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Picture of Rat Rod Mower Kart

This is all about my process of building a rat rod go kart from an old lawn mower. As with any good rat rod build, it is mostly assembled from salvaged parts. The end-goal for this project is to give it to my wife for her birthday Memorial day weekend so she can drive it in the Tractor Days Parade on the island she delivers mail for.

Donor mower details are:

2009-2014 Cub Cadet LTX1040

19 HP single-cylinder Kohler Courage Engine

Belt-driven CVT transmission

The cutting deck was toast, and it hadn't been run in several years.

The engine didn't run when I got it, but it was in "ran when it was parked" condition. After a few simple tests and checks, I determined it was probably just a stuck carburetor. I ordered the part off Amazon and got started while I waited for it to arrive.

Step 1: Tear Down

Picture of Tear Down

Tear down usually goes pretty quick on a project like this and helps motivation, because it looks like you got so much done.

It was really only an hour or two of taking of parts and sorting them into two piles: metal-recycle and maybe-useful.

I want this thing low and rodded out. The original plan was to cut it in half, flip the rear axle, and stretch it in the middle of the frame. After looking for replacement drive belts, I found I would have to install a jackshaft or idler pulley set because they just don't make belts long enough for what I wanted to do. Lowering it too much also would hinder my wife's ability to drive it around the farm and actually use the thing. As cool as slammed to the ground would be, it just wasn't practical.

Plan B...

I cut down the sheet metal deck that used to support the seat and battery. I could at least lower the seat as far as possible and lengthen and drop it in front of the motor. "Raked" is a close second to "slammed".

tyork12 days ago
how did you run a cvt on it? got any pics of the underside?
Dillon13373 months ago
I love this so much. That wheel barrow seat is fantastic. Great modifications all around.
I see push mowers in the trash all the time. Now I need to wait for a riding mower to show up.
ladda14 months ago
How long do have to make it
idrawupay4 months ago
Very Cool build!
The tilt steering wheel mechanism is GENIUS!
ladda1 idrawupay4 months ago
it like your buildding a robot
callhow4 months ago
You might not know it, but some lawn standard tractor "deck v-belts" are very long.
peterbrazil (author)  callhow4 months ago
This one is on the longer end already - 91". I can find up to 114", but that would've only allowed me to extend the frame 6 inches after flipping the axle (the drive pulley is biased about 3" forward of the axle centerline).
keep going
How I can make it faster?
peterbrazil (author)  ssbotrodriglez4 months ago
Gearing. The easiest pulley to swap out is the drive pulley on the engine with a bigger one. But on my particular mower, it has a molded frame guard to keep the belt from slipping off. So I'll be putting a smaller pulley on the transmission. But keep in mind a mower is designed to go slow, so you should also upgrade brakes, steering, suspension.
Check out
This instructable shows a lot of the process of making a fast mower. Most of the guys making racing mowers basically turn them into a go kart with hydraulic steering, geared transmission, tight steering.
TimF104 months ago
I picked up a 2nd mower because I thought my rider had a bad motor. Now I know what I need to do.....
siddaadri4 months ago
this is one of the coolest inventions i ever seen
wesleysuhler4 months ago
It doesn't matter which contest you enter this into. It's got my vote invariably.
4xdblack4 months ago
I absolutely love everything about this.
KS20044 months ago
that is sooo cool
MoparDude4 months ago
This is and OUTSTANDING Instructable!!! Even though I am older & in to wood working, I read every word & looked at every picture, closely & with great interest. I use to be in to Muscle Cars till a couple of Yrs ago when Diabetes started bothering my feet. Still own a 1969 Dodge Superbee that I did a ground up restoration. So I like things that go.
I hope you win the Trash to Treasure contest, you deserve it.
Could you please tell me where you live, if you don't mind.
Andy/ BeeMan.
peterbrazil (author)  MoparDude4 months ago
Thanks! Those are some very inspiring words. I'd love to win it, but there are a lot of other really cool projects out there. This is a project I had been interested in doing for some time, so it's a happy coincidence that it corresponded with a contest. I'm in western Washington, and I'm always looking for an old truck cab to use to turn my ranger into a 4x4 rat rod. I just love that car style.
I have a treehouse instructable from a couple years ago that you may appreciate as a woodworker. It's transformed a bit since first built...
BobH1604 months ago
Nice build, something I would consider building myself.
For the edge of the wheelbarrow that you cut you could fit car door edging just to make it safer.
peterbrazil (author)  BobH1604 months ago
Thanks for the tip. I cleaned it up decently well, but have some edge banding for people without tetanus shots.

NightS74 months ago
im buliding some think like this will sending pic soon

AnandM544 months ago
Wow..... Mass instructables..... Worth idea !!
AllenInks4 months ago
I'm thinking a Roots supercharger as a future mod...
bratmikeee24 months ago
is so funny :))
19judge574 months ago
I grew up in the 60's and 70's and my dad a retired millright. I learned use of cutting torches and arc welders before I could sign my name cursive! During my 12th grade year, I was given a 68 Bronco that rust bugs had eaten all sheet metal away leaving a frame, 289 with c4 automatic and transfer. The Frankenstein light lit up and searched for something with approximately same wheelbase. With $100 a 73 Pinto was to be the body. Cutting here and welding there along with trial and error the creature took form. The PINTOSAURUS was born! Sitting on 35 inch swampers, warn winch and roll bar with lights, it was the beast and envy of classmates! Kept it 3 years and it sold to friend for $5000. Imagination my friends will make crazy money!
Dakotamouse4 months ago
Less than 2 years to retirement and then she will be mine!
Horrorzilla4 months ago
Great job - looks fantastic ! !
cgbier4 months ago
Absolutely love it.
nsb8074 months ago
I love it! And I want one! My wife may hate you for giving me ideas tho. LOL
peterbrazil (author)  nsb8074 months ago
Ha ha my wife doesn't know about it yet... She came to my shop to bring me coffee, and I had to hide it under a shipping crate!
photony4 months ago
peterbrazil (author)  photony4 months ago
It has more power than it knows what to do with. The next step is Gearing. Then brakes
Yep...more power....bore it, stroke it, take off the governor...your cool lil mower will hook em
I have a 2012 Troy-bilt sitting around that doesn't want to keep a deck belt on. I was going to drop the deck and just use it as a tractor, but this has inspired me to be a little more creative. Maybe a lawnmower-7 clone?
VaGirl20044 months ago
I'm a woman, and I would LOVE one of these!!! Gives me lots of ideas.... Only I wouldn't just drive it around the property, I'd be going into town & down to the seaside with it! (It's only 400 yards away from our house) What a great mode to take to go hunting for crabs, shrimp, lobsters & all things shell fish! I wouldn't get in trouble driving it here either, I live in Normandy France where it's common to see all kinds of vehicles on the road! Anyway, great job - I am SO impressed!!! You've got my vote!!!
kwagner144 months ago
LOVE it!
armourb4 months ago
I love it. Can't wait to start me one. Great Job and idea!!!
sckoby4 months ago
This is quite possibly the coolest thing I have ever seen, awesome build, thanks for sharing.
Made one of these as a teenager. What great fun, but it was way too fast for the loose steering. Luckily I killed the motor before I hurt myself and I never got around to fixing it.
pgs0709474 months ago
Mad Max, like it
Truly amazing. I am most impressed
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