wheels. From the red mower and the green mower. I got others but nothing that would bolt right in. No big deal.


I chose the one from the green mower. That center piece pulled right off and I thought it didn't look half bad.


Now the grill. Hammered the front support brackets so the brackets from the grill would fit on. Got it done pretty quick. was able to get one bolt per side in without cutting anything. Then 2 support rods that connect the grill to the dash. Fit the hood on and done. Here is the grill, hood and dash on the mower. Hooked up the wiring on the dash, everything from old dash fit in all the holes except there was 2 little lights from the plastic dash that didn't have a spot. They are dummy lights, like, PTO is still engaged, and CLUTCH isn't pressed to start engine. The circuits still work. I'll hook these up later, for now they are just hidden in the dash. Yes, the grill is a little high in the front, it is bolted on by one bolt per side which has it high. I'll keep it like this for now. Plan to make a bumper for it later on, say a year or so from now. As for the dash and the fitting of the hood on it, looks OK, I guess. Yah, I'll do something about the different colored panels later. This thing is like 5 colors. Black, red, yellow, green and gray. LOL. Atleast it runs!!! The square hole in the dash is for the choke lever that I don't have, Oh well.





Got the cosmetic junk and steering junk done. Tomorrow I'll be starting the gearbox switch. That's the plan anyways. Then next post in a few days, I hope, will be the switch over. I'll cover that, plus the linkage, and belt setup with alignment of belts, and maybe a couple other things too. Too finish this thing off for now. I'll do the bumper way later, you would be surprised why I need one, nothing fancy. I tried the headlight circuit and the lights didn't work. I need them, so they are getting fixed more sooner then later.

OK, I'm going to bed, Later!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:29 pm

Hay People,
Well, worked on this all day today too. As of right now I got a rolling chassis with the 5 speed in place and bolted in. Nothing is hooked up. Just mounted the 5 speed, threw on some tires to get it out of my driveway and called it done for now. Pics on that later.

This post shouldn't take too long to do. It will be a looksee on what I pulled out of this project. The f/n/r rear end with steering. This thing is a monster!!

OK, It is self contained, what I mean by self contained is everything is part of the transaxle. The axle tubes has the knuckles as part of the axle tubes. The tensioner is built into the front support bracket. The steering is bolted to the transaxle. The only thing you need to worry about to put it into something is mount the transaxle and cut some slots for the steering. The spacing is off for the bolt pattern that mounts the axle tubes, its a little wider, say around 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch wider on each side, compared to a regular transaxle. And for pulley alignment with the engine, is 3/4 inch lower at the input pulley, to align with the engine. will take some doing to put it in but should be doable to someone who knows what they are doing.


This thing came with heim joints for the steering all the way to the steering box up front. Axle tubes unbolt from the transaxle. Input shaft actually unbolts from transaxle too. The brake is inside the transaxle.


Alignment was off, evidently, LOL. Explains the rear tire ware.


Snifter is on this side. tensioner is on the support bracket. The hook on the other end is for the spring and stretches to the side there to the bolt. A wimpy little spring for the tensioner. Yes the belt was slipping in high gear.


The axle tubes are cast iron, one piece from the trans to the knuckle and the mounting holes are part of the axle tube casting too. The spindles are cast iron also, Zerk fittings in the U-joints and for the spindle bearings. I wish I would have known this, I would have used them, LOL. The rims are spaced like a front wheel drive car and the rims center is over the spindle pivot point to make it less stress on the spindle bearings.


Heavy set of wheel hubs on there. 4 bolt pattern on them


The steering setup is at it's maximum turn radios. Not to much of an angle. Would be useless as a front axle using this steering setup. Would have to rework the steering linkage to come up with something usable for a front steering axle.


I think this thing is awesome!! I probably will just use the axle tubes with the spindles and make my own center section with a sprocket or something. Put in a live axle and switch the spindle axles to mount regular rims on them. Daydreaming I guess, LOL. We shall see........
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:15 am

I would move the tie bar rearward for use as a front drive unit... this will give you quite a bit more steering travel... by adjusting deck pulley size on the motor, drive ratio could be matched with rear fairly easily.

Want it narrower? Weld up some shorter axle tubes (stronger and lighter anyway) with the appropriate flanges to bolt up between knuckles and center.... I would LOVE to have one of these!

