I did remove the snorkel and had a friend spray in it, still no luck... oh welly!
Something is going on internally I can feel it when turn it over by hand so I'll have to revist it in the future and open the motor back up unfortunately. I had scored a full pressure lubed 16hp Kohler Courage (CV16S) for $25 and have been picking away at it so once I get it running I think I'll drop it in and call it a day! Lol. I would like to get it mobile so I can test it, find it weaknesses and have some fun with it so I'll probably get back into it soon enough!
2017 Build-Off Finalist
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Age : 48 Join date : 2016-09-06 Points : 14360 Posts : 10146 Location : Oklahoma
If it's not a sticky valve try some more valve clearance. I bet you don't have a leak tester on hand?
I did an overhaul an an old beast a while back and I couldn't get it to start.. clearances the valves a bit more and it ran like a kitten. Afterwards I redid the clearance to factory spec and it did just fine
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2022 Build-Off Top 3 Winner
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Age : 44 Join date : 2019-07-02 Points : 3912 Posts : 2132 Location : Ontario, Canada
It sure is @Nevadablue but I have bigger things to stress about so no big deal, I'll definitely keep y'all updated but I'll do it in it's proper thread which also allows others who aren't aware a chance to catch up with what I've done!
And the engine from The Trailblazer is officially installed, new sump gasket, oil topped up and all controls are hooked up!
I'm hoping to actually drive this beast tomorrow for the first time since starting work on it! Lol. I just have a little bit of wiring to do to hook up the push button start and the kill switch then quickly toss a battery in it and it's go time!
She's officially running, driving and doing pretty well over obstacles! I will need to limit the steering however, it can oversteer and get the tire into the frame but that should be an easy fix!
Something that did need attention right away was the clutch/brake pedal, I could push it into the tire before the belt was disengaged and brake would grab so that's a bit of an issue!
Notice the Sharpie marks on the side of the floorboard to show where the rod sits normally, where it hits the tire and where it needs to be.
What I did was cut the rod most of the way through, bent it and used vise grips to pivot it and check the clearance until I got it set then started welding the gap in!
I ground the welds down pretty smooth then painted it with bedliner.
Now it just barely clears the tire when at full steering and articulation but it will touch if I really press down and I expect when the tractor is really flexing it will also but it's not a problem anyways because I still need to limit the steering.
I think it actually looks really cool so I'll need to duplicate it for the front brake pedal on the other side!
I thought I'd take the steering wheel off so it's easy to remove to get the tractor in the back of my friends truck (has a cap) and go figure the bolt would snap! I thought it felt like it was loosening too easy! Guess I'll have to weld a bolt on or something.
It was so great to finally drive this rig and do some testing around the yard, I've been working on it (on and off) since October! First tractor project, last to run and drive, funny how that goes eh?!
Good idea @MightyRaze but that "bolt" is either a stud of some kind or a machined part of the steering shaft and because it's the same thickness as the flats on the shaft I couldn't drill and tap for a bolt unless I went with a 1/4" bolt and I don't think I'd trust that for offroading. Better it happened how it did instead of breaking off in my hand that's for sure!
I may give your idea a try just to see if it happens to be a threaded stud, what's the worst that could happen right!?
I found a little treat for this beast today after work!
That's right, a 3 speed Peerless MST and I scored it for $30! It will essentially make this rig a 21 speed (because of the Vari-Drive) and it should bolt right in but the pulley isn't right for it and the input shaft is 5/8" compared to the original 910's 1/2" so I have some figurin' to do!
What's really cool about it is apparently (according to the Peerless manual) it has gear driven reverse (no chain to break) and uses 80w90 gear oil instead of grease so that's a HUGE bonus!
Plus I didn't think the original 910 with 1/2" input shaft and 5/8" axles would hold up for very long but this one with the 5/8" input shaft and 3/4" axles should hold up pretty well on this light machine!
You'll notice on the pulley I wrote down the approximate gear ratios so once I figure out the ratio (singular) on the 910 it will give me an idea if I'll gain any top end or if I'll just gain slower speeds? I'll probably try and figure that out tomorrow, this ought to be a good upgrade regardless!
I think so too and I've never seen one either! I looked it up last night and apparently @RCG converted one into a MST-206! Here's a link to the video
I won't even be thinking of this as a 3 speed, I'll be calling it a "range selector" with High/Low/Bull Low (and reverse)! Turns out that 2nd gear is the same (or very similar) ratio to the F/N/R @ 10.8:1 which means I'll end up with a slighter higher top end in 3rd @ 6.8:1 and some ridiculously low creeper gears in 1st @ 24:1 which I imagine will probably be useless! Lol
I had a look under tractor and realized that I'll have some fab work to do on the plate that holds the Vari-Drive idler pulley and shifter to fit the 203 but I'll be damned if I'm going to disable this rig just after I brought it to life so instead I decided I'll do all the work on the carbon copy parts tractor (the Silver Bullet - future racer) then transfer the parts around.
