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Big Mower Built Out Of Old Swather
"We have a 2-acre ball field across the road and the boys really scatter when they see us coming. But they don't mind because they know we can cut the field fast," says Walter Miller who built a big zero-turn lawn mower out of an old swather with hydrostatic drive.
It's used to mow the outer areas of the Ohio farmer's 4-acre lawn, while a Cub Cadet lawn tractor is used around the house and outbuildings.
Miller started with a 1969 New Holland Speedrower equipped with a 65 hp Ford 4-cyl. engine he bought at a farm auction for $750. He removed the 12-ft. mower head and conditioner which he replaced with a heavy-duty 6-ft. Steiner mower deck he bought used.
To mount the deck, he shortened the lift arms by 5 in. so the deck can cut closer to the ground. He built a 6-ft. long crossmember out of 4-in box tubing. It runs between the lift arms and connects to a shop-built pivot point with a 4-in. bushing at the center of the deck. The design allows the deck to pivot backward and forward 8 in. and side to side 18 in. to follow the contour of the ground.
He used a heavy-duty gearbox off a scrapped Hesston Stackhand to drive the mower off the swather's existing horizontal driveshaft. A double U-joint driveshaft runs from an oversize 14-in. dia. pulley mounted on the gearbox shaft to a 4-in. dia. pulley attached to the deck drive. The design turns the mower blades at slightly higher rpm's than the manufacturer recommends, he notes.
Other modifications included removing the upright air cleaner and rerouting the muffler out the back, Miller says.
The mower deck is 3 ft. shorter in width than the 9-ft. wide windrower, but that's not a problem, Miller notes.
"What I really like about the rig is that each drive wheel has its own hydraulic motor," he says. "This allows you to turn and cut closer around trees than you ever could with a tractor mower.
"Best of all, out-of-pocket expenses were only about $1,500 compared with $8,000 to $10,000 for some commercial units I looked at which weren't nearly as maneuverable."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Walter Miller, 9182 Knox School Rd., Minerva, Ohio 44657 (ph 330 894-2828).

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1997 - Volume #21, Issue #6