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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:28 pm

YES SIR!! I think Ill tear into it just to reverse engineer it to be able to make my own!! I'm thinking square axle tubes, solid 1 inch axles, U- joints from tractor supply. Jack shaft bearing holders for the bearing of axle tubes. Then spindles, round tubing to hold bearings, then 1/4 plate steel for the other half of the knuckle and steering arms. Then the ends of axles would be 1 inch keyed axle shafts to be able to just slap standard rims and tires on. Center section would be for a pulley for belt drive to allow for suspention, or sprocket for chain drive and solid mount the axle in frame....... MAYBE, LOL. You know, give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a life time......
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:52 pm

LOL and use the cast knuckles for a swing arm setup LOL

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PostSubject: Pulley alignment and engine/transaxle spacing   Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:01 am

Hay People,
Time to start explaining how I got the transaxle in. I'll start with the pulley alignments and brackets on transaxle which is how I got the transaxle mounted. As of right now, I did a test run on the 4th, still needs some tweeking but all is good. Still got other things to do also on this to get it reliably working but I'll do it later.

OK.... lets talk about pulley alignment, Seems like a small deal but if the belts pop off then I can't cut the grass. This setup is not like a regular setup because the vari drive pulley, well, the center wall of the pulley moves. This movement up and down, changing the sizes of the pulleys, also moves the belt up and down. If you don't take this into consideration then on the trans belt, the tensioner, the belt will pop off. The center of the tensioner needs to be in the center of the belt movement, or the belt will ride up the tensioner pulley ridge and pop off while changing pulley sizes.  

The first pic is a drawing I did for an example. Shift selector is in low gear. Note the red belt is on an angle and the grey belt is straight. The drawing is not exact but gets the point across. Also note the tensioner on the red belt and the belt goes across it on an angle, more of a chance for the belt to roll off the tensioner this way if it is in the wrong spot.


This second pic is the shifter in high gear. Note that the red belt is straight and the grey belt is at an angle. The grey belt is usually not an issue since there is a long space from engine to vari drive pulley. Now the tensioner pulley is just a regular flat pulley. The red belt moves up and down about 1/2 inch but the tensioner pulley isn't wide enough to handle the movement. The idea is to have the tensioner pulley close to the trans pulley so it only handles a little bit of the movement coming off the trans pulley from the belt. The closer the tensioner pulley is to the vari drive pulley, the more movement of the belt the tensioner pulley will see. So the closer the tensioner pulley is to the trans pulley, the better it will handle the belt movement. With this thought, final placement of the tensioner pulley will be, all tops of the pulleys for the red belt should be level and the tensioner pulley with full tension on it be close to trans pulley without rubbing on it. The closest it will be will be in low gear. Going through the gears, it moves just a little bit actually, but the vari drive pulley moves closer to the trans pulley and the tensioner pulley is in between.


Pulley alignment becomes important for reliability of the setup compared to a regular setup where you just align the engine pulley with the trans pulley and the alignment doesn't shift.


OK, Placement of the engine and transaxle in a vari drive setup with a mower that came equipped with it would be easier to setup the a frame that didn't have it and was added. So this next part will be for frames that have a vari drive on it and you are switching transaxles. I'll do frames that don't have the vari drive setup and adding the vari drive setup 2 posts from this one.

OK, the vari drive pulley is mounted in the frame where the engine belt is below the engine mounting deck or under the frame and uses the bottom pulley on the vari drive pulley. The transaxle has the pulley just above the engine mounting deck in the back half. These frames unbolt in 3 pieces. The 2 sides that are the back half and the engine mounting plate for the front half. The vari drive pulley is in the middle and the top pulley of the vari drive pulley goes to the transaxle. The engine doesn't mount to the engine mounting plate directly but is spaced 1/2 inch off the mounting deck with spacers. Both my mowers had them for the engine.

Back to the drawing. Note the engine has a space under it sitting on blocks. This space is 1/2 inch.


The actual engine spacers on the red mower. I measure the green mower and was the same.


It's late. I'll do the rest tomorrow........ It's later.
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PostSubject: Continuation    Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:38 am

Hay People,
I'm back, Can't sleep and I don't have to work in the morning.

Ok, where I left off.......
The engine doesn't sit on the engine deck but is 1/2 inch off the deck. I'm assuming to allow for room for the crank shaft coming out of the engine, since it needs some space to step down to the keyed shaft, bearing and oil sump. For the reason for the 1/2 inch spacing off the mounting deck. Makes sense I think and is an edjimicated guess.

