The Phoenix Arises

The Restoration and upgrades of a Jacobsen Commercial 60/72 mower.

The Journey

In the spring of 2009, a new Kohler Command 20 engine was installed in this mower. The first thing on its long journey to becoming a 'new' mower.



In the spring of 2012, a decision was made to pull the deck to fix some issues, namely a cracked deck that was flexing and some rotten metal. The deck was basically rebuilt, re-welded and reworked. Caster wheels and some diamond plate outer pulley guards were also fabbed and installed (that you can see in one of the following pictures under a pile of freshly painted parts).









The mower was completely disassembled, starting with pulling the engine. Fred Marcks and Herb Hooyman working on that here.









After that, it was just a matter of taking things apart and cleaning, fixing as needed, getting the old paint off, then new primer and new Chevy orange engine enamel paint on nearly every part. All gearboxes and the hydraulic pump were painted black.



Assembly is the opposite of... tearing things apart, right?

(Gary Marcks keeping an eye on things)





And the engine all snuggled back into the frame. When the engine was originally installed, we needed to make spacers to fit the engine properly into place due to a physically smaller sized engine and didn't change anything on this re-install. The cooling air intake on the engine is currently about 3 inches away from the hydrostatic oil cooler and there is a good air draw through the cooler. We never had any oil cooling problems in 100º F weather so we probably won't re-position it closer.





Getting there. Here's the multi-purpose pod being fitted. Also the airport engineering department had started fitting parts for the hydraulic lift system for the deck.



Here's the finished multi-purpose instrument pod. The mower had a few acres under its belt by this time and a couple of oil leaks tightened up when these pictures were taken.







Here's a couple of pics of the hydraulic cylinder placement and the auxiliary hydraulic pump. You're not going to find any detailed pictures of the lift/float engineering on the main lift shaft. We can direct others in how to do things if interested in converting.



    







Here's the relocated go-pedal. The braking system was also rebuilt and finally, a working parking brake!



And again as for the last thing, this mower was just known as 'Little Jake' for the 20 odd years we've had it. But as how the Phoenix rises from the flames to start life anew, so has this mower, now known as ' The Phoenix.'



Other things yet to do: install front & rear anti-scalping rollers on the deck and a strobe light.

This mower is very much a mix of old and new. The ergonomics are straight out of the 1960's and our updates probably bring the mower up to the 1980's.
But whatever, its certainly a much better machine than what Jacobsen ever envisioned some 50-odd years ago. All that matters in the end is that this mower works and work it does. After the initial oil leaks and after a couple of adjustments here and there, its been working flawlessly.

*****

Updates for 2013!

The mower has so far been performing flawlessly. It came out of its winter hibernation with little more than needing an oil change and a few shots of grease in the deck linkage and deck bearings.

A strobe light has been added although we are discussing fabbing a roll bar (for safety while mowing the deep ditches) and eventually attaching the strobe to the top of the roll bar. We are also discussing moving the muffler to the lower rear of the mower to keep some of the heat away from the operator's backside.

A 5" strip of rubber belting has been added to the front edge of the deck to better contain the grass under the deck instead of it blowing out from under the front of the deck.

Updates for 2014!

Larger caster wheels replaced the units originally installed. In soft conditions we found the original caster wheels tended to slide more than turn so bigger (both width & diameter) wheels were installed.

Oh Noes! The lower PTO shaft departed the deck whilst mowing one day. We aren't really sure if the key worked out or maybe was never re-installed, but after some minor carnage, a new lower PTO shaft was made with an off-the-shelf universal joint and re-installed.

*****

Thanks to Doug Ferraro of Stanchfield, Minnesota who was kind enough to send me .jpg files of each individual page of his Commercial 60 Owner's Manual. I'm putting those individual files here in numerical page order. There is no page 42
as that may have been a tear-out warranty card.
The chances of Jacobsen still having any of these parts is remote at best but most everything is (or was) probably an off-the-shelf part. I'm putting this out there for illustrative purposes only.
If you would rather have the manual sent in .pdf form, contact me and I'll email that to you.

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