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No Maintenance Mower
You've never seen a home-built mower like this hydrostatic "no-maintenance" machine built by Christopher Tull, Lafayette, Ind.
Tull's father Ted, who passed away before the mower was completed, played a big part in planning the design of the mower before building started. "We were tired of replacing drive belts, pulleys, sprockets and maintaining all the other parts on our riding mowers. Except for changing oil in the engine, putting air in the tires, and sharpening the blades, this is a completely maintenance-free machine that does the job twice as fast as our old mowers," says Tull, noting that it used to take two riding mowers 4 hrs. apiece to mow their 5 acres of lawn, which is covered with trees. He now does the same job in 4 hrs. with his speedy home-built mower, which moves at speeds from 0 to 15 mph.
The mower's efficiency is due to its hydrostatic, single-drive wheel design that makes it easy to maneuver around trees and other obstacles - no hand trimming required. The wheel is fitted with a 26-in. "ag tire" and turns 90? in either direction. "It's got plenty of power and one wheel digs up the lawn less." says Tull, noting that it also made the mower more economical to build since it only required one hydraulic drive motor.
Front wheels are wide ATV 21-in. tires. Tull used the big tires for better flotation. He says they also give an excellent ride. The 50-in. shaft-driven mower deck is a Deere that was purchased new from a dealer. Tull mounted a hydraulic motor directly on the deck to eliminate potential problems with the gearbox. He speeded up rpm's of the blades from 2,200 to 2,500 which he says resulted in a better cut and more vacuum. He used the Deere deck on the mower because the same mountings can be used for a blade, snowblower and other attachments.
The mower steers with a conventional steering wheel rather than levers for convenience. Steering valves control an 8-in. slave cylinder connected to a jackshaft at the rear of the tractor. The jackshaft is geared down 2:1 through a pair of pulleys - connected by the only chain on the machine - to allow for the 180? range of motion of the drive wheel.
A 19-hp. twin cylinder Kohler gas engine provides power to the hydraulics. It runs at a constant 2,800 rpm's at throttle and burns fuel at a rate of 1 gal. per hour. A 7-gal. fuel tank mounts on one side of the mower and a matching 7-gal. hydraulic reservoir mounts on the other side. The frame is built out of heavy 3-in. channel iron.
"I wouldn't change a thing. This mower should last my lifetime and when some of the parts do wear out they can all be easily rebuilt. It's as good or better than the most expensive commercial mowers that cost $10,000 or more. I spent about $4,500 for parts, including the deck which cost $1,400," says Tull. He works for Carter Manufacturing in Brookston, Ind., a company that builds custom combines and other harvesting equipment for seed corn companies and universities. He says he'd be willing to custom-build the mower for about $8,700.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Christopher M. Tull, 7510 N. 1000, E. Lafayette, Ind. 47905 (ph 317 564-6023).


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1987 - Volume #11, Issue #3