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Ganged Mowers Cut 6 1/2-Ft. Swath
"I have a 3-acre lawn and it used to take most of the day to mow it. Now I get the job done it about 3 hours," says Patrick Roderick, Welcome, Md., who built a hitch to pull 5 mower decks behind his 11 hp MTD garden tractor.
   The 5 mowers cut a 78-in. wide swath with a 5-in. overlap.
  A 1-in. sq. pull bar across the back of the tractor is pinned to the tractor's hitch. Metal brackets attached to the front of each push mower bolt to the pull bar.
  He made the gang structure in such a way that each mower is free to move up or down independent of the other mowers. "The mowers flex smoothly over uneven terrain," says Roderick.
  He bought the 5 new Murray mulching mowers equipped with 5 hp Briggs & Stratton engines for about $160 apiece. "I spent about $800 on the mowers and another $100 for the metal used to hitch them up," says Roderick.
  "I used mulching mowers because they don't blow grass into the other mowers. I used 5 identical mowers because I wanted all the mowers to cut the same. The only limitation with 5 mowers is there's a lot of maintenance. Every time I sharpen the blades I have to sharpen 5 sets of blades, and the same with cleaning the deck and changing the oil."
  The tractor had an undersized battery so he bought a new car-size battery and set it inside a home-built metal box, which he mounted on back of the tractor. The weight also adds traction when going uphill.
   The back wheels on the rear mowers are connected together but all mowers are free to float. Roderick designed a bolt and nut system that attaches the brace bars to the mower axles. "The bolt is tightened down tight, but because it's cut to length, it bottoms out before it contacts the strap, leaving about a 1 1/6-in. gap that allows the tie strap to float," says Roderick.
   "I didn't want anything to collapse so I made it extra strong, with more bracing than was probably needed."
  The mowers' original 8-in. wheels didn't work well when turning so Roderick replaced them with 6-in. anti-scalp wheels. "I wanted to use caster wheels, but the way I had my gang structure set up it wouldn't have worked.
  "All nuts and bolts were Loctited so they wouldn't loosen while cutting," notes Roderick.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Patrick Roderick, 8555 Wedding Dr., Welcome, Md. 20693 (28dogc@myway.com).

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2010 - Volume #34, Issue #3