John Deere Kohler Lawn Tractor Linear Actuator Plow Mod

ByJohn Wuethrich

John Deere Kohler Lawn Tractor Linear Actuator Plow Mod

Semi How To Guide for Motorizing a lift/lower on a 48in Snow Blade

Lawn Tractor Snow Plow Blade upgraded to raise and lower by motor

The lawn tractor plow repair and lift lower motorization is complete (for now). At some point I might make a proper howto and or motorize blade right left. Some searching helped me find the type of plow I was working on. Though Im about to link it by brand I would bet its actually a generic white label companies slap their name on. The color on this old one is wrong, everything else is/was identical. 

Heres the plow kit at lows:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Husqvarna-48-in-Residential-Snow-Blade/50430028


The Plow Before Mods:

Lowe’s site had a interactive 3d model I used inspect element to delete the controls and get screen shots to give you a good idea of how the plow once was. Hoping with the included link they dont mind but once again: 3D render credit – Lowes.com

John Deere Kohler Lawn Tractor Linear Actuator Plow Mod 1
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I Found The Original Plow Demoed!

The plow kit apears to be made by a few companies but the one thats identical in tractor mounts is its the

Husqvarna 48-in Residential Snow Blade

Item # 741130 Model # 588181302

John Deere Kohler Lawn Tractor Linear Actuator Plow Mod 1

Overview Of Tractor Snow Plow Upgrade

John Deere Kohler Lawn Tractor Linear Actuator Plow Mod 6

one needs use their brain a bit here if following along. I didnt set off intending a full how to and there was a bit of a rush plus cold barn equals low or dead phone bat; as a result pics came second.

none of these pics are necessarily in the order described and that order probably isnt the best. I shot myself in the foot labeling the image above. use your head though and you should be alright. 

steps 1 and 4 above should probably be preformed at once would be an obvious example.

the fork was welded on because we didnt have very good drill bits or a press. I own a press but some psycho parents are holding it hostage. I would highly recommend taking the time to drill new holes instead of the welding aproach you see below.

also weld more of the doulbed up supports than shown in these pics, one side only doesn’t get the full benefit/strength from doubling (if they can deflect separately under some loads… )

John Deere Kohler Lawn Tractor Linear Actuator Plow Mod 7

Get that Flat plate between plow frame and wheels out. I attempted to cut it but there is no way I would have gotten my bracket up in the frame later.

Remove bottom horizontal angle iron
Replace with flat bar (Doubled Up If same gauge) and raise an inch and a quarter or so from original position . 

Repeat with Doubling with Top horizontal member. I put an equal gauge piece of flat bar behind it. Same height is probably ok. Weld more than shown in pic (like top and bottom)

Drill new holdes to mount the fork to. 

Extend the plow arm under the frame 
I used angle iron and right bhind the bolt the plow arm piviots on a full square tube is formed then it extends out (behind mount) and becomes a U channel in oposite direction from the one that extends forward

Piston Connection must rotate:

Use two premade or make an eyelets or fab your own. The point is you need two because the conection between the actuator rod and the plow arm needs to rotate. A eyelet with a stem is ideal on the arm depending on how far you extend it you can weld it to the distance you need to make up or cut it if not. I used one premade and made from square tube and a U bracket. It looked a lot better at first but was too long. 

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John Deere Kohler Lawn Tractor Linear Actuator Plow Mod 9
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Try to Eliminate Play

This plow was old and had tons of deflection and thus play at every connection point. We used a map gas tourch and hammer to bend things back (fork and arm were worst). See  pound the deflections from years of use back into a position with less play. Then thick angle iron was welded to the base of the fork on each side and then some thin plate inside. The plate is intended to make it as tight as possible not really add to strength. 

Reminder: these pics and or instructions arnt exactly in cronological order or order you should execute them 

John Deere Kohler Lawn Tractor Linear Actuator Plow Mod 11
The plate in the fork got better attached later. Its intended to be sacraficial play reducer more than a strengthening element. The plate with the V cut in it is the muffler guard I suggest removing instead of cutting. Ideally a short flat bar could be extended right under the pivot point. decent gauge and tie the two sides together.

The Plow I was working on had taken years of use and abuse. The owner tends to play zen sandbox with it during the summer. aka he grades the driveway with it as well. Quite a bit of what was done on this build was correcting deformation and points soon to fail. Im not happy with how the front pivot is but I dont have the time to invest at the moment. 

Not having seen this new its hard to say how much lateral play there is on the plow arm. Linear actuators (and esp the cheaper ones) dont like to be torked around so the more you can limit their travel to straight up and down the longer it should last. 

John Deere Kohler Lawn Tractor Linear Actuator Plow Mod 12

Cheapest 2″ Linear Actuator I could Find

here is a US based Ebay vender where you can pick up this actuator for $26. Shipping was fast and the product is slightly over rated on the listing but works none the less.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Inch-Stroke-Electric-Linear-Actuator-Heavy-Duty-330lbs-Load-12-Volt-DC-Motor/303365176522?hash=item46a1f93cca:g:3dYAAOSwSq1dz2pu

12v linear actuator with 2in travel and 750n force

Detachable Mount Inside Tractor Frame

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This bracket was made to attach up under the frame and support the Linear actuator sideways and centered (centered for vertical travel from piston and plow arm). The actuator was limited to sideways attachment due to the muffler sharing the same space.

