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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   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   Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:10 pm

Looks plenty fast in the vid! I think this would be a good idea for my rock crawler Westwood project (once I get round to start building it). I just need to find a vari drive and fit it in the mower.
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:55 pm

Cool. Plan is to cover both versions. One being a frame made with it, and one frame where you would add it. I think I will explain the one where you add the vari drive to the frame towards the end of the thread.
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:26 pm

Cool looking forward to seeing that
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PostSubject: Clutch spring adjustment   Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:19 am

Hay People,

Time to cut the grass, so I better get busy, LOL. Almost up to my knee.


OK, I'm trying to work out the bugs before I put the deck on. High gear on the vari drive seemed a little sketchy for my taste, the way it acted in the vid. And doing the high speed test, I had to pull back on the clutch pedal to keep it from slipping. When I put the clutch spring back on, the spring underneath the vari drive pulley is the clutch spring, I had to find a different attachment location on the frame. When I did this, I did it wrong. When I attached it to the frame, I had the clutch in which stretched the spring the most so when I attached it to the frame I thought the spring was plenty tight. This was a booboo on adjusting the clutch spring. What I actually did was when it is in first gear on the vari drive, the spring is at its tightest. Now when the vari drive pulley moves through the gears, it moves towards the transaxle, which is loosening the tension on the spring. By the time it reaches 7th gear, there was little spring tension on the vari drive pulley.

It's a big spring, but it was not tight enough. These 2 pics show how it was. I started it up and put the trans in neutral and put the vari drive selector in 7th gear and let the pulley move all the way to 7th gear spot and shut the motor off while still in 7th. The spring was not tight enough.


I disconnected it, you can see by me holding it was not too far from the mounting bolt.


So I need to have the vari drive pulley in 7th gear, or high gear, to find an attachment spot.
Pic showing the vari drive pulley in 7th gear. And Yes, the tensioner pulley on the trans belt is rubbing the vari drive pulley in 7th gear. I should put a smaller tensioner pulley on, but this one is plastic and will wear in eventually, plus it being plastic it won't rust.


I remounted the bracket on the next hole back. A good inch or so, that's alot for this spring. My finger is pointing to the original hole.


I push in the clutch and start it up so the vari drive pulley can go back to first gear. Felt pretty tight to me. Time to mount the deck.


Got the deck on with little issues. Pulled up on the handle to lift it. Ready for a trial run. MAN I need to paint this thing, LOL. OH, The head lights do work. Must not of had the engine running fast enough when I tested the circuit on the stator. Probably switch to LED's later on, and one light blew out when I seen them working, just my luck.


Trial run..... I fixed 7th gear, works good now. The deck on the other hand doesn't. Since I put the new transaxle in, it mounted in the frame towards the front a little, the deck when lowered, swings into the transaxle to where the belt doesn't tighten up with the original belt.



I check the deck belt on the red mower and is a little smaller but is a 3/8 belt. I put it on and readjusted the linkage to the deck for the belt and it worked. Gave it another try. Did 2 rounds of one yard, looked at the deck linkage through the frame and noticed the belt stretching and then snapped. Off to Tractor Supply for a new deck belt tomorrow...............
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:40 am

It seems varidrives always have problems with clearances. The newer ones almost always let the idler hit the deck lift rod after a few uses. Only hits in lowest gear though, and only til the pulley clearancesizes itself
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sun Jul 23, 2017 2:27 am

Yah, I think your right. Probably because there is about 20 adjustment points on the whole setup. One wrong adjustment or in the wrong order and something is slipping or rubbing, LOL.
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sun Jul 23, 2017 3:06 am

Just looking through this thread now. Cool to see some old equipment get put to use. I wish more people would do cool stuff with grass cutters. I would build one but we have a lot to cut and now I use a zero turn cub cadet. That gets it done pretty quick so there's not much call for a regular ride on tractor anymore for grass cutting duty.

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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:51 pm

@mr.modified wrote:
Just looking through this thread now. Cool to see some old equipment get put to use. I wish more people would do cool stuff with grass cutters. I would build one but we have a lot to cut and now I use a zero turn cub cadet. That gets it done pretty quick so there's not much call for a regular ride on tractor anymore for grass cutting duty.

