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  • 12 Post By Mike P
  • 2 Post By HOSS429
  • 2 Post By cffisher
  • 3 Post By Mike P
  • 1 Post By v8nutz
  • 5 Post By Hotrod46
  • 1 Post By cffisher
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Thread: Frankenmower
          
   
   

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  1. #1
    Mike P's Avatar
    Mike P is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Car Year, Make, Model: 57 Plymouth, 37 Dodge PU, 83 El Camino
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    Frankenmower

     



    I originally bought the little 38" craftsman lawn mower almost 30 years ago (30 years ago it was a "big" mower). It did good on our 2 1/2 acres for about 15 years until the mower deck just wore out (stress cracks where the blade arbors bolt on). I bought the MTD as a replacement and kept the craftsman around to move cars and small trailers around.

    The MTD lasted 2 years before the transaxle went out. After repairing that twice I said the heck with it and modified the MTD deck to fit the craftsman (the transaxles were too different to just put the one out of Craftsman under the MTD). The MTD transaxle got repaired one more time and that along with the front axle got robbed for the grandkids "Tot Rod".

    mowers by M Patterson, on Flickr


    I kept using the Craftsman until about 3 years ago when it got hard to start (bad intake valve and worn out starter). When I went mower shopping for a new mower the smallest one I could find was a 42" deck and I quickly found out there were some places that it just wouldn't fit thru. So I kept the Craftsman going to do those places.....until about a month ago when I just couldn't get it started. The poor old Craftsman is on its 3rd set of tires, second deck and 5th or 6th battery and god knows how many pairs of blades...... by rights it should just be hauled off but it's just too handy to have around and besides it's a challenge now to see how long I could keep it going.

    As the motor on the MTD had only been used a couple of years I decided to see if it still ran so I put a little gas in it and hooked up a battery and it fired right up. Looks like it's time for and engine swap


    The Craftsman came with a 12 HP flathead engine and the "new" motor from the MTD is a 13.5 HP overhead valve that is physically a bit bigger. The exhaust exits differently on the 2 engines and there were enough differences in the switches and wiring that that was transferred from the MTD too.

    I've gotten to the point where I hate hearing "......when your only tool is a hammer every problem is a nail......". That being said I guess when you're a hot rodder every engine swap is an opportunity.



    eng swap by M Patterson, on Flickr


    The old tin was too narrow to fit over the OHV engine so I changed it out for the MTD stuff. I also threw on the seat from the old mower. So this is the result of crossing the Craftsman with an MTD.


    Frankenmower by M Patterson, on Flickr


    Total I've got about $15 in the swap for a new carburetor (turns out the rebuild kit and fuel shut-off solenoid were more expensive than a new carb). I actually had at good time pulling off this little project.



    .
    Last edited by Mike P; 03-31-2020 at 06:11 AM.
    I've NEVER seen a car come from the factory that couldn't be improved.....

  2. #2
    HOSS429's Avatar
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    you`ll get no complaints from me about my craftsman mower .. it was made in 1987 .. i did not buy it new .. a neighbor did .. when it got to where it would not go in reverse he parked it and got a new john deere .. i never use reverse anyway .. eventually i got it from him .. after using it for about 5 years the reverse problem fixed itself .. i made sure the neighbor saw me going backwards one day and he came running over .." how`d you fix that !! i would never had gotten rid of it if i knew you could fix it ".. i dint tell him no different .. it fixed itself ..
    Mike P and Driver50x like this.
    iv`e used up all my sick days at work .. can i call in dead ?

