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Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 7,466
Likes: 143
NormK Online Content OP
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
The Ariens self propelled has to be the best drive system ever fitted to a self propelled mower/slasher that can easily be used on domestic lawns. The Deutscher and a couple of other bigger machines have a rugged drive system but they are too big and bulky for domestic use. The Ariens drive is rugged and simple to repair if needed. It gets my tick of approval as the best 21 inch self propelled mower built. Fitted with a GXV160 Honda they would have to be ultimate self propelled mower. Not sure why Ariens didn't fit the Honda as an option

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Joined: May 2010
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Thats good to know, never had one apart before. I always liked and still want one of their self propelled models with the castor wheels on the front, just one of the best ideas I have ever seen on a push mower. I remember we had one new at the local mower shop for years, they couldn't sell the thing, it was just too expensive, even compared to a Honda!

A quick google found Tecumseh was the primary supplier for Ariens for 49 years! Then Briggs took over. Being American there would have been no real reason to fit a Japanese engine, Honda would have just been way too expensive would be my guess.

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NormK Online Content OP
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
nath,
I have 5 of them here at the moment, one has a Kawasaki motor on it, 2 have Tecumesh and 2 have Briggs. One has the fixed front wheels. One I picked up a couple of days ago had been in the weather for some years. The transmission was rusted up badly (every bearing rusted solid. Took a while to get it all stripped down but with new bearings it is better than when it left the factory as I have fitted proper sealed bearings to the axle, not the flanged pressed metal ones the factory fitted. Once the transmission is rebuilt on these, put a new motor on it and you have an industrial grade piece of farm equipment, not just a self propelled mower. These are for serious people who want something to last them many years not just some cheap mower from a Hardware store. The drive gear in these makes the Honda self propelled look like some cheap Chinese rubbish. I had a bloke come here last week saying he bought 2 new Hondas at $1900 each. I told him to treat them with kid gloves because the transmissions are a disgrace

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NormK Online Content OP
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
If anybody is after a self propelled I highly recommend they chase down one of these units, they come up from time to time and are well worth the effort required to get it back up and running. It is the drive gear that is the important bit, put a new motor on it and maybe replace the bearing in the drive and you have the best self propelled mower that is available anywhere today. I don't understand why they fly under the radar, probably the initial cost I guess but trust me they are well worth the investment if you have an area to mow that requires a self propelled

Joined: Jul 2018
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Hi Norm and Nath

There isn't a lot on the market for a heavy duty SP mower is there?

Honda 216 are hopeless, I wouldnt trust the Victa comercial range SP wise, Masport contractor seem ok but weigh an absolute ton.

As you say yourself in the last post, those honda trans are a disgrace. I flat out refuse to install them as its a lost cause. The old 2 speeds were passable

Do you have a photo of the ariens? Never seen them without caster wheels.

Ariens being a big snowblower maker made for a close relationship with tecumseh as it was a strong view that tecumseh made better winter motors and briggs did summer engines.

Suppose Ariens hedged their bets by doing both

Briggs muscled in in the end with many better cold weather motors in the 80s.

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NormK Online Content OP
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Hi Tyler,
My father bought a fixed front wheel one in the early nineties and my grandson has that one still. I put a new belt on it a few years ago after it broke when my son was using it on some way out of control Kikuyu. I haven't looked at the fixed wheel one I have here starts easily and runs fine but is smokey. I have 3 of them here that need motors so I am thinking of fitting the GXV Hondas to them, then they are the ultimate self propelled The first one in the pic has a Briggs, the second has a Kawasaki and the third has a Tecumesh so a full range of engine types

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Last edited by NormK; 13/02/22 07:26 AM.
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NormK Online Content OP
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Hi Max,
I remember you had a badly rusted out Ariens in your scrap pile, do you still have it and did it have the swivel front wheels? I am interested in it if you wish to sell it. I'm thinking of getting bits laser cut so that I can convert the 3 fixed wheel ones I have here into swivel/zero turn style because it seems that this is what people want.

Joined: Sep 2015
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
Hi Norm,

Not a lot left of the Ariens in the scrap pile , that Ariens doesn't have the swivel front wheels , I wouldn't have thought
it's worth the extra work converting them to swivel front wheels unless you can get another $200. out of them.

