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Belly-Mounted Mower Converted To Front-Mount
"It operates with little or no vibration and cuts the grass before the wheels can mash it down," says Robert Mork, Sevierville, Tenn., who along with his son Rob converted a 1977 Ariens S-16 garden tractor equipped with a belly-mounted mower to a front-mount model.
  The tractor was originally equipped with a gearbox-driven 42-in. deck, which Mork widened to 48 in. and also converted to belt-drive. The deck is offset so Mork can more safely mow steep banks.
  "I bought the tractor equipped with a blown 16 hp single cylinder Kohler," says Mork. "Ariens tractors are heavy and well-built, but they are expensive. My model sold for $3,500 in 1977, back when $3,500 was a lot of money."
  The first thing Mork did was modify and reinforce the tractor's frame and install a Briggs twin horizontal 18 hp engine. He ran the tractor that way for a couple years. However, the gearbox kept giving him problems and the driveshaft vibrated a lot due to a bad bearing inside the gearbox. So he tore everything apart, stretched the deck to 48 in., and machined new parts to convert the deck to belt-drive.
  He mounted the deck out front on an X-shaped metal bracket that bolts onto the tractor frame. The tractor's front-mounted pto is used to belt-drive the mower deck. The pto turned in the wrong direction so he used an idler pulley to reverse the belt. The deck can be rotated upward 90 degrees for easy maintenance.
  The tractor's original steering system had a lot of slop, making it hard to steer, and it also tended to bind. To solve the problem Mork tore out the steering system and adapted the rack and pinion steering system out of an EZ-GO golf cart. "Now the tractor steers like a Cadillac," he says.
  To improve the Briggs and Stratton's fuel efficiency, he ground a groove into the heads ( FARM SHOW's Vol. 32, No. 1). It resulted in a slight improvement in power and fuel savings.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Robert Mork, Sevierville, Tenn. 37876 (mork_sys@mindspring.com).

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #6