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Fabbed mower deck


Jazzer

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I like old things well kept.

I have a 1997 Dixon ZTR 36" riding mower with a good Briggs engine. I've rebuilt the friction cone drive system twice, the last time last spring. The mower only had one weak point, because rust never sleeps;

rdeck.jpg



The deck is No Longer Available, so I ordered the steel, made patterns, and cut out the top of the deck. In the background you'll see the bender I made to shape the 4" tall skirt of the deck;

decktop.jpg


Bent up, welded, drilled, ground and primered;

pdeck.jpg




3 coats of paint;

fdeck.jpg


I installed the spindles, hangers, and idler tensioner, put it back on the mower and levelled the deck. It works fine, but it's really loud. I think the top is vibrating and causing a drumskin effect. I may need to add an angle brace across the top.

-Jazzer
 


scotts90ranger

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If you add anything on the inside I would do it in front of the spindles to simulate the trough just ahead of the spindles to help guide the grass to the exit, should break the air pressure and help push the grass out, some old bed frame or what 1.5" 1/8 wall angle would work.

Other than that looks good, I usually have been able to just fill in holes and stuff, haven't had too many brackets rust off too bad yet but I've gone through a bunch of old mowers getting to my current decent Craftsman...
 

Jazzer

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Thanks, yeah, I couldn't really duplicate the stamped decks airflow contours, but they add rigidity to the long dimension of the top. I think an angle on top would help that. There was a vee shaped deflector underneath that I duplicated.

The old deck had a blade to skirt clearance of 1/2", I made the new one with 1/4" clearance and it really improved the lift, I'm pulling up rocks now. :p

The spindle shafts were NLA and the threaded stub that the blade went over on one was corroded, so I had to cut it off, and drill and tap it to accept a 1/2-18 bolt, and make a 1/2"-5/8" spacer to fit the blade hole. Making an innie out of an outie. I did the other one last year so I'm good now, at least on that.

It started bogging down last evening and fuel flow was good, so now I'm cleaning the carb. It's the first cleaning necessary in 25 years, so I can't really bitch about it. Plus I like fixing stuff.

-Jazzer
 

RobbieD

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Nice repair job!

I like old things well kept.
Amen, brother!

I'm still using the 30" Snapper I bought new back around 1991.

Seems that old stuff can be repaired, whereas new stuff has to be replaced.
 

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Dang, you are determined...good work on the new deck, looks great.

I am always kinda surprised to see rusted out mowers. I have never washed any of mine out and have not had a problem with rust... cracks, yes, rust, no. Maybe y'all's grass is more acidic or something?

I was tasked with rebuilding my dad's Case 228 mower deck a few years ago, it was the spindle bearings that failed on it, mostly from disuse I think. Someone in the family lost the deck mounting bracket so I also had to track that down, fortunately there is a big following for Case lawn tractors. I hope that I inherit it someday - they really made quality equipment back then and I've always really liked it. So I feel ya on the subject of keeping old equipment alive.
 

Roert42

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I am always kinda surprised to see rusted out mowers. I have never washed any of mine out and have not had a problem with rust... cracks, yes, rust, no. Maybe y'all's grass is more acidic or something?

I've had a few rusty mowers. Seems like they are bad when you leave them outside all the time and the grass stuck on the bottom and piled on the top does not have a chance to dry out. Then you just have wet grass stuck to it all the time.
 

ford4wd08

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I'm definitely a fan of older garden tractors. They were built to take a flogging.

When Papaw passed, he had 10 acres that I mowed for many a summer. When I first started mowing, He had a John Deere 400 with a 19.9 Kohler and a 60 inch deck. When it wore out, he replaced it with a Scag Turf Tiger zero turn with a 72 inch deck and a 27 hp water cooled kawasaki. Damn good mower and I actually brought it home mow my measly 0.5 acre lot with... But decided to part with it as it was too big, too hard to store, and one part failure and I would have hated to pay Scag prices to fix it, plus it had 1900 hrs on it.

Since then I used the money I sold it for and bought a 1989 John Deere 420 with a 60 Inch deck and a 20 hp Onan. I absolutely love this mower, reminds me of the old 400, but is a better tractor and it only has a hair over 500 hrs on it. Hope to have it around a long time.

I have owned a 1974 John Deere 110 with a 39" deck as well. It was a good tractor too. I like working and fixing things a lot too.