The transaxle... For the green mower with the f/n/r steering rearend, the bottom of the frame rails were flat, and the f/n/r was back in the frame more, probably to allow for steering of the rear wheels so they don't hit the foot boards. On the red mower, the frame rails came down and inboard a little for mounting of the original f/n/r which was the same mounting for the 5 speed transaxle. So, safe to assume that a regular f/n/r has the same mounting with the input pulley in the same spot as a transaxle. I know this for sure because I have the regular f/n/r from the red mower in my riding mower for plowing and that one had a 3 speed transaxle that blew an axle and put the f/n/r in it's place.

Back to the drawings and pics....
In the drawing where the transaxle is, the drawing is of the green mower frame and the bottom frame rails are straight. Both of the transaxles had reinforcing straps to strengthen the mounting of the transaxles. The green ones were flat and placed above the frame rail while the red mower had them between the transaxle and frame rail and are 1/16 inch steel plates stamped to the correct shape, remember, the shape of the frame was below frame rail and inboard a little. On both frames, the rear of the frames where the trailer hitch hole is, has the same bolt pattern for mounting that plate and use the bottom bolt hole for the reinforcing straps from the red mower. I'll stop here and add the drawing and pics for a visual.


The reinforcing strap for the transaxle on red mower, 1/16 inch thick.


The shape of the frame on the red mower where the transaxle mounted. I had to duplicate this shape on the green frame in order to mount the transaxle in it. The reinforcing straps were in between the trans and frame rail with the same shape and spacing.


The green mower. Note I have the red plate on it to show they are the same. The straps are on the ground. The holes I used that are the same on both mowers is the holes on the bottom of the red plate. The straps bolt to these holes. I still need to bolt the front of the straps to the frame rails.


So, to mount the front part of the straps. I flatten the front half of the straps with a hammer so they are level with the trans mounting surface. The straps lower the trans 3/4 inch so I weld on in the front part a 3/4 inch square tubing with a bolt so it bolts to the frame rail.

Straps when I straiten the front parts.


Welded on a piece of tubing 3/4 inch in the front part. Note it will be level when bolted into the frame. I didn't put the bolt in the tubing yet.


OK, here's where everything makes sense. Looking at this pic. The reinforcing straps are now mounting straps for the transaxle. The transaxle bolts to the straps, which are the shape to put the transaxle in the right spot in the frame which is 3/4 inch lower then the frame rail and the mounting holes for the transaxle on the straps are inboard just a little too. The tubing I welded to the front part of the straps is 3/4 inch, to mount the front part of the straps. All this mounts the transaxle in the right spot so that the input pulley is level with the frame and lines up with the vari drive top pulley. The mounts on the front part of the transaxle, I just had to drill a hole to bolt it to the left side of the frame. The other front mounting hole mounts the pulley tensioner bracket. I forgot to take pics of that.


Any questions so far????? LOL.

So I got the transaxle in and threw on some wheels so I can roll it around. Like I said before, got enough of it together to test it out. Still needs a little tweekin but all is looking good.
More to come........

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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:38 pm

It's looking good man Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:40 pm

Looks good, is it pretty sturdy? I see a gap where it could bend and put the trans out of angle?

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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:01 pm

@MatthewD wrote:
It's looking good man Wink

Thanks
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:21 pm

@mightyraze wrote:
Looks good, is it pretty sturdy?  I see a gap where it could bend and put the trans out of angle?  

Thanks. Those brackets are 1/16 plate stamped steel, there pretty solid hunks of metal. I had to beat the hell out of the ends to just straighten them. They shouldn't twist either because of how they are bolted in, and they are inboard on the frame just half way. I think I would have to watch my weight limit though because of the back half where the open area is, which is what I think you are talking about. Too much weight and might just fold down. But I'm not planning to carry anything with it except myself, but I might drag a log or two, LOL. I'll probably twist the frame first hitting one of the holes the dogs dug before anything.
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:25 pm

Hay People,
Little update here. Got the driveline good to go today. I was having trouble with the trans belt popping off in high gear on the vari drive. The belt I was having trouble with that I used was the green mower belt for that spot. Was too big and tried to put the double pulley clutch on and the belt was still too big, plus the belt was starting to crack also. Got fed up with trying to make it work so off to Tractor Supply I went with the belt in hand. Got a blue Kevlar belt 2 inches smaller. Put it on, cut off one of the pulleys (the smaller one) from the tensioner and now it works great.

