DIY – Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch 2


It is no secret that it is handy to have a 2″ hitch on just about everything. It was bugging me that my Deere zero turn mower didn’t have one. Read more to see how I built one for my tractor.

There are a couple of different hitches available for a John Deere Z425, but none that I really liked. There is the factory hitch that has a spot for a sprayer (which I don’t own) and a spot to put a tow ball, then I also saw some amazon hitches that bolt on but don’t appear to be deep enough for normal hitches (the part that sticks past the hitch pin). I also wanted something that was heavier duty.

Here are the ones I was looking at:


They both might have been good options and were both less than $100, BUT this is DIY Metal Fabrication so of course it is better (and cheaper) if we build it ourselves. 😛

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

Start by getting all of the toys out of winter storage and jacking around with a bunch of dead batteries…

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

Here is a pic of my previous setup. It is actually a winch plate for an ATV winch bolted onto the muffler guard of the mower. Technically it worked since I was in a pinch at the time, but it was bending the guard.

Time to fix it right. I went and bought a 3,500lb bumper pull trailer hitch so I could modify it to work. Like this:

But if I were to do it again, I would buy one that had a wider plate like this one. Then I wouldn’t have had to weld wings onto it. More on that in a minute.

The first step was making room for the 2″ receiver tube. There was a natural dip in the green part of the rear guard, and the only thing in the way was the top part of the muffler guard where I had unbolted the heat shield. So I cut it off 🙂

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

Looking at the rear of the mower. There was a heat shield bolted where the black muffler guard is shiny that I had already taken off.

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

Cutting the tab off the heat shield with a grinder and cutoff wheel to make room for the receiver tube.

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

This muffler guard was actually way thicker than I expected. Made me feel better about the strength of the rear structure of the mower.

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

Next up was to shorten the receiver tube a bit to make sure I had plenty of room between it and the muffler.

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

Again, using a 4.5″ angle grinder and cutoff wheel.

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

Measuring and cutting a piece of 1/8″ thick 1×1 angle iron for extra support.

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

Welding the angle iron onto the hitch. This will rest against the back of the crossmember on the mower. Probably not necessary, but I like overkill.

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

There are three holes across the rear crossmember of the mower. Here you can see I cut the head off a bolt and welded it to the top of the hitch. This is because I wanted to use the existing bolt hole but couldn’t have a nut inside where the receiver hitch slides in.

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

You can also see I welded a wing on either side to extend out to the other two bolt holes that attach the rear guard and muffler shield. Painted with primer.

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

Painted black. Still need to drill holes in the ‘wings’.

Here is a tip I have been using for many years to mark holes that I can’t see or get to with a sharpie. I hold the part up where it is supposed to go, put some lithium grease on the tip of the bolts I am going to use and drop them onto the part I want to drill. It leaves a nice white mark that I can then center punch and drill out.

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

Dip the tip of the bolt in lithium grease.

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

Put the part up in position then drop the bolt into the hole.

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

Now I have a mark for each drill hole on the part! Easy as pie.

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

I then center punched the marks and drilled them out.

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

I threw on another coat of paint and bolted it on!

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

Almost looks like it is supposed to be there…

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

DIY - Zero Turn Mower Receiver Hitch

Final product hooked up to the spreader.

Another project done. Am I going to pull huge trailers with this? of course not. What I like about the 2″ receiver is that it gives me options. Who knows when I might need to throw a vice, pintle hitch, tow hook, adjustable hitch, snow plow, or something else in there. I now have the flexibility to hook onto whatever the task requires.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas for your project. Now YOU, just get out there and build something!

 

 

 


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