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Converting a zero turn to diesel?


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#1 Tennblue59 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 02, 2011 - 11:09 PM

OK, TECHNICALLY it's not a garden tractor, but I have a Deere M660 zero turn with a blown motor. Motor is not rebuildable - it's shot. A replacement motor (Kohler 25hp horizontal shaft) would be over a grand, easy.
I have a mitsubishi 3 cylinder diesel engine (from a Toro grounds mower) that I am thinking about splicing into the zero turn. HP will be close enough. Deck (belt drive) and motivation (hydraulic pumps) are both off belt and pulley, so they should match up ok, and I can vary the pulley ratio to make up for the lower engine speed. Diesel is longer and heavier, so there may be some fitment issues, as well as mounting the radiator (liquid cooled). Length is the real issue here.
This mower will cut about 6-10 acres, so the lower fuel usage and "better" engine would be a benefit, and already having the engine appeals to my wallet!
I see several great projects with conversions of GTs, but anyone ever tried this with a zero turn mower?
This would be a winter project - I have other means of cutting for the time being, and can take as long as needed for this. Still in the planning stages to see if its practical. I can fab engine mounts, cut/weld as needed and have access to machine shop. Looking for words of wisdom from those who have already been down this road....... This would be my first conversion.
If I go through with it, I promise lots of pictures!!!!!

#2 Cvans ONLINE  

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Posted September 02, 2011 - 11:31 PM

Question? Did they make this model in a diesel? If so, the first thing I would do is try to locate one and look it over good. Maybe even take some photos.
Make sure and fabricate a screen to put in front of the radiator to catch grass and other materials that would clog it. Make it easily removable so it can be cleaned after each mowing.
I did a google search on your model and it didn't turn up anything.
Good luck with your project.

#3 skyrydr2 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 03, 2011 - 06:40 AM

I have seen many of these, but they all had little Kubota diesels , I guess it would be a good thing to weigh it and see just what you have.100# extra is not too bad, but more.... things will start to really get taxed from that weight, especially the balance .

#4 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted September 03, 2011 - 06:45 AM

While not finding any pics of this model to go by, I wouldn't think the added weight would be an issue. After all, driver's weights can vary more than 100lbs. or even more. With belt drive pumps there shouldn't be any really major hurdles to jump over either. Mostly just a question of finding a home for all the components to look/work well. Looking forward to watching your project come together. What is the model/cc of engine you will use?

#5 Tennblue59 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 03, 2011 - 12:57 PM

Question? Did they make this model in a diesel?

No. This series were all gas motors based on the kohler command horizontal twin. Its a discontinued model anyway. Deere does make a diesel zero turn (997, uses a 31 p yanmar diesel), but they are big bucks and the local dealer doesnt have one in stock for me to look over.


I did a google search on your model and it didn't turn up anything.

I made a typo on the entry it is a M665, not a 660.

#6 Cvans ONLINE  

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Posted September 03, 2011 - 04:42 PM

Now I see what your up against. Which way does your engine rotate and will you have to mount the engine with the radiator or the bell housing toward the seat to get the right rotation or run a jack shaft under the engine? It could be done but from the photos and videos it's hard to tell what you have for a frame to work with and it appears you will be adding some length to the back of the mower. At least you don't have a hood to deal with.
The first thing I would do is to hang at least 100lbs on the back of the mower and see if it sets OK. Then I would pull the Kohler out and start getting some rough measurements to determine if it is feasible.

#7 Tennblue59 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 03, 2011 - 11:41 PM

Chris, the kohler fed off both sides - the flywheel side(front of mower) had a stub shaft that drove a pulley feeding power via belt to the hydraulic pumps full time. The back side ran an electric pto that fed a LONG belt down and under the mower around idler pulleys to feed the deck.
So I THINK I could take power off the "front" fan/radiator side via pulley belt to run
1. A jackshaft for the hydraulic pump pulley (that would let me change gearing easily).
2. power via pulley directly off the crank pulley to drive the deck via relocated idlers to change direction from vertical to horizontal.
or
3. Use some type of right angle gearbox (like a bushhog right angle drive) to drive the deck- driven by pulley/belt off the crank and driving pulley/belt to the deck - that would also give me gearing change in the box and eliminate the idler pulleys and shorten the belt.

The zero turn has a square tube frame with a flat plate to mount the engine on. So adding length won't be a big deal. Engine would sit over/behind the rear wheels so balance shouldn't be too much of an issue - I can add ballast weight to the front end if needed to counterbalance a heavier tail.

I was going to make a plywood "box" model of the diesel engine to see how it would fit on the frame - easier to move around than the real engine....

#8 Cvans ONLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2011 - 12:14 AM

It sounds like you have put some earnest thought into it. A wooden mock up of the engine would be a big bonus. I'm not that good with wood so I just hang the engine on a chain hoist over the frame and start formulating a plan from there.
Keep us posted and if you decide to go ahead I'll bet it will turn out just great.

#9 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2011 - 05:33 AM

This might get real interesting. I'll lurk around and wait for some pics of this.

#10 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2011 - 06:41 AM

This sounds like a really challenging project. I'll be watching to see how it goes.

#11 mjodrey OFFLINE  

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Posted September 04, 2011 - 07:07 AM

I think it will be quite an interesting project for sure.

#12 Boss 448 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 06, 2011 - 11:14 AM

NO doubt this will be a challenge. Please keep us updated as you go along - we'll all be cheering you on!

JN

#13 Cvans ONLINE  

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Posted September 06, 2011 - 12:28 PM

:wewantpics: and the more the merrier.

#14 Tennblue59 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 06, 2011 - 08:16 PM

Well, nothing new yet as far as the engine. It's been raining the past couple days and the donor Toro is out in the weather - no inside room in the shop for projects at the moment. Have been working on rehabing the rest of the 665. Rebuilding the deck (Iron 7 five footer) - new bearings in the spindles and strip/paint and do some weld repairs. If you REALLY want pictures, I can post some pics of a mower deck rebuild....

Will take some pics of the zero turn with an empty engine compartment, and the donor engine when the rain clears...

Before I pull the engine out of the Toro, I want to test run it again. It's been sitting for a while. Since I don't have a test platform, easier to tinker with in the toro if needed.

#15 Cvans ONLINE  

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Posted September 06, 2011 - 08:28 PM

No need about the deck. I think the rest of us would just like to get a few glimpses of your project as it goes along. Don't want to be a pest.

Have you taken any photos yet?:smilewink:




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