In searching the web for information on Topeka Hi-Way mowers, I found a comment from a Farm Collector subscriber referencing a previous article on the Topeka Hi-Way mower. In that I am not a subscriber to the magazine, I have not had the pleasure of reading the article. I thought that your readers might be interested in seeing photos of one I purchased two or three years ago.
My mower was purchased (by the previous owner, now deceased) at a Missouri Department of Transportation surplus equipment auction. It has a 4-cylinder Continental engine, Borg Warner T-90 3-speed transmission, Spicer Model 18 transfer case (four-wheel drive) and Dana front and rear axles. It has dual wheels on the rear. In the photos I had removed the fuel and hydraulic tanks (shaped like a trunk) and the seat from the vehicle. It has no windshield or top. The sickle bar mower is hydraulically raised and operated.
To date, I have cleaned 50 years of oil-soaked mud from the chassis, replaced the brake master cylinder, clutch master and slave cylinder. For the last two years I have been rebuilding the transmission and transfer case. I have changed the oil in the motor and shot oil into the spark plug holes, but have not yet attempted to start it. I drained, flushed and refilled the front and rear differentials. The fuel and hydraulic tanks, seat, floorboard, grille, air filter housing and wheels have been sandblasted and painted. Lastly, I installed new tires.
I'd like to correspond with anyone who has one of these unique vehicles. I plan to use it around the farm to mow the property (instead of bush hogging), plow snow, drag and split logs. I plan to build a log splitter that will interchange with the sickle bar mower and add a plow on the front that will raise, lower and tilt. I am looking for a driveshaft-operated winch for the front, as was used on Willys.
I think it will be way more usable and fun than a four-wheeler or Gator.
- Marty Henson
St. Louis, Mo.