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Second Generation "Gator" Built Bigger And Better
A few years ago, Gary Parsch built himself a "Gator wannabe" (Vol. 30, No. 1). It worked pretty well for hauling stuff, but it couldn't handle the Michigan winter snows the way he wanted. When a neighbor with a small engine repair business took in a heavy duty White lawn tractor with hydraulics, he gave Parsch a call.
"He told me he had just what I needed to make a bigger and better rig," says Parsch. "It has a high-low rear hydrostatic drive, and when I put it in low, it really pulls. It also has bigger wheels with more ground clearance and better traction. I haul firewood with it, and it never bogs down in the snow."
Since his wife nicknamed the first rig "The Beast," Parsch named his new rig "Bride of the Beast." While both units were based on old White garden tractors, the Bride is built on a heavy framed 1987 model with 15-in. wheels. Since the engine was shot, Parsch substituted a 12 hp, Kohler from an old Cub Cadet.
"The big trick was lining up the Kohler on all planes, vertical and side to side," he says. "The homemade driveshaft had to be just right. I used a coupler in the driveshaft to the rear, as it needed some give."
Like The Beast, the driver's seat and controls for Bride of the Beast were moved forward over the motor and the front end. Also, like the earlier model, the most difficult challenge was installing steering, given the heavy load over the steering axle.
"The first time I tried turning the steering wheel, I bent the linkage because there was so much torque on the wheels," says Parsch. "I tried using the hydraulic cylinder that came with the tractor for power steering. It turned one way fast enough, but when I tried turning it back, it was slow on the return."
The steering wheel and original steering gear came from a Sears garden tractor. Parsch resorted to double gearing the steering system with a second set of gears, leveraging it down to handle the torque.
Parsch also moved the throttle, clutch and brake to the front end. He built a foot stand and a steel frame for a 36 by 42-in. box with 12-in. sides that he mounted over the rear. The box, which he made out of treated plywood, is hinged at the rear to dump manually at a 90 degree angle.
"I paid $50 for the White drivetrain and have about another $250 in it," says Parsch. "The engine is easy on gas, so I use it all the time instead of my tractor to haul wood or pull trailers around our property."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Gary Parsch, 5276 Dublin Road, Hope, Mich. 48628 (ph 989 689-5719; gparsch@hotmail.com).

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2008 - Volume #32, Issue #4