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Steve G

Westwood T 1200

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Hi. I bought this for my son as he is interested in tractors and was interested to find this forum.  The cutting deck is a bit rusty but for now I have removed this.  The front wheel in the picture is the wrong one but fortunately the seller still had the original.

 

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My son is 8 so I moved the set forward and made up a pedal extension so he could drive it. I have since made a better job of this (but only slightly) !

 

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While he can drive it OK now I am considering fitting a centrifugal clutch and wondered if anyone else had done similar. I'd like to keep it as near to standard as possible so don't want to go too mad. With no engine braking I will need to fit a better brake. The original isn't working and I haven't managed to strip it down as the bolts going into the gearbox case are pretty stuck. I think attempting to remove them might involve stripping the threads so I will have to have to try a bit harder. One thought it to fit a brake to the power take off which might work for the time being at least. 

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I would question whether an eight year old should be driving at  garden tractor at all but if you've made that decision he should be supervised at all times and all the machine's safety systems, such as the seat pressure switch should be fully functional . If it has not got a seat pressure switch or it has been by passed, that should be rectified. Consider a "kill tag" that cuts out the engine should he fall off or hit his head on a tree bough etc.

While anything is possible I think that the installation of a centrifugal clutch and additional brake will not be a simple matter.  A tractor with hydrostatic transmission would achieve smooth single pedal or lever control of forward neutral and reverse and give dynamic braking.

A used transmission such as a TuffTorq K55 or 46 would fulfil both the above functions and is perfectly "doable" using readily available new and used parts. Alternatively re-sell the machine and buy a hydrostatic one.

 

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Thanks for the replies. 

I realise the possible dangers, he has only driven it up and down the drive in 1st gear which on this is very slow walking pace but for anything more I will be making sure he is kept as safe as possible. It won't be something he can just jump on and drive either.

 

I wasn't fully aware of the differences in the transmission set ups before I bought this one but have been doing a bit of research since. My older daughter does kart racing, something I hope my son will take up, so practice with a throttle and brake is no bad thing. I wasn't sure if the current belt tensioner could be made to work more smoothly, it's OK in low gears with the longer pedal but just out of mechanical sympathy if nothing else I find the jolt in 5th a bit excessive. 

 

I've found some clutches with v pulleys on them which look suitable and it should be possible to use the original tensioner  so I don't have to alter anything too much.  The brake will need a bit more thought. I could fit one on the power take off but in the event of one wheel skidding all braking will be lost so that will only be suitable at low speeds for driveway use.  Thats all just a idea really as I haven't had much time to look at it all yet. 

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  My eldest daughters two youngest drove my Wheel Horses from eight year old. Decks removed of course.  I did fit blocks to the pedals and they were always under supervision and given strict instructions as to what to do. They were fortunate that we have a large green in front of our house and live down a dead end.

 

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Great little project. I think it is good to get the little ones involved at an early age. I have fitted a hydraulic brake to a westwood before. I used a pushbike hydraulic front brake master cylinder and caliper to get much better brakes on the standard transition brake disc.

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Part of the idea about buying this is to get him doing something other than play on the playstation. He loves driving games and farming simulator so when he started asking for a tractor I spotted an opportunity.  It seems to have worked as he was desperate to have a drive on it on Christmas day !

 

Ideally I would like to fit a proper manual clutch. I have seen some sort of pulley arrangement described as a clutch brake. Not sure exactly how they work but the price pretty much rules them out.

  

Edited by Steve G

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Given that this machine is a smaller lawn tractor than a larger garden tractor, 8 years old should be fine with supervision. I think your idea to expose him to other interests is a very good one, but don't forget to involve him in the basic workings and maintenance aspects as well.

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Well, maybe I’m being over cautious, but having been involved in the aftermath of a Cub Cadet going into a pond and the mature driver drowning, you can, perhaps,  understand my caution.

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1 hour ago, Wristpin said:

Well, maybe I’m being over cautious, but having been involved in the aftermath of a Cub Cadet going into a pond and the mature driver drowning, you can, perhaps,  understand my caution.

