I call this “RoMower” as a take-off of my own last name. I built it using the front half of two heavy-duty Sears’ garden-tractor frames. The first front half became the front half of my tractor; the second front half was turned around, properly dimensioned, fitted and mated to the first front to keep a stock 47” wheelbase. Sears’ frames worked best because they are readily and inexpensively available, they have the drive-belt tensioning-idler mechanism right next to the engine-mount position, and their parts are universally interchangeable with just about any other Sears, Poulan, Weed-Eater or Husqvarna mower.
The engine is a 25 HP Tecumseh Enduro XL V-twin Model OV691EP with stock exhaust and governor. The transaxle is a new Peerless 820-016 with one of my Gearset Upgrade 1s installed. The engine pulley is 4” diameter and the transaxle pulley is 8” diameter. Front turf-tread tires are 16x6.50-8; rear tractor-lug tires are 23x10.50-12. All four tires have tubes installed, with Slime sealant in the tubes to prevent flats. With the mower in 6th gear and the throttle wide-open to its governed 3800 RPM, I can exceed 20 MPH (32 KPH). I need to engineer some caster into the steering because at those speeds, with the stock vertical-kingpin steering, handling gets a little squirrelly. I also have another 820 transaxle with a Gearset Upgrade 2 installed, and that allows me to go 30+ MPH (48 KPH). I have to be very
careful steering at that speed!
When I finished the mower, I weighed it with one bathroom scale under each wheel, and with me sitting in the driver’s seat, 75% of the total 735-pound weight is on the rear wheels – maximum traction! The only things up front, where the engine originally was, are the gas tank and battery. I engineered it for traction because my initial reason for building it was to mount a 42", 2-stage snowthrower to the front so I could clear snow on my ¼-mile (0.4 km) of driveway and parking lot without having to mess with wheel weights and tire chains. I have yet to test it under those circumstances.
Due to the rear-mounted engine with its resultant problems of getting power to a deck drive, I have no plans on mounting a cutter deck to this unit.
The main body is painted ’68-’69 Chevrolet Rallye Green Metallic; the wheels, front-grille section and drawbar are Husqvarna Orange. I used these colors because my youngest twin Grandsons were helping me when I built it and Jonathan’s favorite color is green while Kyle’s is orange. I chose Rallye Green because I almost special-ordered a new ’68 Corvair that color when I was in the Navy but didn’t because I didn’t have anywhere protected to park it and didn’t want to leave it parked on the pier while I was on deployment. Husqvarna Orange was about the “orangest” I could find.
I wired the sealed-beam headlights and semi-truck clearance-light taillights through an ambulance flasher – when I turn on the lights, they flash alternately, like a railroad-crossing signal. Viewers love it!
I also engineered the drawbar to exert downforce on the front wheels to prevent them from coming off the ground when I start pulling a heavy load. I took it to a couple of mower pulls just for exhibition (they wouldn’t let me run for a trophy because the rules didn’t allow “modified” frames, only “stock”) and the spectators couldn’t understand why I wasn’t doing wheelies, especially with all that weight on the rear! I’m not about to tell them my secret.
The bumpers are also stock Sears items, since the back of the frame is actually another “front.” The hood and grille are off an old Gambles rider and the fenders are Jeep-style utility-trailer fenders.