Here's the plate I speak of.
With that out of the way the 203 bolts right on...
...and I was really lucky, seems the tractor I got it from has the exact same width chassis because the front support brackets for both sides are a perfect fit, all I'll need to do is drill a hole per side to secure them!
But wait! There's more...
I had to do something about the steering wheel "bolt". Turns out it was machined onto the shaft as far as I can tell.
What I did was cut it flush, center punch it then started drilling a 1"deep hole all the way up to a 1/4" (biggest shown is 3/16")...
...drilled a hole clear through the sides...
...cut the head off a 5/16" bolt, turned it down to almost a 1/4", tapped it into the shaft then welded it through the holes and at the top...
...ground the sides smooth then re-installed the wheel!
I modified the Vari-Drive plate after work and now it's a good fit!
I had to cut a little over half of it's height off but before I did that I welded the upper corners for strength and ground them smooth.
Here what I was left with...
...but it was still hitting the top of the trans so I notched it.
There's a boss/bolt that I'm assuming is where the spring and ball for the shifter detent is and it was preventing the bracket from going ahead enough to bolt in so I cut the bracket and bent it up...
...then bent it back down so there's a bit of a gap...
...slid a piece of copper bar in so I could fill weld it and smoothed it out a little.
Here's the modified bracket that retains all the important stuff and fits perfect (now)!
I'll have to get up to the salvage yard as soon as possible so I can find a floor shifter I can modify to work that has the spring loaded bracket like my Roper so when I make a cutout in the shifter panel I can make a reverse lockout deal that you have to pull back and then over to get to reverse. Maybe I'll get lucky and find the right pulley too! If not I'll probably cut the center out of mine and use a weld on hub from Princess Auto to simplify the ordeal.
So far it's not being TOO difficult which is nice!
I've officially declared war on this 3 speed with VariDrive swap! I do however feel that I'm starting to win!
It's been a tough go the last few days, it seems fitting the trans and modifying the VariDrive bracket was the easy part! I did find a couple shifters and based on the belt/pulley layout I thought I built a winner out of them BUT I didn't realize or take in account that the input shaft on the MST is a couple inches further to the right than the 910 which kyboshed that...
...and the pulley I made (by cutting the hubs out of both the 910 and MSTs then welding the MST hub in the 910 pulley) because it puts it way over and into the VariDrive shifter linkage and also the idler pulley is now in the way.
I test fit the VariDrive belt into the Roper Trailblazers rear pulley (which is a weld on Princess Auto special) and it actually fits half decently as it's designed for A and B width belts so I grabbed a weld on hub and several pulleys of smaller sizes (7", 6.5", 5.5" and 5") so I could mock it up with the belt and start figuring stuff out. The 7" left good tension on the idler but still would've left too much other stuff to overcome so I popped the 6.5" on and it's still leaving half decent tension on the ider while leaving separation between the halves of the belt and much less to overcome although it was a serious battle that lasted a few hours!
Even with the 6.5" pulley the VariDrive linkage would still hit the belt...
...so I expanded the holes for the shifter plate so I could slide the linkage to the side... twice because I didn't do it enough the first time! Lol. I ended up with about 9/16" I could slide it over (note the paint line)
So now it's in, bracket clearanced to not touch the underside of the pulley and shifter itself spaced from underneath with a washer so it can't touch the underside of the pulley also, plate adjusted probably 19 times until I found the sweet spot and a little clearancing on the fender pan so the shifter doesn't bind when going up and down.
Here's a real short video of the VariDrive shifter in action.
I guess tomorrow I'll weld the pulley and fire up the tractor to test out the drive system as it sits (on jack stands). There's no sense swapping the tires to the new rims until I know it's going to work/not work. Better freaking work or I'm going to go nuclear on it! Lol.
If it's all good the next step is tires for a test drive then I'll have to come up with a shifter for The MST!
That's its for now, hopefully I'll have good news in the next day or 2!
Thank you sir! I know I'm not the first to attempt this, I'm pretty sure @prancstaman has done it and another member may have also but I do believe it's not been done with this exact VariDrive (shifter) setup, my 2 LT11s are the only ones I've seen with the swing shift the rest are push/pull. I'm really hoping it all works, it will be a wicked awesome setup if it does!
I made some progress again after work and things are looking good!