The metal plate covering the muffler was removed. 

The hood mount bar was removed as well it will be re attached slightly raised later (flip side of frame).

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In the words of a very bright you tuber: “FOCUS YOU FUCK” —>
(reading on a phone? keep scrolling)

I highly recommend checking out AVE on youtube if you haven’t come across him already.

Another ave ism… “a grinder and a can of paint makes me the welder i aint”

due to the rotated mounting the actuators pin hole was in the wrong direction so a piece of square tube and U bracket were welded togeather to convert the pivot to the proper direction. 

left right functionality may be added later. Its probably easier to tack on than the up and down was. securing the actuator under the frame turned out to be a bit more than anticipated. This was all done adhock in my head/no plans drawn up.

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< Want to see more projects like this? or Just buy me a beer?

ITS ELECTRIC (BOOGIE WOOGIE WOOGIE)

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Dual Pole Dual Throw switch. Solder Quickly if soldering directly to the contacts. Overheating them is easy to do and the inside of your switch will be goo. Tin your wires first and let it cool between contacts should further help. Its been a while since i’ve melted one but its really easy to do if you dont solder electrical components frequently.

I didnt have electrical tape on hand but i did have a tube of 100% silicone caulk. It looks like hell but did the job.

I probed with a multi meter until I found a wire that read 12v with key on and 0 off. I crudely stripped the wire about 2 inches up from the connector (like 360 with out cutting it) I then soldered the striped portion of my wire from the DPDT rocker to red wire and covered it in silicone caulk as I lacked electrical tape. I put a crimp on fork connector on the other switch wire and attached ground to motor via one of the starter motor bolts.  wires added are the blue ones. Zip ties helped too. 

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In theory crimping is all you need and or better if things vibrate. Eventually the solder joint cracks. Id rather that happen here than the operator think its too weak or doesnt work. The battery is on its last leg and weak contact the actuator wouldnt move. As you see in video this setup works fine. Ill get a call when it doesnt im sure 😀

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resist the urge to do more work by rotating… truly its fine this way… walk away

The guy the work was for wanted to help and mounted the switch. I figured if we ever add right left the more ideal mounting orientation would become apparent and the battery was dead so with all blue wires, tracing up and down would have been hard anyway. Plus its a far less than ideal size. I have a feeling it will go in favor of a larger switch soon. He happened to have this DPDT Switch laying around. 

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An Inexpensive Project

At the heart of it is a $26 dollar 2inch travel linear actuator from ebay.

a few feet of wire and a dual pole dual throw rocker switch. I tapped a positive wire on one of keyed lines under the dash and attached the negative to one of the bolts for the starter. 

also note: in the video the actuator is not at fault for the lack of speed. The battery is about shot.

Predictions on Longevity:

Ill update on how the actuator and plow hold up over the rest of the winter. I think with the repairs to the fork for the arm and the fold down plow blade system that already existed; there are quite a few things to take a hard impact before transferring it to the relatively weak actuator. Time will tell.

I may try to further box in the arm behind the frame to limit its lateral motion. It might not be nessicary though.  

along those lines I sized the eyelet and bolt connecting actuator pistion to plow arm a bit small on purpose . It may take out the actuator regardless but I liked the probability of the bolt through that hole failing instead.

the back of the fork that provides pivot for the arm should probably get some angle iron as a reinforcement but its two relatively thick flat bars welded together so it should hold up for a while as is.. Problem is if that bolt fails after front folds down the extended part of arm is going to slap it hard from behind and I think the rider would end up flying forward but the next worst part would be what that does to the frame 😀

If you’d like more information feel free to drop a comment below!

< Want to see more projects like this? or Just buy me a beer?

After Thoughts

the biggest hurtle was the plow was needed at one point during fab. My weather control machine isnt quite ready yet /s. The front fork was hastely welded where it used to attach by bolts (but lower cross member doubled and raised a bit) This turned out to be a major pain in the ass because the rest of the time it was hard to see or reach under the tractor. As I was working alone quite a bit, getting the thing on its back wheels wasnt always in my personal energy or health budge either 😀 . Also, on the back wheels it appeared to leak tranny fluid so it compounded the not die putting it up and down issue. 

Incase you missed the start of the adventures in Kohler Tractor Repair and mods:

Lawn Tractor Snowplow repair & upgrade

Summary
Diy Linear actuator Motiorized lift lower on John Deere Lawn Tractor Plow
Article Name
Diy Linear actuator Motiorized lift lower on John Deere Lawn Tractor Plow
Description
There is an official kit to do this. I went a different route. This was an old plow kit and old tractor arm to control it manually had failed and I had happened to see linear actuators drop below $30 on eBay a week before. This wasn't my tractor it was just a friend in need
Author

About the author

John Wuethrich administrator

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