I removed the covers from my current 60 inch deck, cleaned up all the rust and used POR-15 with some rattle can yellow to finish it off. I keep my belt guards off as they trap grass and cause a lot of deck rot down here in the south.
 

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Jazzer

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The year prior to my 1997 model, Dixon had a thick steel fabricated deck. In 1997 they switched to a thinner stamped deck, so that’s part of why it rusted so badly.
I made this one out of 11 gauge, so it will outlast the rest of the mower.

Nice to see others appreciate keeping out of the “ just toss it and get a new one” mentality!

-Jazzer
 

ford4wd08

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I like old things well kept.

I have a 1997 Dixon ZTR 36" riding mower with a good Briggs engine. I've rebuilt the friction cone drive system twice, the last time last spring. The mower only had one weak point, because rust never sleeps;

View attachment 75734


The deck is No Longer Available, so I ordered the steel, made patterns, and cut out the top of the deck. In the background you'll see the bender I made to shape the 4" tall skirt of the deck;

View attachment 75735

Bent up, welded, drilled, ground and primered;

View attachment 75736



3 coats of paint;

View attachment 75737

I installed the spindles, hangers, and idler tensioner, put it back on the mower and levelled the deck. It works fine, but it's really loud. I think the top is vibrating and causing a drumskin effect. I may need to add an angle brace across the top.

-Jazzer
Also, the stamped deck does more than just make it more rigid. It controls the air flow to help the blades lift grass. You might need extra baffles or something similar to recreate that. Also, blade tip speeds have gone up since more.and more fabricated decks are on mowers.
 

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I had to dig way back to find a pic of the old Case. I believe my grandpa bought it used in the 70's - these were really expensive tractors back then and probably the equivalent of a Kubota or similar today. I know he had a snow blower, mower deck and tiller for it but the snow blower got "lost" somewhere... there were all kinds of other accessories you could get too. I'd like to track down a loader bucket for it.

This poor tractor has been through a lot! I believe it's on its second engine, 3rd wiring harness, at least two clutches, numerous other things. It has caught on fire twice and still keeps on ticking!

2021-12-06.jpg
 

Jazzer

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Scotts@0 ranger mentioned the airflow and I’m still processing it. The old deck didn’t have a guide near the exit chute, but maybe I can come up with something. Lift is incredible as it is.

It cuts and discharges fine now, I just ordered some Gator blades for it.

I like those old tractors, built beefy and so freaking multi-purpose with attachments. Guys around here want a mint for restorables.

-Jazzer
 

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I have an old Deere 68 rear engine rider. Last year one of the anti scalp wheels caught a manhole cover with enough force that the blade buried itself in the side of the deck. I straightened it as best as I could but it's still a bit wonky. Of course not available any more, but I wondered about fabricating one. This gives me some confidence it can be done. Thanks and well done!

It's absolutely true about older stuff being repairable. Each time it's broken something, even losing a rear wheel hub, it's back mowing again after 20 minutes with the welder.
 

Jazzer

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bilbo,

if you get that far feel free to ask me questions- it wasn't that difficult, just time consuming. Layout was the most critical part of the project.

Scott, I finally understood where you were talking about placing the baffle. Makes sense, Thanks!

-Jazzer
 

scotts90ranger

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A 2 blade deck is just going to work better than a 3 blade deck for suction, I hate 3 blade decks but hard to argue with the only option on used stuff... If you have good suction and discharge now you should be fine. That thought was more for if it didn't work right :)

I've always kept limping old mowers along, I've gotten better at it over the years... I'm sure all mine have rusted out some since I just store mine in a dirt floor lean-to (will add gravel at some point, gotta finish the shop first) and they're all old... I've never had a mower from the 2000's yet... My current Craftsman is a GT of some form (that sticker is gone, I think it's a 3000) is a 3 speed high and low transmission with a 19? HP Kohler and a 46" deck, I've put several belts on it, changed all the deck spindles and blades, done some welding here and there... I think it's from around '94 if I remember right looking up the part number...

One of my older mowers that I want to get going soon is a Montgomery Wards 44" deck two blade with some swinging blade deal (I've looked it up before, don't remember right now), the blades overlap and is driven by a toothed belt to keep them timed. I put ATV tires on it which helped with flotation and traction, but the transmission input shaft broke a tooth a few years ago... I'm gonna try welding a new one on one of these days...
 

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