I was able to just drill a hole in the VariDrive bracket for the clutch/VariDrive spring to reconnect at about the same length as stock and it clears the MSTs front support bracket on the left side (not pictured)...
...welded the pulley to the hub, got everything installed and fired up the tractor. I'm glad to report that the VariDrive system seems to be working as it should but I may have another adjustment to make to be sure there's a smidgen more clearance between the linkage and the belt when the clutch/brake pedal is fully depressed.
I got the tires mounted on the new rims and heck, I wish I'd measured the hub depth because there's was about 7/8" of empty space between the hub and trans so I started looking around and measuring stuff... I found some wheel bushings that just needed the flange lips cut off of to use as spacers! I can see myself in the future either finding rims with deeper hubs or welding extensions on the existing ones or using locking bearings/brackets to make axle supports, I'll cross that bridge eventually!
They ended up working out perfectly because it pushed the rear wheels out about 1" further and made them almost the same width as the front with it's widened track because of the ATV drums I used so now this beast has become the "Widetrack Edition" (or WE for short)! I'm loving it! Once I get the Silver Bullet back on wheels I'll measure it for comparison.
By this time it was after 8 and a little late to be annoying my neighbors with a test drive so instead I turned my attention to the brakes which are hooked up (testing needed) and the "range selector" for a little bit, here's what I'm brewing up:
I'm going to use the parking brake handle (which I cut off from the inside for space to work) for a stock appearance, ease of fabrication, it's already in a great location where I can easily add a support bracket inside plus it will be easy to reach and put both shifters on the same side of the tractor!
Here's a little mockup and explanation of what I'm thinking: -Bracket 1 is the shift input and perfect the way it is. -Bracket 2 will be the shifter bellcrank, I'll make a new one that's the same length as bracket 1. There just happens to be a threaded hole right there in the case and I had a nice long bolt for maximum thread engagement. -Bracket 3 (clamped with Vise Grips) is a shifter bracket from a 6 speed that will be the support bracket for the handle - Blue is the general linkage bracket(s) design(s) -Green are the linkage rods I'll make from 5/16" steel rod and will be threaded for rod ends so I have some adjustment(s) to play with.
I think I'm going to leave myself in suspense until the"range selector" is done before I test drive it, might as well I've only driven it for about 30 minutes compared to the 60+ hours I've worked on it so what's another couple/few hours right!? Lol.
I got a little bit more done, shouldn't be long now until I can actually test it!
First thing I did was cut a bellcrank out of a piece of 1/4" plate that was leftover from the motor plate for the Mud Duck. For the pivot I'm using a flanged bushing that was salvaged from the cutting deck and was used to adjust the bogey wheel(s) height.
I modified the shift input bracket by welding the hole closed, drilling a new one and trimming a little off the tip to make it more equal length with the bellcrank. Then I made a linkage by cutting and threading 5/16" round stock for the rod ends and adjusting it so they're parallel to each other.
I had to drill a hole above the parking brake hole to clear the VariDrive shifter linkage and be able to add a long enough control bar for leverage, I also modified a shifter bracket to be a support bracket for the control rod. It's being held by one bolt but I'll add a couple small welds to hold it secure.
I want the control rod to be easily removable in case I need space to work so I'm using a 1/2" keyed weld-on hub on the end of the control rod which I will cut a keyway in with my dremel once I figure out exactly where it needs to be. The bar with the convenient holes in it is a draw bar for a garage door opener that I cut through with a hole saw then welded it on the hub. It gives me 3 holes to test and see which feels the best or I could drill 3 more if I'm feeling picky! Lol
I quickly put it on the end of the control rod to take a quick picture before I shut it down for the night.
I'll be using locking collars to keep the control shaft in one spot, what's nice about the whole setup is the amount of adjustability I'll have everywhere! I can drill other holes in the other brackets if I want to play with the ratios or whatever but I'm hoping it feels good and shifts easily the way it is so I don't have to mess with it too much! I'll be honest when I say I'm completely winging it right now, I've never built a shifter setup and haven't done any kind of research but it seems to be going really well, almost like it wants to work! Lol
That's all for today, hopefully tomorrow it will be completed! All that's left to do is weld the handle on the control rod, cut a keyway, make one more linkage and probably some fine tuning! Wish me luck!
Thank you! I'm having so much fun building this rig but I really need to get back to my build off tractor soon. Once the driveline is good there's a couple other things I'd like to finish then I can start enjoying it and have a tractor to ride while the Mud Duck is down.
