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Andy Young
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PostSubject: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeTue Dec 06, 2016 1:22 am

Hello all,

I just found this forum after researching online and linking to TS Customs and Doc Sprockets' (and others) YouTube channels and seeing their builds. I became interested in modding an old lawn mower as I am in need of a UTV for lake lot use and don't have thousands to shell out on a Mule, Gator or Kodiak or the like. I'm mechanically inclined having built several hot rods in the past and generally keeping my farm equipment and vehicles running on a limited budget. The biggest problem I have is I take an interest to almost anything that's unique and purpose built. That's why I thought I'd contribute to this forum as I am able and get feedback on planning a possible project.

What sparked my interest in possibly doing a small tractor or the equivalent in place of a factory built atv or utv beyond price was the character that projects come with. My first step on the research of such a project was plans for a 'Power Pup' tractor back in the '60s. I have at my disposal several 1940s-1990s parts cars and trucks so I thought grabbing a 4 speed and a rear end along with the other mechanical and necessary bits would be a natural. It still may be. Then I ran across modding old lawn tractors for the purpose. This was as appealing since it took some of the guess work out of steering geometry, for example, and provided an overall platform to start with. My intention from the start was to power whatever I built with either a 15 hp single cylinder 'Honda clone' engine due to their availability and price or the larger equivalent 22 hp twin cylinder of the same origin. Given the vertical orientation of most modern lawn tractors this is not possible. Having an extensive history of fighting with POS early Briggs and equivalent after they are well worn and gummed up from crappy new gas, I'm going to stick to the Honda variants for power and reliability.

Even though the platform for my build remains up in the air the criterion is fairly clear in my mind. I need something with a single standing of 25-30 mph (at least) top end, the ability to pull moderately sized 'truck box' trailers, boats, etc at low speeds for short distances, and something that is at least as capable off road for hunting, fishing, etc as a Kawasaki Mule or Yamaha Kodiak. I'm open to any suggestions based on what I've shared.

What's everyone working on???!!!

Thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeTue Dec 06, 2016 8:13 am

Looks like a Sears Suburban is what you are looking for. they're big, heavy duty, strong transaxle, and (best for you) they use a horizontal engine, meaning your Honda clone will work perfectly fine. Many people on the forum have done this swap.

Welcome to the forum and good luck!
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Andy Young
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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeTue Dec 06, 2016 10:51 am

@CraftsmanQuad19 wrote:
Looks like a Sears Suburban is what you are looking for. they're big, heavy duty, strong transaxle, and (best for you) they use a horizontal engine, meaning your Honda clone will work perfectly fine. Many people on the forum have done this swap.

Welcome to the forum and good luck!

Thanks for the reply, craftsman. Were the Ropers the same? I've only seen Suburbans on this forum and never in my part of western Canada?
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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeTue Dec 06, 2016 11:18 am

Yeah Ropers are the same. If you check out the voting section on this years Build-Off Competition, @TractorHead entered a Roper which is identical to a Sears.
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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeTue Dec 06, 2016 12:13 pm

Actually, I believe the Sears is built BY Roper, so technically the sears is a "copy" of a Roper. Both are built by the same company and both are the same tractor, so it really doesn't make any difference. A Sears/Roper I think will work best for what you want.
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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeTue Dec 06, 2016 12:21 pm

@CraftsmanQuad19 wrote:
Actually, I believe the Sears is built BY Roper, so technically the sears is a "copy" of a Roper. Both are built by the same company and both are the same tractor, so it really doesn't make any difference. A Sears/Roper I think will work best for what you want.


Thanks Matthew and Craftsman for the replies. My Dad had a Roper 20T back in the day. Think he got rid of it because it was too rugged compared to his Hydrostatic 175 JD. Why JD ever went away from Kawasaki engines is beyond me. Anyways, thanks for the advise I'll keep my eyes Shocked open for some donors.
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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeTue Dec 06, 2016 12:29 pm

Welcome to the forum! Contact me if you need any site help.

Any old GT would work really. Sears/ Roper, Craftsman, and even Murray GTs all usually had either 633/2300 transaxles equipped.

The 633/2300 is difficult and not really advised to speed up based on their internals, but they produce a ton of torque and can handle mild swaps.

And the nice thing about V-belts is they twist. Craftsman GTs used this system so the engine could be mounted differently than the transaxle and drove of the flywheel. Murray GTs used a vertical engine and a horizontal input transaxle (2300), which can be seen in a link in my signature below.

You could also look at older Cub hydrostatics, as they have the heaviest transaxle made for lawn and garden (excluding the Pennsylvania Panzer). My 109 did 8mph top, which was really fast for that machine lol.

The 25-30 top speed you are aiming for will also require a new steering setup, as most mowers get the death wobble around 15-20.

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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeTue Dec 06, 2016 2:05 pm

Yeah any GT with a horizontal input trans will work Wink Never knew there was such a thing as a 15hp Honda.
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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeTue Dec 06, 2016 5:53 pm

Welcome!
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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeTue Dec 06, 2016 6:08 pm

Welcome! Yeah that 20T and suburban was the same.

