Introduction: Safely Work Underneath a Large Heavy Mower

Picture of Safely Work Underneath a Large Heavy Mower

The wheels of my mower are too close together to straddle the auto repair grease pit built into the floor of my garage, so I bridged the gap. Standing down in the pit I can easily access the underside of a mower that is otherwise too low to crawl under and too heavy to lift. To see my related Instructables, click on "unclesam" just below the title above or in the INFO box to the right, then on the new page that appears repeatedly click "NEXT" to see all of them.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

automotive repair grease pit
pair metal curved ramps
stout timber, size and length to suit width and weight of mower, at least a two by four

Step 2: Build a Bridge

Picture of Build a Bridge

Place the timber across the side rails of the pit, then lay the ramps from the floor to the timber. Adjust the distance between the ramps to match the mower's wheelbase. The curve of the ramps bridges the short angled rails. The second photo is a view from the floor end of the ramps.

Step 3: Timber

Picture of Timber

The timber rests across the raised metal side rails of the pit. It is essential that the timber be long enough that its ends extend past the outside edges of the two ramps. Strips of wood are added to the ends of the timber to make it easy to space the ramps at that end and ensure that the ramps cannot wiggle off  the timber ends. Two strips added to the bottom of the timber make it easy to center the timber between the raised rims of the pit. The photo with the wood strips shows The Great Yellow Beast parked and how the three sturdy lift-off doors are in place over the pit whenever it is not in use.

Step 4: Mower Backed Over Pit

Picture of Mower Backed Over Pit

Backing the mower partway onto the ramps allows easy access to the drive machinery. Driving the mower in forword provides access to the mower deck for changing or sharpening the blades. It is safer to keep part of the mower's weight on the ends of the ramps that rest on the floor, rather than drive it completely onto the ramps.
Unclesam

Comments

kyle brinkerhoff (author)2010-09-19

WAIT! your garage has a grease pit! oh man im sooooo jealous :}

mee too il proabably do this when iget older and move out the down side is u aacidenally walk into it

unclesam (author)2 stroke 2010-09-22

1450, you might be interested in the text and photo that have been added to step 3. It shows the doors that cover the pit whenever it is not in use. A fullsize vehicle covers the pit except for a couple feet at one end, so there is little risk of falling in under that circumstance. There is a ladder of three steps attached to the end of the pit that would be left uncovered, the top step is a two-by-four, each of the other steps sticks out farther from the end wall than the one above it. When the Great Yellow Beast or my lawn tractor is being worked on, the doors can be slid away just enough to do the work, leaving the remainder of the pit covered. There is another danger to having a pit, heavy dangerous gases can collect in any pit. I always run an electric fan aimed down into the pit for a few minutes before I climb down into it.
U.S.

2 stroke (author)unclesam2010-09-22

our build ing code does not permit it but im going to do it anyway when im older lol

falafle, you might want to see photo and text that has been added to step 3.
U.S.

kelseymh (author)2010-09-17

This is a great write up, and a great project. A couple of comments:

Users can get to your page directly by simply clicking on your user name in the INFO box in the right column. They don't need to search for you.

Does it make sense to add a block at each end of the bridge timber, to ensure that it is always placed overhanging the side rails? They would also help to prevent the bridge from walking during use.

unclesam (author)kelseymh2010-09-22

kelseymh, you might be interested to see the text and photo that have been added to step 3.
U.S.

kelseymh (author)unclesam2010-09-22

Cool! Thanks very much for the heads-up. That's exactly the sort of thing I had pictured.

unclesam (author)kelseymh2010-09-18

kelseymh, thanks for the tip for helping viewers find my other Instructables. Adding a block at each end of the timber is a great safety tip and I will surely do that. The blocks will also make it easy to set the correct distance between the ramps at that end. Adding a couple other blocks underneath the timber, that will touch the inside of the pit's side rails, will also center everything at that end, shortening the setup time.
U.S.

renex500 (author)2010-09-21

no wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

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