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Finally... As promised... Hydrowalk SD with brakes

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Richard Martin, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. W.L.M.

    W.L.M. LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 525

    Disgraceful, "scagguy" telling someone to buy an exmark? :laugh:

    Nice idea on the brake system richard, hope it works well for you.
  2. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,200

    Have you looked at whether this could be patented? I would pull it off lawnsite and check that out. Good job!!
  3. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    Nah. I'm not really worried about that. Ferris used to have brakes on the Hydrowalk but when they went to the Snapper designed Hydrowalk they deleted them. Troy did make jigs for the complicated machine work and fab so if anyone is interested we could make them up. Any decent machine shop could make them though and I try to think of this as my contribution to my fellow members here at Lawnsite.

    The most difficult part for me was removing the wheel hubs. The wheel hubs inside diameter is slightly less then the transmission drive shaft. Ferris heated them up to put them on and when they cooled down they literally welded themselves to the shaft. I don't have enough heat to heat the hubs up fast enough so I couldn't just pull them off. I ended up having to cut them off and get new hubs.

    Troy reamed out the inside of the new hubs so they would slide into the shaft. This was okay to do since Ferris also has a full length woodruff key to hold the hubs in place in addition to a C clip.

    Then he had to ream the inside of the brake drums so they would slide onto the wheel hubs. We mocked them up on the mower and it was obvious at that point that the wheels were way too close to clear the brakes. So he cut the wheel mounting place off of the hub and moved them to the outside by 2.25". If you look at the pic you'll see that the hole in the mounting plate is larger then the outside diameter of the hub so he had to make sure it was perfectly placed before you could reweld the plate.

    Then he added a couple of extra set screws to the brake drum just to be sure it doesn't move on the hub. Then it was simply a matter of making the brake band mounting brackets up and the job was done. The whole job looks like it came from the factory. Very nice work.
  4. demhustler

    demhustler LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,322

    same with BillyGoat mowers (mech.trany)

    do you engaging 2 brakes (sightly) or 1 to prevent upper wheel from spinning on the slopes?

    brakes used on belt-drive w/b (or riders as a band parking brake) is similar or different?
    btw. type of parking brakes when plate (rod) pressed to tire - would work on slopes ?

    thank you
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2009
  5. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    Moving the wheel mounting plate out on the hub increased the wheelbase by 4-1/2". Now the mower will slide down a hills sideways before it lifts the tires.

    It is the same type of brake that is used on belt drives. Specifically the parts are from go-karts. I wanted to use parts that were as "bolt on" as possible. The go-kart brake parts only needed a little clearancing to fit.

    I considered scrub brakes but the constant wear on the tires concerned me. There was also the issue of having to custom build almost all of the parts. I wanted to come up with a brake system that was as "bolt on" as possible.
  6. demhustler

    demhustler LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,322

    i mean - not literally lift the tire, just loosing traction: even on not steep slope - upper wheel on our mech tranny start spinning, lower - stayers still (mower doesn't move)

    when one of your wheels loosing traction - you applying brakes on two wheels or just one?
  7. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    The reason you're loosing traction on the upper wheel is because the mower is leaning over and you're approaching the tipping point. If you widen the rear wheel track (like I did) it will lower the center of gravity and allow you to do steeper hills.

    Try this. With the mower sitting on flat ground try to lift the mower by one of the handle bars. Pretty heavy isn't it? Now take the mower up on one of those steep hills where the tire slips. Stop the mower, turn it off and try to lift the mower by the handle bar that's uphill. Be careful, your mower should be just about ready to flip over. That's the center of gravity working. If you can lower the center of gravity the tire will stop slipping on that hill.

    I don't have to use either brake to keep the tires from slipping. The mower will now slide sideways down the hill before the upper tire spins. I do have to use the brakes to stear it just like a belt drive.

    Dixie Choppers get a lot of bad press because they appear to have a high center of gravity. Everybody sees that seat sitting up there and think that it has a high C/G. The truth is something else though, at least on my 60" Dixie. The 60" Dixie has a wider rear wheel base than any other mower out there. If I remember correctly mine has a 62.5" wheel base and a 60" deck. The C/G of my Dixie is comparable to any other mower out there. The engine sits low as does the entire hydro system. The gas tanks are right on top and in front of the rear tires. The tanks only make a marginal difference when they are filled. When they're half empty all of the fuel is down low in front of the tires.

    The only thing that limits Dixies on hills is the Turf Boss tires. They have absolutely no sideways grip. If you get on too steep of a slope the tires won't hold and the back of the mower slides. If I did more slopes I would just change over to a more conventional turf type tire and go to town.
  8. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 7,053

    I like it, nice work.
  9. coolgreen

    coolgreen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 81

    Nice work. I don't know what Ferris was thinking when they removed the brakes on the Hydrowalk. The minute they did that, they ensured I'd never buy another one.

    I have two of the old Hydrowalks with brakes. They are good machines, although quite heavy.
  10. RonAyersMotorsports

    RonAyersMotorsports LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 854

    Nice work Richard. Your a pretty fart smeller. LOL

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