Alrighty fellers, I won the battle! I now have a fully functioning drive system so I guess I'll have to start calling this "The Warhorse Widetrack Edition with optional Range Selector" or "The Warhorse WE w/opt. Range Selector" for short. Lol
I made the control rod link and painted both shafts
While the paint was drying I got 3 welds on the control rod support bracket, I'll add to them once I clean up the wiring and have more room to work
As that was cooling down I did something I hope I don't have to do again anytime soon because it was a big pain in the @$$... cutting a keyway for the control lever!
Then I installed the control rod and links to figure out shifter travel and angle by using vise grips, cut the control rod to length and marked both it and the handle itself for alignment to weld them together
What I did to weld them together was put 2 tiny tack welds on to hold it together then cut a slot between them, welded it in, cut another slot welded it in ect. until I was all the way around then ground it all smooth and painted it
I installed the control rod (which is fully and easily removable btw), used 2 locking collars to hold it in place, hooked up the linkage and it's done!
Bull Low (1st gear)
Low (2nd gear)
High (3rd gear)
What's cool is I can push in the clutch with my left foot and kick the shifter down into 3rd with my right foot! Lol. I did some testing and it all seems to be working as intended, the shifter itself feels great and isn't difficult to reach or switch ranges so I guess there's enough leverage present.
I did do another speed test but I'm not sure on the accuracy of the top speed number because the brake linkage and spring got all jammed up, the brakes were dragging and the VariDrive didn't come all the way back. After I removed it, it definitely felt a little peppier so I'm going to guess I hit 10MPH which is a big improvement over stock and plenty enough for what I'm doing with the tractor, I also gained some much slower speeds but not as bad as I originally thought it would be because of the pulley swap.
The unofficial numbers: 1st "gear"/Bull Low ~ approx .7KPH/.5MPH 7th "gear"/High range ~ 14.5KPH/9MPH
I'll do an official speed run in the near future, my testing ended early because I lost one of those stupid wheel clips, luckily a friend saw the washer fly and stopped me. I've never liked those clips or trusted them and was going to replace them with 3/4" locking collars but forgot to grab them from Princess Auto...
The only bugs to work out seems to be the brake linkage/spring, everything else is working beautifully! I'm hoping to get it out for a shakedown run on Sunday but it depends, so we'll see! Lol.
It's not all that low really because of the design of the tractor and low seat, sure I have to bend down but i don't feel like I'm reaching way down like I would if it were the Roper. I am really liking it there, easy to reach and it's not in the way at all!
It's been a BIG day for this 'ol girl, I want it to be ready for an actual ride so I worked on it most of the afternoon and late into the evening. I got alot done!
The first thing that HAD to be dealt with was securing the brake drum backing plates, I had ziptied them to hold them from spinning and jamming into the axle which is fine around the yard but not on the trails so...
...I made 2 of these out of a small piece of 1/2" bar stock I had...
...welded them on the spindles, painted them then reinstalled the spindles!
There was a plastic bushing on the steering bellcrank that had alot of slop in it so I drilled the hole a little bigger for a steel bushing that I tack welded in place.
I also added steering stops which worked out perfectly and hasn't really impacted the turning radius either so that's good! At full lock and articulation there's still clearance everywhere, I think I could actually squeeze a little bit more articulation out if this rig!
Then on to the rear wheels... boy did I get lucky on this one, I removed all washers and spacers, put in a (floating) 3/4" shaft collar, the wheel, the original washer and wouldn't you know it the set screw on the outer locking shaft collar was right in the middle of the groove for the clip just like I was hoping for! All I i had to do was trim the keys, used my Dremel to put a little notch in the groove for the set screw to lock down into and that's it!
Time for a little testing!
I almost made it on top of the stump! I bet if my tire caught a root I would've got up there but I did actually get the front wheel all the way up on it from another angle but wasn't able to get a picture.
This is JUST before tipping point which will improve once I relocate a battery under the dash but for now that's not half bad!
Well crawling! It didn't even struggle!
Another top speed run and...21kph (13mph)! That's a huge improvement over stock!
Then I made the new extended winch plate supports out of steel left over from the winch plate itself. I ran out of bedliner so paint will have to wait but now it's ready for use!
I made a proper kill switch wire and ziptied it with the choke cable and fuel line, this turned out to be a huge blessing because I've always had a hard time turning the fuel on and off because it's so flexible and you can only get one hand in there but now with it secured to the choke cable it's a breeze!
I also got the winch wired up (but not to the battery) and made a little holder for it, I'll add a hook to cradle the wiring coming out of the controls and that should hold it in place no problem.
What's really cool is how the wiring worked out perfectly so I can run the controller out of the hood, still clamp the hood down and control the winch from the seat!