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Mini 1650 Diesel Oliver
Matt Frank turned a Simplicity garden tractor into a diesel-powered, mini 1650 Oliver with a narrow front end. Even though it has a hydrostatic transmission, it holds its own in the 1,050-lb. class at tractor pulls.
    “I pulled with it all this past summer,” says Frank. “People say you can’t pull with hydrostatics, but this one will power out or spin-out before the hydrostatic fails.”
    Frank started out with 2 Simplicity lawn tractors he picked up for $50. The previous owner said one worked, though it had been at least 5 years since it had run.
    He cleaned the carburetor, got the motor running, and started on the narrow front end. He stripped away the existing wide front end and used a salvaged deck spindle from a Cub Cadet mower to mount tricycle wheels.
    “I used the spindle for the front end bearings and switched the steering rod to the other side,” says Frank. “I bought 6-in. wheels on eBay and mounted them with 6 by 12-rib tires.”
    As he finished, another change came to mind. “I got a wild hair for a small diesel,” says Frank. “I found one only 15 miles away.”
    It was a 22 1/2 hp, liquid cooled Kubota on an old, industrial Jacobson mower. It hadn’t run since running out of fuel a few years prior. Frank replaced the starter, and it fired right up.
    “It ran good,” he says. “I pulled the motor and started figuring how to put it in the Simplicity. The biggest problem was the liquid cooling.”
    Frank found a radiator from a salvaged Deere lawn tractor and added an 11-in. electric fan from a small Ford car. He trimmed away factory side panels on the Simplicity and removed the battery box and fuel tank to make room for the diesel.
    “I added an extension to the frame to mount an old pony beer keg for a diesel fuel tank,” says Frank. “I mounted the old battery box on the right hand side of the frame and moved the hood forward about 2 in.”
    With the aide of motor mounts made from angle iron, Frank installed the engine and cooling system. He shortened the driveshaft from the old motor on the Simplicity and bolted it to the Kubota to drive the hydrostatic.
    “I added rear wheels with custom built wheel spacers so I can run duals,” says Frank. “I have wheel weights I can take off and put the spacers on in their place.”
    Frank added a 3-in. stainless steel exhaust pipe he cut down to size. He welded it to the plate under the hood so it lifts when he lifts the hood. When he sets it back down, it slides over the pipe from the manifolds.
    “The steering wheel, seat and frame are about all that was on the original Simplicity,” says Frank. “I replaced the gauges and most everything else and gave it an Oliver 1650 paint job and decals. It took a lot of time and thought, but it was worth it.”
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Matt Frank, 35571 Texas Rd., Pomeroy, Ohio 45769 (ph 740 508-1422; mattfrank1987@gmail.com).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #1