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Discussion Starter #1
As most of you guys know, I bought a 7' MF model 41 sickle bar mower. I bought it thinking this will work great for mowing the ditches along my property.

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Here it is as I bought it and today as I unloaded it.

I took the sickle mower bar off because it's so clumsy and I need to remove it anyway to rebuild the wobble box.

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Here's a picture of the wobble box. The input shaft drives two 180 degree offset bearings. One drives the cutter bar, and the other drives a counterweight. You can see the upper connecting link support shaft bushing is MIA.

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Once I got it in the shop, I removed the wobble box and tore it apart. The offset bearing are gone. Literally....

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Cutter head drive link

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Counterweight

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Wobble box drive shaft

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Wobble box


My question to you all is, does anybody know an online parts distributor they like and trust that would support this mower? I would love to see some online parts diagrams like JDParts has. I essentially need a wobble box repair kit to include all 6 bearings. Since all the bearing are gone, I don't have anything to reference. :unknown:
 

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My dad had an MF sickle mower with a 7' cutter on it but it did not have a wobble box. It just had a pittman rod and locked onto the blade via that. I am guessing that this wobble box allows it to be raised and continue to cut?

Sorry I am no help for finding parts for it but I was just curious because of the past experience with my dad's. I cut a lot of hay with it.
 

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Bearings are pretty standard you start with the bore and there are different series, bigger balls have larger outside diameters. You determine if it is a metric series or inch series. Why do you want to go internet as opposed to MF? I tried to make a statement about parts and NH before you commited to MF. Perhaps the parts machine and the one with the bar shouldn't have been separated. How involved is the repairs to the bar guards, knife hold down forks. wear sectons. ,maybe even the casting on the end of the bar as there are a few trashed ones on nails around here.

Fran
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Bearings are pretty standard you start with the bore and there are different series, bigger balls have larger outside diameters. You determine if it is a metric series or inch series. Why do you want to go internet as opposed to MF? I tried to make a statement about parts and NH before you commited to MF. Perhaps the parts machine and the one with the bar shouldn't have been separated. How involved is the repairs to the bar guards, knife hold down forks. wear sectons. ,maybe even the casting on the end of the bar as there are a few trashed ones on nails around here.

Fran
The price was right and the repairs don't look to be all that bad. Finding the right mower for the right price was most of my battle. I found another 41 but the owner wants double what I think it's worth in parts. My particular mower needs a few guards ($6 each already ordered from local vendor), all but one of the hold down forks look great along with the teeth.

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The end casting looks good, but I may not use it and build my own lighter version with a better and longer skid.

The reason I'm looking for an internet vendor is my time that I have available. My schedule is crazy right now. So I'd rather look at a parts diagram and get the bearings I need, and complete my order, and repair the mower in my spare time. Heck, it took me over a week just to get it off loaded from my truck. :lol: I don't know any local MF dealers and most modern dealers don't seem to want to deal with a small guy like myself with a crazy old piece of equipment.


Rob, I found in my short bit of research that there are three basic types of sickle mowers out there. One is the pitman arm style that only allows a cutting range of slightly higher or lower than horizontal. Usually it's a belt drive to a wheel that has an offset pin that has a pitman arm connected to it. The other end is connected to the mower. Very simple, but the pitman arm is usually made of wood and along with poor mowing range of motion, they vibrate pretty good. The second is a wobble box mower like this one. The lower sheave drives a shaft sorta like a crankshaft with two 180 offset crankpins. One drives the mower through a connecting link while the other link is connected to a counterweight that moves opposite of the mower blade to counteract vibration. The wobble box pivots on the end and allows it mow from vertical up to almost vertical down. Lastly is the hydraulic version is a sickle mower driven with a hydraulic pump but similar to the wobble box design, but a lot newer and more expensive.
 

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Rob, I found in my short bit of research that there are three basic types of sickle mowers out there. One is the pitman arm style that only allows a cutting range of slightly higher or lower than horizontal. Usually it's a belt drive to a wheel that has an offset pin that has a pitman arm connected to it. The other end is connected to the mower. Very simple, but the pitman arm is usually made of wood and along with poor mowing range of motion, they vibrate pretty good. The second is a wobble box mower like this one. The lower sheave drives a shaft sorta like a crankshaft with two 180 offset crankpins. One drives the mower through a connecting link while the other link is connected to a counterweight that moves opposite of the mower blade to counteract vibration. The wobble box pivots on the end and allows it mow from vertical up to almost vertical down. Lastly is the hydraulic version is a sickle mower driven with a hydraulic pump but similar to the wobble box design, but a lot newer and more expensive.
Yes my dad's was the Pitman Rod and they were made out of wood. The rod would break at times so he started making his own out of white oak and then they would last a long time because they did not break so easily. And it would only mow in a horizontal position. If one had a Ford 8N with the belly sickle bar mower they could be used with the bar more at a 45 degree angle but still not completely verticle. The one you bought shows the break away capabilities if one hit something with it, ours had the same and it works well when you came upon a hidden rock or something like that. My dad would do all his own sharpening on the knives with his grinder. I remember spending hours in the summer as a teenager cutting the fields during the day and then raking into wind rows and then baling while my dad would be at work and then when he got home we would keep on going.

I hope you can find all the parts you need. I like this wobble box unit for what you can do with it. I wouldn't mind finding one some time as well but not right now. I can see where I could use it with my 990.
 

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So today I finished the teardown and clean-up of the wobble box. Looks like my "good deal" isn't so good anymore. Here's the carnage....

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Connecting link bearings, what's left of them.

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Bearing races after removing them from the connecting links.

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Wobble shaft cam bearing surfaces.

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Wobble shaft front end support bearing surface worn down ~.015".