Cheers
Max.

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Joined: Jan 2016
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NormK Online Content OP
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Hi Max,
Nothing I do is worth the effort I put in but I just keep trying. Thinking of getting the bits laser cut and getting bits of half inch pipe bent at 90 degrees. Don't throw that Ariens out any part is worth salvaging they are such a great machine

Joined: Sep 2015
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
I don't think Mowers are selling well this year Norm , I've seen good clean 4 stroke mowers for $80 to $100 advertised for 9 months and not
sell ,the very clean 2 stroke Victa mowers that take minimal work to get running seem to sell for $25. and take a few weeks at that price to sell.

I've sold a few 4 stroke mowers that I would normally get a $100 for and sold them for $50. ,so at that price It's not worth giving them an oil change.

I guess you can try Norm to make the Ariens more popular with the swivel front wheels but I did read that there wasn't much
noticeable difference in using the swivel wheels if you just had a straight lawn (no trees or plants to get around)

I'd be making the swivel front as cheap as possible , if you can borrow a pipe bender for free then great or just pack the pipe with
sand.

https://www.instructables.com/How-to-bend-pipe-without-a-pipe-bender/

The reviews on the Ariens are a little mixed.

Cheers
Max.

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Joined: Jan 2016
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NormK Online Content OP
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Hi Max,
Problem is the only really good self propelled is the Deutschers the rest are garbage. A mower bloke who comes her bought 2 Honda self propelled for $2000 each, I thought he was fibbing but he wasn't. There isn't much else to choose from and all the people who have contacted me have wanted swivel front so they can get around under trees. I saw a 2 inch bender on gumtree a few weeks ago for $50 probably should have grabbed it.

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NormK Online Content OP
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Hi Max,
You don't have any other Ariens bits, I'm looking for a differential at the moment which is in the rear plastic gear

Joined: Sep 2015
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
Hi Norm,

That Ariens was missing one rear side and also missing an engine when I found it and that's the gear your after. I basically just picked it up for the plastic side shoot as the other Ariens I have was missing the shoot.

Yes the Deutschers work well ,I've seen lots of cheap 10 to 12 ton benders even a free one ,but would of had to drive for
about 4 hours to pick the bender up so didn't bother ,I can borrow one but it's missing the 2 rollers ,I've made winch rollers
up before so they should be easy to make.

Cheers
Max.

Joined: Jan 2016
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NormK Online Content OP
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Thanks Max,
No problems the old saying is if you don't ask you will never know. Not sure if I have the stamina to convert the Ariens fronts it just seemed like a good idea but as you say the amount of work is probably not worth it.
Another Ariens I am working on today for a mate I had put all new bearings through the drive and it would still slip in the drive position.In desperation I lowered the bar with the ball end of the arm that pushes the friction wheel to the underside of the bracket it bolts to and that seems like it has fixed the problem. Obviously something has bent but I can't see where.

Last edited by NormK; 30/09/22 12:55 PM.
Joined: Jan 2016
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NormK Online Content OP
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Hi Max,
Not sure what experience you have had with the Ariens drive but one thing which does annoy me is the single wheel drive differential set up. If the ground is uneven then yo end up stationary with the wheel off the ground just spinning in the air. I know why they put the diff in there so you can swivel the front around but it has its drawbacks. I have had a look at the diff and I think it would be difficult to lock it up. Drive on these work well on flat ground but on uneven ground they have a problem

Joined: Sep 2015
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
Hi Norm,
You should be able to fix that problem by having one front wheel in the centre front position (like a Masport slasher ) or having a front axle that pivots in the centre like a JCB backhoe has in the front axle.

Cheers
Max.

Joined: Jan 2016
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NormK Online Content OP
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
As Sam Kekovitch would say "good one Max" You can go to the top of the class with that idea Max, love it

Joined: Sep 2015
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SENIOR TECHNICIAN & HISTORIAN
This may be a way Norm to have your swivel front on all of the mowers , take one swivel wheel from each mower and fit to the other
mowers.

Joined: Jan 2016
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NormK Online Content OP
SENIOR TECHNICIAN
Loving the idea Max, I'm all over it, problem is I will have to make some of the swivels myself because I have more fixed front that swivel front but that isn't a problem


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