Thanks. I had to build this thing out of necessity . The green one was just getting beat up too much and would have broke down again. This is a good chance to go through everything so it will last for a while longer and to justify the expense which is pretty much as it stands about $50. Just had to get 2 belts. Should have replaced the 3rd belt but still has some life left in it, maybe another 2 seasons, which will be another $25 bucks. And maybe some Walmart LED headlights for another $30. Funny thing is I got both mowers from the same guy. The red one first, Then the green one about 7 years later. The guy bought a brand new Deere but sold his house and the mower went with the house. Oh well, LOL.
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:44 pm

Hay People,
Finally got it going and the grass is cut, LOL. Went to Tractor Supply and got a new Kevlar belt. Evidently all the belts on this thing are 5/8 belts, fits in the pulley grooves perfect.


So original belt was 70 inches, got this one because the 69 and 68 inch belts were out and decided I can make this one work. Turned out great for the end result. Deck now does not hit the transaxle while cutting after readjusting the linkages and shifting the deck forward as far as I could.


Since I shifted the deck forward and will stay there, I had to lengthen the spring that pulls the belt tight, otherwise it would just stretch the belt and snap it because the spring would have been pulling to hard. A couple of links of chain did the trick.

Still have to do a little more adjusting to the rod that pulls the deck forward when disengaging the blades because they keep spinning when they should not be. It's the rusty rod in the second pic that needs adjusting. Plus when the deck is disengaged and pulled all the way up and forward it hits the engine pulley. When I got done cutting the grass and going to park it, it was throwing sparks real bad driving over the rough ground, smooth ground was OK. Should fix that too, LOL.


Other then the 2 complaints, the driveline worked great. Didn't miss a beat. Here is a real short vid of it working in low/low gear while cutting with the deck all the way down to the ground. Doesn't even phase the engine in over a foot of grass. This vary reason is why I built this thing.


I love this thing all over again, LOL. While cutting the grass, I had to move a couple of things out of the path, normally I would drive beside whatever and pick it up to throw it, now I just have to throw it in low/low and hop off it while it is still cutting and move whatever then hop back on it, LOL. I probably shouldn't do that but it was just too funny to do. Plus I didn't have to worry about it driving off and not being able to catch it either.

OK, what is left to do? Fix the headlights by getting some LED's to put in there since I know the circuit works now. Need a shifter for the transaxle, the bolt isn't long enough to be out from under the seat, sucks having to reach under the seat to shift and I still can't see which gear it's in either. And finally I'm going to need a bumper for the front. Got a good idea for that one, will be perfect for my backyard, LOL. These will happen eventually, don't know when because I got other things to do first and I need to put this thing on the back burner for now since I got it cutting the grass now with no real issues.

OH, while I'm doing the other things during the day, when I get done for the day, Keep an eye on this thread for the  tech on making the vari drive work. I still need to draw up pics but that is next so stay tuned.............
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:58 pm

Too cool prancstaman! This almost makes me wanna put the vari-drive back in the MTD, but too much of a headache hahaha. Soo is this a first step in putting vari-drive on the Scorpion?? Haha, thatd be cool.

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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:06 pm

@AllisKidD21 wrote:
Too cool prancstaman! This almost makes me wanna put the vari-drive back in the MTD, but too much of a headache hahaha. Soo is this a first step in putting vari-drive on the Scorpion?? Haha, thatd be cool.

Thanks.. NO, I'm not putting a vari drive in the Scorpion, LOL. I'm sure I don't have the room. I'm just gonna shove a bigger motor in that thing, LOL. Nothing replaces horsepower.....
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:35 am

Hahaha, thought I'd ask just in case. Ya got room for an opposed in there?

