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Adapting a 48" Deere mower deck to a Speedex 1631

speedex mower deck

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#1 MiCarl ONLINE  

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Posted December 16, 2015 - 07:22 PM

As mentioned in my introductory post, I've got a late model Speedex 1631 without a mower deck.  I finally got some time to work on making a mount for a 48" Deere deck.

 

The rear attachment points of the Deere deck are considerably higher than the Speedex deck.  This means the lifting arms need to be much shorter.  Also the deck is longer front to rear than the Speedex deck so the front links need to mount farther forward on the tractor than the Speedex links.  Finally, to have the front links the same length as the lifting arms (so the nose of the deck raises/lowers at the same rate as the rear) the mount for the links needs to be lower on the tractor than the lift arms.

 

Dropping the front mounts down will also leave me plenty of room to route the drive belt around the frame and to the mower deck without getting into the linkages. 

 

I started by making a subframe similar to what Speedex used except longer to work with the shortened lifting arms and forward mount of the links.

 

The lifting arms are attached to the subframe with pins.  The arms are welded to an angle iron cross piece at the mower end.  There is a center hole on the cross piece with a section of chain that goes up to the lifting arm on the tractor.  There are two mounting tabs for the deck hung from the cross piece by bolts.

 

I did some measurements and finger/toe math to figure out how far forward and how far down the front mounts needed to be.  Then I came down another 1/2 inch so the front of the deck will run a bit lower than the rear.  I built a structure to carry the mounts and attached to the subframe.

 

I had hopped to use turnbuckles for the front links.  Unfortunately their working length needs to be 7 1/4" and the folks at the supply house tell me that to get a turnbuckle that short I'll be into screen door hardware - too light for the job.  The guy pointed out that it's not something I'll need to adjust often so I went with some threaded rod and clevises.

 

Now my deck would raise and lower with the tractor hydraulics.

 

My geometry worked out pretty well, the nose of the deck seems to be 1/2" below the rear throughout its range of travel.

 

Two issues remained.  The deck didn't hang quite level and adjusting the bolts on the mounting tabs just rocked the lift arms rather than leveling the deck.  Also, with the hydraulics lowered the deck was going to mow closer than I like.  I solved both problems by attaching pieces of chain near the ends of the lift arm cross pieces and a pair of hooks on the tractor.  Now the deck will only lower as far as the chains let it.  Since the cross piece is now hanging from both ends instead of the middle the adjusters on the mount tabs work.  Each link I take in or let out on the chains changes the deck height about 3/4" and I can fine tune with the nuts on the mounting tabs.

 

Next step is to get power to the mower.  I just ordered an SS/16 mule drive (thanks @TAHOE) to guide the belt around.  Thanks @jabelman for the offer of your spare, but I found one for less than pulleys to put on yours.

 

The pictures were taken before the limiting chains were added to the lift arms.  Please do not look too closely at my welds.

 

 

 

 

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#2 FixItCharlie OFFLINE  

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Posted December 16, 2015 - 08:34 PM

With the deck lowered the wheels should be on the ground. That is how the cut height on the deck on my tractor is adjusted by moving the rollers up & down. 

 

Charlie



#3 MiCarl ONLINE  

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Posted December 16, 2015 - 09:47 PM

With the deck lowered the wheels should be on the ground. That is how the cut height on the deck on my tractor is adjusted by moving the rollers up & down. 

 

Charlie

The original Speedex decks were like that too.
 

This is a lawn tractor deck, the wheels are not made to run on the ground or carry the mower.  There is a sticker on the deck advising they be set to 1/2-3/4" off the ground.  They are just there to keep it from scalping on uneven ground.



#4 lyall ONLINE  

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Posted December 16, 2015 - 09:53 PM

from a Deere owners manual

 

Lower mower until gauge wheels rest firmly on the ground.  Then raise the mower deck slowly until you can see the gauge wheels begin to lift off the ground.  Turn the depth control clockwise until tight.

the mower weight then will be carried by the tractor, preventing the gauge wheels from dropping into low spots.  This also gives a more uniform height of cut and minimizes scalping.


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#5 MiCarl ONLINE  

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Posted December 22, 2015 - 07:26 PM

Well the SS/16 mule drive came.  The Speedex is apparently much wider than the Sears so getting it mounted would be a challenge.  Looking at it what I really need is a longer version of the axle from mule drive to weld directly to my subframe.

 

Fortunately the guy across the street from my shop makes crankshafts for a living.  He's going to knock out a longer copy of that axle for me.  I should be able to weld that in and use the pulleys and guard from the SS/16 mule drive.


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#6 MiCarl ONLINE  

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Posted January 11, 2016 - 07:14 PM

So the mount and mule drive are made.  I picked up the drive belt Saturday and put it on Sunday.

 

I had a salvaged electric PTO clutch I'd hoped to use.  Turns out it's not going to be feasible.  I'm going to have to make some sort of belt tensioning clutch for it eventually.  That's going to wait until it's had some real world shakedown.  For now, the engine will start with the belt on and the deck has a release arm that makes the belt easy to pull off the crankshaft pulley.  So for now I'll just remove the belt when I'm not mowing.

 

I went around the shop and mowed some snow piles.  Nothing broke or bent!

 

Today I disassembled for paint.  Noticed the bearings in the idlers on the mule drive felt a bit rough, so ordered new ones.  Now I'm to the point where the only part of the eBay SS/16 mule drive I'm going to use is the belt shield.  Oh well, was worth quite a bit as an idea generator.

 

Ordered some new mulching blades for the deck today.  I should be all set for spring.

 

I took some pictures of the mule drive before I disassembled for paint.

 

 

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#7 MiCarl ONLINE  

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Posted April 24, 2016 - 08:38 PM

An update.

Mower worked great!  Right up until an idler pulley pulled out of the rusty deck.  Clearly the rot was worse than I thought.

Back to mowing with the Craftsman :(







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