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Quick and Dirty mower mod

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  • Quick and Dirty mower mod

    The back story....

    The mower is a Rhino FM72 finish mower; it has a 72 inch cutting width. It's decent enough but had a few areas needing improvement, the worst of which is how drive belts are tensioned. There are two belts, one left-side and one right-side. Both belts are adjusted simultaneously by sliding the gearbox fore and aft. This is a real PITA to do and doesn't allow for one belt stretching more than the other. This wears belts out fast, I got about a year out of a set of OEM belts.

    So I let the grass get tall and finally got my azz in gear the day before rain was predicted. One belt was floppy while the other was like a guitar string and the dealer was out (at $100 per set it is worth mentioning ). Being desperate, I hacked together two idlers to tension each belt independently. It's just pieces of 1" 14 gauge sq. tube from the scrap bin, two flat-face ball-bearing wheels, two carriage bolts and miscellaneous other stuff. The mounting point is a large hex nut welded to the frame with 7018. A bolt is the pivot that goes through an unsleeved hole drilled through the tube; that bolt threads into the welded-on nut with red Lock-tite. The carriage bolts adjust the arms. The "precision" of the metalwork is obvious. At least I sprayed it with Cold-Galv paint. It was on the mower by noon and I left the guards off so I could see when it all flew off. Surprisingly it made it through the day and it's still there 5 years and hundreds of hours later. I get two to three years out of a set of kevlar belts from Tractor Supply Co. that run about $50 per set (the TSC belts from India are vastly superior to the OEM).

    Time to declare victory....

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    CanoeCruiser
    Harris dual-stage O/A
    Lincoln AC/DC buzzbox
    Hobart IronMan 210
    Lincoln PowerMig 135
    Miller 3035 spoolgun
    Thermal Arc 185
    Thermadyne Cutmaster 52
    Angle grinders, vicegrips, the usual suspects
    Two hands, tired body, not enough time...

  • #2
    Too simple and straight-forward to not succeed. Nice work!
    Blacksmith
    Stickmate LX AC/DC
    Big cheap (Chinese) Anvil
    Hand cranked coal forge
    Freon bottle propane forge
    HH 210 and bottle of C25

    Comment


    • #3
      Somewhere in the garage I have a pair of new idler pulleys like that. Meant for a Jacobsen Super Chief 1200 tractor, which Ford also branded.
      --- RJL ----------------------------------------------

      Ordinarily I'm insane, but I have lucid moments when I'm merely stupid.
      -------------------------

      Comment


      • #4
        The same Jacobsen that made quality lawn service equipment? As kids and buddy and I mowed lawns to make a few bucks. We lusted after Jacobsen and Toro ($$$) and owned MTD ($). Then we grew up and abandoned making an honest living.

        Just visible in the first two pics are coil springs from McMaster-Carr on the wheel posts to reduce shock loading when the gauge wheels encounter bumps (which stretched the mounting bolts to the frame). In Rhinos' defense they got most of the stuff right.
        CanoeCruiser
        Harris dual-stage O/A
        Lincoln AC/DC buzzbox
        Hobart IronMan 210
        Lincoln PowerMig 135
        Miller 3035 spoolgun
        Thermal Arc 185
        Thermadyne Cutmaster 52
        Angle grinders, vicegrips, the usual suspects
        Two hands, tired body, not enough time...

        Comment


        • #5
          Yeah, it was a Jacobsen "garden" tractor, same as a Ford 120. Kohler 301 engine and Sunstrand hydrostatic transmission. I think I gave about $300. for it and a York rake.
          --- RJL ----------------------------------------------

          Ordinarily I'm insane, but I have lucid moments when I'm merely stupid.
          -------------------------

          Comment


          • #6
            Look like "typical " idler pulleys found on John Deere and Husqvarna and Poulon decks.... Probably something like a one size fits all idler...

            Found I could get idlers from generic sources cheaper then buying JD parts...

            Dale
            Lives his life vicariously through his own self.

            Comment


            • #7
              Dale, you're right; they came from Tractor Supply Co.. I had a Cub Cadet garden tractor for cleaning up around the house and the idler bearings would self-destruct about once a year. The TSC idlers were cheaper and never quit. The ones in the pic are the originals from about 5 years ago. I recently took them off to check the bearings and they are like new.

              I looked at J-D tractors. They have a good dealer network here, and they love their tractors. They love them so much it would have taken a big stack of greenbacks to convince them to part with one. Seeing that price made me run like a deer. The New Holland store was almost $10k less for the functional equivalent.

              USMCPop, the Jacobsen stuff has a hobbyist following that collects and restores them. If you get tired of your tractor you could go to Yesterdays Tractor or TractorByNet and find a ready audience to offer it to. Parts for older machinery can be very hard to find (this is true of Jacobsen). Your tractor might fetch a good chunk of change if you decide to move it.
              CanoeCruiser
              Harris dual-stage O/A
              Lincoln AC/DC buzzbox
              Hobart IronMan 210
              Lincoln PowerMig 135
              Miller 3035 spoolgun
              Thermal Arc 185
              Thermadyne Cutmaster 52
              Angle grinders, vicegrips, the usual suspects
              Two hands, tired body, not enough time...

              Comment


              • #8
                The Jacobsen is long gone. Victim of time and a house move. Beautiful tractor it was.
                --- RJL ----------------------------------------------

                Ordinarily I'm insane, but I have lucid moments when I'm merely stupid.
                -------------------------

                Comment

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