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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:22 am

Got a 18hp oppey for that. I got a 16 oppey for this riding mower but needs rebuilt. Will be a while for both.
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PostSubject: Explaining the vari drive for vari drive frames, part 1   Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:39 pm

Hay People,

Time for some edgimication on this setup.
OK............ Explaining this setup, take note that I will not be giving pulley diameters because it doesn't matter doing this part. All the info for pulley diameters with the ratios are on earlier posts anyways. So with this in mind, what ever pulley's you choose for the setup, this part will explain how to make them work. And the frame will be built for the vari drive already in it. This matters because how the belts run through the frame going to the transaxle or f/n/r transaxle, the trans belt is inside the rear frame half and not underneath the frame. Plus multiple posts too, explaining each part in detail on how it works the best I can.  

I'll start with the engine belt. It's the first belt that needs adjusting in the setup and is the first part in the setup when following the power path. This belt needs to be 5/8 inch wide belt with a matching 5/8 inch wide pulley on engine to match the belt,(1/2 wide pulleys will not work for this setup), spans from the engine pulley to the bottom groove of the vari drive pulley. This belt is the belt that the clutch pedal controls and puts the setup in neutral with the clutch pedal pressed all the way forward.
The engine belt is the red belt in the drawing marked 1. The length of the belt needs to be long enough for the vari drive pulley to swing back and forth without hitting the frame while changing pulley sizes and to put the setup in neutral. So put the belt on the engine pulley and bottom groove of vari drive pulley and with the vari drive pulley clamped on the belt with the belt on the outer most diameter and with the belt starting to slack would be neutral.
There is a rod that attaches to the vari drive pulley bracket and goes to the clutch pedal and is adjustable. While the clutch pedal is all the way forward and vari drive pulley with belt on outer most diameter and with a little slack on the belt, adjust this rod so it attaches to the clutch pedal bracket hole shown as 2 in drawing. At this point, the belt should be on, clutch pedal rod adjusted so it is in neutral with the clutch pedal pressed all the way forward, with the vari drive pulley bracket forward with belt on outer most diameter, with slack in the belt.


The next step is to attach the heavy spring to the vari drive pulley bracket, as in drawing marked as 3 below. You do not attach the spring while the setup is in neutral, you attach the spring while the vari drive pulley is in high gear, as shown below. Which is the engine belt being on the inside or the smallest diameter of the pulley. The vari drive pulley bracket will be towards the back, the clutch pedal will have a stop when all the way back (usually on the foot board) and should be resting on this stop for high gear. Then you find a place to mount the spring for proper tension.


Lets recap the steps in order.
1- Belt sized up so vari drive swings in both directions without hitting frame or other parts with a little slack when forward.
2- Adjust the clutch pedal rod going to vari drive pulley bracket, with vari drive pulley bracket forward, with a little slack on belt and on the outer most diameter of pulley, with clutch pedal all the way forward.
3- Clutch spring tension, the vari drive pulley will be all the way back for high gear, belt will be on inner most diameter of vari drive pulley, clutch pedal all the way back resting on a stop (located on the foot board behind clutch pedal) for high gear, then attach the spring with the proper tension.

If you notice, at this point the setup will automatically go from neutral to high gear with no controls for the vari drive pulley. Keep this in mind for later...................

Next post should be on the trans belt. Later..............
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PostSubject: Explaining the vari drive for vari drive frames part 2   Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:03 am

Hay People,
Next step is the trans belt. This belt goes on the top pulley of the vari drive pulley. At this point, the transaxle should be mounted and the belt alignment lined up as explained on an earlier post. But never fear, if you can't get the pulleys lined up in the spots I described, anywhere close will work. There is a lot of tolerance or a not prefect setup to where it will still work good. My setup is real close but not perfect and still works flawless. Same thing goes with the engine belt too. Just wanted to point that out before going any further. Belts are pretty good that way.

The trans belt is under constant tension from neutral to high gear. The tensioner is at it's most movement in 1st gear, meaning that when the belt tensioner is pushing on the belt, in it's movement is extended the most in 1st gear. 1st gear will be the gear where you figure out what size belt to get for the trans belt. putting the setup in neutral will tighten the belt a little which is why you don't choose neutral to figure out belt size. High gear, of course, is when the belt is at it's tightest and belt should have enough slack in it to achieve high gear. The tensioner moves very little going through the gears though. You can see this in the video of the demo in an earlier post.

