Monday, 14 August 2017

Sunday, 13 August 2017

West hedge

The hedge on the west side cut from the bamboo to the deck ~30m, ~2.5h including clearing up. Top cut to ~2.5m. We'd let it grow to block the view of the new house next door, but it's over 4m in places.
I'll need to go back once the blackberries have fruited and finish the last 10m, plus the far side of the top of the hedge.

Loading ramps

To get a ride-on on a trailer, you could lift it (only ~260kg) or get some ramps.
For a few years I've used 2m long, 40mm thick low grade timber, for a lighter mower (170kg)
With the new mower, plus me driving it on (ever tried pushing 260kg up a 20% grade?) you're talking ~340kg. A bag full of grass on the back adds another 50kg or so. The planks worked ok, but did deflect around 40mm. Pretty heavy too at 10kg each

I saw these folding ramps for €52, made by Arebos (China). They are good for 300kg each. 1.8m long/~95cm folded (even came with a CE certificate ;-). Build quality is firmly average, with an hour spent removing sharp edges, plus, more annoyingly, little metal spikes on the grip pattern. The tread/grip is great, and is manufactured by punching upwards with a W shape. Unfortunately if the tool is off a bit, you end up with pointed 2mm spikes at the ends of each tread piece. With good tyre tread, I doubt it would puncture the tyres, but with ride-on tyres costing almost as much as car tyres, I'd prefer them to not have tiny knife cuts. That, and I might use these to load the motorbikes. 
These deflect around 10mm with the ride-on rear axle and me at the hinge (~120kg), and the sides bulge a little. 8kg each. They don't appear to be galvanised (not mentioned in advert when I bought them, but others state this) Time will tell.

Arebos 2x Rampe Pliable 600 Kg Rampe De Chargement Rampe Rail ContrĂ´le Rampes

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Erde 102 Trailer maintenance

Nothing for nothing in this life.  You buy a trailer in 2004 and suddenly it needs new bearings. I'd noticed play on the LHS a while back, so decided it might be time to check the sealed bearings. It's a quick job once the nut covers are off (Erde part 2325 0003) one of mine is a new interesting shape, like Kryton's head. It took a massive amount of pummeling, then 24" stiltson (not sure that helped) and more pummeling to get it off. The other one will wait until the new bearings arrive.
Both are metal shielded. I'd have thought rubber sealed more appropriate for road use.
Inner VB C3 6202Z approx 14.85 x 35
Outer HJB 6004ZC3 approx 20x43

The nut was at about 40 lb torque. This site recommends 21 lb.

The outer race is about as smooth as tarmac. Inner seems fine.

It's back on for now and will need to be on light duty. The trailer has been <coughs> used at its limit a few times, so it's not surprising.

Neptun Trailer maintenance

From new (2015), the left side wheel of the trailer when hitched, sitting in the car, had a bit of play. A friend had a hub fail when towing last November, which pushed me into a rush inspection today.

A castellated nut and 3.6 x 36mm cotter pin fit on a taper bearing.  The cover tapped off quite easily and snapped back with a tap. The nut was loose, so for completeness I removed the taper bearing and hub. No marks. Plenty of clean grease. Nut went back on with the original pin at 12 o/c. No play, and the nut wasn't loose enough to turn with fingers before being pinned.
Leaving the wheel on the hub was probably a mistake as it made the assembly heavy when re-assembling. Best to do the job on the ground.

Taper bearing and washer removed and put back in axle

Rear shot. This looked like a sealed bearing, but the visible silver interior was loose.

Taper bearing and nut removed

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Ride-on brands

Ignoring the commercial type machines, eg Iseki and Kubota, the seem to be 2 brands in Europe (France).

These groupings were made based on photographs of the machines. In general, you can see the pattern of the basket, the protection around the deck and the seat. Controls vary, but not much.