Close MatthewD, but the roper in Tractorheads is based on the "Custom" line Very Happy They have lighter front ends but still tough rearends. Hello, just found this forum  2731072446

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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeTue Dec 06, 2016 7:51 pm

Thanks to everyone for responding, lots to chew on.

I saw a reference for a Panzer. They are tiny, but have car differential? (49 Plymouth). I've never seen one in person, but I'm wondering if truck trans and dif an option?

To the question, I believe GX series hondas were 13 hp, and the Chinese clones boast 15. I suspect there would be zero difference at WOT in tractor?
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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeTue Dec 06, 2016 11:18 pm

@Andy Young wrote:
Thanks to everyone for responding,  lots to chew on.  

I saw a reference for a Panzer.  They are tiny, but have car differential? (49 Plymouth).  I've never seen one in person, but I'm wondering if truck trans and dif an option?  

To the question, I believe GX series hondas were 13 hp, and the Chinese clones boast 15.  I suspect there would be zero difference at WOT in tractor?

Yeah it mostly depends on gearing. Just get a bigger from fully with a smaller rear one and be sure to have a strong spring on your clutch. Even better-go with a dual pulley clutch. 15 horsepower is a lot when you think about it, so getting it to the ground is the next step.
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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeWed Dec 07, 2016 12:02 am

Thanks craftsman,

I'm going to have to do some research about gearing and seeing what's available locally. In my experience used lawn tractors see long life's around here and the few on local classifieds are pricey. Time of the year could be a factor
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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeWed Dec 07, 2016 1:10 am

@Andy Young wrote:
Thanks to everyone for responding,  lots to chew on.  

I saw a reference for a Panzer.  They are tiny, but have car differential? (49 Plymouth).  I've never seen one in person, but I'm wondering if truck trans and dif an option?  

To the question, I believe GX series hondas were 13 hp, and the Chinese clones boast 15.  I suspect there would be zero difference at WOT in tractor?

Lots of homemade tractors used small 3 speed transmissions and shortened axles. Hell, if I was more comfortable with shortening an axle I would do it.

Spring is a good time to buy tractors. Lots of people dont winterize their machines so a gummed carb could be the difference between a $400 machine and a $40 machine. I paid $25 for my Murray GT and $150 for both of my Craftsman GTs.

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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeWed Dec 07, 2016 1:14 am

Thanks for the tip. We spent hours rebuilding carbs on our small engines every spring till we found out to use non ethanol (premium) fuel, fuel conditioner, and fuel shut offs and running carbs right dry before storing for more than a few weeks.

Thanks for all the wisdom. Look forward to posting as I am able.
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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeWed Dec 07, 2016 2:17 am

@Andy Young wrote:
Thanks for the tip.  We spent hours rebuilding carbs on our small engines every spring till we found out to use non ethanol (premium) fuel, fuel conditioner, and fuel shut offs and running carbs right dry before storing for more than a few weeks.  

Thanks for all the wisdom.  Look forward to posting as I am able.  

No problem Smile Thats the great thing about this forum, everybody tries to be as helpful as possible.

You mentioned gas. One thing to watch is if the gas is ethanol free or not. Almost all fuel contains around 10% ethanol, including premium, unless its marked as ethanol-free and excluding E85 which is 50-83% ethanol. Wonder what kind of nastiness that would do to a carb...

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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeWed Dec 07, 2016 8:18 am

@Andy Young wrote:
Thanks craftsman,

I'm going to have to do some research about gearing and seeing what's available locally.  In my experience used lawn tractors see long life's around here and the few on local classifieds are pricey.  Time of the year could be a factor

Since you have an engine you want to use, I would suggest finding one with a blown engine, rusted out mower deck, dry rotted tires, bad paint, or all of the above. Most of that will likely be re done or removed anyway, so why mess with it
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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeWed Dec 07, 2016 10:25 am

@CraftsmanQuad19 wrote:
@Andy Young wrote:
Thanks craftsman,

I'm going to have to do some research about gearing and seeing what's available locally.  In my experience used lawn tractors see long life's around here and the few on local classifieds are pricey.  Time of the year could be a factor

Since you have an engine you want to use, I would suggest finding one with a blown engine, rusted out mower deck, dry rotted tires, bad paint, or all of the above. Most of that will likely be re done or removed anyway, so why mess with it

Thats all good advice. I will look in the corners of yards and sides of houses for a candidate.

With the gas, in Canada most of the retailers don't blend their premium levels yet, and we use alot fuel stabilizer, like Sea Foam. I know some people like those additives, and I don't use them in new vehicles, but for small engines its been a life savor.

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PostSubject: Re: Hello, just found this forum    Hello, just found this forum  Icon_minitimeWed Dec 07, 2016 12:15 pm

@mightyraze wrote:


Close MatthewD, but the roper in Tractorheads is based on the "Custom" line Very Happy  They have lighter front ends but still tough rearends. Hello, just found this forum  2731072446
Ah right, never knew that. Thanks!

I never winterise my small engines, I just run them every couple of weeks or so.
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