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Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
2/25/20 8:16 a.m.

Story and Photography by Carl Heideman

Life is a funny thing. By the time that you’ve got the tools, skills, space and money to do some seriously cool things with your cars, you’ve probably got a family, too. While family is wonderful, it can use up all of the time you had once planned to spend in your well-equipped shop.

We’ve …

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Professor_Brap
Professor_Brap GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/25/20 8:32 a.m.

I'll snap some pics of my old wheel horse we turned into a yard cart. It's got a 212 predator that's been worked over in it. It's uncomfortably fast. 

Durty
Durty Reader
2/25/20 8:38 a.m.

Awesome article rehash. I love the ideas

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
2/27/20 8:27 a.m.

When I was in college, before I had a car, I would buy running lawn tractors for $100, scrap the deck, swap pulley's, and go screaming around campus at 20-25 mph (we timed it) and get pulled over by campus police.

I just got an old 8 horse crapsman rear engine rider running that I have no use for, and a soon-to-be six year old daughter who's aching to get on something self-propelled.  devil

Aaron_King
Aaron_King GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/27/20 10:36 a.m.

I showed this to my 12 year old, he has big plans for the Spring.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
2/27/20 8:13 p.m.

I wrote that story about 10 years ago, so here's the epilogue.

That lawnmower junkyard finally closed about 2 years ago.  We have another one, but it's not anywhere as cool as that one was.

Both of my sons really learned from those karts and moved onto cars.  My older son has built an S-52 powered E30, a Miata with a $100 Mercedes supercharger, a turbo Miata, and a CAM-T Falcon wagon.   My younger son has built a turbo NB Miata and is helping on all the family car projects.  My daughter took a few rides in those karts and decided that she's going to save the world from transportation-based problems.  So she's equaling us out and we're considering our family carbon-neutral.   We've all bonded because of those projects and there were many educational opportunities from the ups and downs of these projects.

buzzboy
buzzboy Dork
2/27/20 10:17 p.m.

I had a sweet hydrostatic lawnmower that would have made an incredible Z-turn go-kart but sadly hurricane Sandy took it from me. I still lust after that concept.

_
_ Dork
2/27/20 11:36 p.m.

One of my favorite memories of owning a John Deere rider was pedal to the metal forwards, followed by an immediate slam into reverse. Rocking horses on a greased up garage floor. And it took it all day with a beer in hand. 

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE HalfDork
2/28/20 1:52 p.m.

I don't need another project.

I don't need another project.

I don't need something to pull project cars.

I don't need another project.

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/28/20 2:14 p.m.

 

After seeing this photo in the article, I Googled John Deere R72.

 

 

I don't think I've ever seen one of these things, or anything even remotely like it, which is probably why I've always had such a hard time envisioning this concept. I wonder if that style of mower is some kind of regional thing.

Indy-Guy
Indy-Guy PowerDork
2/28/20 3:41 p.m.

I think you've just convinced me to do something with this derelict mower:

Indy-Guy
Indy-Guy PowerDork
3/15/20 5:00 p.m.

Getting started:

 

Indy-Guy
Indy-Guy PowerDork
3/15/20 5:22 p.m.

Disassembly is up first:

Indy-Guy
Indy-Guy PowerDork
3/15/20 5:44 p.m.

This is what we're working with on the bottom side:

Recon1342
Recon1342 HalfDork
3/15/20 6:02 p.m.

Oh, boy!

Dieselboss15
Dieselboss15 New Reader
5/4/20 4:04 p.m.

Can I use a centrifugal clutch and a 5 speed trans?

ckosacranoid
ckosacranoid SuperDork
5/4/20 4:38 p.m.

There is some youtubers that are doing stuff like this all the time and building mowers to take the place of 4 wheelers and off roading them. I think there are Facebook groups also and forums also for this. cool to see and thanks for sharing...though you do have me thinking about something like this for the challenge and turning into a zamboni to be able to bring it down.......damn you for that...much cheaper then a car at least.

Dieselboss15
Dieselboss15 New Reader
5/4/20 4:41 p.m.
GIRTHQUAKE said:

I don't need another project.

I don't need another project.

I don't need something to pull project cars.

I don't need another project.

angrygaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh

Dieselboss15
Dieselboss15 New Reader
5/4/20 5:48 p.m.
Aaron_King said:

I showed this to my 12 year old, he has big plans for the Spring.

just a couple years older than him, me too! have to find one for sale first tho.

oldopelguy (Forum Supporter)
oldopelguy (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/16/20 8:30 p.m.

Functionally those deeres are the same as a manual transmission Snapper with respect to building a kart out of them.

Crackers
Crackers Dork
5/16/20 11:32 p.m.

I've been musing over the idea of turning my old riding mower into a "minibike" style trike. Or a utility vehicle with a dumping hopper on the front. Or a ghetto Pullmax style sheet metal shaper/planisher. 

The trike would probably be the most fun, but the least practical.

Indy "Nub" Guy
Indy "Nub" Guy PowerDork
6/13/20 10:38 p.m.

Finally got some more progress going on this tonight.  Taped a line to cut and extend it a bit...

Both boys were doing their best Frieburger impression while taking a turn with the death wheel:

Cut and ready to weld in an extension:

Here's the transmission:

We pulled the gear lever to put it back on 180 degree, which will allow the seat to be placed rearward a few more inches.

Indy "Nub" Guy
Indy "Nub" Guy PowerDork
6/17/20 9:30 p.m.

I used some bed frame rails for the frame extensions.

Then we tacked on the seat and they're getting excited.

The boys wanted Indy-wife to come out and take a look, so she snapped this pic of us:

Indy "Nub" Guy
Indy "Nub" Guy PowerDork
6/18/20 7:12 p.m.

Ok guys, need some help with this.  Mouse chewed up the plug wire.  How do I fix this?  Or is it time to buy a new Magneto?

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
6/18/20 8:55 p.m.
Indy "Nub" Guy said:

Ok guys, need some help with this.  Mouse chewed up the plug wire.  How do I fix this?  Or is it time to buy a new Magneto?

That's easy:  You go to the local lawnmower junkyard, take your kids, take apart another engine, remove the used magneto, and your kids bargain with the junkyard owner.  He'll start at $10, they'll walk out for $1.  They learn mechanical skills and negotiating skills, and you get credit as a great dad for teaching them.

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