Group 1 - American
Best Green
Club Cadet

Group 2 - Italian - GGP
Sabre France/SARP/Castel Garden

I found the GGP machines a bit plasticy and flimsy. Compare the weights. I saw a Sentar Montreal (Kawa twin) at €2590, but the bonnet is so flexible.  The never-used model in the showroom already had part of the basket seal coming away. The GTR B is a more solid machine at €2390 (B&S PB), but you'll find the Alpina AT7 version for €1900. The dealer was prepared to discount €90. You'll be better off with the Husqvarna CT138 with the B&S Intek, pressurised oil system + filter, 98cm at €2400 + del.
AT7 can tow 100kg. The larger American ones can tow 180kg, with a nose weight of 25kg.
Rear axles on them all varied between the Tuff Torq K46 or Hydrogear. Both American, both good reputation with lots of spares and repair kits.

The only other economies I found were the engines. The GGP engines are made in China I was told, but what isn't. Still reliable though. Very little on the forums, so that confirms it.
B&S do a series 3 & 4 in 2 flavours. Intek and PB (power built) It's next to impossible to get an informed explanation of the difference between Intek and PB, but a lot of GGP stuff has PB, so that tells you it's cheaper. The Kawasaki 603cc 481 is made in USA.

Alpina gear is often heavily discounted and being white, stands out a bit in the garden.

July 2017

Err. Another ride-on

The increasing number of planted items in the garden is meaning me spending more time moving 5th to reverse more often than I'm straight running. A hydrostatic box beckoned. Of course, if your going to have a hydro box, you may as well get a rear collector too, as they are also marginally narrower without the side discharge. And a bigger engine to cope with the losses in the hydro box - well, it goes without saying.
Welcome to the 3rd ride-on in 7 years. Club Cadet CC1016 KHE. This one is ~4.5 years old and has only ever cut ~1500m2 (google maps calculates ~1100m2). There are still sticks of rubber on the tyres. The hour meter is 139 hours, but the guy told me he'd left the ignition on until the battery went flat - probably 1.5 to 2 days. If you said 80 actual hours, 20/year, that is slightly more hours than 'we' cut, but I got the impression he cuts weekly. This does tie up with the oil change intervals. He changed the oil+filter for sale as he had already bought it. He is moving house in September, but decided to sell it now. I did find an ad for his house in LBC, plus his hunting lodge.

 cc 1016 khe

In Feb 2013, the retail value was €4079, on offer at €3399 and the guy paid €3200. I paid €1550. He said the local dealer was sort-of a friend had offered him €1400 (if he bought a trailer from him) and he would sell it for €1800-1900 ie +30%, which seems to be the margin on new ones. My local dealer had only 1 small used ride-on for sale, and he hardly ever had ones with collectors as they are the most sought after. The other local dealer had nothing (again) and only GGF made machines (see other post on brands)

I'd say it's never been to a dealer for a service as there isn't much visible grease. That and there is no service receipts. The guy is meticulous and keeps everything. He gave me the folder with manuals, spare key, receipt etc. The oil is noted as changed :-
Date        hours
12/5/13    5
1/4/14      20 + filter. Total synthetic
13/7/17    139 + filter. Oil? Clean. Filled to mid mark.
Oil change interval is 100 hours, 200 for the filter.
Don't screw the dip stick in to measure level.

Air filter is very clean. He said to replace it when it's black, but I'd say it's original as it's OEM.
No fuel tap
There is a voltage reg on the engine.  Will need to test it.
19Ah battery. Standard size 130 W, 225 L, 155 tall. Volts low compared to a 30Ah.

Wiring for a oil pressure gauge, but the dash has no light and no sensor on engine.

Hour meter.
Made by Delta Systems Inc. Uses a PIC16f677. Fully protected code + eeprom. User ID 7f 7f 7f 7f. Checksum 0303. 

Looking at rear of pcb, 8 pin conn at bottom, there are 5 THP not coated. Top left dat, next to the right 0V (obvious), just below clk. Bottom right +5, above to the left mclr.
Power. Rear. Top row, RHS, 0v - obvious. +12 top row LHS.
Tried 2- 10 power cycles in 5s. no reset. It counts to 800, but it's not clear if it then starts again from 0.
From the mower schematic, front of pcb, bottom row, LHS, square pin in 1. Pins count to the right to pin 4, and pin 5, 0v, is above pin 1.