No you are right, things can go wrong.  The kart racing my daughter is doing requires all the proper safety equipment and it's been put to the test when another driver spun just in front of her. She ended up being flipped upside down as there wasn't anywhere to go. A new helmet and a fair amount of kart fixing later she was back at it again. 

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Welcome Steve, It is always good to hear of younger persons interests in the Older Machines.

I could be 'Pigeon Holed' as a 'Fence Sitter', but fully accept Wristpin's concerns as essential consideration.

I also fully endorse education and mentoring by supervision by a competent person, of which I perceive you to be, along with the vast majority of the considerate persons on this Forum.

I hope your Son (and yourself) furthers the interest in Older Machines and their mechanics with minimal risk to himself .

Also credit you for maintaining with him, an equilibrium in practical reality and electronic games and remote communication media (this Forum excepted) :thumbs:.

There are younger persons on here who have followed a similar path with these machines and now equal, or surpass the standards of even my capabilities.

I'm only pleased to see the interest and knowledge passing to another generation. Long may it continue.

Regards.         

  

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18 hours ago, Wristpin said:

Well, maybe I’m being over cautious, but having been involved in the aftermath of a Cub Cadet going into a pond and the mature driver drowning, you can, perhaps,  understand my caution.

A member of one of the garden tractor Facebook pages posted a video of his 3 year old driving a full size Simplicity garden tractor with cutter deck and no ability to touch the foot pedals and no one in sight of the video. I post a stern warning and he and several other members took me to task over questioning his parenting skills. I had a son that I brought along as well and at 8 we started a few of these things to introduce him to new things, but not at 3. I think you'll be okay. Supervision is a important thing until and after they leave the home.

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I've ordered a clutch to try out and some bits to make the brake work.  The choice of clutches to fit the engine are a bit limited if you want a belt drive but I have managed to get a fairly hefty looking one but it has a larger pulley.  I've found a few people who have swapped the drive pulley for the mower one to get a bit more speed, not really what I want, but the clutch pulley is a bit smaller than that. For now I might fit a stop to the gear lever to prevent anything more than first and reverse being selected. 

 

There is another slightly smaller pulley clutch available but it's out of stock at the moment, if it does prove to be too fast at low speed I might see if it's possible to turn the pulley down a bit smaller.

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Thanks. My son is more interested than I expected, he got me to print out some pictures so he could take them into school.  Hopefully anything I do will be easily put back to standard. 

Next on the list are a pair of front tyres. The ones on it are pretty rotten so I have been looking to see whats available. All Terrain Tyres have a good range and I wonder if some slightly narrower ones might make the steering a bit lighter. Some 3 rib ones might look good along with cleated ones on the back but the fronts will probably be a bit narrow. The closest size I have seen are 4.00-6 but I'm not sure about the overall diameter. 

With any luck I can get the clutch fitted at the weekend and see how well it works.

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2 hours ago, Steve G said:

Thanks. My son is more interested than I expected, he got me to print out some pictures so he could take them into school.  Hopefully anything I do will be easily put back to standard. 

Next on the list are a pair of front tyres. The ones on it are pretty rotten so I have been looking to see whats available. All Terrain Tyres have a good range and I wonder if some slightly narrower ones might make the steering a bit lighter. Some 3 rib ones might look good along with cleated ones on the back but the fronts will probably be a bit narrow. The closest size I have seen are 4.00-6 but I'm not sure about the overall diameter. 

With any luck I can get the clutch fitted at the weekend and see how well it works.

You might consider the wider smooth ribbed tyres, they are easier on the turf and can be just as easy to turn as narrow treads. I'm pretty sure those are 6" diameter tyre, so your choice are going to be limited, that said I would stay away from anything with a deep or aggressive tread pattern, not that those will be easy to find. A nice chevron tread design might be best.

These are fairly cheap, not sure if you can find them in your locale

 

http://www.millertire.com/products/lawn-garden-tires/13x5-00-6/13x5-00-6-rubber-master-rib-4-ply/

 

http://www.millertire.com/products/lawn-garden-tires/4-10-6/4-10-6-rubber-master-sawtooth-4-ply/

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the link. I've some like those advertised here in the UK I will have another look. I might just end up with whatever seems good for the money.