I don't think Bubba knew what a grease gun was. I know it hasn't been greased in forever because what came out was a very hard waxy like substance. No fresh grease anywhere.


Good news is I found another mower identical to this one. It's a parts mower that seems to have all the needed part for mine. He's willing to sell it to me for what he has into it, $100. Luck may be on my side after all. Thanks 56! :hi:
 

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Good news is I found another mower identical to this one. It's a parts mower that seems to have all the needed part for mine. He's willing to sell it to me for what he has into it, $100. Luck may be on my side after all. Thanks 56! :hi:
I simply haven't had the time to tear into mine. Heck, aside from disassembling part of it today to check the bearings I haven't even gotten it off the truck. I think there is still money to be made on them, though you aren't selling. You know what I have in it, heck you were there! :laugh::laugh: In running condition in the spring when folks are ready to cut hay I think one would bring about $600, especially if you could run it for the buyer. There are some listed right now for $900.

Building one out of the two shouldn't be hard, just drop this box into your frame. I still think you should bring it and the 1026 over tomorrow. :good2:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Got a little further along on my project today.

I got the parts mower yesterday and took it apart and cleaned it today. I have 4 special grease seals on order for the wobble shaft. I'm going to have to replace the two end support bearings for the wobble shaft, but I can get those from a local bearing supply house. My donor wobble box is too bent to use, so I'll have to repair the original one still. That isn't bad. It needs a bushing that supports the shaft holding the connecting links welded in.

I also worked on getting the frame iMatch QH compatible. The upper link connection was just two tabs welded to the top of the hoop used as a frame. I needed to cut out a section of the hoop to add a piece of rectangular tubing with one side cut off. This will allow the QH hook to reach in to connect to the top link.

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Here you can see the section of the hoop I need to cut out.


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Here's the rectangular tubing that going to be the new top link mount.


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A little welding, cutting, and grinding...


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Pretty close to being completed. A little more welding, cutting, and grinding to do and she'll be all set. :good2:
 

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A little more progress today...

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We are now iMatch compatible. Bushings are not installed yet though.


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Drive shaft angles look good. There's about 5 inches of offset to the left but over 35" in between the two stub shafts.


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Wobble shaft support bearings. Notice the cracking in the needle bearing outer race.


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Bubba can weld! :lol: He just forgot to weld the backside of his repair.
 

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Looks like you're almost there. What are your plans for the wobble box housing, now? Would it be possible to straighten the bent one, or maybe cut the bushing support out of the bent one and weld it into the other one?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Too complicated to straighten the bent wobble box. I think a new bushing will be a few bucks, so it's not worth cutting one out of the bent box and grinding it down. I have to go to the local bearing house anyway. What's a few more bucks right? :lol:

Who do you use for your local bearing supply? And would you recommend them?
 

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Applied Industrial down at the corner of Polk Ave and Fessler's Lane can get most anything, but they're not cheap. I've dealt with them once or twice, but it's been a few years. I had them get a cone bearing and race for an old truck, Napa had one in stock and couldn't order anymore. Applied was about 4 times the price of Napa, but they could get it when nobody else could.

If you just need the piece that's broken out of the wobble box, you might be better off to have a machine shop turn one. You could use standard 1.25" round bar stock, and just have them bore a 1/2" hole through it. I've used Turner Machine in the past, they're in Smyrna right off Weakly Lane. Really great guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The bushing would be easy to either make or acquire. It's 1.50" OD by .75" ID by 1.5" long. If a guy had a lathe, it could be made in no time. The other bearings seem to be pretty normal as well. A JH-2016 (needle bearing), and 3206 sealed ball bearing. I need to get one grease seal to match the needle bearing too. A good bearing house will either have these items or be able to get them pretty quickly. I ordered the 4 connecting link grease seals through Cumberland Tractor because of the weird size.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
What do you think?

So I have all my parts that I need (bearings and seals) to rebuild the wobble box. My question the better of the two wobble shafts has some pitting in one of the bearing surfaces. 3 pits bad enough that I don't want to assemble it like the way it is. The rest of the stuff on the picture is just discoloration, no problem there. The surfaces all polished out nice and smooth except for the pitted area.

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Do you think I could weld it, file it down, and then polish it? I know I can, but specifically, do you think that kind of repair will last? I'm so used to industries that once you have a bad part, you condemn it and replace it with new.
 

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It does not look that bad in the picture...you have to consider what this is used for and make a judgment call from there. This is not a 747 you are rebuilding...I say use it as-is and fix the major stuff.
 

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I've replaced bearings on 20 ton air handlers 2 5/8" shaft where the shaft looked like that. It might effect the longevity of it alittle....but I'd use it until it cant be used again. Welding on it might affect the temper too. Looks good!! Are you going to paint it JD green ?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ok, you guys have convinced me to put it in as it is. Can't help but wonder how long it'll live that way, but probably a good long time.

I will rattle can it when I'm done, but I haven't decided what color yet. We'll see. It'll need to prove itself before it deserves a coat of green.:munch:
 

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More progress

Today I rebuilt the wobble box and installed it, without resurfacing the wobble cam surfaces. (I hope you guys are right.:pray:)

It was a bear to get the cams past the grease seals on both of the connecting links, but a little patience and it was in.

I replaced the missing/broken bushing.
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Fixed the badly welded tab.
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Here's the wobble box installed on the frame.
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All I'm missing now is half a PTO shaft and to install the cutter bar. The tractor side of the PTO shaft may be a tall order. I may have to get a whole new shaft assembly.
 

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Looks good! I think I know where we can get a PTO shaft half, but will have to have the other half to match up. Could probably pick up a whole used shaft reasonably, what does the shaft on the mower look like? Splined, size?
 
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