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Improvements Made A Good Tractor Better
“My 855 Deere is a really nice mower tractor and easy to drive, but I made it safer and more ergonomically correct with a few simple improvements,” says Minnesota handyman Mark Rinke. He replaced the original seat, extended the steering wheel, and added step brackets and grab bars to make it easier to get on and safer to drive.
  “I’ve got a 6-ft. mower on the tractor, which made getting up and onto the platform a long stretch, even for someone with long legs like me,” Rinke says. “I made it easier to get on and off by adding an extra step and grab rail on each side.” The steps are 8-in. square corrugated metal welded onto 1 1/2-in. tubular steel that’s bolted to the tractor frame. Extending up and across the steering column are grab rails made of 3/4-in. water pipe.
  “Now when I mow on the side hills the grab rails are easy to hold onto for extra support,” Rinke says. “I also extended the hand rails an extra 4 in. above the fenders alongside the seat.”
  Rinke says the OEM seat and steering on the tractor were adequate for level land use, but not on the hillsides and ditches where he mows. He replaced the original seat with an aftermarket model that has very good back and side support, adjustable weight and shock resistance, along with 2 to 3 in. of up-and-down travel. “It’s a big improvement over the standard seat,” he says.
“As with most of my projects, one thing leads to another, and that was definitely the case with the tractor,” Rinke says. After changing out the seat he found the steering wheel was too short to comfortably drive the tractor. To remedy that issue he added a 2-in. spacer that he cut from a junkyard steering wheel shaft. A solid center core and sleeve provide plenty of support for the added length, which Rinke says now allows him to sit level while driving and not have to arch over uncomfortably.
  Rinke also improved the capacity of his mower by extending the height of the box to give it a larger cutting cavity. He welded a continuous piece of 5/8-in. dia. silo hoop rod to the base of the deck and added larger blades with more curvature. Those improvements increased air flow and lifted the grass better. “Adding the rod was real simple because I tack welded it every few inches as I bent the rod around the base of the deck,” Rinke says. “Now my wife and I are both safer and more comfortable driving the tractor, and the mower definitely has more capacity.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Mark Rinke, 11175 225th St. E., Lakeville, Minn. 55044 (mark.rinke@nngco.com).

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2019 - Volume #43, Issue #1