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Customized pre-2010 61" Stander: Wider track, larger tires, better balance, faster

Discussion in 'Wright Manufacturing, Inc. (Archived)' started by olde_blue, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. olde_blue

    olde_blue LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 349

    This tread documents how I modified a first-generation 2008 61" Stander to increase it's rear track from 47" to 53", mounted larger 22x11-10 tires, improved the balance by moving the rear axle forward 1-1/8" after stretching the frame 2”, and improved the ground speed from stock 8.4 mph to a calculated 9.2 mph. This was done without welding for less than $300 in materials (not counting new tires, because I used the old tires and wheels as replacements for my 52” Stander). The modified 61” handles better, has better flotation, and grips hill better than even a stock 52” Stander.
    Wright addressed some of these issues (wider track using special wheel motor mounts, and a 9.5 mph ground speed) with the second-generation (2010) fixed deck Stander. The new Stander still is relatively nose heavy (compared to the 48” and 52”), and lacks the larger tires.
    On older Standers, the 61” deck weighed about 50 lbs more than the 52” deck, and all that weight was sdde out front, which impaired the handling.
    I’ll give the details in later posts about how the modifications were done . Here are photos of a second-generation (2005) small-frame 36” Stander, a 2004 52” Stander (no fenders, replacement Kohler engine), and the modified 2008 61” Stander for comparison.

  2. pugs

    pugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,024

    Just FYI, that 61" would probably be considered a 2nd Generation. The 52" in your pictures would probably be considered a 1st Generation.

    Not really sure how Wright classifies things but the original standers would do about 6.5 or so MPH. Then they added a speedup kit which got them up to around 8+. Then they went to the machines with fenders and newer style pumps(not the old Iron head ones). Not sure if fender and pump change was at the same time or not. Then they went to what I would call the 3rd gen with the spring loaded platform, the larger pumps(9.5MPH) and a bunch of other new stuff.
  3. olde_blue

    olde_blue LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 349

    Details 1, widening the track:
    The larger tires (22x11-10 Carlisle Turfmasters) were mounted on 10” positive offset wheels from a 48” or 52” RH stander. These wheels are offset 1”, which increased the track 2” by themselves. I further increased the track 4 additional inches by spacing out the wheel motors using 2”x4” rectangular steel tubing with 0.25” walls. I determined that you could use 3”x4” spacers without kinking the hydraulic hoses, and thinner walled steel would probably work. Two pieces were used per side, mounted vertically, and bolted to the mower with the stock carriage bolts. New holes were drilled on the outboard side of the steel about 0.75 inches higher than my preferred stock mounting height, and 1-1/8 forward of the stock location (reason discussed later). New grade-5 bolts, lock washers, and nuts were used to attach the wheel motor mouts. I can no longer easily adjust the wheel motor height, and it is quite a challenge to fish the nuts up inside the steel tubing.
    Once the tires were moved out 3”, the parking brake pawls will no longer engage. I bolted flat-iron pieces to the pawls to extend them. The extensions needed to be ground to match the tire profile for better contact. I used too thick of steel; the stock springs just barely hold the parking brake off when released.
    If all one wants to do is widen the track, one is done at this point. You could get a 53” track using stock wheels and tires and 3”x4” spacers, or use 2” spacers, the 10” offset wheels, and 20x12-10 Turfmaster tires for better floatation. (One could also use the 10” wheels and 20x12-10 tires on a 52” Stander for a little wider track).
    Attached are pictures of the wheel motor spacers and the parking brake extension.
    In future posts, I will describe how I stretched the frame, and problems I ran into after 1 year and 300 hours on the conversion.
    Pugs: I called it a first generation Stander because the frame and deck design is virtually identical to the first Standers. Wright upgraded the hydraulics over the years (Moved from 16 cubic inch wheel motors to 14 cubic inch), and changed to a newer hydro pump design, added gussets to the deck to prevent cracking, change spindles, and cosmetic upgrades, but most parts will swap with 2009 and older large Standers. My 2004 52" has identical hydraulics to the 2008 (after the parker pumps failed and were replaced with hydrogears for the first owner at 10 hours); it is only missing fenders and has a plastic battery box, and the front plate of the upright has a slightly different design.


