This weekend, I began my DIY riding mower snowplow project. Unlike other DIY snowplow projects I’ve seen online, my project started with a snowplow. Before I get started with details, this project has an interesting background.
Approximately 8 years ago, my dad gave me his 1995 Yard Machines riding mower (Walmart special as I call it). It was a welcome change from push mowing the acre we now mow but it came with some challenges. When he gave it to me, it was already 13 years old and required maintenance. MTD built these mowers for Walmart sold them under the label Yard Machines. When we bought the mower, I knew it would never hold up like the 30 year Sears Suburban that I had grown up using, but it was ok for mowing.
For the first 6 years, I made it to about August and repairs put it out of commission. To start, every time I drove over a hill, the drove belt flipped off. As a result, I replaced he drive belt 3 times in the first year. Then, the starter failed. The year after that, a pulley on the mowing deck melted. The final straw was the friend that ran over a fence with it. (Still haven’t figured that one out) After the fence mishap, it never quite mowed right and then the engine developed a major oil leak so I parked it.
At this time, Sara found a 1984 Simplicity 5216 at a yard sale for $300 and I began mowing with it.
One deal after another
While I was still mowing with the MTD, Sara also found me a 42″ snowplow for $5 at a yard sale. The problem–it only came with the blade, pull bar, and frame. Because it was missing parts, I could never quite find a way to mount it to the MTD. (Which mattered little since the rider was down most of the winter anyways) I discovered that the blade she bought me 5 years earlier was made for the 5216. However, the problem still existed that it was missing parts. So, I am just now to the point of fabricating the missing parts to mount it.
To replace/build/create the missing parts, I am removing parts from the old MTD and “making them work” on the Simplicity. I removed the old steering tie rod from the MTD and have ground it down to fit the mounting holes on the blade and rider. My father-in-law gave me wheel weights from a Simplicity Landlord that I mounted to the rear tires. I also removed the deck lift lever from the MTD, mounted it to the Simplicity and installed brackets to attach the lift rod. I re-purposed wheel chains from a 1977 Sears Suburban to fit the smaller wheels of the Simplicity.