I got all the gears working, scoots across the yard pretty quick in high/high too, LOL. So, all 35 forward gears and 7 reverse gears work I didn't even have to adjust the linkage for the clutch or shifter for the vari drive either. That was because I didn't change the engine belt size. But I'll still be covering that in later posts though.

I took a pic of the mower, the width is a little skinnier now, since I don't have the f/n/r with the steering on it which was wider. Kinda miss that wider look though. But now it's way easier to steer.


Going to have to make a shifter for the transaxle. The bolt sticking out from under the seat just is too hard to shift now. Double shifters next to each other sounds cool. Maybe use the knob from the f/n/r shifter to kinda blend it in.

Plus, I'll make a video on the top speed and low speed with the driveline workings before I cover up everything, soon.
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:47 pm

Sweet deal prancstaman! Dual shifters would look pretty cool I would think.

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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:19 am

@prancstaman wrote:
@mightyraze wrote:
Looks good, is it pretty sturdy?  I see a gap where it could bend and put the trans out of angle?  

Thanks. Those brackets are 1/16 plate stamped steel, there pretty solid hunks of metal. I had to beat the hell out of the ends to just straighten them. They shouldn't twist either because of how they are bolted in, and they are inboard on the frame just half way. I think I would have to watch my weight limit though because of the back half where the open area is, which is what I think you are talking about. Too much weight and might just fold down. But I'm not planning to carry anything with it except myself, but I might drag a log or two, LOL. I'll probably twist the frame first hitting one of the holes the dogs dug before anything.

Exactly! Should it give and bend, you may be able to use that same square tube for the whole thing (front to back). Drill your 2 holes for the transaxle, then drill just one side big enough for the bolt head to inset into the tube. Then you could bolt the pipe to the frame. Just a thought if needed.

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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:27 am

Yah, don't quite know how I'll do it yet. Maybe hide the shifter workings under the fender so it don't catch on anything sounds good but will involve alot of cutting and welding. Sounds like I'll be doing the shifter a little later if I don't come up with an easy way of doing it on top of the fender.
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:29 am

Looking forward to the video. Pretty cool to say that your lawnmower has 35 gears!
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PostSubject: Vari Drive with 5 Speed Demo   Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:01 am

Hay People,

Here's the video of the green riding mower of where I'm at right now. Has a quick walk around, a demo of the vari drive setup showing it works, a low/low speed, and a high/high speed demo. Other posts will show in detail on how the rest of the setup works together. Plus a diagram or 2 showing how to put the setup on a conventional riding mower, I never did this but will be my best guess on doing it to a conventional frame.

Enjoy the video........
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:05 am

Vari cool! (lol). I gotta show my friend this video, maybe then he'll get off his arse and put that 6spd in his Murray!
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:08 am

@RichieRichOverdrive wrote:
Vari cool!
I cant believe you did that Rich.






Hahaha, looking good prancstaman!

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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:30 am

@AllisKidD21 wrote:
@RichieRichOverdrive wrote:
Vari cool!
I cant believe you did that Rich.

You better believe it

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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:12 am

Worst. Thread jack. Ever.

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RichieRichOverdrive
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:20 am

@AllisKidD21 wrote:
Worst. Thread jack. Ever.

I guess you could say I'm a real....prankstaman afro
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MatthewD
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:07 am

Nice video. Goes pretty fast in high/high.
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prancstaman
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:14 pm

@RichieRichOverdrive wrote:
@AllisKidD21 wrote:
@RichieRichOverdrive wrote:
Vari cool!
I cant believe you did that Rich.

You better believe it

1. Accept that no pun is actually Good, but that the true nature of a good pun is to be so terrible that it becomes good.

2. Say every pun that occurs to you. I’m so serious about this, sometimes the most well received puns will be ones you considered not saying.

3. ALWAYS laugh at your own puns, even if nobody else is. (especially if nobody else is.)

4. Know that you are hilarious. Puns are a limitless resource and you have taken it as your duty to bring this gift to humanity. You are a hero.

5. Life is just too funny, every pun is an offspring of the truth.

You kids are learning, lol.
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prancstaman
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:18 pm

@MatthewD wrote:
Nice video. Goes pretty fast in high/high.

Thanks, 9mph doesn't seem to fast on paper but in the yard and hitting all the ruts, you'll loose a filling, lol.
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   

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Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle
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