  4. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    Impressive ... you apparently like Wright standers !!
  5. olde_blue

    olde_blue LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 349

    Details 2: Stretching the frame, etc.
    The new tires are specified to be 0.9” larger in radius than the stock tires, so I needed to move the deck forward by about 7/8" to clear them. Alternatively, I could have moved the motor mounts back 3/4" to the “heavy operator” mounting hole position, but this would have made the mower more nose-heavy and rendered the anti-tip wheels ineffective due to the large tires. I also wanted to shift rear axle forward to offset the heavier 61” deck and match the balance of my 52” Stander.
    I used a “balance beam” calculation to figure out how far forward to move the axle. I balanced the 52” Stander on a 2x4 on edge (with me standing on it) to find the center of gravity. Then I multiplied the distance to the center of gravity from the rear axle times Wright’s spec weight plus my weight to find the torque holding down the front of the mower. Then, I calculated how far forward I would need to move the axle to compensate for an addition 50 lbs (for the 61” deck) located at the visual center of mass for the deck. I’ve lost the calculations, but they came out to a bit less than 1.5”. I decided to actually use 1-1/8”, because I could only stretch the frame about 2”.
    The tractor frame is attached to the mower deck by three bolts on each side. To stretch the frame 2”, I simply removed the deck, drilled two new holes on each side of the tractor frame 2” forward of the stock holes, and drilled one new hole on each side of the mower deck 2” behind the stock holes, and bolted them back together (see photo in Detail 1 post). Two inches is about the maximum you can stretch the frame in this manner, because the tractor frame is notched further on. Also, two inches, being the increased diameter of the tires, maintains the anti-tip wheel geometry. This modification, of course, increases the stress on the mower at this point.
    I replaced the main deck drive belt with a belt 4” longer (5/8”x93”, Goodyear 85930). Originally, I epoxied a piece of diamond plate aluminum over the gap created between the belt cover and tractor frame, but the aluminum popped off once when I was changing blades and I never reglued it.
    Since the tires were moved forward and were larger, the fenders looked rather awkward. I had planned upon removing them if necessary, but instead I removed the two lower bolts on each side, rotated them downward towards the tires until they were concentric with them, and drilled a new hole on each fender to match one of the original holes on the tractor frame. They are less securely attached than originally, but I have had no problems.
    In order to further enhance the stability and to prevent scalping, I widened the front track about 3 to 4” by moving the right (discharge) caster arm mount over until it abutted the gusset. This makes the caster slightly asymmetric. I left the trim caster alone.
    I also replaced the hydro drive belt with a 5/8” thick belt (Goodyear 85530), because of the extra stress on the hydro pumps caused by the larger tires. Stock 1/2" belts tend to suddenly break after 150-200 hours on my unmodified 52” Stander. The thicker belts seem to hold up better, although they ride a bit high on the pulleys.
    In the next post I’ll talk about the experience of the conversion after 1 year and 300 hours in the field.