  3. #3
    cffisher's Avatar
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    We moved to Mi. in 94 bought a 5 acres and a house. The house we restored added to and actualy rebuilt the hole thing. Anyway we started out cutting the yard (5 acres) with a push mower. That did mot last to long. Then we just used the push mower out by the road in the ditch bank. We bought an MTD 42" the boys at that time thought it was punishment to cut the grass. they managed to run into trees and the fence several times. I just kept putting it back together. Long story short the boys are grown gone away and now have kids of there own but are to young to cut grass. Until last fall we were still using our 3rd (in 25 years) MTD. My fatherinlaw had a farm in WI. and moved to the city. He had a Scag zero turn mower he had no use for it in his appartment so we got it. I have found there are a few places it won't go. BUT I went from spending 3 to 4 hours cutting grass to about 1 hr. The Scag is no comparison to the MTD which is now retired for the most part. But we had good luck with the MTDs for many years.
    Mike P and glennsexton like this.
    Charlie
    Lovin' what I do and doing what I love
    Some guys can fix broken NO ONE can fix STUPID
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  4. #4
    Mike P's Avatar
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    The old Craftsman chassis and running gear is tough. The Craftsman uses a true 5 speed trans-axle unlike the MTD rear axle which is basically a forward/neutral/reverse unit with the speed changed thru the belts and pulleys.

    After the second time the trans-axle went out in 2 seasons of cutting I was pretty disgusted with it. But at least the axle is holding up well in the Grandkids car being run with the modified starter motor however.

    The one thing the dirt out here grows good is rocks.....every winter a few manage to work their way to the top of the soil and I usually don't see them all. The MTD mower deck is tougher than the Craftsman deck was...... it's even still on its original pair of arbors.


    Having parted out the MTD for the front and rear axles and tires/wheels for the Grandkids car, the mower deck and now the engine, wiring, tin and seat for the Craftsman at least I finally feel like I'm getting my money's worth out of the MTD.


    .
    glennsexton, johnboy and cffisher like this.
    I've NEVER seen a car come from the factory that couldn't be improved.....

  5. #5
    v8nutz is offline CHR Member Visit my Photo Gallery
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    Cool swap. I remember in the 70's my friend's family had a lawn tractor (I think it was a craftsman), we would rev it up and pop wheelies in the cul de sac, surprisingly it did not break.
    Mike P likes this.

  6. #6
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    I love it! Absolutely agree about the hot rodder statement.

    I have pieced together push mowers over the years, myself. I once took a Briggs engine and put it on a Lawn Boy frame with a homebuilt adapter. The local mower dealer sold me the old Lawn Boy frame cheap with the bagging attachment because the original 2-stroke engine was shot. Lawn Boy built great aluminum decks, but their engines weren't that great (IMO). I scrapped the Briggs engine together from my pile-O-parts and it made a really good mower. The same dealer that sold me the frame sold new Snapper push mowers for $300 to $400 at the time. Mine, that worked just as well, cost me about $30, if I recall.

    When I was a kid, I mowed lawns to make money, mostly with a push mower. I had a bunch to mow in the end and went through an engine every 2 years. I was using a Snapper push mower with a Briggs engine. A replacement engine from the Snapper dealer was over $100 at the time, but I figured out that the mowers that the local Five and Dime stores sold new for around $40 on sale had basically the same Briggs engine. So, I bought one of the cheapo mowers and swapped engines to the better Snapper frame. Worked great and saved me a lot of hard earned cash.
    Mike

    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc-
    I'm following my pass​ion

  7. #7
    cffisher's Avatar
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    Hard earned cash. I did the same while in grammar school. The big difference was MY push mower was just that, a push mower no engine I remember having to sharpen the blades one at a time when I'd hit a stone. Always walked the yards first to check for them but did miss a few.
    Mike P likes this.
    Charlie
    Lovin' what I do and doing what I love
    Some guys can fix broken NO ONE can fix STUPID
    W8AMR
    http://fishertrains94.webs.com/
    Christian in training

  8. #8
    53 Chevy5's Avatar
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    I'm glad you got yours going, but that is one thing I have zero time or patience for, lawn mowers lol
    Seth

    God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. C.S.Lewis

  9. #9
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    Good stories.
    When I was cutting lawns for cash (so cheap folks couldn't say no) I put a 5 hp from a tiller onto a snapper rear bagger. Nothing could bog it down.
    Mike P and 36 sedan like this.
    .
    Education is expensive. Keep that in mind, and you'll never be terribly upset when a project goes awry.
    EG

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