The springs, looking at the pic I drew, the springs are blue in color and are numbered. For the trans belt all the spring tensions are important. The springs 1 and 3 are for the tensioner, spring 1 was the original spring and I added spring number 3, I added a second spring because the belt is stiff and I felt one spring would not keep the belt tight. Spring 1 and 3 keep both belts, the engine and trans belt from slipping. Spring 2 works the vari drive pulley and needs to be stronger then the spring or springs for the tensioner. Spring 2 needs to pull the vari drive through the gears from low to high, and needs to be strong enough to over come the springs for the tensioner at the same time on the trans belt, which is why it is a really big and strong spring.



Ok, I'll talk about a common problem, belt slippage. On this system, which spring do you play with to keep the belt or belts from slipping. It would be all the springs. You can't think of this vari drive setup as having 2 separate belts that work independently from each other. Both belts work together to make a vari drive setup work. So with this in mind, if the setup has belt slippage then it is a combination of springs that need to be addressed.

First is the trans belt tensioner spring or springs that need to be stronger. When you tighten the trans belt tensioner springs, this of course makes the trans belt harder to pull tight. With the trans belt movement being harder to move, this will push the vari drive moving center of this pulley into the engine belt harder for more grip and to help keep the belts from slipping. Which will make the vari drive pulley bracket harder to swing to change gears. So to make the vari drive pulley bracket to swing easier a stiffer clutch pedal spring will be needed to change the gears.

Thinking if you just need to make the clutch pedal spring stronger is wrong. The clutch pedal spring does not keep the belts tight when the belt is engaged. The job of the clutch pedal spring is to pull on the vari drive pulley to change gears. Adding or tightening the clutch pedal spring will only make the setup move through the gears faster.

Any questions, feel free to ask them.
Next post will probably be on the controls................ Later.
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:15 am

Good stuff @prancstaman. Very informative and well written.

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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:54 am

@mightyraze wrote:
Good stuff @prancstaman.  Very informative and well written.

Thanks Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:03 pm

Hay People,
Just wanted to chew the fat this time on this project. I cut the grass today and had no problems, well pretty much no problems. It's a pain to shift transaxle since I have to reach under the seat to shift it. Other then that, the thing ran great. Getting use to using all the gears, LOL. Believe me, I'm using them, mainly the the lower ones on the transaxle and all the ones on the vari drive. Going super slow has it's advantages and then slamming it in high/high to scoot across the yard for another pass, is great!!

Yah, I got 3 backyards to cut side by side. One yard I can cut in 2nd on the transaxle and 4th on the vari drive, while the middle yard I can use 3rd on transaxle and 1st on vari drive, and ofcourse the yard where it was the reason I built this thing to where I need to use 1st on transaxle and 1st on vari drive because the grass is sooo thick, LOL. Generally speaking though. There is also alot of shifting going on when I hit those big/thick patches of grass that is everywhere too.

I use about the same amount of gas but then again I changed the gas tank for a little smaller one so it would fit under the hood. I filled it up and when I got done I had 1/4 tank left just like before with the bigger tank. Sounds like I am actually using less but probably not.

Thinking about the bumper and how it will look. I'm thinking cow catcher from a train, LOL. I got alot of bricks and logs laying in the middle of the yard and along the sides on the fence line. Pretty weird considering that I live in the middle of the city, LOL. Anywho, something on the front of the mower, used to push a brick to the side would be useful. Otherwise I would just puray the damn thing with the deck, dulling the blades in the process.

Just some thoughts................
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:56 pm

Cool stuff prancstaman, sounds like I'd be fun to drive. I'd love to know what the actual speed is in the highest and lowest gear. You should GPS it and see how slow she can go hahaha
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:32 pm

The fastest speed in high/high was 9 mph on a bumpy ground. I think it would do 10 mph if I took it on the street for a steady and smooth run. As for low/low, the gps was jumping from 0 to 1 mph, LOL. My guess is that it's doing 1/2 to 3/4 mph and hitting 1 mph on a down hill, LOL, and that's with the throttle all the way up with the stock governor set from the factory that I never touched.
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:42 pm

Oh haha, nice. Thats pretty freakin' slow, it would be a great setup for crawling I imagine.

