Can a sulky be put on any commercial mower?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by etornick, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. etornick

    etornick LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    I was wondering if it is possible to put a sulky on a 1987 48" John Deere walk behind commercial mower?
    I was looking at the rear of the machine and I didn't see any obvious place it could be connected.

    Thanks in advance for your advice,
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    There got to be a way. Give us some pics, and I'll give you a solution. If the rear edge is a bit narrow, you may have to bolt on a piece of flat stock that is wider - that will hang down farther. I'll guarantee you there's a way, though. Also, if you're going to be pulling a sulky with that machine, invest in a can of belt dressing. A $5 can will last you 2 years or so. Just a SMALL squirt on each side of each belt will make a significant difference. When I say a small squirt, I mean covering about 1 or 2 inches length in about 1 to 2 second squirts.
  3. etornick

    etornick LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    Thanks for the advice Joe.

    I would give you pics but I haven't bought the mower yet. I looked at it last evening and the guy said it can take a sulky but he didn't have one. It is just that I didn't see where it would attach.

    I have no problem with the idea of rigging up something at the rear to connect it to ( gives me a chance to play around with my oxy-acetylene torch).

    It was just that I didn't know whether it was OK to add a sulky to any commercial mower.

    I thought that maybe some commercial mowers didn't have the power or the way they were designed they might not work with a sulky.
  4. extremerc76

    extremerc76 LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 93

    yep they do go on just about any mower, have fun with the oxy-acetylene:laugh:
  5. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    I had two John Deere wb's (actually Buntons) that I used through the 80's (still have one). I purchased one with a sit down sulky, with a cool quick release setup. That thing pulled that sulky for better than 10 years.
  6. K.Carothers

    K.Carothers LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,124

    One thing to keep in mind is the distance from sulky to handles. I have found that the older wb's were made to walk behind and the extra 3-4 inches that the sulky lifts you, makes your back arched over- just something I noticed with some of mine.

  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    The only truly important thing I've noticed is on pre-2k Wb's (or thereabouts), on belt-driven machines there is a tendency for the transmission's couplings to be fine-spline (36 spline) vs. today's coarse gears (9 spline), all of the Wb's made today come (or should) with 9-spline couplings but I am sure this issue hasn't disappeared entirely...

    One of the biggest things to remember is to always let OFF the drive sticks when changing gears, this is imperative with a rider there can be NO push or pull going on in the transmission department at the time of a gear shift... Yes, it can and will ruin a Tecumseh over time, that's not just a suspicion lol, with the fine spline couplings the reason they put those weaker ones on there is to protect the transmission as the couplings will wear first, but then fixing the couplings most of the time requires pulling the center axle anyhow, now if you have the 9-spline design then the couplings will not protect the shear of the gears inside the tranny, either way you need to be REAL careful when shifting (always shift and only shift when your drive sticks are 'neutral').

    Honestly speaking, the Wb is not technically designed to pull, but it has plenty of power, the problem is again in the couplings: On the fine / 36-spline designs, the extra weight of a rider will, over the course of 1-2 years, strip the fine teeth on the fine spline so that it has to be replaced every so often... The cost is mid-range (I believe $80~ish) and the labor takes some doing as you will likely have to replace both inner and outer axles in addition to the couplings, but regardless you fairly have to pull at least the transmission cover off and all the entire transaxle horse as well: It is recommended by most folks who have gone through the procedure to go ahead and replace the fine spline couplings with the newer 9-spline parts at this time, so even if this is an issue, it happens one time and you are done with it, I went through it with one of mine, it kinda sux but it's kinda not that big of a deal either... anyway...

    If you already have (or once you do) the 9-spline design then the only thing you have to watch is the shifting technique.

    The other thing I've found as far as mounting is afaik you have to drill the holes on that back panel, again Wb's were not outright designed to pull but to this day I've never found one that wouldn't lol.
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Oh, there is one other thing, the terminology has been lost over the years and confusion has us misslabeling these two...

    However, technically speaking a velke is the stand-on attachment while a sulky is the sit-down one. A true sulky is very hard to find because of the danger, specifically you have to be VERY careful when sitting on it that you watch your knees! All it takes is one time, you're riding and the Wb enters a ditch or some other thing where the front casters rise up and then the handlebars come DOWN - If either or both of your knees are in the way of the fixed bar(s) when this happens, I hear say the resulting pain is near unbearable: Remember that your feet are resting on a steel platform, and your lower leg bone is one solid piece, as is the Wb's handlebar(s), so when that makes contact, it's bad news on a sit-down version.

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