Pivoting Front Axle Conversion

BanjoJohn

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My Husqvqrna MZ52LE zero turn mower has always had traction problems on uneven ground. To help remedy this problem, I converted its rigid frame to a pivoting front axle. Now, now matter what the front wheels are climbing over, the rear wheels still have weight on them to drive the mower.
 

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txzrider2

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I really like that... I wish I could do that on my Country clipper, the higher end models have it. It definitely improves the mower.
 

AmeriKen

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Re: Pivoting Front Axle Conversion on your "zero move" mower

My Husqvqrna MZ52LE zero turn mower has always had traction problems on uneven ground. To help remedy this problem, I converted its rigid frame to a pivoting front axle. Now, now matter what the front wheels are climbing over, the rear wheels still have weight on them to drive the mower.
BanjoJohn,

I think that you have taken a bold step in making a zero turn mower more maneuverable. I've had a Cub Cadet with pivoting front axle since 2005, and I realized that I had gotten "spoiled" after I bought another zero turn brand that had a rigid frame. In my yard, there are now 45 year old shade trees that have significant "root domes" around them. I have found that with the newer rigid framed zero turn mower, I can't just drive a circle around the tree's base as with the Cub Cadet, but have to back up several times and approach at different angles in order to trim.

Perhaps many people have different expectations, but my perception of a "zero turn" is to be able to trim on inclined surfaces as well as mow straight-flat areas. In my situation, a zero turn mower with rigid frame should, more aptly, be called a "zero move" mower. When mowing around a tree with the "root dome" I have to drive around it in a counter-clockwise direction so that the discharge chute is away from the tree. When doing so, the right-front wheel will be on the ground, while the left-front wheel is off the ground, and is crazily spinning. Because of this, the right-rear wheel has little or no traction, but this right-rear wheel is what pushes the mower counter-clockwise around the tree's base. I have turf skid marks around all my trees from where the right drive wheel has lost traction.

Trimming around tree bases is not the only problem. I have a shallow ditch along my driveway, and 2 -3 feet beyond this, I planted trees about 40 years ago. When mowing between the ditch and elevated driveway is no problem, but trying to mow the other side of the ditch where the trees are, can't be done. It will lose traction, and I have to rock the mower back and forth to gain traction and back up. Fortunately, I still have the Cub Cadet, and I usually trim around everything, then put it back in the barn, and get the new mower with the rigid frame to mow the somewhat flat areas.

All of my buildings have sloped backfill around them in order to conduct rainwater away from the foundations. I will mow along one side, but can't make the right angle turn at the corner of the building, and mow along the next side of the building. This was not a problem with my older zero turn mower with pivoting front axle. With the new rigid frame mower, I have to mow well beyond the wall of the building, then back up while turning the mower to align with the next wall of the building to be trimmed.

It is hard for me to imagine that a good mower manufacturer would put these zero turn mowers on rigid frames. If a rigid framed zero turn mower would have been my first purchase, I may have accepted such lousy maneuverability in negotiating non-table-top flat lawn surfaces. But my first 13 years was with a zero turn having a pivoting front axle, therefore, I had something to compare.

This has been so frustrating to me, that I, likewise, have cut off the rigid front, and added a pivoting front axle to my new zero turn mower. It is no longer a "zero move" mower around trees and irregular terrain. It is now a delight to mow, and not have to make several approaches to trim around trees, buildings, etc. having a sloped landscape.

Kudos, to you, BanjoJohn, for taking the risk of irreversibly modifying a mega-buck "zero turn" mower to make it steer and maneuver as it should have been from the beginning.

AmeriKen

Dayton, Ohio
 

Chimney Top

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My Husqvqrna MZ52LE zero turn mower has always had traction problems on uneven ground. To help remedy this problem, I converted its rigid frame to a pivoting front axle. Now, now matter what the front wheels are climbing over, the rear wheels still have weight on them to drive the mower.
Nice Job. I like that. I am trying to decide how to do the pivot bearing.
 

cpurvis

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An improvement that would cost the factory very little to incorporate.
 

Chimney Top

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My Husqvqrna MZ52LE zero turn mower has always had traction problems on uneven ground. To help remedy this problem, I converted its rigid frame to a pivoting front axle. Now, now matter what the front wheels are climbing over, the rear wheels still have weight on them to drive the mower.
What did you use for the pivot? A bushing or bearings?
 
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