 

I've managed to fit the clutch today.  I had to remove the belt guide plate but it was fairly simple once I had made a spacer tube and heavy washer to go under the bolt. I had hoped that the belt might be long enough if I only used one tensioner but unfortunately I will have to get another one. We have a couple of lawn mower spares shops nearby so I  tied a length of rope around the pulleys to act as a pattern for the length but the only belt anyone had in stock was £30. It was a proper mower one with a cloth covering and the guy said I would be far better waiting to get one from a place that sells belts for machinery as they are a lot cheaper. Glad he did as they are about £5 from a few places I have seen. 

 

The other job was to look at the brake. I'd already tried to remove the bolts and they were pretty stuck. A bit of heat and oil got one out but the other snapped. For a change I actually managed to get the broken bit out without ruining the thread so I managed to fit the new pads after freeing the pins in the caliper first. 

I now have a working brake !

 

I will take some pictures when I get a belt for it, had enough of being out in the cold for one weekend !

Edited by Steve G

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I've done a bit to this today. I fitted the clutch properly and tried the belts I bought.  I decided to go with the longer one and use the original tensioner.  For now I have made the original brake pedal work independently of the tensioner and this was OK to test how slow or fast it went and see how effective the brakes are.  First impressions are that it works quite well.  It's a bit strange having to rev it up a bit with the hand throttle to make it go but the take up is reasonable smooth and it isn't that much faster, then I ran out of fuel !  

The next plan is to come up with a proper throttle linkage and work out how to fit a throttle pedal and possibly move the foot brake to the other side. 

 

I will take some pictures tomorrow as it was getting dark again by the time I had finished messing about.

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Right, finally took some pictures. 

This is the clutch I got hold of. It's a bit of a lump of a thing but it seems to work quite well. The outside diameter of the pulley is 128mm so it's about twice the size of the original. There is a smaller version available but it's out of stock at the moment.  I pinched a spacer tube from the PTO and turned it down lengthwise a bit so the crank was a couple of mm shorter than the clutch when fitted. I had to adjust the keyway and key slightly as it was a bit tight and find a shorter bolt. 

 

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The tensioner is left as standard but the pedal has been separated from it. I will probably be changing the brake but for testing purposes this was OK.  

 

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The brake is on in these pictures and with the rod adjusted as shown ther isn't much travel needed on the pedal anyway.

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A slightly revised version of the brake pedal extension. Again this is on with the handbrake engaged and by moving the pivot forward (no holes drilled) there is somewhere for the spring. Finding something suitable took a while until I remembered I had some old exhaust springs from my kart. 

 

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This shows the 86" belt fitted and the reason why it was easier to keep the two tensioner pulleys.  If I didn't the belt would have been rubbing against the gear selector.

 

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Edited by Steve G

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Hi Stormin, I wasn't sure how well the clutch would work and haven't tested it fully yet. The throttle lever needs to be brought up to about half way to get the clutch to engage which the advert said should be between 1800-2000rpm. I'm not sure if still slips much from then so it might be better to go for the smaller pulley version. I found them advertised on ebay but the company are called Petrol Scooter.   Here is a link to the page http://www.petrolscooter.co.uk/heavy-duty-clutch-pulley-1-inch-bore-3-shoe-karting-drive-belt-honda-gx-engine-gokart.html

They are hoping to get more of the smaller pulley versions some time in February.

I did find them for sale elsewhere but for considerably more money, I think the highest was about £180 from a Lawn Mower spares site although my one might not be of the same quality. It's difficult to tell from the pictures though. 

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I'm an engineer by profession but unless you can program CNC machines, which I can't, nobody is interested. I start stuff like this to keep sane plus it's something my son seems interested in now.  I rebuilt a pedal go kart for him a couple of years ago but that got a bit involved and took a while so he lost interest with that. I'm hoping to do a few things on this and keep it driveable all the time.

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8 hours ago, Steve G said:

I'm an engineer by profession but unless you can program CNC machines, which I can't, nobody is interested. 

 

I know just what you mean. You have to have the bits of paper as well. Until that is someone wants a real engineer who can use spanners.

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