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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:18 am

Wouldn't need brakes, just downshift!

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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:25 am

You would get thrown onto the hood. I did a couple of those downshifts already by accident and was pretty rough. LOL.
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PostSubject: Re: Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle   Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:49 pm

HAHA, that's what I figured.

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Join date : 2015-02-02
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PostSubject: Controls for the Vari drive setup   Wed Sep 20, 2017 11:23 pm

Hay People,
Been busy lately, sorry it took so long. This should be the final part for the vari drive setup for a mower that came with it. This part will be on the controls of the setup and how they work. Even made a little cartoon for it too. Just happened that way, LOL.

Lets get to it........

This is a drawing of the setup in my green mower. The setup in my red mower is only slightly different since the shifter is on the other side of the fender and has no parking brake lever. I only drew the main parts and numbered them because a pic would just be too cluttered with other stuff. The main parts are as follows... 1- shifter and shifter linkage. 2- vari drive heavy spring with the direction of which the spring is pulling shown by an arrow. 3- clutch linkage. 4- clutch pedal. 5- parking brake lock.

Without the controls, the system would go into high gear from the spring pulling on the vari drive pulley. So the controls hold the setup from pushing into high gear. In the drawing, this setup is in neutral and the parking break applied.
Now I'll describe what the numbers do.
1- The shifter selects the ratios on the vari drive pulley through a linkage rod. Inside the frame on the shifter rod is a bracket with a slot where the linkage rod slides in, to select the gears. Note the linkage is not at the end of it's travel when in neutral on this setup, there is a little space on the end of the slot when the mower is in neutral. When the parking break is disengaged, the the linkage will slide to the end of the slot and the mower will be in first gear. This needs to be noted because the shifter does not have a neutral gear on it. This red rod in the drawing, the length is adjustable, and is adjusted so it has this small space before the end for neutral and is adjustable for different engine belt lengths to get the setup working right.
My red mower had a neutral on the shifter so when that mower was in neutral, the linkage rod was at the end of it's travel held there by the shifter and not a separate rod lock.
2- The big heavy spring pulls the vari drive pulley towards the back of the mower.
3- Clutch linkage connects the clutch pedal to the vari drive pulley by a rod. When the vari drive pulley moves then so does the clutch pedal move with it. This rod's length is adjustable and is determined by the length of the engine belt to achieve neutral.
4- Clutch pedal puts the setup in neutral. Is connected to vari drive and limits the movement of the vari drive pulley by a stop on the foot board or by the belt reaching the most inner diameter of the pulley on the vari drive pulley (engine belt)
5- Neutral lock holds the setup in neutral when in park and hold the brake (if working). 


The next drawing shows shifting into a gear, lets say 4th gear on the shifter, and the neutral rod is still locked in park. The only thing moving is the shifter itself. The neutral lock is holding the whole setup back until released. The shifter moving, sliding on the linkage rod from the slot on the shifter. Note #1 in drawing.



Now the clutch pedal is pushed forward to release the parking lock and let go. The heavy spring pulls the whole setup into gear. The spring pulls the vari drive pulley back, which pulls the clutch pedal back and moves the shifter linkage in the slot towards the back till the shifter linkage reaches the end of the slot on the shifter rod bracket and stops. The setup is now in 4th gear.



My red mower had the shifter on the other side of the fender. To do this only one thing was different in the setup and that was the shifter linkage (the red rod in the drawing). The red rod still slid in the shifter on the shifter side but was attached to the clutch pedal instead of the vari drive pulley. Since the vari drive moved with the clutch pedal, the same control was achieved. Plus the red mower didn't have a neutral rod to lock the setup in neutral. That little space mentioned in the first drawing for the green mower, well the red mower just moved the shifter back a little more to have the shifter linkage at the end of the slot to have it in neutral.

I made a video, not too long, showing the drawings in order and turned out to be a short cartoon, LOL. Enjoy...

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Vari drive with 5 speed transaxle
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