Side-Mounted Mower "Does A Beautiful Job"
"It goes down into ditches and under low hanging branches where 3-pt. mounted mowers can't go," says Daniel Van Dam, South Kortright, N.Y., who converted a used 3-pt. mounted, 60-in. Land Pride mower to a side-mounted unit. He modified the pto-driven mower to run on hydraulics.
He built a steel frame to support the mower. The frame bolts to a steel beam that mounts under the tractor. A hydraulic motor replaces the gearbox that was originally located on top of the mower and runs off a pto-driven pump on back of the tractor. An 8-in. hydraulic cylinder is used to raise and lower the mower. An ATV winch that operates off the tractor battery is used to fold the mower upright for transport. A hydraulic reservoir tank mounts on front of the tractor.
"Moving the mower to one side of the tractor makes it fun and easy to operate," says Van Dam, "and I can see everything well without having to look back. My Massey Ferguson 2625 tractor has power steering so I can turn the mower around on a dime. Also, with the mower on the side I can use it to cut grass over gullies where a 3-pt. mounted model couldn't go."
The Massey's hydraulic system didn't have enough capacity to handle the 3,000 rpm motor that drives the blades so he had to install the pto pump. He used a Jacobson hydraulic motor, which is typically found on riding mowers used by golf courses.
"In normal grass, the pto-driven pump allows me to do a nice cutting job without revving up the tractor engine. I can operate the engine at idle, or about 1,000 rpm's. If the grass is real heavy I speed up the engine.
"It all turned out quite well," says Van Dam. "I use it on my 6-acre lawn, and alongside a long driveway with ditches on each side. I couldn't mow them with a zero turn mower without getting hung up at the bottom of the ditch. I like not having to worry about maintaining gearboxes and belts and pulleys.
"I built it after I retired. Someone who saw it told me they had never seen such a beautiful piece of machinery.
"I bought the mower used. The mower frame allows it to float up and down to follow the ground contour. To fold the mower up for transport I just push a button on the dash.
"I already had most of the steel that I used to make the mower frame."