rotary mower tail wheel???????????

   / rotary mower tail wheel??????????? #1  


Super Member
Dec 16, 2009
gilmer tx
Bobcat CT235
I have an old FMC 5' rotary mower. Overall I am very pleased with it. What I don't like is when you mow in reverse the angle of the tail wheel raises the mower up higher than I like. I think most mowers are designed for the swivel action to raise the back of the mower but in my opinion it raises mine to the extreme. I don't think anything is bent. I'm thinking of changing the angle of the wheel to allow less lift on the rear when the wheel reverses. Anybody else out there ever have this problem?
   / rotary mower tail wheel??????????? #2  
Good ones are adjustable so that you can set how much, if at all, you want it to lift the back when you back up.
I recently went through a long involved repair of my sister's 6' John Deere mower when the back wheel parts all wore out. (Axle, pivoting shaft, frame work that supported the wheel and allowed adjustment. All went at once.)
She had spent a lot of frustrating time getting it set to her satisfaction, and wanted it back the way it had been without buying all (or any) new parts from JD. She had to get by with a borrowed mower for most of 2009 while I did long distance scrounge and repair. The breakthrough was when my neighbor contributed the wheel and bracket off of his cutter. He didn't like having one on at all and had it lying in the shed. Said it just got in the way.
I did some resourceful and inspired welding and it's back to usable.
I started to type "good as new," but y'all know better.
   / rotary mower tail wheel??????????? #3  
I doubt the mower was designed that way, it's more likely the tail wheel bracket has bent over the years. I just had to take one of mine to a machine shop for straightening last fall. But you're right, it needs to be returned to an angle that doesn't change height with direction.

   / rotary mower tail wheel??????????? #4  
here is my stab at it, my old howse raises too.

It's your preference and decision based on what your clipping in reverse.

A) clipping grass or fields for lawn like finish, I agree on trying to keep the deck level.
B) clipping thickets, (1" to 1 1/2" saplings mixed in) reverse is my preference and the raising of the rear of the deck helps pushing over the sapling to get them wacked down.

So, the raising of the rear deck could be an intentional design for going at heavy brush in reverse.
   / rotary mower tail wheel??????????? #5  
I built a Quick Attach Hydraulic set of guage wheels.
The pivot points for the wheels are vertical so they respond better when switch from forward to reverse. Plus, the linkage keeps the vertical position constant when raised or lowered. I use it on the rear of the Howse rotary cutter, the box blade and also on a landscape rake. They are super heavy duty and can be switched over in a few minutes.

It's primary use is on the rotary cutter.
I use it in conjunction with the 3pt lift to mow rough terrain. So I can set the front AND rear height while mowing. I made a "bumper" on it for reversing into shrubs and saplings to help push them down. I can lift the rear wheels up, out of the way, and use the 3pt to suspend the cutter while backing into shrubs and saplings. When I lift the wheels up, the rear of the cutter is actually on the ground until I raise it with the 3 point. There is about 10" of lift from top to bottom, which I can set while driving the tractor.

You might be interested in making a set similar to this to solve your problem? Here is thread of how they were made and used with lots of photos in them:
Modify Brush Hog Some More

Here is a thread about using the Gauge Wheels on the Box Blade:
Hydraulic Quick Attach Gauge Wheels
   / rotary mower tail wheel???????????
  • Thread Starter
That is impressive!!!!! After hearing from ya all (Texas) and looking at a fair amount of different mowers on line I have concluded most mowers have an intentional angle on the tail wheel spindle to raise the rear end when reversing. This old FMC sidewinder is heavily built and I do not believe any part of the wheel assembly has been bent or warped. With the mower in the level position with tailwheel set at my preferred height the spindle angle was appx 20 degrees off plumb. I have cut it loose, changed the angle to appx 5 degrees. The lift in reverse went from appx 4" to appx 1-1/4". I think I am going to like this a whole lot better. Going to try and post a picture of finished product. My first try. Thanks for all the feedback.


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   / rotary mower tail wheel???????????
  • Thread Starter
I'm so proud of my first picture I thought I might just post a few more. I'm cheap which gets me into trouble sometimes. Made my suitcase weights out of good sackcrete with a little angle iron inserted for the hanger. According to my bathroom scales they weigh in at 49-51#. All four just about right to balance out the mower. I also have a bracket that holds 2 of them together if there's reason to have less weight. If my loader is on of course I don't need the weights but it's off about 75% of the time. I'm jealous of Rob's quick hitch tail wheels. Thanks again for all the input. PS That is a HF quick hitch, perfect fit for the mower. Modified numerous implements to fit it but wouldn't take for it.


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   / rotary mower tail wheel??????????? #8  
If you're happy with the results, that's all that counts. But I wish you'd have posted that first photo before you started modifying. It looks like that the fork has been worked on (welded) before. I don't think your problem was the spindle angle, my money is on the fork angle. It's far to severe. I believe the correct repair would to have been leave the spindle alone, and reduce the fork angle.

   / rotary mower tail wheel???????????
  • Thread Starter
I agree it looks like a severe angle. The pictures may make it look worse than it is. However, if you could see it in person I think you would agree it is not bent or warped from original shape. Looking at other brands on-line it seems there are some with more and some with less angle.
   / rotary mower tail wheel??????????? #10  
Those single rear wheels are finicky, I found out the hard way, tryed to back up a small slope, the wheel did not swivel so I broke the wheel mount faster that I could spit. I had it fixed, now anytime I back up I use the 3pt to raise the mower just a tad and everything is happier and no stress on anything.