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The diesel needs a little more CCA than a standard L/G battery can provide as it runs 15w40 and needs that charge air heater to get started. So, for now have been boosting the battery with a charger or jumping off the 66 MF10G next to it in the shed when it needs starting. I had it started without plugging it in one day when my friends semi was gelled up and the 6.5 turbo diesel next door wouldn't start!

I read about the Honda CRV battery swap and was talking to a friend about it. He knew a guy who had a group 51 Optima yellow top for $60, which I bought last night.

But, it ain't an easy swap for me, see the MF10 Diesel is a '68 and the battery tray is higher up on the pedestal than the 2 73-74 MF12H's in have. Is it a year thing or a hydro vs gear thing with the battery tray? I could take the pedestal off the MF12H parts machine and make it work, but if the right parts are out there it would be easier to just bolt on and go this time of year.

Anybody got a MF10/12G pedestal with the deep battery tray thats in decent shape?
 

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Tractorholic
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Well, the hydro is out... there are a lot of little changes in the dash tower. And its the whole dash tower that is one part. I would first look to see if you could drill out the welds and lower the tray first.
 

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Electric Tractors
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The sealed "AGM" type batteries like Optimas usually have a higher cranking amp rating than a standard wet cell batt of the same size. It has to do with the way the battery is made, technology. For what you want maybe consider putting the battery at the back of the tractor where the trailer hitch is, this might not be possible if you use the rear lift. If you can put one back there then it can be a big heavy one, lots of starting power and extra weight where you need it.
 

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FirefyterEmt said:
Well, the hydro is out... there are a lot of little changes in the dash tower. And its the whole dash tower that is one part. I would first look to see if you could drill out the welds and lower the tray first.
I pulled the tower off of the MF12H this afternoon. There will be some mods needed to make it work, but it appears to be easier than using the tower from a MF10G. As for putting it in the back, that isn't going to work either. The tractor has a lift hitch, and a rear light, and I use the drawbar quite often.

The MF12H has a deeper battery tray by 2" or so which is needed as the group 51 is pretty tall. My initial inspection of the variable drive mechanism on the MF10G make me believe only dead space is being put to use. Looks like I'll be firing up the welder this week! Unless a tower comes out of the wood work.
 

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Connoisseur of Rusty Junk
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Good luck with the project MF10D! I hope it works out for you. More CCA's is always a good thing!
 

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Tractorholic
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You know... I will back you on it. It can be done with the hydro, but you will need to do a fair amount of fab work to swap over the needed parts from the varridrive set up. You really only have the one bracket on the left that will need to be removed and swapped onto the hydro tower and then you need to make the stud for the varridrive. That could be as simple as a shouldered bolt with some thread one one end removed, and the head and some shoulder on the other end cut down. That could be welded right into the dash tower like that, just drill out a nut to slip over the shoulder side and weld it to the dash tower on the inside for support and to make the needed spacer. Everything else should be the same so with a lot of careful removal from the varridrive tower and measurements, I think it could be an easy enough job. The only thing is you may need to hand make the left side mount for the shaft. If this is set up like I think it is, and you need a hand, I may be able to build one in my shop on the lathe if you need it. I think it's just a simple fitted pipe welded to the dash tower. Although, making it to have a bushing would be the way to rebuild it.

Enjoy, and take photos!
 

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Accumulator
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Anything can be accomplished if you put your mind to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
FirefyterEmt said:
You know... I will back you on it. It can be done with the hydro, but you will need to do a fair amount of fab work to swap over the needed parts from the varridrive set up. You really only have the one bracket on the left that will need to be removed and swapped onto the hydro tower and then you need to make the stud for the varridrive. That could be as simple as a shouldered bolt with some thread one one end removed, and the head and some shoulder on the other end cut down. That could be welded right into the dash tower like that, just drill out a nut to slip over the shoulder side and weld it to the dash tower on the inside for support and to make the needed spacer. Everything else should be the same so with a lot of careful removal from the varridrive tower and measurements, I think it could be an easy enough job. The only thing is you may need to hand make the left side mount for the shaft. If this is set up like I think it is, and you need a hand, I may be able to build one in my shop on the lathe if you need it. I think it's just a simple fitted pipe welded to the dash tower. Although, making it to have a bushing would be the way to rebuild it.

Enjoy, and take photos!
Valid points indeed, I had time to think about it some more last night. Perhaps the easy way to do this is to mark out the cut for the deep style battery tray in the varidrive tower by using the hydro tower as a measuring template. Rather than cutting the tray out of the hydro tower and ruining it. This way I don't have to rebuild the tower, although I could since I have a lathe, milling machine, and a pile of old tools most don't have.

I could then measure a make a template for the "tray" out of oaktag and set it into the newly cut varidrive tower. Then bend a new tray in the vise brake out of .080" mild steel sheet and weld it in. This will give me a new battery tray that isn't all corroded and I still have the original tower for the tractor with the matching patina. I still have a good tower for a Hydra, plus I have a good shallow battery tray to fix another tractor. Maybe if the swap catches on I could start modding the towers and do them on an exchange basis or sell the weld in trays.
 

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Tractorholic
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One thing to mention, the geometry of the linkages are critical... When I did my rebuild to make a new shaft for the varidrive bracket, the hole was off center just a little bit. However, that was enough to make me loose park, 1st and the set up started in 2nd. I was able to adjust it still, but that is a major change for the tiny bit off that it was.

There are many ways you could attack this and cutting up what you have now and making the battery tray sit lower, may be the easy way to go.
 

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Tractorholic
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Wow, Doug! You are not kidding, that is a huge change!
 

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fordmustang1984 said:
i have the tower off if a 1972 12G thats just taking up space right now. Not sure how shipping would be, but i really dont need it.
I am very happy to hear this...It is lots easier to swap parts at this time of year.

With that said it appears the change in battery trays was 1970ish?
 

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Tractorholic
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My hydro is a 71 and has the deep tray if that helps.
 

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MF10 DIESEL said:
I am very happy to hear this...It is lots easier to swap parts at this time of year.

With that said it appears the change in battery trays was 1970ish?
I have a car battery in my 1970 12h. It fit right in with no problem.
 

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Tractorholic
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Yes, it is the deep tray. The tractor had a car battery in it when i got it, so i know it fits. All of my tractors from 70-73 have the deep tray, but i have no pre-70 ones to compare to...YET
 

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Tractorholic
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While I was in my shed today I took the tape measure and measured the different years I have. The 1970 12 has about 10" from the bottom of the box to the hood. The 1969 12 has about 9.5". The 1966 10 has about 8.5". I did not expect them to all be different.....
 

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Red Tractor Nut & Diesel Addict
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tweidman said:
While I was in my shed today I took the tape measure and measured the different years I have. The 1970 12 has about 10" from the bottom of the box to the hood. The 1969 12 has about 9.5". The 1966 10 has about 8.5". I did not expect them to all be different.....
I never knew there was a difference until this thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
olcowhand said:
I never knew there was a difference until this thread.
I think because of this great forum, many things unknown about garden tractors will be discovered. Many tractors once unrepairable will be brought back from the dead. For myself this thread about the battery swap is critical to keeping the engineering project functional and realistic.

It is very likely the MF10D will meet its first snowfall tomorrow, car battery or not. Bring it on winter, the 60's are back. FWIW this tractor was in service for the worst winter this state ever saw, 1968 its first year of service.
 

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MF10 DIESEL said:
I think because of this great forum, many things unknown about garden tractors will be discovered.
That is for sure. Many discoveries already!
 
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