  6. olde_blue

    olde_blue LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 349

    I finished the modifications in fall 2010; the 61” Stander now has about 300 hours and one season on the conversion.
    Problems encountered:
    At about 100 hours, I noticed that two of the bolts holding the tractor frame to the deck had been lost, and the rest were loose. I replaced the lost bolts (I couldn’t get serrated-head bolts at short notice). I’ve had to tighten a few bolts later, but I haven’t lost anymore. I’ve attributed this problem to inadequate torque during reassembly (the OEM bolts are 3/4" Grade 5 and rather course thread, and can take a lot of torque), although the additional stress put on the bolts from stretching the frame probably didn’t help.
    A more serious problem occurred at about 300 hours, the last week of the season. The four bolts which hold the discharge-side wheel motor to the wheel motor mounting bracket sheered off. I replaced them with stronger Grade 8 bolts and lockwashers. I did not think that overloading the wheel motors would be a potential problem, since Wright uses the 1” positive-offset wheels on the RH Stander, which employs lighter-duty wheel motors. Spacing out the motors 2” should have lessened the load slightly (a longer lever effect) on the motor-mount bolts. I run a side bagger, that weighed down the side that failed.
    Other than lost and broken bolts, I have had no other problems. I haven’t seen any cracked welds as a result of additional stress from the modifications.
    Performance: The modified mower handles great. It sticks to hills that my 36” walkbehind used to tended to slide on. When I first widened the track, I drove the mower with the original 20” tires on it, and I noticed that it seemed to turn a little slower, due to tires having to etch a longer arc. The 22” tires balance out this problem, and she turns about as quick as the 52”.
    The higher top speed (about 9% faster) is nice. You pay for the higher speed with slower acceleration, due to the “higher gearing” of the larger tires. The machine accelerates like the full-sized Z’s of 10+ years ago: quick enough, but not break-neck fast like the small-frame Stander or 16cc-pump Sentar. After operating the 61”, I’m always impressed at how quick my 36” Stander accelerates--and how slow its top speed is.
    The wider track helps a lot with scalping resistance. With 7” of deck overhang, the stock 61” was much more prone to scalping than the 52” with 2.5” of overhang. The modified 61” has only 4” of overhang, which seems a good compromise between scalp-resistance and close trimming.
    Overall, I’m pleased with the results. I mow mainly 1/2 acre and smaller lawns, so I expected the 61” to be a secondary mower, less useful than the 52”, and probably used half as much. As it turns out, I put 300 hours on the 61”, and a bit under 200 on the 52” (the 36” is now underutilized, only about 40 hours last year--the first year I had it, I put 250 hours on it, when it was paired with a 48” Z).
    Attached are some pictures of a prototype 2010 61" Stander, so you can see how Wright increased the track width on the new mowers. It lacks the larger tires and rebalance center of gravity of my conversion.



    WMIGUY LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Have you seen the ZK?
  8. olde_blue

    olde_blue LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 349

    I briefly test-drove a 61" ZK at our dealer's field day. The far rear placement of the operator's platform on a ZK partially inspired the idea of rebalancing a fixed deck.
    The ZK is a nice mower if you mow larger areas, but:
    (1) ZK weighs 300 lbs more than my 61" (on soft turf, my mower shines). The extra weight also makes the mower less responsive to the operator shifting his weight around. The ZK was less able to back up hills, and felt less stable overall on them.
    (2) I don't need 31 hp, and like the fuel efficiency of the 25 hp engine. The 31 has mixed reliability reviews
    (3) I don't need the faster speed of a ZK
    (4) I prefer a simple, easy and cheap to work on mower
    (5) The ZK wouldn't fit on my trailer (I squeeze a 36", 52", and 61" Stander on a 12' trailer)
    (6) My used 61" with 170 hours on the meter, plus conversion cost $4400--a used ZK in like condition would be almost $4000 more.
    The one ZK feature I would like is extra fuel capacity--and the spring platform. It may be possible to move the battery and mount a second fuel tank on an older fixed deck, but the cost and work isn't worth it.
    I wouldn't be tempted to trade my mower for a ZK. I may replace it someday by an X, or preferably the newer fixed deck Stander with an Aerocore deck. These mowers are lighter, and have most of the benefits of my conversion, plus a updated deck an spring platform.
    The ZK looks rather bulky, as well: here's a side-by side of a 52" Stander and 61" ZK (both a few years old).


    WMIGUY LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Looks like you have have it all Figured out. Nice job. Good luck.
  10. WJC

    WJC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 364

    Now thats what I call thinking outside the box. I love it when people take something a step further to fit they're needs or improve it. I really like Wright mowers as well, and if I think I can Improve upon something, then I'm gonna try it. Nice job!
    Here's a mod I did on my baffle. http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=361984

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